BURKINA FASO: Bible Teaching for the Mossi

Source: Global Recordings, November 2014

Frans Riphagen, of the ministry Guardian Angels in the Netherlands, writes:

“Sometimes you enter a village and think ‘How did I end up here?’ This happened during our missionary journey to Burkina Faso.

“Several times I had been invited by a local pastor from Soukola to visit his project. They had recently built a new school and he was very proud of it. Since the road did not go to his village and we needed to travel on sandy paths, I began to [wonder where it was].

“Eventually I saw a small village in the distance: Soukola, a village with about 300 inhabitants, a new school, and a well. I was given a tour around the village and wanted to speak to the children about life in the village.

“Regretfully, the children only spoke Moore, the tribal language of the Mossi. How to share the Bible and the gospel with these children?

“I was glad to know Gospel Recordings in the Netherlands. This organization has materials that give an explanation of the gospel and Bible stories in over 6000 different languages and dialects.

“At Opwekking (a yearly Christian event in the Netherlands), I had ordered a Saber (hand-cranked mp3 player) with booklets at their stand. I often take these materials along to Burkina Faso.

“Fortunately I had taken one with me with Moore on it! Coincidence? Once switched on, it played a song. All of the children recognized this and started to clap and sing along with it. Surprised they looked at the Saber and asked: ‘How can this speak Moore?’

“There were several booklets in the package, which explained the Bible by means of a series of simple pictures. I left these in the village. Now they use them for Bible lessons and even the Muslim children listened attentively!”

» Read full story.

» Also read Burkina Faso: A Sense of Hopefulness (Christian and Missionary Alliance). Please pray for Burkina Faso and its new interim president.

IRAQ: ISIS Crisis Creates Opportunity to Share Christ

Source: Christian Aid Mission, October 9, 2014

Working in northern Iraq’s Kurdish region day and night to help meet the needs of people displaced by the threats and violence of the Islamic State (ISIS) in Mosul and other areas, members of an Iraqi ministry team recently came into contact with a colonel from the Kurdish forces battling ISIS.

The colonel was serving as a division commander of the Peshmerga, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s armed forces, which have helped to slow the incursion of ISIS in its brutal push to establish a caliphate imposing a strict version of Sunni Islam. With the aid of U.S. airstrikes, the Peshmerga have also slowly retaken some territory. They are helping to secure the Kurdish capital of Erbil, where the ministry team assisted by Christian Aid Mission is supplying displaced people with food, clothing, beds, and medicine.

The colonel had a few questions for the team members: What was the reason for offering all this aid? What was the motivation, what was the source of it?

“We spoke with him explicitly, explaining everything to him, saying that Christ taught us to love and express our love to the people in a practical way,” said the team director, who informed the officer that all relief items had been donated or purchased locally.

The Peshmerga colonel, whose name is withheld for security reasons, was quick to respond.

“You see the Arabs around you in the Gulf states, which claim to be religious Muslims, have not sent us anything but terrorists,” he told the ministry team members. “But you who follow Christ send love and peace and goodness to people every day.”

Tent churches are springing up in the makeshift camps. Under normal circumstances, mission strategies focus on how to proclaim Christ effectively, but the challenge now is keeping pace with the number who would receive him, the director said.

» Read full story.

» Also read Pastor Rescued by Jihadist (Window International Network, via GodReports). For more about the camps, listen to Norm in Erbil (Compassion Radio) and read Refugee or IDP: Does It Really Matter?” (IRIN).

Practical Mobilization


In This Issue:

  • Driven from Home, but Loved by Jesus
  • Subversive Mom-bilization

About Us

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!

About Shane Bennett

Shane has been loving Muslims and connecting people who love Jesus with Muslims for more than 20 years. He speaks like he writes – in a practical, humorous, and easy-to-relate-to way –  about God’s passion to bring all peoples into his kingdom.

» Contact him to speak to your people.

Driven from Home, but Loved by Jesus

Reaching refugees with the abundant life of Christ

By Shane Bennett

It was still dark when our team leader rousted us out of bed and said it was time to go. I shrugged on some clothes and with the others slunk out into the early morning coolness of Irbid, Jordan. We were there for the summer (a summer long ago) in order to learn about the city’s cultures and wonder with God about his kingdom coming there. On this particular morning we were off to attend early prayers at a mosque in a Palestinian refugee camp.

We sat at the back of the room and watched as a few people arrived, prepared, and prayed together. When the pre-dawn faithful filed out, they greeted us warmly and one young man invited us to his house for breakfast.

Another brief walk in the dark took us to his small, concrete block home. He woke his sleepy wife and soon we were enjoying steaming tea and delicious watermelon. He shared stories of their lives in challenging times and situations and I was struck both by their suffering and by their hospitality in spite of it.

Something began to form in me that morning. As watermelon juice dripped down my hand, love from and for refugees began to flow in my soul.

Today more than 50 million people are displaced from their homes. If these refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced people had their own country, only two dozen of the world’s countries would have a larger population. This is hardship, pain, and desperation on a scale I cannot imagine. It is also opportunity for the gospel which we dare not overlook.

I want to care for refugees because the gospel, as embodied in Jesus, is for people in the most desperate of situations. Jesus not only taught us but showed us that he came for those with little or no hope, the homeless, the dispossessed, and the overlooked. Caring for refugees is the way of Jesus. I assume this is a reminder and not a new thought for you. But I know I often need reminding of who this Jesus is and what he is about.

I also want to care for the displaced because they often represent peoples I deeply long to see introduced to the good news of Jesus, like Syrians, Somalis, Afghans. These are some of the most under-served peoples on the planet. And their homelands are some of the most challenging places for potential ambassadors to visit or live. Yet we now find them in great numbers in places that are readily accessible: Jordan and Turkey, Athens and Berlin. Churches that could not imagine sending their people to Pakistan or Ethiopia might be open to them going to England or Belgium.

And finally, reaching out to refugees is an investment in long-term peace. It’s an example of Wendell Berry’s admonition to plant sequoias. Talking about how believers should respond to ISIS, a friend asked recently, “And are there logs in the eyes of those of us who claim the way of Jesus as the way for the whole world? If the church had done its job of sharing Jesus in the Arab world in years past, would we have this issue? If the boys who are now men in ISIS, ten years ago, had heard and received the good news of Jesus – would they be doing what they are now?

We can’t go back and be there ten years ago, but what about today? Where are the future fighters for ISIS (or whatever) right now? Some of them are languishing in the refugee camps of the world. We have some decisions to make. If Jesus’ pledge that he came so we might have life and have it abundantly is true at all, it’s true for the world’s refugee population. Is it possible that a huge outpouring of love in the name of Jesus might stem the tide of future violence?

(Watch an amazing TED talk from Melissa Fleming, head of communications for the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees, inviting us to care for refugees in ways that go beyond simply meeting the very basic needs of life).

So what can we do? As mobilizers, what can we invite our friends, our churches to do? Here are some of my ideas along with an invitation for yours.

1. Advocate

Learn a little then get the word out. Let people know the heart-wrenching need and the unprecedented opportunity for the work of Jesus. Write, speak, update your status, tweet, blog, make movies or more.

2. Invite

If you live among or near refugee populations, develop ways for churches to provide helpful services then invite them to come and serve refugees.

3. Pray and Give

We can support and pray for people, like my friend Wendy in the UK, who are reaching out to refugees (or, in Wendy’s words, “loving the overlooked”). We can get informed and pray for God’s kingdom to flourish among refugees. And of course, we can invite others into our prayers.


Join or form a team with a great mission agency like Frontiers to provide long-term presence among a stabilizing refugee population. Or come with me to reach out to the burgeoning mass of refugees in Catania, Italy, my new favorite city. I’m looking for dozens of individuals along with six to eight intrepid churches who will consider a 3-5-year commitment to bringing the abundant life of Jesus to refugees there from North and East Africa, the Middle East, and beyond.

What else can we do? I’d love to hear your thoughts, your ideas, and how Jesus is leading you to respond to the greatest number of displaced people that we’ve seen since World War II. This is the day. Let’s do something epic.

Feel free to forward to a friend you’d like to see caring for refugees.

Subversive Mom-bilization

“The hand that rocks the cradle, mobilizes the world” (or something like that). I’d like to learn and write about moms on mission, particularly who, how, and why (and when!?!?) moms mobilize. Do you know any stellar examples? Books I should read? Blogs to peruse? I’d love your input on this. Watch for the January edition of Practical Mobilization to help unleash moms on the world!

Missions Catalyst News Briefs

In This Issue: Responses to intolerance and persecution

  1. SUDAN: Air Force Bombs Church Complex in Nuba Mountains
  2. INDIA: Christian Man Forced to Separate from Hindu Wife
  3. NEPAL: Prime Minister Pledges Religious Freedom
  4. UZBEKISTAN: Christian Home Raided
  5. VIETNAM: Evangelist Seeks to Extend Gospel to Unreached Tribes

Dear readers,

This edition of Missions Catalyst falls between the two Sundays (November 2 and 9) designated as the International Day(s) of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. You can find all the resources you might need from Open Doors, Voice of the Martyrs and the World Evangelical Alliance. But I thought I’d also pass on some other types of religious intolerance stories.

Surely intolerance is not always persecution. But once we decide something is an act of persecution, how do we respond? Check out How to Read a Persecution News Story (Morning Star News) and Prayer: Taking Sides (Voice of the Martyrs).

Standing with you,


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.

SUDAN: Air Force Bombs Church Complex in Nuba Mountains

Source: Morning Star News, October 14, 2014

The Sudanese Air Force dropped four bombs on an Episcopal Church of Sudan (ECS) complex in the Nuba Mountains on Friday (October 10), church leaders said.

“The bombs have completely destroyed our church compound in Tabolo,” the Rev. Youhana Yaqoub of the ECS in Al Atmor, near the Tabolo area in South Kordofan state, told Morning Star News. “A family living at the church compound miraculously escaped the attack, although their whole house and property were destroyed.”

Kamal Adam and his family thanked God for their safety as they watched their house burn from the bombing, he said.

» Read full story, which also includes reports of other incidents. See also Nuba Reports, featuring news and videos from Sudan’s frontlines.

INDIA: Christian Man Forced to Separate from Hindu Wife

Source: World Watch Monitor, October 3, 2014

An Indian couple who married September 26 had their marriage annulled five days later by police under pressure from Hindu nationalists.

The couple, Joseph Pawar and Ayushi Wani, were arrested in Gujarat after complaints that Pawar, a Christian, had lured his Hindu bride into marriage.

The forced dissolution of the marriage quickly drew protests from India’s Christian groups, who have attempted to put pressure on Narendra Modi, the new prime minister of India, for what they say is his persistent silence in the face of increased violence towards Christians and other religious minorities.

In a report issued in New Delhi on September 27, a group of Indian religious leaders accused Modi of remaining mute during 600 incidents targeting religious minorities since his landslide election victory in May.

» Read full story.

» Also read Buddhist Nationalist Group in Burma Calls for Restrictions on Interfaith Marriage (The Washington Post). And in another story from South Asia, Pakistan Mob Kills Christian Couple over Alleged Blasphemy (BBC).

NEPAL: Prime Minister Pledges Religious Freedom

Source: Barnabas Aid, October 15, 2014

In a welcome move for Christians, the Prime Minister of Nepal has made a public commitment that religious freedom will be upheld in the country’s long-awaited constitution.

Prime Minister Sushil Koirala made the assurance on October 6 during an address to Muslims in the Hindu-majority country. During his speech, the Prime Minister praised the cordial relations that he said exist between Nepalis who follow different religions, cultures, and traditions, and said that Nepal is strengthened by this mutual tolerance.

The Prime Minister’s pledge may help to quell fears that religious repression in Nepal could intensify when the interim constitution becomes law. A proposed “anti-conversion” clause in the document, which has been under debate since 2008, currently states that “no person shall be entitled to convert another person from one religion to another.”

If the anti-conversion clause were to become law, this would undermine the Prime Minister’s promise to protect religious freedom. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which has been signed and ratified by Nepal, protects religious freedom and includes the right for every person to adopt a religion or belief of his choice.

» Read full story. Readers might also be interested in Elizabeth Kendal’s recent analysis of global trends that affect religious liberty and persecution (Critical Prayer Requests blog).

UZBEKISTAN: Christian Home Raided

Source: Worthy Christian News, October 15, 2014

A Christian in Uzbekistan has been fined and threatened with further punishment after religious literature was seized from his home during a raid by Uzbek police in August, according to Barnabas Aid.

Artur Alpayev was fined 50 times Uzbekistan’s minimum monthly wage for storing religious literature at his home in Navoi. During sentencing, Judge Oltinbek Mansurov said, “We will continue fining you unless you stop storing religious literature in your home.”

The judge said that the literature should have been stored in a building belonging to a registered religious organization, but Alpayev is a member of a Christian denomination that refuses on principle to seek state registration.

» Read full story. For regular news and analysis of religious liberty issues in Central Asia, see Forum18 News Service.