World News Briefs

Missions-Catalyst-no-tagline_largeIn This Issue: Responding to Terror


Dear Readers,

If you click only one link in this edition, let it be Who Would Dare to Love ISIS? A Letter from the People of the Cross to ISIS from a group called Mighty. This POWERFUL video message will take less than four minutes of your time.

For some helpful insights into the emotional lives of violent jihadis, read the transcript of Thomas Hegghammer’s lecture, Why Terrorists Weep. I like to think that Missions Catalyst news stories are a great source of fuel for prayer, and this may be the best fuel I’ve seen yet for prayer on this topic.

Finally, take a look at African Man Turns to Christ Moments before Beheading, which describes Mathew Ayairga’s response when, on a beach in Libya, ISIS militants tried to force him to follow Islam (BosNewsLife).


GUATEMALA: Hardened Gang Member Transformed

Source: Godreports, April 18, 2015

His fellow gang member thrust a pistol into his hand. “Go ahead and kill the kid,” he was instructed.

Wedged between the dangerous Mara Salvatrucha and the Dieciocho gangs in a neighborhood where even police feared to go, Mario Ajcip’s gang had successfully fended off rivals to keep their turf in one of the most violent neighborhoods in Guatemala City.

When a rival dared to make incursion into Mario’s neighborhood, there was only one gang-inflicted punishment—death. This time it was Mario’s turn to execute the cornered kid on the dark dirt alley.

Never shy to physically beat up a rival, Mario balked at murder. A leader himself among the 100 gang members, he began talking about teaching the guy a lesson and letting him go.

“There was something in me that I can’t explain why I couldn’t do it. Now I understand that the prayers of my mother had effect,” Mario says.

» Read full story and watch Mario’s testimony about this event, 15 years ago, and what happened after that to change his life. Let’s pray and ask God in his mercy to intervene in the lives of those like Mario who may be vulnerable to being radicalized as gang members or global terrorists.

WORLD: A Christian Response to the Crisis in the Mediterranean

Source: World Evangelical Alliance, April 23, 2015

The capsizing of a boat carrying an estimated 850 desperate men, women, and children from Libya to the shores of Southern Europe has once again put the dangerous human migration route across the Mediterranean into the public spotlight. Only 28 were rescued.

Assuming that this devastating death toll is confirmed, a total of 1,600 lives will have been lost in the waters between January 1 and April 20, 2015. During this same period, more than 36,000 people reached the shores of Southern Europe. In 2014, 219,000 migrants survived the voyage. 3,500 migrants died at sea.

The United Nations, governments, humanitarian agencies, and faith leaders are struggling to come up with a satisfactory response to this unprecedented crisis in the region.

» Read full story with links to source material, resources, and suggestions on how we should respond.

» Also read On Migration in the Mediterranean (the Arabist) and see, on an interactive map, answers to a question Oxfam raised about which countries are giving their “fair share” to assist Syrian refugees (IRIN).

NEPAL: Death Toll Climbs, Christians Reaching Out

Source: Mission Network News, April 27, 2015

Rescue workers from around the world are converging on Nepal. Saturday’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit the country just 50 miles northeast of Kathmandu, damaging an unknown number of buildings, killing many, and injuring thousands. Survivors say it was like trying to walk on a boat during heavy seas.

The earthquake hit just before noon local time on Saturday, April 25, the day Christians attend their weekly church services.

“People by the hundreds were worshiping … in those churches,” says K.P. Yohannan of Gospel for Asia. “[Our leaders are] trying to find out how many are dead or other churches affected.”

In terms of emergency response, Yohannan says GFA workers were prepared for this. “We have training going on continually for crisis. That is the reason why immediately our people could be mobilized right there in Kathmandu, reaching out to the suffering people.”

»  Read full story and another from Mission Network News, Nepal Death Toll Expected to Double as Rural Damage Rolls in.

» See also an editorial piece from The Guardian, Don’t Rush to Nepal to Help, and, from the World Evangelical Alliance, A Request for Prayer and Support for Nepal. At this writing, the UN estimates that 25% of Nepal’s population was (directly?) affected by the earthquake.

USA: Perspectives Study Program Equipping 8,000 New Students Annually

Source: Mission Frontiers, March 3, 2015

Forty years ago Ralph Winter gathered a small number of Urbana Mission Conference students at Wheaton College. Today it’s grown into a thriving movement with over 180,000 Perspectives alumni in the US and over 40,000 globally [and] now averaging over 8,000 new students in the US each year.

As many as 34,000 have begun to serve cross culturally and internationally as a direct result of taking the Perspectives course. Many more have been awakened to intercede and give to the work of God’s mission or have adjusted their lifestyles to welcome and reach out to internationals at home. God, through the Perspectives course, has created a vast “fertile soil” from which he draws his people to join the work he is accomplishing among all peoples.

» Read full story and learn more about Perspectives or find a class.

» Note that the next few Perspectives online courses start May 4, July 6, and August 17. Perspectives intensive courses are planned for California (June), Texas (July), and Pennsylvania (August). A Perspectives national conference will be held in July 2016. We’ll add all those to the Missions Catalyst events calendar.

WORLD: Incomprehensible Languages

Sources: Various, via Pat Noble

English speakers who don’t understand a language may say, “It’s all Greek to me!” On a recent trip to India I wondered if a Telugu or Hindi speaker might use a similar phrase when my English was incomprehensible. This chart from Omniglot doesn’t answer that question, but it does tell us that an Arabic speaker who is not understood may ask, “Am I speaking Hindi?” There must be some interesting histories behind these idioms!

Speaking of languages, check out The Lord’s Prayer Spoken in 8 Ancient Languages. Beautiful.

Receiving the Scriptures in your heart language makes a big impact on your ability to understand and apply them, as Wycliffe Global Alliance reminds us in a recent story, Now I Understand! It includes the testimony of a Japanese Deaf man sharing the dramatic difference that the Japanese Sign Language Bible is making in his life.

Resource Reviews

Missions-Catalyst-no-tagline_largeMissions Catalyst Resource Reviews 4.22.15

  1. BIBLE STUDY: God’s Heart for the Nations
  2. FOR USE WITH CHILDREN: Fabric Map and Lesson Plans
  3. BOOK: Missiographics 1.0
  4. BOOK: Mission Mobilization Fiction?
  5. EVENTS: May Calendar

Dear Readers,

In this issue we highlight a new edition of the Bible study God’s Heart for the Nations. I should let you know: I worked on that one! So I hope you’ll let me know if you have any comments or questions about it.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us about resources you’d like to see featured in future editions. We don’t have space to write about all the new books that come out or describe upcoming events in detail, but we can always use your tips about new videos, websites, online tools, and other resources that are accessible and would be interesting to other readers. We’d also welcome your comments on our website or Facebook.

Much thanks!


BIBLE STUDY: God’s Heart for the Nations

GHFTN_Cover__74282.1427221033.500.750God’s Heart for the Nations, by Jeff Lewis. BottomLine Media, 2015. 63 pages.

Looking for an affordable, effective tool to open eyes to God’s global purposes as revealed in scripture from Genesis to Revelation?

God’s Heart for the Nations is an inductive Bible study that explores how God’s blessings and global purposes are woven together. Originally published in 2002, it has recently been revised and updated by the author in collaboration with Pioneers, which now distributes the booklet.

The eight lessons include more than 100 Bible passages to explore along with memory verses, mission quotes, people group profiles for prayer, and suggestions for reflection or further study. There’s also a video introduction for each lesson.

You might work through it on your own, include it the curriculum for a class or small group, or use it to prepare a short-term mission team.

Jeff Lewis is a professor at California Baptist University and also has a ministry teaching and consulting with churches and other groups about seamlessly integrating God’s heart for the nations into their lives and ministries.

» Learn more or purchase from Pioneers for US$6 (with discounts available for bulk orders) or get it from Amazon. Not available electronically.

» See also these resources of similar scope and purpose: Witnesses to All the World: God’s Heart for the Nations, by Jim and Carol Plueddemann and Missions: God’s Heart for the World, by Paul Borthwick. You could also download Embark, a free four-week study from Frontiers.

FOR USE WITH CHILDREN: Fabric Map and Lesson Plans

Parents and teachers might be interested in a new attractive fabric map to use in learning about and praying for the world. This large, hemmed 29” x 40” cloth map is brightly colored and each country clearly identified. The map also comes with suggestions for fun family activities.

» Preview or purchase fabric map from CMM Press for US$12.00.

A series of 24 downloadable lessons for teaching kids about the world has recently been “freshened up.” Most are designed for a 30-minute time slot. They introduce children to kids around the world and different issues affecting their lives.

» Learn more or purchase lessons from CMM Press for US$5.00 each.

» Visit the CMM Press store for additional resources for children, parents, and teachers written or collected by Weave Family ministries. See also the extensive resource lists on the Weave Family website.

BOOK: Missiographics 1.0

Missiographics 1.0, by Justin Long. GMI Books, 2015. 80 pages.

In an age of data and information overload, images may be the best way to tell the story of global missions. That’s why our friends at GMI started publishing Missiographics, a series of free, compelling, mission-related infographics to help mission leaders, mobilizers, teachers, and students see the world through new eyes.

Missiographics 1.0 collects 16 of the most helpful graphics in this series and supplements them with thoughtful essays from researcher Justin Long addressing the “so what?” questions they evoke.

» Learn more or purchase one of several ebook editions from GMI for US$9.99. This is the kind of book you might want to have on paper, though, and the print edition is US$14.99.

» Also see the complete Missiographics library or subscribe to newsletters.