Archive for the ‘News Briefs’ Category

Missions Catalyst 4.16.14 − World News Briefs

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

In This Issue: The unstoppable gospel

Greetings!

As Christians around the world gather to celebrate the Resurrection, we’re reminded that the power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead is also at work in and through his Church. Today’s news briefs include stories of that power made manifest.

Blessing,
Pat

About Us

Missions Catalyst is a free, weekly electronic digest of mission news and resources designed to inspire and equip Christians worldwide for global ministry. Use it to fuel your prayers, find tips and opportunities, and stay in touch with how God is building his kingdom all over the world. Please forward it freely!

PatPat Noble has been the “news sleuth” for Missions Catalyst since 2004. In addition to churning out the news, she is working to create a SWARM (Serving World A Regional Mobilizers) in Northern New York using the NorthernChristian.org website. You can connect with her at www.whatsoeverthings.com.

 

 

UKRAINE: Unity and Spiritual Awakening

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

People of all denominations pray together each day in the public square in Kharkiv, Ukraine (photo by Sergey Baliuk).

Source: Rostyslav Stasyuk, Ukrainian Bible Society, via United Bible Societies, April 2, 2014

The dramatic events in our country have led to a remarkable unity and a spiritual wakening across the nation. It has been amazing to see the solidarity between representatives of different religions. … Last week, Archbishop Eustratius of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchate), shared the astonishing news that Crimean Tatars − the Muslim minority in the disputed territory of Crimea − have offered to host the church’s services in their mosques.

“They said that if it became difficult for our priests and parishioners to pray in our churches in Crimea, they would make room for us in mosques. They have also assured that they would help protect our rights,” said the archbishop.

“Over the past month, as the situation in Crimea and the southeastern regions has escalated, churches, and individual Christians have become very active in speaking out and sharing the hope and encouragement found in the Bible. Christians of different denominations have been fasting and praying together for peace and wisdom for Ukraine’s leaders and other world leaders involved in the situation.

In Eastern Ukraine, prayer meetings are held every morning in the central squares of Kharkiv, Donetsk, and Dnipropetrovsk. In the city of Lviv in Western Ukraine, a 15-minute prayer session is held every hour from 9am to 9pm in the central square. In Kiev, the prayer tents that were erected during the protests in Maidan square are still there, and many people still come and use them as places of prayer.

The same kind of thing is happening in almost every city and town in the country.

» Full story with pictures.

» See also Missionaries Expect God to Work in the Midst of Eastern Ukraine Crisis (Commission Stories) and “Holy Desperation” in Ukraine (Baptist Press).

INDIA: Eunuchs Coming to Christ

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Source: Mission Network News, April 11, 2014

Eunuchs. Castrated males. There are about 1 million of them in India. Eunuchs are ignored by society. They form their own communities. Are people reaching them with the gospel? Are they ignored by Christians, too? A worker with Scriptures in Use (SIU) says yes, but not any more.

“We introduce storytelling to cultures that are non-literate, or what we call traditional oral learners. … Jesus told stories. He told parables. He allowed the story of the parable to speak to the hearts of the individual listener.”

[SIU's] India partner became what’s called a “well-wisher” to the eunuchs in a community in Orissa State. As the relationships were established, the storytelling began. It started with 14 [participants]. The stories began with the Fall and continued through to the New Testament. “For three days we shared stories and then asked questions about the stories. At the end of the three days, we finally got to the Gospels. When it was done, all 14 of them accepted the Lord.”

It wasn’t a one-time thing. “We’re seeing some significant changes in them personally and then this desire to begin, in some way, to share their faith with fellow eunuchs and their families.”

» Read full story.

» Following India’s ongoing elections? You might be interested in this article about how Indian Christians view them (Christianity Today).

THAILAND: Believer Sold His Own Blood to Help Bible Students

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Source: God Reports, April 2014

“Teaching the Karen tribal people is such a privilege,” [write missionaries from the California-based organization, Pastoral Training of Asia]. “Serving in the refugee camp with no electricity [or] running water and pit toilets [is] always eye opening. Those living there are happy, not complaining but rather glad for the safety from … the hands of the Burmese soldiers.”

“We went to a memorial service of a deeply dedicated believer. He had a heart to help Bible school students and the only way he could give was to sell his own blood. Unfortunately, he gave so much that he weakened his own condition, got sick, and died. He gave his all to equip others to proclaim the gospel.

“The sense of love and unity in this Christian community is a wonderful thing to witness; may it spread to our shores and to our hearts and churches as well.”

» Read full story.

» Readers might also be interested in Refugee Survey − Most Do Not Want to Go Back to Burma (Karen News).

WORLD: Potential Reach of Scripture Recordings Climbs to 80 Percent

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Source: Faith Comes By Hearing, April 10, 2014

Faith Comes By Hearing (FCBH) recently added 16 languages to their expanding catalog of recorded Scripture. Now at 813 languages, FCBH’s recordings as a whole represent a potential outreach to more than 5.7 billion people in 189 countries − 80% of the world’s population.

Of the current releases, Tajik is the largest people group, with more than 4.4 million speakers, while the smallest is Cree Plains, spoken by about 260 people, primarily in Canada. Combined, these newest releases represent over 10.2 million people who now have God’s Word in audio available in their heart language.

FCBH has seen the growth of a small tape lending library established in 1972 to what is now the world’s largest resource of digital Scripture content.

» Read full story. This Easter season, FCBH encourages you to gather your family and listen to a New Testament account of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection in an audio drama format.

CHINA: Christianity in Chinese Society

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Source: OMF International, Global Chinese Ministries Newsletter, April 2014

Religion is flourishing in China − particularly evangelical Christianity and Buddhism. The government is now taking a more benign view of the role of religious believers in society. A conference on the role of Christianity in Chinese society was held in Shanghai last October. Government official Wang Xinhua stated: “The government welcomes the support of the church. We lack the resources to meet all the needs we face, so we need religious organizations in order to do so.”

The government particularly has in mind the challenge of caring for the elderly who number several hundred million.

There is every reason to foresee that the Chinese church will continue to grow, mature, consolidate, and reach out in effective evangelism in the coming decades. Some Chinese academics advising the government even believe the church is on course to total 200-300 million [Protestants] in the next 30 years or so. This will make the Chinese church far and away the largest church in the world. Is it any coincidence that this is happening just as China is poised to become a world power?

» Full story has further analysis of the state of the Church in China.

YEMEN: Do You Want to Know More about Jesus?

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Source: OM News, April 9, 2014

Yemenis are responding to Christian media. “Anas,” a local believer, was following up a contact, a young man, by phone. He said, “I am calling because you wanted to talk about Jesus. Is this true?” The young man responded, “Jesus is not here; I think he went to the capital and will be back next week.” Since the Arabic name for Jesus is not unknown in Yemen, Anas wondered whether the fellow was confused or just crazy, and the call ended.

God soon after prompted Anas to visit the contact in person − a risky decision, yet he did so in obedience. When he arrived, the young man explained, “Shortly before you called, I had a dream in which a bright shining figure told me that someone named Anas would call me and tell me more about Jesus. When you did call, I thought, this can’t be happening. So I acted crazy because it made me afraid.”

The young man brought together nine other friends to hear more, and they continue to study the Scriptures together with Anas. This is Arab culture, to do all things together, including a spiritual journey.

» Read full story.

» See also Sacrifice, reflections on Easter in an Arab Muslim country (Arab World Media).

 

Missions Catalyst 4.2.14 – World News Briefs

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

In This Issue: Voices from Russia and its neighbors

About Us

Missions Catalyst is a free, weekly electronic digest of mission news and resources designed to inspire and equip Christians worldwide for global ministry. Use it to fuel your prayers, find tips and opportunities, and stay in touch with how God is building his kingdom all over the world. Please forward it freely!

PatPat Noble has been the “news sleuth” for Missions Catalyst since 2004. In addition to churning out the news, she is working to create a SWARM (Serving World A Regional Mobilizers) in Northern New York using the NorthernChristian.org website. You can connect with her at www.whatsoeverthings.com.

 

 

RUSSIA: Jesus Appears to Buddhist Woman

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Source: SEND International, via God Reports, March 28, 2014

Yulia was raised by educated Buddhist parents living in Russia. By local standards, they were making it. Her family regularly visited the local shrine to worship and pay their respects to Buddha. Although her father was an engineer and her mother a biochemist, Yulia failed to get an education and did not enjoy her job cleaning houses.

When her father died suddenly, her mother slid into a spiral of depression, alcoholism, and abuse. Day after day, fights and arguments ensued and there were more and more problems. One day, when Yulia was 21, her mother – in a fit of drunken rage – told her to leave. Her mother’s last hateful words were, “Just leave. I don’t even care. And if you die, I won’t even cry.”

In the depths of her despair, Yulia did an accounting of her life. Her mother told her she did not care and her so-called friends abandoned her at the time of her greatest need. She had no education and hated her job. So she decided to take her life …

» Read full story, and pray for people like Yulia who want to give up.

» See also The Power of the Book, about a Moldovan man who found hope and new life from reading the Bible (OM News).

UKRAINE: Street Children Lost amid Political Turmoil

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Source: Christian Aid, March 13, 2014

There’s a hidden segment of Ukrainian society that is receiving little attention in the midst of the nation’s  political and economic clamor – its tens of thousands of street children.You won’t see them because they find sanctuary in the basements of abandoned buildings or crouch next to hot water pipes in a system of tunnels running underneath city streets.

To stave off feelings of cold and hunger, they sniff glue. The resulting “high” may offer temporary escape from the misery of their existence, but it can’t give them what they need most – the joy of a loving family, food, and shelter.

Most of these kids are “social orphans” who have at least one parent at home. Tired of living in an environment of neglect or physical abuse, they prefer to take their chances surviving as best they can on the streets where at least they enjoy freedom.

According to UNICEF, in Kiev alone there are some 20,000 homeless children. While the true figure is difficult to determine, more than 100,000 boys and girls are estimated to live on the streets in cities throughout Ukraine.

» Full story reports on Christian Aid’s ministry to street children.
» See also In Their Own Voices, a five-minute clip produced by Serious Pictures (YouTube) and this interactive map, Human Trafficking Patterns Mapped in Asia (IMB Asia Stories).

Editor’s Note: April 12 is the International Day of the Street Child.