In This Issue: 200 years after Adoniram Judson
- NORTH AMERICA: Debut of New Evangelical Missions Network
- BURMA: Christian Kachins Killed, Tortured Despite Ceasefire
- SAUDI ARABIA: Christian Men and Women Arrested for Meeting Together
- EUROPE: The Status of Church Planting
- CENTRAL ASIA: Baptized in the Shower
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!
“You have chosen the noblest and most honorable work on earth. But it is also arduous and perilous … I hope you will never forget that, without Christ, you can do nothing. Without his help you can no more advance his kingdom among idolaters, than you can scatter the darkness of midnight by a word …. But if you go forth in the strength of Christ, you will be burning and shining lights in regions of death.” – Professor Leonard Woods of Andover Seminary, 1812, to America’s first ordained missionaries
NORTH AMERICA: Debut of New Evangelical Missions Network
Source: The Christian Post, February 13, 2012
The merger of two dominant mission associations in North America culminated Monday with the public unveiling of Missio Nexus, which is now the largest evangelical mission network in North America.
Missio Nexus, formed through the marriage of CrossGlobal Link and The Mission Exchange, will represent 35,000 evangelical missionaries deployed in every country by more than 200 agencies and churches.
Top evangelical leaders across North America convened for a special service held Monday in Boston that celebrated both the debut of Missio Nexus and the 200th anniversary of North America’s first ordained missionaries.
>> Missio Nexus stands on the shoulders of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions that sent some of the first American missionaries 200 years ago. I found it interesting that they considered themselves “commissioners.” Brigada has collected some data about commissioning services, which made me wonder what was said at that first American commissioning service (Congregational Church History). See the pastor’s words quoted above.
BURMA: Christian Kachins Killed, Tortured Despite Ceasefire
Source: Worthy News, February 13, 2012
Burmese troops kill or torture civilians and destroy churches and even entire villages of the predominantly Christian Kachin minority despite pledges from Burma’s nominally civilian government that it seeks ceasefire agreements with ethnic groups, investigators said Sunday, February 12.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide cautioned that while “a window of opportunity for change … after decades of oppression and conflict, may have now opened,” the situation in Kachin and northern Shan states illustrate that “there is still a very long way to go.”
>> Full story.
>> See also this report from the field (Free Burma Rangers).
>> February 19 is the 200th anniversary of the sending of American missionary Adoniram Judson, who served in Burma for 37 years. As you pray for Burma, consider the challenge in an admirer’s tribute, Please Go and Dig (Baptist Press).
SAUDI ARABIA: Christian Men and Women Arrested for Meeting Together
Source: Baptist Press, February 9, 2012
Saudi police raided a private home in Jeddah December 15 and arrested the 29 women and six men gathered to pray, International Christian Concern reported.
Saudi authorities have charged the Ethiopians with “mixing with the opposite sex,” Christian leaders told International Christian Concern. Saudi Arabian law prohibits males and females who are not members of the same family from being in the same room, ICC reported.
“The Saudi officials are accusing the Christians of committing the crime of mixing of sexes because if they charge them with meeting for practicing Christianity, they will come under pressure from the international human rights organizations as well as Western countries,” a Saudi Christian leader told ICC.
Saudi officials strip-searched the women, including searches of their body cavities, and physically abused the men, some of the Ethiopians told ICC in a phone conversation from prison.
>> Full story.
>> Also read Cleric Says Nothing Wrong with Genders Mixing, Listening to Music (Al Arabiya News).
EUROPE: Status of Church Planting
Source: Joel News International 806, February 14, 2012
Eurochurch, a collaborative network for church planting and innovation, undertook extensive research to identify the major missional organizations and networks in Europe. A few weeks ago they published a status report and directory of contacts.
“The report represents the tip of an iceberg,” says Darrell Jackson of the Nova Research Centre. “Contemporary church planting activity in Europe is more diverse than at any other point in its history. There’s a huge variety of emerging church, fresh expressions of church, cafe church, motorbike church, church on the way, simple church, mission-shaped church, cell church, virtual church, pub church, mega-church, and many others.” The report gives a description of every nation in Europe, the status of church planting in that nation, and the contacts of key people involved.
Jim Memory, associate director of the Nova Research Centre, states it’s important to measure the effectiveness of church planting, especially in a challenging context like Europe. He found that many church planters (over half of the respondents) don’t take time to evaluate the effectiveness of their mission. If they do, “peer review,” where church planters look to their colleagues to validate their work and give meaningful feedback, is common. The research also showed that church planters in Europe are highly concerned with the life quality of the church, but only very few measure the impact their church has on the community.
Eurochurch hopes the outcome will help church planters to cooperate more effectively.
>> Download the full report here.
CENTRAL ASIA: Baptized in the Shower
Source: Operation Mobilization Headlines, February 2, 2012
Like thousands of other Uzbeks, “Ona” moved to Novosibirsk, Russia, in search of better-paid work. Ona not only found work, though; she also found Jesus through the friendship of two OM Russia church planters working to establish an Uzbek fellowship in the city.
After believing in Jesus, she attended house church meetings and grew in faith. Last year Ona returned to her native country. Not too long ago, she wanted to be baptized but found it difficult because of the persecution. So she decided to take things into her own hands. She got up early one morning, put on a white shirt, went into the shower, and baptized herself.
Later that morning she called her friends at OM Russia to share about what she had done. They explained that usually pastors baptize people. Later that day she attended a secret Christian fellowship in a neighboring town and talked with the pastor. He agreed to baptize her that afternoon – this time in the bath.
Since Ona has been home, two relatives have also come to faith. Her mother, however, is strongly against it. Ona plans to ask a few of the senior women in the church to visit her mother. Please pray that her mother will have ears to hear.
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.