In This Issue: Breakthroughs and challenges for the Church in Africa
- EGYPT: Loving Your Enemies
- NIGERIA: Bloodiest Attacks Yet
- SUDAN: Church Leaders Threatened
- CAMEROON: Wycliffe Celebrates 25 Years of Progress
- ACROSS AFRICA: Deepening Discipleship
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!
EGYPT: Loving Your Enemies
Source: Arab World Media Impact, January 2012
“Munira” is a philosophy student from Egypt. Six months ago, her research led her to the Maarifa website. It was here that she came across one of Hayat’s articles on loving your enemies. After reading it, she had many questions, so she got in contact.
Hoda was able to lead Munira through an online Bible course. Some time later, it was felt that she was ready to meet someone face to face. A church pastor met with Munira and was impressed by her depth of knowledge.
Munira then took another Bible course along with some other believers from a Muslim background. She wanted to know how to become a Christian.
During the demonstrations in Egypt, Munira (remember, she is still new in her faith!) joined a group of Coptic Christians demonstrating for equal rights to Muslims, carrying with her a large wooden cross. She called our media office, urging our staff to come and join the protest!
Please pray for Munira in her newfound faith and as her baptism approaches. May God continue to deepen her knowledge and love for him and use her to build his church among the Muslims of Egypt.
NIGERIA: Bloodiest Attacks Yet
Source: Christian Aid Mission, January 25, 2012
“On January 20, multiple bombs rocked Kano as Boko Haram sprayed gunfire on eight government sites including the headquarters of both local and zonal police, the State Security Service, which is the much-feared secret police, and immigration and passport offices. So far more than 200 people have died, many more are injured,” [writes a CAM-supported native minister].
“Pray with us that this violence and hatred does not reach the areas where our missionaries live. We are concerned about our work among Muslims.”
With a population of 10 million, Kano is not only Nigeria’s second largest city, it is an important ancient Muslim stronghold, known as the gateway of Islam into sub-Saharan Africa. These newest attacks on predominately Islamic government agencies just as Muslims were exiting mosques after Friday prayers are especially shocking. Nigerians are reeling and increasingly fearful.
>> Another perspective on the conflict: In Nigeria, Boko Haram Is Not the Problem (New York Times).
SUDAN: Church Leaders Threatened
Source: Compass Direct News, January 18, 2012
Sudan’s Ministry of Guidance and Religious Endowments has threatened to arrest church leaders if they carry out evangelistic activities and do not comply with an order for churches to provide their names and contact information, Christian sources said.
The warning arrived a few days after Sudan President Omar al-Bashir told cheering crowds on January 3 that, following the secession of largely non-Islamic South Sudan last July, the country’s constitution will be more deeply entrenched in sharia (Islamic law).
Sources said the order was aimed at oppressing Christians amid growing hostilities toward Christianity. One church leader said the order was another in a series of measures by the government to control churches.
“They do not want pastors from South Sudan to carry on any church activities or mission work in Sudan,” he said.
Christians are facing growing threats from both Muslim communities and Islamist government officials who have long wanted to rid Sudan of Christianity, Christian leaders told Compass. They said Christianity is now regarded as a foreign religion following the departure of 350,000 people, most of them Christians, to South Sudan following the July 9, 2011 secession.
>> Full story.
CAMEROON: Wycliffe Celebrates 25 Years of Progress
Source: Mission Network News, January 27, 2012
[January 27] marks a celebration of 25 years since Bible translation projects began in Cameroon, West Africa.
President of Wycliffe Bible Translators, Bob Creson, has been in Cameroon for the last few days, revisiting spots where he himself was involved in translation, although the translation climate now looks significantly different than it did 15 years ago.
When Bible translation began in Cameroon in 1987, the model for translation was still to send a single expatriate team to begin a project. But that has changed.
“Cameroonians are now taking the leadership of these projects,” explains Creson. “Local communities are very much involved in helping to shape the nature of the translation process – what they want to see, what they want to have built for them in terms of tools for discipleship, evangelism, and church planting.”
Nationals are taking over, and Wycliffe likes it. The local Cameroonian involvement has been vital to the speed and success of the numerous translation projects there. Above all, that means the gospel is reaching people quicker.
ACROSS AFRICA: Deepening Discipleship
Source: Missions Catalyst, January 2012
Maybe you have noticed that every item in this edition of News Briefs has to do with Africa. Here are a few more Africa stories that caught our eye:
In an editorial called The Desperate Cry of Africa’s Women, Charisma’s Lee Grady says, “My dream is that the church – not only in Africa but throughout the world – will stop playing in the shallow waters of feel-good, me-centered Christianity and decide to apply the gospel of Christ to the injustices of the world.” His article includes a list of reasons Ugandan women struggle with fear.
Low levels of literacy in many African contexts, especially among women, call for more oral and visual forms of communication and discipleship. A team with Avant Ministries has created a great devotional book illustrated with beautiful photographs of Malian Christians acting out the stories of the Bible. Want to see what it would look like if Moses was from Mali? Would this approach work in other contexts?
Two articles from SIM explore challenges related to planting churches among “unplanted” peoples, such as African nomads. See Shepherds Still Seek the King and Discipleship on the Move (which mentions the strategic role of cell phones!).
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.