JORDAN: Most Hospitable Nation

Source: Cry Out, March 2016

On February 2, King Abdullah of Jordan appealed for greater international assistance to enable his country to continue to sustain the numerous refugee communities across Jordan. The major communities are Iraqis and Syrians and they are equivalent to 20 percent of the population. The effects on housing, schooling, medical facilities, and the jobs market are becoming acute. Some live in camps, the largest of which, Zaatari, has become the fourth largest city/town in Jordan. Most, though, live dispersed throughout the country.

Less well known is that the country hosts groups of displaced persons from an estimated 40 other countries. These groups, and those endeavoring to support them, point out that few resources are being provided for them; Iraqis and Syrians get all the attention.

Let us pray that:

  • Jordan will remain a stable and peaceful country despite the conflicts affecting many of its neighbors.
  • Christians active in meeting humanitarian needs will know the Father’s provision, the Spirit’s enabling and radiate the Son’s love and life.
  • The bereaved, wounded, and traumatized will know the healing of Jesus and find new hope.
  • The economy will be expanded and infrastructure developed to provide jobs, housing, schools, etc. for the benefit of all those resident in Jordan.

» Read full story.

ERITREA: World’s Harshest Conditions

Source: Jubilee Campaign, February 29, 2016

The small East African countries of Eritrea and Somalia have produced thousands upon thousands of refugees who have fled to other African countries and Europe. Reports have estimated that nearly 5,000 people flee Eritrea each month.

The Committee to Protect Journalists stated Eritrea is “the most censored country in the world.” Only 1 percent of Eritreans can access the Internet. What’s more, as the Eritrean government is so strongly guarded against its citizens, any public gathering of seven or more requires a permit from the government.

Thousands of mostly Evangelical Christians are thought to be detained indefinitely, some of which are held in metal shipping containers. Although some were initially released after pledging to renounce their faith, none have been formally charged or tried and all are held until they provide similar denials of faith. During the past 15 years, these deplorable detention conditions have been inflicted upon tens of thousands of Evangelical Christians caught during Bible studies in private homes or otherwise seeking to practice their faith outside of the registered denominations.

» Read full story and see a website launched by the UNHCR, Telling The Real Story, which features first-hand accounts, audio messages, poetry, photos, and videos from Eritreans and Somalis who crossed the Mediterranean seeking a new life in Europe.

» In a recent story from a neighboring country, read (and pray about) Ethiopia Attack: 200 People Dead, 100 Children Missing (Al Jazeera).

BURMA: Rescuing Hunted Children

Source: Vision Beyond Borders, March 19, 2016

Burma/Myanmar has enslaved more child soldiers than any country in the world. In one area of heavy recruitment, our contact shared that “children as young as 10 years old are taken by the army, the boys to be soldiers and the girls to be in supportive military roles. Many children run away to the Buddhist monasteries because the soldiers do not bother the monasteries. But if a child who ran to the monastery goes home to visit his parents and the soldiers find out, they will come right away to kidnap that child.” One brave couple has taken up arms to rescue these vulnerable targets.

“Joseph” did not begin with this ministry in mind. One day, as he was traveling to share the Gospel in a predominantly Buddhist area, a Buddhist couple asked him to take care of their two boys. They were terrified that their children would be taken by the militia. Joseph could barely take care of his own family, so he told them he could not care for two more children. Two months later, the boys ran to a monastery to hide. Joseph and his wife felt terrible, thinking they had wasted a chance to bring these boys to Christ; they inquired of the Lord if it was his will for them to take some of these children in, and felt his confirming “Yes.”

» Read full story to learn about the 30 children Joseph’s family cares for.

» Also read 2016 Brings Change to Myanmar (Open Doors).

MALAYSIA: Court Upholds Right to Convert From Islam

Source: World Watch Monitor, March 29, 2016

In a landmark ruling, a Malaysian court upheld the rights of a Christian to convert from Islam. The judgment establishes a precedent in a country where religious conversions, particularly from Islam to Christianity, have been steeped in controversy.

The verdict reaffirms the supremacy of the Federal Constitution, which under Article 11 defends every Malaysian citizen’s right to freedom of religion.

For Rooney Rebit, the plaintiff, the decision could not have come at a more opportune time than in Holy Week: he was asking judicial authorities to declare that his belief in Jesus Christ was a fundamental human right.

The High Court in Kuching, Sarawak state, duly agreed. The judge, Yew Ken Jie, said: “He is free to exercise his right of freedom to religion, and he chose Christianity.”

Rebit was born into a Christian family in 1975, but his parents converted to Islam when he was eight years old. His Muslim name was Azmi Mohamad Azam Shah.

In 1999, Rebit embraced Christianity and was baptized.

In her decision, Judge Yew ruled that Rebit could not be considered to have officially professed Islam, because it was not his choice to embrace the religion. But when he became a Christian at the age of 24, he was mature enough to make a conscious decision.

» Read full story.

Practical Mobilization: Orphaned No More



The kingdom of God is like yeast…

Orphaned No More: Dreaming and Working for the Now and Not Yet Kingdom of God

By Shane Bennett

“It’s Sunday evening here in China and just two hours away from my hotel room, my son is getting ready to fall asleep for his last time in an orphanage. Tomorrow he’ll be an orphan no more.”

~ Written by a dear friend, April 10th, 2016

I’ve been wondering lately what the kingdom of God looks like and what the path is from here to there. It may be a little boy in China who didn’t fit and was cut free from all ties until someone found him and helped him find a place where he fits. After all, Paul said in Ephesians 1:5, “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.”

Seriously? Great pleasure? That’s almost too good to be true. And maybe that’s one way to think of the kingdom of God. It’s his good pleasure worked out in real life on the earth.

Consider the Kingdom

If you grew up in church, as I did, the term “kingdom of God” has been in your psyche since you were young. It’s part of the insider vernacular, along with phrases like “bless her heart,” “love the sinner, hate the sin,” “glory” and “partake” (honestly, does anyone “partake” anything besides communion?) You know there’s something there, but the shorthand has become so common, the meaning is seldom considered.

Jesus said some confusing, amazing, earthy things about the kingdom of God. For starters: It’s at hand. Thoughtful Jews listening to him said, “What?!? We didn’t hear any explosions and the bad guys aren’t all dead. Are you sure you know what you mean when you say ‘kingdom of God’?” If they were surprised, I’d be arrogant to assume I won’t be surprised. But you and do I have the benefit of much time to consider the “kingdom of God is like” parables of Jesus.

A couple of them really connect for me these days.

Yeast and Dough

The kingdom of God is “like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.” For me this speaks of the unabating nature of the kingdom. It will permeate all. It will accomplish God’s purposes. It’s relentless.

Wheat and Weeds

With that hope in mind, I also appreciate the one about the wheat and the weeds. Look around or just half-way pay attention and you can see there’s a lot of nastiness at work in the world: evil, brokenness, oppression, injustice, sickness, longing, and despair. Yet somehow the farmer has it in hand. He’s not surprised, nor is he absent. His eye is keenly on the harvest. I don’t get it, but then that has never been the arbiter of reality. The farmer says, “I’ve got this.” I’m filled with (sometimes cautious) hope.

Living in the Middle

George Ladd helped us understand what Jesus taught, that the kingdom of God is both now and not yet. It’s here and it’s on the way. We live in the middle, with the heaviest of lifting having already been done, but much work to do and many dreams to dream before the day ends (or dawns).

C.S. Lewis also gives us some potent kingdom metaphors in several of his books: the melting snows in springtime Narnia, the “more real than real” diamond-hard grass in The Great Divorce, or one that almost always makes me cry when Aslan tells the children in the beginning of the last chapter of The Last Battle, “The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.”

Dream with Me

Dream with me for a minute: What will we see when God has finally answered with a resounding “YES!” the prayer Jesus taught us to pray in Matthew 6:10, “Let your kingdom come, let your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven?”

What do you imagine the fullness of the kingdom of God on the earth looks like on that day? What does your neighborhood look like? Your house, your small group, your kids, your heart? Dream out beyond your situation. What does the world look like?

What comes to mind for you?

I imagine beauty and peace and justice. I dream about light and hope and cooperative productivity. But I confess, my dreams are vague and my imagination is anemic. And my participation in the kingdom’s advent is too often rather lame.

Just last week, I was working on a job for my wife’s business, cleaning out trash from an abandoned house. A little old lady came tottering down the alley, talking to no one we could see. She carried a bed spread still in original packaging and a small stuffed dog. She asked if she could poke through the trash we were loading onto the trailer. I didn’t know what to do for her and I didn’t care enough to try. Who knows how God may have wanted his kingdom to come that day. I’m pretty sure, though, in the kingdom that’s coming, she will not have been abandoned by her family, her husband will be true, and she won’t have to nick clothes from trash piles.

Serving in the Kingdom

Will you join me in the hard work of dreaming, announcing, and crafting the coming kingdom? It’s here now. As I write these words, I sense deeply that I am a forgiven child of the Most High God and that the words of Jesus I’ve been taught are words of life. We have hope; death is not the end. But the kingdom of God is also still on the way. We dream of an end to malaria, then work late nights in the lab searching for it. It’s on the way when we tell someone who’s never heard that we’ve found hope in Jesus. It’s on the way when we’re kind in word and deed to people like those Jesus was kind to. It’s on its way when we accurately identify our enemy and wield the power and authority of God to push back evil.

It’s an honor to be a kingdom apprentice with you, serving alongside intrepid sisters and brothers under the powerful leadership of a wise and good and relentless king.

If you’re willing, I’d love to hear your hopes and read about what images come to mind for you when you consider the fullness of God’s kingdom on earth.

» Comment on our website or Facebook page.

World News Briefs


  1. ZAMBIA: Overcoming Spiritual Foes on the Lake
  2. THAILAND: Church Helps Pakistani Refugees
  3. IRAN: World’s Fastest Growing Evangelical Population
  4. INDIA: Defeating Dark Powers in the Jungle
  5. PAKISTAN: Believer in Pakistan Exchanges Hate for Love

OM Picture

Charles Chansa shares the gospel with two woman in a village on Lake Tanganyika. Photo: OM International (related story below).


In our last edition of Missions Catalyst News Briefs, we pointed you to a project in the Congo that brought back some dignity and hope by taking family portraits. This time I want to introduce you to the work of photographer Dario Mitidieri who visited a refugee camp in Lebanon, taking portraits of Syrian families with space in each photo for loved ones missing or killed in the five-year conflict. These photos and stories are haunting and heart-wrenching. Does heaven has similar images of the Bride of Christ, with empty spaces for the tribes and tongues yet to join the chorus? Let us finish the task and complete the picture that John saw!

You might be interested in this glimpse into the early Church: The Very First Christian Hymnal includes the words that the Church will sing as recorded by John in the scene mentioned above as well as other words the very young Church sang, now set again to music. The Church’s words, at the beginning and at the end, are and will be “Worthy, worthy, worthy is the Lamb!”

Let us sing,

ZAMBIA: Overcoming Spiritual Foes on the Lake

Source: OM International, March 31, 2016

The Nsumbu village sits near the Democratic Republic of Congo border, northwest of OM Lake Tanganyika’s base in Mpulungu. There, [OM worker Charles Chansa] and his team have led several locals to Christ, only to see them return to old practices and “traditional medicine”—meaning witchcraft—revealing what Charles calls “their true Christianity.”

It’s not an impossible problem, as God’s grace demonstrates, but it does require a concentrated effort from Charles and his team to reach locals as they fight on a spiritual level.

Some time ago, Charles remembered, there were three women in the village who were pregnant at various times. All three suffered greatly from the hot weather. They told Charles later that they almost died from the pain they experienced. All three babies were stillborn.

Recently, the women became pregnant again, and when the pain returned, they visited the village’s traditional doctors, received medicine, and were assured that their babies were fine. But when the pain didn’t stop, they looked to Charles and the OM team for help.

“We sat down with them and explained that we don’t give out medicine, but we know that, by calling on the name of Jesus, if spiritual forces have been causing their pain before, that their pregnancies would not end as they had before,” Charles said. “I read them the Bible, I led them to Christ, and we prayed with them that they would have faith that Jesus was [with] them.”

Just two days later, Charles received word that one of the women had given birth to a living, healthy child.

» Read full story. See also Miraculous Healing in Mozambique.

THAILAND: Church Helps Pakistani Refugees

Source: Worthy News, March 13, 2016

Pakistanis fleeing their country’s notorious blasphemy laws have been heading to Thailand for sanctuary.

“And for more than a decade, our parish has helped these refugees,” said Rev. Domenico Rodighiero, the pastor of St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Saphanmai, Bangkok. The refugees are mostly Protestants and Catholics, but there are also many Ahmadi Muslims fleeing from persecution in Pakistan.

According to Asia News, most refugees from Pakistan flee first to Thailand, hoping to later resettle in other Southeast Asian countries. But this can prove to be problematic since Thailand does not recognize that refugees have rights.

“The Thai Church is generous and helps refugees find work,” said Rodighiero. “Sometimes we help them go home, or in special situations, like when they get sick. But it is not easy because there are so many and the needs are huge. The Church here is small and does not have a lot of resources. It is struggling to deal with such a big emergency.”

» Read full story and see also Thailand’s Asylum Crackdown, a 23-minute video by a BBC undercover reporter. Use the password “Pakistan.”

IRAN: World’s Fastest Growing Evangelical Population

Source: GodReports, March 18, 2016

Iran is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for followers of Jesus Christ. Almost all of the above-ground, Farsi-speaking churches have been closed and house churches are raided routinely, with their leaders and members arrested, according to a report by SAT-7.

Evangelism by Christians is against the law and may even be punished by death. But despite Iran’s leaders’ strenuous efforts to bring the furies of hell against believers, God is at work and the church in Iran is growing rapidly!

Iran has the fastest-growing evangelical population in the world, according to statistics compiled by Operation World. Iran’s hardline approach and violence perpetrated in the name of Islam throughout the Middle East has caused disillusionment and a search for truth elsewhere.

» Read full story.

» See also Celebrating New Life in Christ during Persian New Year (SAT-7) and How Fast Are Iranians Coming to Christ? (Justin Long).

INDIA: Defeating Dark Powers in the Jungle

Source: Christian Aid, March 17, 2016

In one of India’s most remote jungle areas, among one of its most primitive tribes, a most unlikely candidate to be a missionary wandered aimlessly among the wildlife as mental illness deprived him of his right mind for weeks at a time.

“Pratik” would intermittently come back to his senses and return to his wife at their village home in an undisclosed area of Chhattisgarh, one of India’s poorest and most illiterate states. For six years he bounced between lucidity and insanity, caroming between home and jungle thick with flora and predators. His wife feared for his life.

This cycle might have continued indefinitely if someone from an opposite background—a well-educated man from a Christian home in a more modern part of India—had not hit upon a compelling missionary model. In 2002, after working as a near-culture missionary planting churches in central and north India for nearly 20 years, “Siddharth Subramani” was concerned about the thousands of people groups in India yet to hear the message of salvation in Christ.

In prayer, he received the idea of concentrating efforts on the more responsive people groups, who in turn would set off movements to embrace Christ among other peoples—a “chain reaction” strategy.

He began with the Gonds of central India, idol- and nature-worshiping animists who suffer daily from hunger and other conditions of poverty. With the power of the gospel and the Holy Spirit, Subramani and his team of indigenous missionaries gradually saw Gond villagers’ addiction to alcohol turn into zeal for the Lord.

Hut-to-hut evangelism, praying for the sick, evening meetings, and proclaiming Christ through music—a powerful communication tool in India—gradually produced worshiping congregations. Literacy programs and Christian schools addressed a major impediment to the advance of Gonds, many of whom had only a third-grade education. New believers were then trained to minister to other near-culture groups.

» Read what happened next.

» You might also be interested in another story from India, Amira Meets Jesus on Her Cell Phone (Mobile Ministry Forum).