In This Issue: Business in Ukraine, growth in Hindu heartland, and more
- UKRAINE: Biodiesel Business Fuels Relief and Workplace Discipleship Efforts
- INDIA: Amazing Growth in Hindu Heartland
- THAILAND: Ninety-one Years Young
- PAKISTAN: Bible Museum Opens
- SOMALIA: Christian Teacher, Businessman, Medical Consultant, and Father Receives Crown
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UKRAINE: Biodiesel Business Fuels Relief and Workplace Discipleship Efforts
Source: OM News, February 26, 2013
What do you do when you pastor a church in a town with close to 100 percent unemployment?
Wayne Zschech, the Business4transformation representative with OM Ukraine, knew he had to address the practical needs of his church to make spiritual headway among the lost.
“[We had] a vision for community transformation through Christian enterprise and workplace discipleship,” he said.
In 2003, the first steps were taken for creating business opportunities in his regional town of Kaharlyk, Ukraine, 80 kilometers south of Kiev. They began experimenting with producing biogas and biodiesel, as well as growing mushrooms as a cash crop.
Biogas is a combustible gas resulting from the breakdown of organic materials, while biodiesel is a liquid fuel made from waste vegetable/fryer oil.
“We were swamped by hundreds of locals asking for employment,” Wayne said. “The Christians were active and they had some answers.”
INDIA: Amazing Growth in Hindu Heartland
Source: Missions Network News, February 12, 2013
There’s a change in the most unreached region of India. President of Global Advance Jonathan Shibley says, “God’s Spirit is really on the move in this region and has brought together pastors and church planters, apostolic leaders [who] have a vision of bringing the gospel to literally tens of thousands of unreached villages.”
The northern state of Uttar Pradesh (UP) is one of the most unreached areas in India. Of the state’s 180 million people, less than two percent are followers of Christ. [The state] is part of what some missionaries call the “Hindu Heartland.”
In a region of UP near the Ganges River, Global Advance helps indigenous leaders grow deeper in their faith. They come alongside local church leaders with training and discipleship tools, but they credit the leaders’ passion for gospel growth in the community.
“Over 350,000 new believers, 97,000 new people baptized and 13,500 house churches planted in the last four years alone,” says Shibley. “It’s really one of the most amazing things I’ve seen in my 15 years of missions.”
» Full story.
THAILAND: Ninety-one Years Young
Source: International Mission Board, February 11, 2013
Four nights a week, Lorena leaves the tiny, dorm-style room she calls home and heads to her classroom at the Baptist student center. Most teachers at the school are volunteers, like Lorena, but there’s one major difference – Lorena is 91.
She laughs off looks of surprise when people hear her age. “I’m having fun!” she says. “Why not?”
For the past ten years, Lorena has been living in Thailand, where she served first as an appointed master’s missionary with IMB and now remains as a volunteer. She has taught close to 3,000 students at the center – mostly professional Thais who come to learn English.
She’s made the choice to live on the other side of the world from her only son and grandchildren – to serve, to teach, to disciple.
“God sent me here. This is where I belong right now,” she says. “When he wants me to go back home, I’ll go. When he’s through with me in Thailand, he’ll let me know.”
» Full story with picture.
PAKISTAN: Bible Museum Opens
Source: United Bible Societies, March 1, 2013
Church leaders, leaders of other faiths, and museum and archaeology professionals gathered last month to witness the opening of the country’s first Bible museum on the premises of the Pakistan Bible Society in Lahore.
“This museum has been our dream for many years so we are delighted to see it come true,” said Bible Society General Secretary Anthony Lamuel. “We have collected archeological replicas and reproductions of biblical manuscripts from all over the world, including from the British Museum.
“We also have certified copies of a facsimile of the Mirat-ul-Qudas – a Persian summary of the life of Christ, which was presented to the Mughal King Akbar by the Jesuits in the sixteenth century. We are so grateful for everyone who made this museum possible.”
A Muslim scholar who attended the opening said that the museum offered a fascinating insight into the Bible’s history and archeology and said that he would be bringing his students for a visit.
SOMALIA: Christian Teacher, Businessman, Medical Consultant, and Father Receives Crown
Source: ASSIST News, March 1, 2013
According to a story by Morning Star News, two masked men killed Ahmed Ali Jimale, a 42-year-old father of four, on February 18 as he stood outside his house in Alanley village, near a police station.
A businessman, teacher, and medical consultant well-known in the area, Jimale ran a pharmacy in Kismayo. Sources said he would give private lessons in medicine and first aid, and as an underground Christian – as are all Christians in Somalia – he highlighted the teaching with discussions comparing the Bible and the Koran.
The students would share these lessons with other children, and this teaching, along with his close work with a non-governmental organization (NGO) that provides aid, appeared to have caught the attention of the Al Shabaab extremists.
The Islamic extremists suspected he was a Christian – and guilty of “apostasy,” or leaving Islam, on the common assumption that all Somalis are born Muslim. Toward the end of 2012, Jimale began receiving threatening messages.
“We have been monitoring your activities,” read one. “You have to stop introducing the children to foreign Christian religion as well as your close working relation with a foreign organization, otherwise we shall come for your head.”
“Jimale was a good man who helped our community,” a friend of the slain Christian told Morning Star News. “His widow is very scared and afraid, not knowing what will happen.”
Jimale’s children, two daughters and two sons, are ages ten, eight, six, and four.
» See also: Couple Kicked Out of Lao Village for Accepting Christ (Barnabas Aid). Consider participating in 14 Days of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (Bible League International).
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.