The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church will be observed in churches around the world on November 5 or November 12. See also this video and the story below for five ways to take action on Sunday (or anytime).
Missions Catalyst News Briefs 11.01.17
- WORLD: Five Ways to Take Action for the Persecuted
- AZERBAIJAN: No Fair Trial for House Church Leader
- PHILIPPINES: From Fear to Faith
- KENYA: Former Sponsored Child Now Archbishop
- SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA: Magic Charms, Black Cats, and the Power of Jesus
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I hope you have availed yourself of the many resources concerning the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. I’ve learned a lot!
I especially liked this talk from Eric Metaxas (National Religious Broadcasters), about writing a biography of Martin Luther, and the article Three Surprising Ways the Protestant Reformation Shaped our World (CNN). My husband and I enjoyed RC Sproul’s 10-part series, Luther and the Reformation. I’d love to know if you have any recommendations!
The stories of persecution below sound much like what Luther endured 500 years ago. The powers that be are still trying to control the Church. We can rejoice in Jesus’ words, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).
Source: Open Doors, October 2017
Pastor Edward is truly on the front lines of persecution in Syria. His community was destroyed by ISIS and yet, alongside a small group of other believers, he is committed to remaining in the area as a light.
We have a golden opportunity coming up this Sunday [November 5]: the International Day of Prayer (IDOP) for the persecuted church. Believers like Pastor Edward have endured extreme trials this year and they need our mighty prayers.
You can be a part of this battle in prayer against the powers of darkness. There’s never been a time your faithful intercession is needed more.
Here are five key ways that you can take action on IDOP Sunday and stand united with our persecuted brothers and sisters:
- Write a digital letter to a persecuted Christian and remind them they’re not alone.
- Pray for the top 10 countries on the World Watch List.
- Listen to the Daily Prayer Story about real people living in persecution.
- Pray for these five believers imprisoned for their faith.
- Share this meme on your social accounts and ask friends to join you in prayer.
» Full story summarizes each step as well as providing links to learn more. See also The Ripple Effect for additional resources, including a free, interactive study about the persecuted church, sermon outlines, and more.
Source: World Watch Monitor, October 19, 2017
An Azerbaijani man fined for leading a “house church” without state permission has not been treated fairly during his appeal against the fine, a local source has told World Watch Monitor.
Shabanov was found guilty at a hearing in January and several appeals were rejected.
During his appeal process, the source said hearings had been held in the Azeri language, which Shabanov does not speak because he was educated in the Georgian language common to the area where he was born and where he still lives. The court also failed to provide a translator although this is required by law.
The source said the pastor was “asked repeatedly to sign documents he could neither read nor understand, both in the appeals process and police investigations, including a document that waived his rights. This is both illegal and negligent of the legal process in Azerbaijan.”
» Read full story. Another story from WWM describes several court battles over faith in Sudan, where a former Prime Minister is speaking up for the rights of the persecuted.
Source: Ethnos360, October 29, 2017
The Higaunon people used to live in fear. They lived in bondage, worshiping their ancestors and sacrificing pigs and chickens to appease the spirits.
And then the gospel message changed all that. Fear turned to faith.
After hearing the gospel message, the newly saved Higaunons said, “All we could talk about was what Jesus had done for us and how we could now see the truth so clearly. … We were amazed at the darkness and depth of sin that we were in before. To think that we actually worshiped God’s enemy, thinking that we were on the right track! … It was such a joyful time in our lives to be set free from the terrible bondage that the spirits had held us under through fear.”
The infant Higaunon church became burdened for their fellow Higaunons in other villages. They wondered why it took so long for the gospel to reach them.
“It seemed to us that 2,000 years was a really long time to bring the message to our place, and we didn’t want it to be a long time before it reached other Higaunon villages,” the Higaunon believers said.
They didn’t just talk about it. They did something about it. And as a result, there are churches in over 20 other Higaunon villages.
» Read full story.
» Editor’s note: This story reminded us of the one told in the video Never the Same chronicling the return of author Don Richardson and his sons to the village described in the bestselling book Peace Child.
Source: World Vision, October 20, 2017
For centuries, the Maasai traveled with their cattle along the Great Rift Valley in Kenya and Tanzania. Families were polygamous—men had many wives and kids. Children rarely went to school, instead helping their parents take care of animals and doing chores around the house.
This is the world into which Jackson Ole Sapit, 53, was born—with one father and 11 mothers. He’s not sure how many siblings he has but guesses more than 50. Jackson’s father died when he was young, and his mother—his father’s seventh wife—and her three children were chased away from the family home by shrewd older brothers who understood the value of land. Jackson’s mother and her children became destitute.
Maasai parents didn’t believe in education, as boys were to herd cows, and girls worked around the house. But in 1973, Jackson and the other Maasai boys in his village were forced to attend [school]. There, he began to hear about Jesus. “One of the songs [they sang],” he says, “was ‘More About Jesus.’” But he thought they were singing “moo” instead of “more.” He says, “I wondered, ‘Are they singing about cows?’” This was something he could relate to as a herder; his curiosity was piqued.
The next year, Jackson became sponsored through World Vision.
» Read full story to hear how this Maasai herder saw God change his life and became a leader to 5 million Anglicans in Kenya and read other World Vision stories from the field.
Source: International Mission Board, October 30, 2017
In the US, the world of evil spirits and magic spells becomes a national obsession just once a year—during Halloween. [Then] the dark side of the supernatural realm quickly fades into the background as the focus shifts to Thanksgiving and Christmas.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, spiritual forces are palpable year round. Items like charms and amulets are ever-present evidence that beliefs in the spirit world are real and affect every aspect of life. In African traditional religion the natural world is filled with spiritual forces. There’s a fine line between the physical and spiritual world—so fine, in fact, that it often seems to dissolve.
“The greatest need among African peoples is to see, know, and experience Jesus Christ as the victor over the powers and forces from which Africa knows no means of deliverance,” said Dr. John Mbiti. Join us in praying for Africans to realize that Jesus—the one victorious over death—is more powerful than any spirit, amulet, or spell.
» Full story includes some great images and prayer points.
» See also Armed for Battle, an interview with veteran missionaries about spiritual warfare, and a related video from Thailand (Pioneers).