Missions Catalyst News Briefs 12.06.17
- PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Embers Fanned into Flame
- NIGERIA: Missionary Shot after Singing Amazing Grace
- EGYPT: 21 Churches Receive Long-Delayed Approval to Rebuild
- UZBEKISTAN: Silk Road Secrets
- USA: Dinner Churches Spring Up Nationwide
I LOVE Christmas hymns. For one glorious season, truth is in the air! Hymns are full of good stuff, theologically speaking. Check out my new favorite, When Love Crossed Over by Paul and Rita Baloche.
Paul told King Agrippa that Jesus told him to “cross over” to the Gentiles so that they “may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me” (Acts 26:18).
Do you suppose that some of these dark places would benefit from the simple, true theology of the hymns? I believe the powers of darkness hate and fear such hymns, as the Nigeria story below suggests.
Speaking of Nigeria, have you heard of the late, great Nigerian hymn writer Ikoli Harcourt Whyte? He wrote over 200 Igbo hymns with his leprosy-riddled hands. Some say that the Queen of England also became aware of his music and once requested the BBC to play his hymns on Christmas Day. Read Letter from Africa: The Nigerian Who Composed Hymns from a Leprosy Colony (BBC, with thanks to Justin Long for this find).
Rejoicing with hymns,
Source: Ethnos 360, December 3, 2017
Underneath the palm frond canopy of the church roof sat elders and deacons representing 24 churches and three teams of missionaries. The 50 men filled the church, its half-height walls permitting the early morning light to illuminate their faces. Each face told a story. And though we only heard a portion of them, each story contained a common element: Praise to God for his faithfulness as he built his church in and through the Mouk people.
The Mouk live on the isolated island of New Britain in Papua New Guinea. Their name, “Mouk,” means “a live ember on the end of a stick waved back and forth to provide light on the paths at night.”
And indeed, God has sent his light to the Mouk, embodying in them the meaning of their name as they faithfully carried his light to every Mouk village and are now carrying it cross-culturally to the neighboring Lusi, Anem, and Kove peoples.
» Full story describes what it took to reach and disciple the Mouk and how God is now using them beyond their borders. A related article includes prayer requests from a Mouk cross-cultural missionary, with insights into ways “sending” is different in their context. Does the name Mouk ring a bell? You may remember the Mouk from the popular video Ee-Taow.
Source: The Christian Post, November 27, 2017
A Christian missionary was shot dead in Nigeria after playing “Amazing Grace” on his guitar, two of the British survivors who were rescued in November revealed.
“Ian [Squire] was a man of faith, humor, music, and invention,” David Donovan told The Telegraph on [November 24].
The kidnapers took the Donovans and the other two hostages at gunpoint, ignoring their pleas that they were missionary medics. The missionaries explained that the men who took them belonged to the “Egbesu Boys,” a cult-like gang named after an ancient war god in local Ijaw tribal culture.
After taking the four hostages to the hut, the kidnapers decided to hand back some of their belongings, which included Squire’s acoustic guitar. The British optician decided to try and raise the spirits of the other captives by playing and singing “Amazing Grace,” which happened to be the only song he could play without using music sheets.
“It was the perfect song, and at that point things began to look not quite as bad,” David Donovan recalled, stating that it reminded the other missionaries about their decision to serve the gospel and follow their calling.
“But then, after Ian finished playing, he stood up, and a salvo of gunshots killed him instantly.”
» Read full story. A version of this story that appeared in the Guardian includes pictures of three of the four hostages.
Source: World Watch Monitor, November 29, 2017
Twenty-one churches in Egypt’s southern rural Minya governorate can restore, expand, and rebuild their churches after receiving approval from the Minya Governor. Governor Essam al-Bedeiwi approved the 21 applications over the last six months. Some of the churches had been waiting for more than 20 years for a permit to come through.
Some analysts note that the approvals have preceded several visits by international evangelical delegations to Cairo.
[On November 19], leaders from evangelical churches around the world met Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Cairo, as part of the celebrations marking 500 years since the Reformation. This followed a visit in early November by a delegation of Christian evangelicals from the US to meet evangelical leaders in Egypt.
» Full story also describes other developments involving religious liberty and government actions in Egypt. Also from this source, see Syria: Homs Christians Return to Rebuild Homes and Lives.
Source: Create International, November 15, 2017
The ancient silk road, famed for the transportation of exotic spices, silks, and other valuables in the ages past, winds its way through Central Asia including Tashkent, Samarkand, and Bukhara, all cities in the beautiful nation of Uzbekistan.
In this past year the Uzbek Bible has been published. The next step in the process is to develop strategies for scripture engagement. Our contacts were eager to create tools that would both assist with this and also share the love of Christ with the 30 million Uzbeks.
It turns out that both [the prophets] Daniel and Job are well known to Uzbeks. The official tomb of the Prophet Daniel is in Samarkand. Also there is a spring that has a legend connected to Job, known to Uzbeks as the “Patient Prophet.” Both monuments set up for these men are visited by many Uzbeks every day.
So we set out to make “documentaries with a difference”—sharing the beauty and history of Uzbekistan with their own people and giving insight into these two characters. The films tie together scripture and Uzbek culture in unique ways to express how the gospel is not foreign (i.e., not Russian) and Jesus is their way to salvation.
» Read full story. I don’t see a way to get the documentaries described here, but found a link to a IndigiTube, a related website where you can download more than 450 gospel films in over 120 different languages and search for audio Bibles in more than 1,300 different languages.
» See also Believers in Tajikistan Risk Their Lives to Share the Gospel (Open Doors) about the growth of the church in a neighboring country.
Source: Joel News International, December 4, 2017
In 2009, Saint Lydia’s, a Lutheran church in Brooklyn, New York garnered national attention when it began holding a weekly service over dinner. Longing to dispel feelings of isolation often reported among young New Yorkers, founder Emily Scott decided to model her service around the early church practice of having a meal together as Eucharist.
Meanwhile, the Assemblies of God Community Dinners in Seattle, Washington; the Disciples of Christ Potluck Church in Madisonville, Kentucky; and the Episcopal Southside Abbey in Chattanooga, Tennessee began experimenting with their own ideas of meal-centered worship. One by one, communities began to emerge, though many remained unaware of others participating in the movement.
In the years since, the model has grown from four to over forty congregations across North America and Europe, with new communities emerging on a weekly basis.
» Learn more (Christian Food Movement). Story includes links to dinner church locations. Maybe you want to start one or incorporate some of the ideas. Thanks to Joel News for this story. Subscribe here.