Missions Catalyst News Briefs

Missions-Catalyst-no-tagline_largeIn This Issue: How (and why) not to be ignorant about the world

RoslingsDear readers,

I highly recommend that you watch and share the TED talk, How Not to Be Ignorant about the World, in which a father-son team explain biases and give helpful tips for a healthier, more accurate perspective on the world. Ola, the son, talks about how we often see causation where there is none. This reminded of me a humorous list of bizarre correlations I’d seen, and then I found a whole website devoted to churning out these weird stats. Did you know that if you consider yourself hairier than most you are more likely to drink Mountain Dew?!

Assumed causation is a serious matter, though, and can cost lives. See the story below about what happened to Ebola workers in Guinea. Some readers might also be interested in Karen Armstrong’s recent article on the myth of religious violence (“The popular belief that religion is the cause of the world’s bloodiest conflicts is central to our modern conviction that faith and politics should never mix. But the messy history of their separation suggests it was never so simple”).

I believe our greatest incentive to be well informed is for intercession. There is a true correlation between prayer and events; we may not have empirical evidence of this, but we have the promises of God. This week we join Christians who are praying for an end to Ebola, and others interceding for Hindus during their Navratri festival (see below).

Many are also praying for Muslims on the Hajj pilgrimage and Jews observing the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur (October 3-4). When I pray for people of other faiths during times of repentance and cleansing, sometimes I pray through the lyrics of the song Rock of Ages, changing the “I” and “me” to “they” and “them.” Try it this week and think of the millions of Muslims circling the rock in Mecca and those Jews who have “rejected the stone.”

Praying with you for the sons of Abraham (and others),

P.S.: Bruce Allen of Forgotten Missionaries International, quoted in one of our recent news briefs, said one of you was trying to reach him after reading our story. He accidentally deleted your email. Try again!


Pat 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.

IRAQ: A Child’s Prayer

Source: SAT-7, September 29, 2014

The takeover of several Iraqi towns by extremist group ISIS (or Islamic State) has been devastating in recent weeks. Children in particular are sensitive to such tragedies. Mario, a regular fan of the SAT-7 KIDS program “Why Is That,” called the studio last week to pray for Iraq and all the Arab countries.

The young boy called from his home in Tanta, just north of Cairo in Egypt. As soon as Mario’s voice came over the air, presenter “Mr. Know” recognized him. Even though Mario lives hundreds of miles away from Iraq, he is touched by the plight of families suffering there.

The innocence and goodwill of a child’s prayers are an uplifting witness during such trying times. They give hope that God can use the next generation to shape a different future for the region according to his will.

» Read full story and listen to Mario’s prayer.

» Also read Informed Intercession: The Wonderful Marriage of Research + Prayer (Mission Frontiers) and inspire others to pray by sharing answers to prayer (Catalyst Services).

» Check out amazing footage on the Islamic State (VICE News).

SAUDI ARABIA: Millions Head toward Mecca

Source: Prayercast, September 28, 2014

Roughly three million people will descend on Mecca, Saudi Arabia from October 1-6 for the largest annual pilgrimage in the world: the Hajj. This journey is the life-long aspiration of one-fifth of the world’s population, and, when accomplished, is the spiritual climax of their lives. Being the fifth pillar of Islam, this pilgrimage and its accompanying rituals are supposed to increase Muslims’ chances to attain paradise and forgiveness. The Hajj represents an opportunity to be reborn.

Millions will circle the Ka’bah and perform countless rituals, seeking answers, assurance, and absolution from a god who cannot hear and will not answer. May Muslims on this year’s Hajj encounter the Living God through his son Jesus Christ, and may countless masses be truly born again by the power of the cross.

» Subscribe to updates from Prayercast.

» Download a video and prayer materials about the Hajj from Praying through the Arabian Peninsula, and see ISIS Threatens Mecca (WIN Reporter), Taking the Hajj to Heaven (Crossroads Arabia), and a story about breakthroughs in Christian broadcasting in Saudi Arabia (Arab World Media).

GUINEA: Ebola Team Members Killed over Tragic Misunderstanding

Source: ASSIST News Service, September 25, 2014

Rev. Moise Mamy and seven others in an Ebola education delegation were killed by villagers in southern Guinea [in mid-September]. According to a news release from Compassion and Mercy Associates (CAMA), government officials and news reporters were also among those who died.

Wome [where this happened] is located in Guinea’s forestière region—a densely forested, mountainous and resource-rich area where villagers have long settled their own affairs.

CAMA said Mamy was a member of the Eau de Vie (Water of Life) Ebola awareness team, a ministry of CAMA, the relief and development arm of The Christian and Missionary Alliance (CMA). In addition, Mamy was an evangelist and district superintendent of the CMA church among the Mano, the people group of his ethnic origin. CAMA said he was also the executive secretary of Eau de Vie and cofounder of Hope Clinic, a CAMA-initiated medical and surgical facility that provides treatment for villagers in southern Guinea who otherwise would have no access to medical care.

“Many places accepted (the awareness team’s) teaching,” wrote Jon Erickson, an Alliance international worker and close friend of Mamy, with whom he cofounded Hope Clinic, “but some villagers had heard a rumor that the (bleach they were distributing), which kills the Ebola virus, was actually the virus itself.”

In the ensuing chaos, the team members were attacked and killed. The BBC reported that the bodies were recovered from a septic tank at the local primary school.

Mamy is survived by his wife and five grown children.

» Read full story.

» Our friends at SIM have called Christians to pray all this week for an end to Ebola. Learn more. And this just in, free educational resources in French and English available to ministries working in Ebola-affected countries (Women of Hope International).

INDIA: Church Converted to Hindu Temple

Source: Barnabas Fund, September 18, 2014

A church in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh was turned into a temple on August 27 after Hindu extremists converted members of the congregation to Hinduism. The church in Asroi village, Aligarh district had been the place of worship for a group of Dalit Christians, who are from the lowest level of India’s stratified society.

During a Hindu purification ritual at the church, which is around 100 miles southeast of New Delhi, its cross was torn down and a poster of the god Shiva was placed inside the church building. The Hindu extremists responsible released a YouTube video of the conversion and published a press release stating that 72 Christians had become Hindus.

A church leader who was part of a fact-finding team told reporters that he believed this particular church had been targeted because there are only a few other Christians in the area, and the pastor did not live nearby and was therefore unable to visit the village regularly.

» Read full story. On a happier note, see Indian High Court Moves to Overturn Ban on Non-Hindu Evangelists.

» Will you pray for Hindus, Hindu-background believers, and workers seeking to plant churches among Hindus? Today is the sixth day in a series of annual Hindu festivals. See 10-day Navratri Prayer Guide (Christar).

WORLD: Fifty Years of Mission

Source: GMI, September 30, 2014

In 1964 Mongolia, Nepal, and China were among the most “closed” countries in the world. Today, all three have thriving churches with powerful mission vision. In 50 Years of Mission, their most recent in a series of mission infographics, our friends at GMI survey other ways the world has changed—and mission issues have changed—in the last 50 years.

This missiographic was produced in partnership with Evangelical Missions Quarterly, which is now celebrating 50 years of publication. (Happy anniversary, EMQ!)

» Learn more and explore how to use resources like Missiographics and EMQ in your ministry.

Missions Catalyst News Briefs

cropped-Missions-Catalyst-no-tagline_large.pngIn This Issue:

  1. WORLD: How Is Islamic State Affecting Muslim Nations?
  2. SAUDI ARABIA: More than 20 Christians Arrested
  3. CHINA: Canadian Missionaries Accused of Spying
  4. INDIA: Violence against Christians in Bihar
  5. WORLD: Learn about Cultures the Fun Way

Dear readers,

This week we share more news about struggles over national identity, struggles that may have significant affect on Christians and on relationships between the people of different cultures and religions.

This week Scotland will vote on independence from the United Kingdom. The Kurds have postponed their referendum for independence to help forge a new Iraqi government. The Muslims of Mindanao have won a victory as the Philippine government has given them more autonomy. In Turkey, a government minister says Christianity is no longer a religion (able to offer peace and happiness) but simply another culture.

In a story titled Nigeria Declares Its Own Caliphate, Greg Musselman of Voice of the Martyrs Canada explores the dynamics that keep Muslim extremist groups fragmented and others that turn many Christians in extremist-dominated areas into amazing evangelists.

With so many tensions and opinions about sensitive matters, we are grateful to those who help set the record straight and expose misinformation. Hats off to INcontext Ministries for their Hoaxology page – a good place to look before passing on stories that sound too sensational.



Pat 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.

WORLD: How Is Islamic State Affecting Muslim Nations?

Source: Mission Network News, September 11, 2014

As Islamic State (IS) terrorists wreak havoc in Iraq and Syria, their actions are spurring a ripple effect.

“It’s moving across the globe,” says Bruce Allen of Forgotten Missionaries International (FMI).

FMI supports national church leaders in Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Each of these countries is now fighting Islamic State recruitment efforts. Allen says believers are fighting IS darkness with the light of Christ.

“The pastors and church planters and evangelists in these countries have a great window of opportunity,” he shares. “Especially as leaders of the Christian community in these places of darkness, we have to be people who are buoyed by confidence and who are motivated by hope.”

» Read full story, or listen to an interview with Allen.

» See also Only Known Survivor of ISIS War Atrocity Shares His Dramatic Story (GodReports; see also New York Times video coverage of this story) and Brother of Top ISIS Leader Repents, Converts to Christianity (World News Daily Report).

SAUDI ARABIA: More than 20 Christians Arrested

Source: The Christian Post, September 15, 2014

[More than] 20 Christians were arrested for holding a prayer meeting at a home in Saudi Arabia, where Christian churches and worship are banned. The Christians, many of them women and children, are appealing to the United States for help.

According to a report on Fox News, the Christians were arrested at the home of an Indian national in Khafji, a city in east Saudi Arabia, by hard-line Islamists from the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. Their whereabouts is unknown.

Although the Saudi government has denied having any knowledge of the arrests, the Saudi Gazette reported that the arrests took place two Fridays ago.

“Members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia), who raided the house in the city’s Aziziyah neighborhood, arrested 27 people of various Asian nationalities, including women and children, and seized copies of the Bible and various musical instruments,” said the Gazette.

» Read full story. (Note, other reports say 28 people were arrested. We were not able to confirm if any have been released.)

» Have a heart to reach out to the people of Saudi Arabia? Check out the Saudi Advocacy Network.

CHINA: Canadian Missionaries Accused of Spying

Source: CBN News , August 8, 2014

Chinese authorities are accusing a Canadian missionary couple of spying. Kevin and Julie Garratt own a coffee shop in Dandong, a Chinese city near the North Korean border, which they opened in 2008. Peter’s Coffee House, named after their son, made a name for itself in the city for its menu and as a place where locals could practice their English. Originally from Vancouver, the Garratts worked as teachers in southern China since 1984 before moving to Dandong and opening the popular coffee shop.

On Monday, Chinese authorities accused them of espionage and stealing state secrets. The couple had been hosting church services in their home and taking food and aid across the border into North Korea, with government permission.

The investigation comes a week after Canada accused a China-sponsored hacker of infiltrating Canada’s National Research Council.

» Read full story. See also a related story from the Wall Street Journal. Readers, do any of you know if this couple has been released?