In This Issue: Overcoming fear to build relationships
- USA: Evangelicals and Muslims
- SOUTH SUDAN: 2,200 New Refugees
- UGANDA: Child Sacrifice
- LAOS: Officials Confiscate Church
- ISRAEL: Hate Crimes against Christians
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!
Mosque in Boston, MA. Source (Wikimedia Commons)
USA: Evangelicals and Muslims
Source: The Christian Post, March 12, 2012
How should evangelicals view Muslim growth in the U.S.? Is it the harbinger of more conflict in an increasingly polarized American experience, or is it the dawn of a new age of evangelism and witnessing for Jesus Christ?
[The Christian Post will publish] a multipart series titled “Evangelicals and Muslims: Oil and Water or Fertile Ministry?” The series intends to cover the major aspects of evangelical life with a growing Muslim community, including efforts by some of the larger churches in the U.S. to build bridges to the community, the fears that some Christians have with Muslim law and Islamic radicals, and the theological underpinnings of the biblical tension between the descendants of Isaac and Ishmael.
>> Readers might also be interested in the new website from COMMA (Coalition of Ministries to Muslims in [North] America), as well as a quiz from the Christian Science Monitor, Sunni and Shiite Islam: Do You Know the Difference?
SOUTH SUDAN: 2,200 New Refugees
Source: Mission Network News, March 7, 2012
As clashes have heated up over the border between South Sudan and its ex-wife Sudan, the number of refugees from the disputed region has increased daily.
Gill Reitsma with Africa Inland Mission confirms that the influx of refugees in recent days has been large. She says Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir has been increasing military forces to the area, going as far as bombing refugee-ridden regions.
“He has definitely stated that he wants to cleanse this area. So there’s been a huge buildup of military,” says Reitsma. “The Nuba people have largely fled. Half of them have either been killed or displaced, or have gone into a refugee camp over the border or in Bentiu.”
The Nuba make up the majority of those living in the disputed border area. For their sake, says Reitsma, “I’m just praying that the rains come early – they come in April – and that will stop any military offensive.”
>> Full story.
>> You may have heard about George Clooney’s recent trip to the Sudan and his arrest at the embassy in Washington. But have you heard about “The Man Who Stayed”? Watch this nine-minute video about a former Samaritan’s Purse worker. Better yet, follow him on Twitter!
UGANDA: Child Sacrifice
Source: Pat Noble
A BBC story picked up by our friends who compose OM’s NewsBytes reports that school children in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, are being closely guarded and their families and communities warned about the danger that they will be abducted by witch doctors for use in child sacrifices. Yikes! As the NewsByte states,
“‘Child sacrifice has risen because people have become lovers of money…’ explains Pastor Peter Sewakiryanga of Kyampisi Childcare Ministries Church. ‘They have a belief that when you sacrifice a child you get wealth, and there are people who are willing to buy these children for a price.’”
On a related note, Invisible Children’s Kony 2012 campaign sure has people talking. See On Kony and Viruses or “How Should We Respond to Bad Guys?” (Reaching Africa’s Unreached), Why Joseph Kony Is Trending (Christianity Today), and Blind to Reality: Invisible Children and the LRA (Carnegie Council).
I started to wonder about media and methods myself when the movie Machine Gun Preacher came out. What is going on? After reading up on this issue, be sure to also check out the new network Helping without Hurting (thanks Brigada for the heads-up!).
LAOS: Official Confiscate Church
Source: Christian Aid Mission, February 24, 2012
The following information from Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom (HRWLRF) was sent by a Christian Aid-assisted indigenous ministry impacted by current developments in Laos:
“On February 21-22, 2012, a group of 4-5 Saybuli district officials traveled to Kengweng village and conducted a seminar entitled ‘Tricks of the Enemy.’ Officials and villagers of Kengweng were asked to join the seminar. At the end of the seminar, on February 22 at around 4:00 p.m., district officials summarized the teaching sessions and ordered the confiscation of the Kengweng church building and prohibited Christians from using it, which went into effect immediately. The confiscation of Kengweng Church took place in less than two months after officials confiscated Nadaeng Church in the same district.”
>> Full story.
ISRAEL: Hate Crimes against Christians
Source: The Christian Post, March 19, 2012
The Roman Catholic Church has made a formal request for Israeli president Shimon Peres to get involved and help put a stop to the vandalism of Christian places of worship that has been taking place in Israel over the past several weeks.
Nearly a week ago, a Baptist church in the center of Jerusalem was vandalized. Israel Today reports that graffiti reading “Death to Christianity,” “Jesus was a son of a whore,” and “We will crucify you,” was spray-painted on the outside of the church. Cars parked nearby had their tires slashed. Also spray-painted on the church were the words “Price Tag,” which refers to a radical group that has been attacking churches and mosques in recent weeks. Similar graffiti was seen on the walls of a Greek Orthodox church within the city.
Price Tag is the name of a group of militant Jewish extremists who are mostly known for committing violence toward Israeli and Palestinian peace activists. The New York Times describes Price Tag as a group that wishes to “exact a price from local Palestinians or from the Israeli security forces for any action taken against their settlement enterprise.”
>> Full story.
>> Readers might also be interested in videos and reports from a conference held earlier this month entitled Christ at the Checkpoint: Hope in the Midst of Conflict (Bethlehem Bible College).
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.