RUSSIA: Jesus Appears to Buddhist Woman

April 2nd, 2014

Source: SEND International, via God Reports, March 28, 2014

Yulia was raised by educated Buddhist parents living in Russia. By local standards, they were making it. Her family regularly visited the local shrine to worship and pay their respects to Buddha. Although her father was an engineer and her mother a biochemist, Yulia failed to get an education and did not enjoy her job cleaning houses.

When her father died suddenly, her mother slid into a spiral of depression, alcoholism, and abuse. Day after day, fights and arguments ensued and there were more and more problems. One day, when Yulia was 21, her mother – in a fit of drunken rage – told her to leave. Her mother’s last hateful words were, “Just leave. I don’t even care. And if you die, I won’t even cry.”

In the depths of her despair, Yulia did an accounting of her life. Her mother told her she did not care and her so-called friends abandoned her at the time of her greatest need. She had no education and hated her job. So she decided to take her life …

» Read full story, and pray for people like Yulia who want to give up.

» See also The Power of the Book, about a Moldovan man who found hope and new life from reading the Bible (OM News).

UKRAINE: Street Children Lost amid Political Turmoil

April 2nd, 2014

Source: Christian Aid, March 13, 2014

There’s a hidden segment of Ukrainian society that is receiving little attention in the midst of the nation’s  political and economic clamor – its tens of thousands of street children.You won’t see them because they find sanctuary in the basements of abandoned buildings or crouch next to hot water pipes in a system of tunnels running underneath city streets.

To stave off feelings of cold and hunger, they sniff glue. The resulting “high” may offer temporary escape from the misery of their existence, but it can’t give them what they need most – the joy of a loving family, food, and shelter.

Most of these kids are “social orphans” who have at least one parent at home. Tired of living in an environment of neglect or physical abuse, they prefer to take their chances surviving as best they can on the streets where at least they enjoy freedom.

According to UNICEF, in Kiev alone there are some 20,000 homeless children. While the true figure is difficult to determine, more than 100,000 boys and girls are estimated to live on the streets in cities throughout Ukraine.

» Full story reports on Christian Aid’s ministry to street children.
» See also In Their Own Voices, a five-minute clip produced by Serious Pictures (YouTube) and this interactive map, Human Trafficking Patterns Mapped in Asia (IMB Asia Stories).

Editor’s Note: April 12 is the International Day of the Street Child.

ISRAEL AND PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES: A Plea for Official Recognition of Evangelical Churches

April 2nd, 2014

Source: World Evangelical Alliance, March 19, 2014

On March 10-14, 2014, Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), participated in the third “Christ at the Checkpoint” conference hosted by Bethlehem Bible College in Bethlehem, where he spoke about the importance of peace building. He also met with Israeli and Palestinian government representatives, urging them to grant official recognition to evangelical churches.

“While Christians in both Israel and Palestine have the freedom of worship there are still some significant injustices that need corrective action,” said Dr. Tunnicliffe in his speech on Thursday evening. “Evangelical Christians have dwelled in this land for many years and yet their churches do not have official recognition by the State. It is beyond time, that this recognition should be granted.”

Unlike the established traditional denominations, evangelical churches currently do not enjoy some of the basic rights related to marriage, burial, and other religious issues.

“I call upon the government of Israel and the Palestinian Authorities to grant this recognition,” Dr. Tunnicliffe continued, and stated: “This is not only a call for justice and democracy but it will also create a more stable context. Evangelical Christians in this region make a contribution to building a prosperous and thriving community. Treating them as third class citizens does not empower them to reach such a shared goal or even remain in the land.”

» Read full story. Watch Dr. Tunnicliffe’s opening remarks at the Christ at the Checkpoint conference (YouTube).

WORLD: Pray for April Elections

April 2nd, 2014

Source: WIN Reporter, April 2014

Elections can indeed change the course of nations. Pray for fair elections, free from rigging and manipulation. Ask the Lord to raise up men and women who will serve with integrity, righteousness, and justice so corruption and graft can be put to an end. Pray that the Lord appoints those of his choosing to fulfill his purposes.

Afghanistan: April 5 election for President
India: April 7 start of elections for Lok Sabha (People’s Assembly)
Indonesia: April 9 election for House of Representatives
Guinea-Bissau: April 13 election for People’s National Assembly and president
Algeria: April 17 election for President
Iraq: April 30 election for Council of Representatives

“He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.” Daniel 2:21

ARABIAN PENINSULA: Sheiks Import Bibles

April 2nd, 2014

Source: OM News, March 21, 2014

Greg Kernaghan, a writer for OM International, traveled through the Arabian Peninsula in November 2013. He discovered authentic hospitality, passionately committed Christians and a sense of good things to come. He observed and listened to the hearts of Christian workers who have invested decades in understanding and loving their Arab neighbors.

Greg wrote a series of articles from the perspective of the OM workers in the Middle East, their story and their dreams, in their own words, fastidiously avoiding using real names and places so that the story itself may be told widely.

» The most recent story, Sheiks Legally Import Bibles, tells the story of a group of Muslim leaders struggling with and coming to the conclusion that people in their country should have the opportunity to read the Gospels. Don’t miss it!

Missions Catalyst 3.26.14 – Resource Reviews

March 26th, 2014

In This Issue: Resources for collaboration, the changing face of persecution, and more

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!

Marti WadeMarti Wade is a writer, speaker, and project manager for the Church Partnerships Team at Pioneers. As a mission mobilizer, she has also trained and sent out many short-term teams to do relationship-based research to serve among the world’s least-reached peoples.

Marti has managed and published Missions Catalyst since 2004 and is the author of Through Her Eyes, a book about the lives of women serving cross-culturally in the Muslim world. She and her husband Chris live in Oregon.

VIDEO: Collaboration

March 26th, 2014

Source: Create International Taiwan, via visionSynergy

Mission historical Stephen Neill wrote that Christian missionary work is the most difficult thing in the world, adding that it is surprising that it should ever been attempted! Yet amazing things happen when Christians work together, don’t they?

Check out the short animated video Collaboration – Reaching the Unreached through On-field Partnerships (itself the product of several mission groups working together).

This video also provides a nice example of storytelling through visual communication, too. Maybe, after watching it, you could take a moment to pray for Create’s (YWAM) School of Cartooning and Animation for Missions which is currently being offered in Taiwan, in Chinese and English. May God use it to equip and reach many.

» See also visionSynergy’s partnership resource repository, with ebooks, case studies, courses, field guides, and more.

VIDEO: The Changing Faces of Persecution

March 26th, 2014

Source: Family Research Council, March 19, 2004

In what countries are Christians most likely to be persecuted? Who is being persecuted, and by whom? According to Todd Johnson, patterns have changed radically in the past 100 years.

In a Washington D.C. lecture, Johnson, Director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, draws on research from The Atlas of Global Christianity and Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians to provide a thoughtful overview of shifts within both global Christianity (e.g., from north to south) and global persecution (e.g., from state-sponsored to society-based) as well as offering ways we can respond.

This presentation may be particularly helpful if you write or speak on these or related topics, as the contents are both well researched and clearly communicated.

» Watch the video (47 minutes).

» See also Ed Stetzer’s recent interview with Dr. Philip Jenkins about global Christianity (Christianity Today).

BOOK: When Missions Shapes the Mission

March 26th, 2014

Source: B&H Publishing Group

When Missions Shapes the Mission: You and Your Church Can Reach the World, by David Horner. B&H Publishing Group, 2011. 261 pages.

Veteran senior pastor David Horner here addresses fellow pastors and church mission leaders about the low level of commitment to the biblical mandate for global missions in our churches. He paints a sometimes painful picture of the current situation in many of our churches and denominations, where even those who seem to be leading the way in missions giving and sending are in fact investing resources disproportionately in their own contexts (e.g., doing more to support nearby Christian colleges and local programs than global outreach).

Horner also helps the reader recognize the major obstacles to kingdom-focused ministry and lessons to be learned from past mission movements.

Finally, he describes the results of a survey of 100 evangelical (North American) churches sharing their top ten best practices in fostering a strong missions culture, sharing some of the specific tactics as well as addressing objections and concerns in each area.

When Missions Shapes the Mission is a challenging and ultimately persuasive and practical book for churches discontent with their status quo and wanting to move forward.

» Learn more or get a copy for US$12.72 from Amazon (or elsewhere). Kindle edition is US$9.99.

EVENTS: Church Connections Tour

March 26th, 2014

Source: Mission Nexus

Mission Nexus, in partnership with Church-based Immigrant Ministry Coalition and World Relief, invites pastors, church planters, and mission leaders to a one-day regional event to explore approaches, resources, and partnerships for developing church-based ministry to immigrants, refugees, and international students. Meetings are planned for Baltimore (June 5), Los Angeles (June 12), Toronto (June 17), Chicago (June 19), and Atlanta (June 26).

Each event will include case studies from churches in the U.S. and Canada and presentations by leaders with on-the-ground experience as well as table-group discussions exploring practical application and next steps. Registration includes lunch  and a copy of Strangers Next Door: Migration, Immigration, and Mission by J.D. Payne (also one of the presenters).

» Learn more or register. You can also download a free, related article by World Vision’s Jenny Yang, Immigrants in the US: A Missional Opportunity.

» See also the Association of Christians Ministering to Internationals, sponsoring a national conference in Atlanta, GA May 29-31, and take a look at J.D. Payne’s recent (free) ebook, Unreached Peoples, Least Reached Places: An Untold Story of Lostness in America.