WALES: A House of Prayer for All Nations

Source: Joel News International, June 2016

Tucked away in the hills of Pembrokeshire in southwest Wales is a house of prayer and retreat center called Ffald-y-Brenin (Welsh for “The King’s Sheepfold”). Gracefully led by Roy and Daphne Godwin, the center has become the hub of a unique work of God’s Spirit. Their remarkable story is described in the book The Grace Outpouring.

When God called Roy and Daphne to Ffald-y-Brenin, they came in utter helplessness and dependence, not knowing where to start and how to pray. “I cried out to God: “Why did you bring us here? We don’t know what to do with this place.’” Roy recalls. “The first thing he then said to us was: ‘It’s exactly because you don’t know what you’re doing, and you know that you don’t know, that I want you here. I want you to develop this as a house of prayer for all nations.’”

From that moment on, God led the Godwins step by step to develop Ffald-y-Brenin into a place where he could dwell, and it is God’s presence that draws people to the center on a daily basis.

» Full story available from Joel News International. You can also watch an inspiring 12-minute video about this ministry (YouTube/David C. Cook). Cook will be publishing The Way of Blessing, another book about this ministry, in August.

UNDISCLOSED COUNTRY: God Raised an Island from the Sea

Source: Global Opportunities, May 2016

A man named Lucas had a vision of bringing employment and the gospel to a very closed country [and presented to the government his plan to build a medium-sized hotel]. Much to the regret of everyone involved, no suitable land was found. When he returned to this country some months later and met with the local government again, he was given great news:

“While you were away, the harbor was dredged to make room for larger ships, and the dredged sand has formed an island where you can build your hotel!”

The project moved ahead immediately but not without challenges.

This region happens to be a recruiting ground for a terrorist group, and many of the young local men had already headed off to the warzone. By hiring young men to work on his project, Lucas began indirectly reducing the number of potential recruits; he was offering these men a reason to live whereas the recruiters were only offering them a reason to die. As time went on, Lucas and the local religious leader became close friends, meeting regularly for coffee.

Lucas and his team soon noticed the environmental damage being done by the burning of garbage, and they took it upon themselves to launch recycling and waste management programs.

Today, some one dozen locals hold well-paying jobs, and many more will be hired once the hotel is completed. Their culture is being changed as the workers display a new work ethic; parents are happy that their sons are not going off to die but rather are quitting their drug habits and making something of their lives.

» Read full story.

Resource Reviews

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Watch an inspiring video, Restoring Dignity through Business: Dignity Coconuts’ Story. For more videos, resources, and case studies, see Business as Mission.

In This Issue:

  • EVENT: Business as Mission Conference
  • CURRICULUM: Sunday School with Kate and Mack
  • BOOK: Of Strangers and Enemies—A Pathway to Peace for Jews, Christians, and Muslims
  • EVENTS: Upcoming Conferences, Training, and More

Greetings!

This edition of Resource Reviews highlights a number of events coming up in the fall related to BAM, the movement to integrate business and ministry. You’ll find two free webinars on the topic on the events calendar as well.

It’s also worth mentioning a new book about ministry and work. It’s called Scatter: Go Therefore and Take Your Job With You, by Andrew Scott, President and CEO of OM USA. I haven’t read it yet, but am seeing others recommend it and would love to hear what you think about its strengths and weaknesses, uses and limits. Thanks! See also A Better Way: Make Disciples Wherever Life Happens by Dale Losch of Crossworld. Ari Rocklin of Global Opportunities says of Losch’s book, “If there was a required reading book for all tentmakers, this would be it.”

Whether you serve in the marketplace, the ministry, or the mission field—or find such distinctions distracting—may the Lord bless you and make you a blessing wherever he may send you.

Marti Wade
Managing Editor

EVENT: Business as Mission Conference

Source: BAM Training

The BAM (Business as Mission) Conference is a three-day event designed to give you a taste of what is happening around the world in business as mission. Key leaders, practitioners, and academics will come from around the world to share their insights into how God is using business to advance his Kingdom. See how the movement is gaining momentum as God inspires each of us to use the work and talents he has given us to spread the gospel to all peoples. This is the fifth conference held in the USA by BAM Training, which has served the BAM movement for 14 years and founded businessasmission.com and BAM Global.

When: September 16-18, 2016
Where: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Who should go: Anyone interested in BAM (reduced rates for students!)

» Learn more. For resources and case studies, see Business as Mission. A good place to start? The Ten Characteristics of a BAMer (infographic).

» Other upcoming events in the US for people interested in business ministries include an Entrepreneurial Readiness Workshop from the Navigators’ Global Enterprise Network (September 30 to October 1 in Colorado Springs, CO), the annual Open B4T Expo (October 13-15 in Chicago, IL), and Global Opportunities’ GO Equippped! tentmaking course (October 26-30 in Fort Myers, FL).

CURRICULUM: Sunday School with Kate and Mack

Source: Wycliffe Bible Translators USA

Want to teach kids about missions in your Sunday school class?

Sunday School with Kate & Mack is a free, five-week lesson plan that travels around the world with Kate—a Wycliffe missionary kid—and her best friend, Mack. Beginning with the concept that the Bible is an adventure book, these lessons take your kids to a different country and language group each Sunday. They’ll learn about God’s amazing love for each one of us and how he wants everyone to hear about that love through the Bible in their own language.

» Download the first lesson and sign up to receive the complete series.

» Looking for things to keep your kids busy this weekend or this summer? Check out lots of free, downloadable resources from Wycliffe to teach kids about countries, languages, cultures, and more, including Summer Around the World with Kate and Mack.

BOOK: Of Strangers & Enemies: A Pathway to Peace for Jews, Christians, and Muslims

Source: Frienemies Books

Of Strangers & Enemies: A Pathway to Peace for Jews, Christians, and Muslims, by J. Robert Eagan. Frienemies Books, 2016. 206 pages.

Of Strangers & Enemies explores what we can do in our daily lives to break down the divisions between Jews, Christians, and Muslims. History and Scripture, personal stories, and conversations illustrate what it is that creates these divisions, how to identify them within ourselves, and how to overcome them.

Much of this thoughtful book is composed of a survey of what the texts and traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam each have to say about their followers’ interactions with neighbors, strangers, and enemies. The author calls us to imagine what it would look like if we all lived according to the best our religions have to offer.

Writing to Christians, Eagan proposes we pursue peace through “dialogical friendships”: not merely tolerating differences as if they do not matter but engaging one another in relationship that seek understanding and peace in our multi-faith world. The author shares his own journey and present struggles as well as making helpful suggestions for ways to connect across religious lines.

This book is self-published and has some ambitious goals; the results are a bit uneven. And some might find find its call to peace rather than evangelism a kind of falling short. If, however, you are up for reconsidering your own response to Muslim neighbors (or interested in strategies to see Muslims as neighbors instead of strangers or enemies), this book might be a great choice for you. A good read for Ramadan, which is just around the corner.

» Learn more or purchase from Amazon for US$8.99 (Kindle) or US$12.99 (paperback). See also the author’s website and check out his blog and podcast. Among other things, Eagan is cofounder of SE7EN FAST, a national event designed to get non-Muslims and Muslims in the same room to break bread together in the name of peace. See, for example, a recent article on how to host an interfaith iftar (fast-breaking) party (partnering with a ministry called Shoulder to Shoulder).

EVENTS: Conference, Training, and More

Source: Missions Catalyst Events Calendar

June 1-3, Crisis Management Seminar (Columbus, OH, USA). Provided by Crisis Consulting International.

June 3-4, The Justice Conference (Chicago, IL, USA). Annual event to promote dialogue around justice related issues such as human trafficking, slavery, poverty, HIV/AIDS, and human rights.

June 6-17, ACQUIRE (Joplin, MO, USA). Language and culture acquisition training for cross-cultural workers provided by TRAIN International.

June 6 to July 5, 30 Days Muslim Prayer Focus (global).

June 6-11, Sketchboard Evangelism Training (Boston, MA, USA) Provided by Open Air Campaigners.

June 6 to August 14, Perspectives on the World Christian Movement Course (online). Provided by the Perspectives Study Program.

June 7-11, Sahara Challenge (St. Paul, MN, USA). Intensive training for ministry to Muslims, from Crescent Project.

June 7-28, Mobile Ministry Course (online). Provided by the Mobile Ministry Forum several times a year.

June 13-18, Sketchboard Evangelism Training (Baltimore, MD, USA) Provided by Open Air Campaigners.

June 14, How Should Followers of Christ Respond to Radical Islam? (online). Free, web-based, interactive conversation from The Mission Table.

June 15, Business As Mission (online). Free webinar from Sixteen:Fifteen.

June 19, World Refugee Sunday (international). Churches praying for refugees and displaced people. Some also observing this event June 26.

June 20 to September 11, Encountering the World of Islam (online). Course on embracing Muslims with the love of Christ.

June 22 to July 2, Breathe Conference (Wilderswil, Switzerland). Ten-day retreat for renewal and encouragement for cross-cultural workers.

June 23-24, Legacy Conference (Grand Rapids, MI, USA). A conference about Muslims, missions, and the heart of God; provided by Horizons International.

June 23-25, National African-American Missions Conference (Vienna, VA, USA).

June 28-29, Support Raising Bootcamp (Plano, TX, USA). Provided by Support Raising Solutions.

June 28-30, Amplify Conference: Multiplying Evangelism in the Local Church (Wheaton, IL, USA). Sponsored by the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism.

July 3-14, Refresh! (Grenoble, France). Retreat for cross-cultural workers. Provided by Heartstream Resources.

July 3-22, Manarah (Detroit, MI, USA). Muslim evangelism training provided by Christar.

July 4 to November 6, Perspectives on the World Christian Movement Course (online). Provided by the Perspectives Study Program.

July 10-15, ABIDE (Joplin, MO, USA). Re-entry and debriefing for singles, couples, and families provided by TRAIN International.

July 11-22, Engaging Islam (Boulder, CO, USA). Evangelism & discipleship training course provided by Horizons International (two one-week intensives).

July 12, Can Business As Mission Finish The Mission? (online). Free, web-based, interactive conversation from The Mission Table.

July 12-15, Thrive Retreat (Beaver Creek, CO, USA). For North American women serving cross-culturally.

July 16, Global Prayer Journey (various locations). Walk, run, and cycle through the world’s forgotten neighborhoods and pray; also a fundraiser. Organized by MoveIn.

July 16-18, Perspectives National Gathering (Timonium, MD, USA).

July 16-22 ReBoot Reentry Program (Kitchener, ON, Canada). For returning missionary kids, ages 17-20, transitioning to life in Canada.

July 20-22, Refugee Highway Partnership North American Roundtable (Toronto, ON, Canada).

July 23-30, New Wilmington Mission Conference (Western Pennsylvania, USA). Annual, week-long multi-generational mission conference; a tradition for more than 100 years.

» View the calendar or submit an addition or correction.

World News Briefs

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Pioneers is giving hope to Syrian and Iraqi refugee families by providing food, blankets, and trauma counseling. Read more below.

In this issue: Building bridges, giving hope

  1. SYRIA: A Spiritual Shift
  2. NORTH KOREA: Black Market Dealers Turn Gospel Smugglers
  3. INDONESIA: Kingdom Minded Business
  4. USA: What Happens When 20 Christian Pastors Visit a Mosque for the First Time?

Dear readers,

“I didn’t know if I could survive the trauma and stress,” writes a Pioneers friend, Amanda, in Who Will Listen? It was 2010, and she was living in North Africa.

“One man in Tunisia burned himself alive to protest the unemployment rate. From there, unrest spread like wildfire in in the Arab world. Young and old took to the streets in protest of injustice, and violence often accompanied their efforts.”

As the stress of such an existence wore her down, Amanda was counseled to take a long rest away from the situation and found those who could help her recover and get counseling. But some do not have such an option. Consider, for example, Syrian refugees who have suffered the same kind of trauma and more.

“They leave home, country, family, financial stability, and even their ability to work and communicate. Who is there to welcome them when they arrive? Who can listen and give them counsel? Who is there to tell them the truth about the Jesus who loves them?”

“Just like I did, they need people to help them process what they have experienced,” says Amanda. “Though they do not have the financial or human resources to get counseling in their own language with people who understand their culture, we can help them get it.”

We’re glad to partner with colleagues at Pioneers as they work to provide physical and spiritual care to Syrian and Iraqi refugees and help families start to rebuild their lives and heal after enduring trauma caused by the war.

This issue of Missions Catalyst also includes another piece about God at work among Syrians and also several stories of Christians called to build cross-cultural bridges. Read on!

SYRIA: A Spiritual Shift

Source: Vision Beyond Borders, April 2016

Before civil war erupted in 2011, ninety percent of Syrians adhered to Islam and proselytizing was restricted. The government had cracked down on churches and Christian groups who tried to evangelize Muslims, arresting some and closing buildings that were used for Christian meetings. Now, many of Syria’s unreached have been uprooted and scattered. Nearly half the population is displaced. But the movement isn’t merely physical; a powerful shift is taking place spiritually, creating an unparalleled openness to the gospel.

The closed doors are now open in refugee camps, where many are hearing about their Savior for the first time. One worker explained, “You can’t share the gospel freely in Syria, so these people have never heard it before. In a short period of time, we’ve been able to share with the same number of Syrians that it would take us months and months to share with in Syria.”

Our contacts report an extraordinary trend in the number of Muslims they have seen coming to faith in Christ in recent years. “In 2013, we started seeing a marked increase, with at least one person coming to Christ just about every week…Then in 2014, it started going crazy… There were over 400 that came to Christ in 2014, and again over 400 in 2015!” A pastor who works with Syrian refugees noted: “God is at work in a special way.”

Among this influx of new believers are many refugees from areas that Islamic State controls… and where Christians would have never gone.

[One ministry reports] discipling several hundred new believers, and are impressed by the special way God is moving in their lives: “This group has been maturing quickly and many of them are even taking over discipleship groups. It’s been amazing growth, and we are harnessing this growth in order to mobilize Lebanese and Syrian missionaries to reach out for Christ around the Middle East and North Africa.”

» Read full story.

» See also an encouraging story about New Movements of Christ in Thailand (World Outreach International).

NORTH KOREA: Black Market Dealers Turn Gospel Smugglers

Source: Mission Network News, May 12, 2016

Before [Chinese couple “Bo and Annie”] became believers, Bo ran a cross-border business delivering and trading goods with a North Korean partner, “Ju.” The business relationship appeared successful until one day Bo discovered an anomaly in the financial records. Ju had been cheating him out of a great deal of money. In heated anger, Bo broke off the partnership.

A few years passed, and by God’s grace Bo and Annie came to be followers of Christ. They were fully committed to their new faith and began to attend a secret Chinese Bible school. During those intense times of studying God’s Word, they received their calling to disciple and train North Koreans to be undercover house church leaders.

They knew the dangers they faced if their ministry was discovered. But with Bo’s North Korean business connections, they also knew they had access to people many others couldn’t reach. The couple knew God was leading them to disciple Ju, the very man who had caused so much bitterness in Bo.

Shocked that the couple would reach out in peace to him after so many years, Ju agreed to meet with Bo and Annie. The consequences they faced if Ju decided to turn them in to the authorities were severe, but Bo and Annie began to reveal the reasons for their heart change through the Gospel message. They ended by telling Ju that they had forgiven him. The couple’s unprecedented kindness led Ju to repentance and he accepted Christ as his Savior.

Soon Ju began taking his own risks by sharing the Gospel with his family and extended relatives. In just three years, Ju led over 20 families to Jesus and the group met together regularly to worship in secret.

Bo and Annie began covertly bringing members of Ju’s underground church into China for intensive three-week Bible training and discipleship sessions. During the sessions, the new believers would memorize dozens of Bible verses. Many wrote the most critical elements of their lessons on small pieces of paper. On returning to North Korea, the papers were hidden in deep recesses of clothing so they would not be discovered should anyone be captured. These pieces of paper became precious spiritual food for the other church members awaiting their return.

» Read full story, which came from the ministry of Global Advance.