CAMEROON: 5,000 Kapsiki Speakers Brave Danger to Welcome Bible

Source: United Bible Societies, July 11, 2016

Usually, large gatherings are banned in Cameroon’s Far North region, due to high security risks—Boko Haram has carried out a number of deadly attacks there. But on June 4, the iconic mountains near Mogodé—a town very close to the Nigerian border—witnessed an unprecedented crowd of 5,000 Kapsiki people celebrating the launch of the first Bible in their language.

Special authorization was granted to hold the gathering, and 250 soldiers were provided for protection by the general in charge of the region’s armed forces.

The day before the launch, the town organized a grand parade to welcome the new Bibles as special guests of honor as they arrived in the back of a military truck. In fact, the convoy carrying the new Bibles, Bible Society staff, and soldiers received a rapturous welcome in every Kapsiki village that it passed during its 120-kilometer journey from the Bible Society’s offices in Maroua to Mogodé.

As the truck pulled up outside the Catholic Church, a crowd of joyful Kapsiki Christians surrounded it. Their singing and dancing continued late into the night.

» See full story with pictures. Pray for the Kapsiki and their neighbors. (I was encouraged to read that one of the first things the Kapsiki did was take up a collection was taken to help other people in Cameroon who do not yet have the Bible in their language.)

IRAN: A Media Mogul Comes to Christ

Source: Iran Alive Ministries, July 1, 2016

The largest network of secular satellite channels in Iran is owned by a wealthy family that lives outside Iran. This network consists of over eighteen 24/7 channels that cover every interest from movies to sports and from channels dedicated to children to MTV-like music. Two years ago, we started praying for the salvation of this family. Last summer, Soleiman and his wife Sayeh, co-owners of this network, accepted Christ and contacted us. Sayeh explains:

“Having experienced the power of God’s transformation in our lives and being inspired by Pastor Hormoz [of Iran Alive Ministries], my husband and I decided to start a new Christian television station. We had the finances; we had the know-how.

“But as we prayed about starting this Christian TV station, God spoke to my heart: ‘Sayeh, do you want to glorify yourself or me? If you are looking to glorify me, you don’t need to start a new station. I already have one: Iran Alive (Network 7). I want you to work with my network.’”

» Read full story and pray for the continued transformation of Iranian leaders and others who hear the gospel.

» See also another story from this part of the world which describes the recent baptism and protection of 18 former Muslims (Bibles for Mideast, via GodReports).

Practical Mobilization


Three more

Triple Shot Summer Series

We know you’re busy, maybe traveling this summer, or maybe getting some good catch-up time with the kids. We are, too. But we don’t want to stop getting helpful stuff in your hands.

For the June, July, and August editions of Practical Mobilization, Shane’s going to share three quick ideas you’ll want to think about and then pass along to your friends and family. In this issue: Timely Travel Tips, Dopes Like Me, and the Value of a Second (or Third) Language.

Reading at (or on your way to) the Perspectives National Conference in Maryland? We’d love to meet you. The first five people who find Shane or Marti and mention seeing this edition can have a free book!

Timely Travel Tips, Dopes Like Me, and the Value of a Second (or Third) Language

By Shane Bennett

Eighty-two Steps and Other Travel Tips

It was eeeeiiiigghhty tttwwwoooooo steps from the street to the door of our flat in Catania, Sicily last month. That’s 82 steps hammering home a lesson: Bring less stuff! That pretty much sums up my go-to travel advice: Leave it at home. Granted, (A) I’m grateful I don’t have to travel with a CPAP machine, and (B) I don’t require all the accoutrements that some females do.

Honestly, though, I don’t remember the last time I thought, “Dang! I wish I had that thing I left at home.”

A full set of travel tips should go beyond “leave it,” though, so see my friend Carl’s Top 20 Medearis Family Travel Tips. While you’re there, snoop around the site; Carl has written some provocative and helpful words.

If you’re really into travel tips, check these (sometimes contradictory) lists as well: 61 Travel Tips to Make You the World’s Savviest Traveler (Nomadic Matt), a packing list for the traveling gal (A Beautiful Mess), and a list of really cool, I mean helpful, traveling gadgets (Rethink Modern).

What Dopes Like Me Can Do

It’s a perennial but pleasant surprise: God can and is apparently happy to use people like me. The most recent edition of the surprise came a couple of weeks ago and swirled around a series of Discovery Bible Studies I had with a young guy from Gambia in a piazza in Sicily. I’ve talked to around 6.3 gazillion Muslims in my day, but this may have been the first time we’d really dug into the Bible together. I walked away thinking, “It’s true what they say… pretty much anyone can do this.”

I often think my mobilization cachet is to leave people with this realization: “If he can do it, I probably can too!” I mean, really, I’m no Lottie Moon or Gladys Aylward. I couldn’t even carry lunch for the Dons (McGavran, McCurry, and Richardson, for those keeping score!). But sometimes God uses me. If you don’t want to hear this, run away now. Otherwise I’m looping you into the group of people that God can use. Yes, you!

Certainly many Missions Catalyst readers, humble though you are, know that God uses you. You don’t need me to remind you. Great. But most of the people we know? They don’t know it! A cursory look at the Bible, history, and our lives says it’s true, though. God delights in using the least likely characters. Yay for us, for God, and for the world who waits to know him.

Check out You’ve Got Libya for the story of one of my heroes who was surprised that God would use the likes of him.

Language Learning Is Worth It!

I say this more from observation than experience. Our first group in Catania, Sicily in June interacted almost exclusively in English. They spoke some other languages, but none that were in play locally. And they did amazing things with their English.

The second team, however had some ringers: a woman whose mother tongue was French, a young lady with good Arabic, even though it was Chadian, and a young man who could stumble along in both French and Arabic. The doors these guys opened! We were able to converse with Wolof women from Senegal, extend welcome to 14- and 15-year-old boys fresh off the boat from Egypt, and even score points with a friend who was an imam from Morocco and reluctant to use his English.

Are you working on a second or third language right now? Press on! It’s worth it. Are you considering downloading Duolingo and diving in? Yes! I’m behind you 100 percent. Are you in a position to encourage some young bucks to get another language? Grace to you as you do so. They’ll be annoyed now, but grateful as God opens cool, unexpected doors. (Are you a non-American who’s grown up speaking several languages? Good on you. Thanks for the grace. We’re working on it.)

» Please feel free to comment and share your ideas with us on Facebook, Twitter, or on our website.



Missions Catalyst News Briefs 7.6.16

  1. BRAZIL: Refugee Olympic Team, Symbol of Triumph and Belonging
  2. RUSSIA: Law Would Curtail Evangelism
  3. NEPAL: Influential Buddhist Monk Receives Jesus
  4. CAMBODIA: Journey of a New Testament Begins with Vietnam War Refugees

Pray for ISIS Prayercast Image

This Prayercast video asks, “Does God love even them?” Join us in praying for Islamic State and those they target or endanger.

Dear Readers,

May the recent suicide attacks in Orlando, Bangladesh, Baghdad, and Saudi Arabia serve as a call to press in on praying for our enemies and those they target. At least 250 people were killed in the July 3 attack on Baghdad; drone images capture the devastation (CNN). Pray also for those going to dangerous places to love and serve those in some of the places of greatest need. A team serving in Fallujah barely escaped harm when a coalition airstrike hit (Preemptive Love Coalition).

Prayercast reminds us, “Despite these gruesome realities, ‘Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but…against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms’ (Ephesians 6:12). This is a spiritual battle against our adversary, the devil, who ‘prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour’ (1 Peter 5:8).

“We hate the darkness and underlying evil, and we grieve the resulting bloodshed and pain. Yet Jesus still says, ‘love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you’ (Matthew 5:44). God’s love reaches not only those suffering under this oppression, but it reaches even into the ranks of Islamic State. Just as God transformed Saul into Paul through an encounter with Jesus, so can he transform today’s persecutors into tomorrow’s evangelists. And he is doing just that.”

Pray for the Islamic State using Prayercast’s short, powerful video (contains graphic images). See also In Harm’s Way: Reflections on Missionaries and Risk (Evangelical Missions Quarterly).


BRAZIL: Refugee Olympic Team a Symbol of Triumph and Belonging

Source: Mission Network News, July 4, 2016

We’re about a month away now from the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and ten refugee athletes will be participating in the newly formed Refugee Olympic Team.

The athletes will compete in swimming, track, and judo. Their countries of origin include Syria, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their team represents to refugees worldwide that although they don’t have a country, they still have a voice.

Open Doors USA’s Emily Fuentes says it also puts faces to the refugee crisis. “I think representation truly does matter in situations like this and brings attention to this unprecedented refugee crisis that we’re having in our world right now. It’s not just Syria, it’s not just Iraq, but it’s several other countries where there’s violence against people of different faiths, of different backgrounds.”

» Read full story and read the athletes’ biographies.

» See also Fran Pratt’s litany for refugees.

RUSSIA: Law Would Curtail Evangelism

Source: Mission Network News, June 30, 2016

“Preaching to the choir” is an idiom which means you are trying to make believers out of people who already believe, or convince people who are already convinced. When the Federation Council, the upper house of Russia’s parliament, approved a package of anti-terror bills this week, that is what could become the reality for gospel work in Russia.

Slavic Gospel Association’s Joel Griffith says, “From what we’re able to understand from all the sources, if the bill is signed and it stands as is without change, it looks like missionary activity would be off-limits to anybody but representatives of the registered organizations or groups, or individuals who have entered into formal agreements with such bodies.”

Plus, the new anti-terror legislation cracks down on anything that is interpreted as a violation of public security and order—extremist actions, coercion into ruining families, and encroachments on the freedom of the person and the rights and freedoms of citizens.

One way that could be read, explains Griffith, is “they’re saying every missionary has to carry documents with specific information proving their connection to a registered religious group, and it looks like they’re wanting to try to ban any missionary activity in residential areas except for certain things like prayer services or ceremonies.”

» Read full story.

» See additional coverage from Forum18 News Service, which specializes in coverage of religious freedom issues in Central Asia, the Caucasus, Russia, and Belarus.

NEPAL: Influential Buddhist Monk Receives Jesus

Source: GodReports, June 23, 2016

The Nepal earthquake in 2015 killed over 8,000 people and was the worst natural disaster to strike that country since 1934. Hundreds of thousands were left homeless—with entire villages flattened—which prompted many Christian organization to respond with humanitarian aid.A prominent Buddhist monk observed carefully as Christians helped rebuild his community last year after the massive temblor reduced his neighborhood to rubble.

“After watching us for seven days, he said, ‘I’m going to give my life to Jesus,’” a ministry director for Christian Aid Mission reported.

Before the earthquake, the Buddhist leader had never allowed homegrown missionaries to preach in his area. But he was disheartened when he observed that none of his monastery colleagues assisted with aid or rebuilding following the earthquake.

“Where are the 330 million gods of Hinduism? Where are the Buddhists?” the monk asked.

The monk placed his faith and trust in Jesus Christ, along with his family and many others, and became the leader of a church.

» Read full story and another from GodReports, High Priest of Santeria Caught a Vision of Hell, until Jesus Freed Him from the Curse.

CAMBODIA: Journey of a New Testament Begins with Vietnam War Refugees

Source: United Bible Societies, May 23, 2016

Tot Nhernh, 93, vividly remembers the panic he and his family felt as the bombs started falling on their village in northeast Cambodia. It was the 1970s and the Vietnam war was spilling into the region as members of the Viet Cong crossed the border to hide.

With their village totally destroyed and desperate to escape the continued US bombing in their region, Nhernh and his family, along with many others, crossed the border into Vietnam. Not only were they traumatized by the destruction they had witnessed, they were also deeply worried that in their haste to leave they hadn’t had time to make offerings to appease the spirits.

But then some Vietnamese people began to visit these desperate refugees. They offered them help and friendship, and also shared some good news: God loved them and had released them from all bondage through his son, Jesus. Nhernh recalls how he felt all his fear falling away, replaced by a peace and freedom he had never experienced. He was among several Bunong refugees to become Christians, learning much about their new faith during their time in exile.

When the war ended, he could not wait to return home and share the gospel. He and the other new Bunong Christians planted small churches in Bunong villages, and also evangelized other hill tribes, including the Krung and Tampuan.

This May, around 50 years after the first attempt to translate the Scriptures into Bunong was stopped by war, the Bunong people of Cambodia and Vietnam finally receive[d] the very first New Testament in their language.

» See full story (which has some great pictures) and read an encouraging report on the progress of scripture distribution around the world.