Missions Catalyst 02.18.09 – World News Briefs

In This Issue: Middle East, Burma, Mozambique, and More

  • MIDDLE EAST – Mother’s Day Gift ‘God’s Beloved’
  • BURMA/MYANMAR – Clamping Down on Christians
  • MOZAMBIQUE – “Mad Man” Delivered and Healed
  • NORTH AFRICA – Imam and Family Receive Christ
  • NORTH KOREA – Project Deploys Defectors Back
  • EVENTS – Kyrgyz Network Meeting, Basic Networking Tips

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!

World News Briefs, edited by Pat Noble, are published twice a month.

MIDDLE EAST – Mother’s Day Gift ‘God’s Beloved’

Source: Shiite Bride of Christ, February 10, 2009

Zeina is a 24-year-old Shiite woman who follows Christ. She just got a new job working at a large print shop, and quickly received authority to serve as an assistant to the print shop’s Sunni Muslim owner.

Zeina is overseeing a Mother’s Day project to print a revised version of a little booklet called “God’s Beloved” [which] features stories of Jesus’ encounters with women from the New Testament.

In the past month since Zeina began her job at the print shop, openly working on the “God’s Beloved” booklet, some of her fellow employees, young Sunni Muslim guys, have been making fun of her and called her a “blasphemer” for working on projects that talk about Jesus.

In the meantime, another Shiite woman started bringing additional print jobs to Zeina’s new workplace, asking them to print notebooks with Bible verses on them to give to Muslim children. This influential Shiite lady wants 500 copies of the “God’s Beloved” booklets to distribute among Shiite women next month!*

With Zeina distributing 2000 copies, and other friends giving out thousands more, many Muslim women will discover that Jesus is truly the Mercy of God.

Full story here (you’ll have to scroll down).

* Editor’s note: Mother’s Day is celebrated in the Middle East on March 21.

BURMA/MYANMAR – Clamping Down on Christians

Source: Baptist Press, January 22, 2009

Orders issued on January 5 forced many Christians meeting in residential homes or apartments [“unsanctioned facilities”] to cease gathering for worship. The following week officials also ordered several major Rangoon (aka Yangon) churches to cease holding services.

The Kyauktada Township Peace and Development Council invited pastors from more than 100 Rangoon churches to a meeting. [There] they were told to sign documents pledging to cease operation of their churches. About 50 pastors attended. The documents threatened punishment for pastors who refused to obey the closure orders, including potential jail terms, and the sealing of church facilities.

The Democratic Voice of Burma claimed officials from the Ministry of Religious Affairs had summoned the owners of buildings where churches met and ordered them not to rent their properties to religious groups.

Some local Christians and international observers say the crackdown is related to Christian involvement in relief efforts for the victims of Cyclone Nargis, which hit Burma in May 2008.

Full story here.

(Editor’s Note: Far from the capital of Rangoon, the Chin people of the north, mostly Christian, are forced into slave labor by the military. Get the story from the Far Eastern Economic Review, Burma’s Forgotten Victims.)

MOZAMBIQUE – ‘Mad Man’ Delivered and Healed

Source: Iris Ministries, December, 2008

We thank you so much for your prayers for us in our little corner of Mozambique. God has given us two precious brothers, Victo and Anold, who have been evangelizing local villages with a great passion.

Victo and Anold found themselves ministering to a mad man and his family. The witch doctors had been called for to begin applying their traditional medicines. “But all this is not working!” the uncle explained to Victo and Anold, “My nephew just gets worse and worse.”

Victo began to share truth. “The evil spirits that are in the witchdoctor are friends of the witchdoctor, and they work together. Darkness will never flee from darkness! Light causes darkness to flee!”

When the family was met with the challenge of choosing to believe either in God’s power or the witchdoctor, they admitted they were too afraid to remove the traditional medicine that had been placed around the mad man’s neck.

“No! The madness that has come upon him could be transferred to us if we take off the necklace and burn it!”

Anold and Victo [offered], “If you would like it, we can take off the necklace ourselves and burn it.”

The family watched these men of God, Africans like them, walking in the authority of Jesus Christ, sure that the evil spirits had no power over them.

Full story here.

NORTH AFRICA – Imam and Family Receive Christ

Source: Arab Vision, January 2009

The [Arab Vision] follow-up phone team recently talked with an older man and his wife. They were both very excited and said they watch all the Christian satellite programs and believe everything they have heard.

At first they didn’t want to meet with anyone because the man said he was in a ‘sensitive’ position. The volunteer on the phone thought the old man might be a police officer or have another government job. Eventually the man confessed to being an imam, an Islamic religious leader. In fact, he had just returned home from leading the prayer at the mosque. Finally, after continued conversation, the couple asked for a visit.

He explained that all of his life he had taught in the mosque, but the truth of the gospel touched his heart and brought repentance, especially when he saw how different the Bible’s teachings were when it comes to the treatment and love a husband should have for his wife.

He and his wife accepted Christ, and three of their children are also now Christians. With tears in his eyes he testified to his faith in Christ and explaining that he had no fear of dying. He talked of how good God is that he would allow such an old man to see the light of Christ.

Full story here.

NORTH KOREA – Project Deploys Defectors Back

Source: The Christian Post, February 13, 2009

Underground University, a new project by Colorado-based ministry Seoul USA, will train and equip North Korean defectors with tools they need to return to their homeland for ministry.

“Many Americans have heard about the tens of thousands who are active in the underground North Korean Church, but an equally amazing trend is the growing number of North Korean exiles who are eager to return to China and North Korea to reach their countrymen,” said H.S. Foley, the CEO of Seoul USA.

“The fact that North Koreans are eager to risk their lives by returning to North Korea to spread the Christian message makes us want to equip them with the comprehensive training they’ll need to survive,” she added.

In North Korea, citizens are forced to adhere to a personality cult that revolves around worshipping the current dictator and his deceased father.

Estimates place the number of underground Christian believers in North Korea at around 400,000 to 500,000, but the figure could be higher, according to Open Doors sources in the country.

Full story here.

EVENTS – Kyrgyz Network Meeting, Basic Networking Tips

Source: Marti Smith, managing editor

Network Meeting:

An international partnership that supports Kingdom efforts among the Kyrgyz people of Central Asia will hold its annual conference on May 1-2 in the Mid-Atlantic region. For security reasons, first time-attendees will be asked to provide a church reference. Send an email.

See also our complete Missions Events Calendar.

Basic Networking Tips:

Some of the most interesting events of this type are not openly advertised. Attending such a gathering may help you discover great ministry opportunities and keep you from making costly mistakes. So how are you going to find these events? And if you are able to attend, how can you make the most of them?

1. Explore. If there’s a country or people group on your heart, ask the most knowledgeable people you know if there is a time and place when those who share your interest get together. Ask them how to get an invitation.

2. Prepare. Similarly, if you plan to attend a missions event and want to make the most of it, try to learn in advance who else may be attending. Consider contacting several of these folks before or at the beginning of the event to see if you can schedule some time together, perhaps for coffee or a meal. (Your treat, of course!)

3. Pay attention. Bring a notebook and be prepared to write down ideas and information you want to remember or pass along to others.

4. Be available. Rather than arriving late, leaving early, or trying to keep up with other responsibilities during the event, make the most of it by being available to pursue the divine opportunities God brings your way! And of course, pray and ask him to do just that.

(Previously published in our 4/23/08 edition)

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