Book: A Creative Olympic Games Devotional for Families

Source: MobilizerMom

Today, children are learning about different faith traditions at school and are meeting people from different places more than ever before. Christian families around the world can easily use the excitement for the Summer Olympic Games to engage their children with God’s heart! This family devotional is for Christian families who want to learn about different places around the world but want to see those peoples and cultures through a Christ-centered, gospel-focused lens.

The 50-page Olympic Family Devotional includes:

  • Engaging, scripture-based reflections that connect Olympic themes with biblical principles.
  • Thought-provoking prompts to foster meaningful family conversations.
  • Fun, faith-building activities that bring your family closer together.
  • Daily prayers to guide and uplift your family throughout the Olympic season.

Purchase from Amazon for US$4.99 ($2.99 for the Kindle edition). You can also sign up for bonus content.For something a bit simpler, see a four-day family devotional and fun links to take your kids on a virtual trip to France.

7 Simple Travel Hacks for Traveling With God

Source: The Navigators

Editor’s Note: Apologies to our readers in the southern hemisphere where summer is now a memory. Have winter travels planned? These tips may still be apt.

Would you like to deepen your connection with God while you travel this summer?

Try these seven travel hacks for spending time with God during your summer adventures in this free resource, Travel Hacks for Traveling with God.

Use these simple ideas of connecting with God that incorporate things you already do when you travel: pack, enjoy a beautiful view, spend time with others, take lots of photos, etc. Let go of your everyday routines when you’re away from home and discover how God is with you always.

Read Travel Hacks for Traveling with God. Maybe you want to share them with a group or a friend you’re discipling, too.

Kenya: How Amoss Faithfully Served God on an Entirely Muslim Island

Source: INcontext International, June 19, 2024

Amoss faithfully served God on Faza Island, also known as Pate Island, near Somalia. This island is entirely Muslim and very hostile to the message of Jesus Christ. This is also a dangerous area along the Somali coast, where tourists have been kidnapped. A ministry once tried to build a church there, but it was burned down and never rebuilt.

Amoss was the only Christian on the island and lived in complete isolation from other believers in order to live out the calling God placed on his life. He studied to become a teacher with the goal of using his skills for missions. God led Amoss to start a school where he worked for over 15 years to spread the gospel. He registered the school and received praise from the Kenyan government’s education department. Throughout his time there, Amoss faithfully shared the gospel with the children who attended his school.

Parents were pleased with how their children were treated at the school, especially compared to other students in the village, where physical and verbal abuse was common. The school provided safe drinking water. Some students attended Islamic classes in the afternoon, while others chose to stay at the school all afternoon and return home in the evening.

The extremists hated Amoss and tried many times to get him kicked off the island, but he continued to love them and serve their children. Muslim parents defended him and fought to keep him on the island. Sadly, Amoss died this year from pneumonia. After his death, those who knew him said they never heard him complain despite the many hardships he faced.

Read the full story and another from INcontext which reports that Burkina Faso has surpassed Afghanistan to become the country most impacted by terrorism.

Pray also for Congo, where inter-religious conflict has increased. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for a series of violent attacks that left at least 80 Christians among the dead (Open Doors, via Christian Post). The plight of children in Congo was also highlighted in Justin Long’s weekly prayer publication, always worth a read.

Laos: Pastor and Five Other Christians Arrested

Source: Morning Star News, June 27, 2024

Village officials in central Laos on Saturday, June 22, arrested a pastor and five other Christians as they prayed in preparation for worship services the next day, according to Sirikoon Prasertsee, director of Human Rights Watcher for Lao Religious Freedom (HRWLRF).

“The arrests took place on Saturday at [Pastor] Mum’s home while they were meeting for prayer in preparation for Sunday morning worship on the following day,” Prasertsee said. “They are currently being imprisoned in Xaibouathong District prison.”

She identified the other five Lao Christians as Liang, a 40-year-old man; Pa, a 24-year-old man; Laen, a 50-year-old woman; Lan, a 23-year-old woman; and Khoon, a 28-year-old woman.

After Pastor Mum put his faith in Christ in 2019 upon experiencing God’s healing, he established a church that worshiped freely in his home until a new village chief, identified only as Lang, took office in May, she said.

Article 30 of the Lao Constitution recognizes the right and freedom of Lao citizens “to believe or not to believe in religion,” she noted.

Read the full story or a related article from International Christian Concern. Can we pray for these believers? We looked for an update to see if they have been released but did not find one.

Botswana: Did You Know God Speaks Shekgalagari, Too?

Source: United Bible Societies, June 19, 2024

The Bible Society in Botswana recently completed the Shekgalagari New Testament in collaboration with Lutheran Bible Translators, finishing the first translation of the Scriptures in Shekgalagari [spoken by more than 78,000 Bakgalagari people].

Ofentse Collen Maruping, General Secretary and CEO of the Bible Society in Botswana, is excited about this new translation:

“Our hope for the speakers of Shekgalagari is that this newly published New Testament allows them to connect with God’s Word in a way that opens hearts and minds to the gospel. We have already been greatly encouraged by the response to this New Testament and are looking forward to its distribution to Shekgalagari-speaking areas.”

Read the full story, which provides additional context for this accomplishment and adds that in addition to printed Bibles, the group also began distributing audio Bibles and a smartphone app—significant factors in increasing Scripture engagement.

Algeria: Audio Bible Changes Doctor’s Life

Source: Mission Network News, June 28, 2024

To fully understand God’s Word, some people need to hear Scripture instead of reading it. “The majority of the world is like me in that we are oral learners,” says Darrell Templeton [of MegaVoice, a company that produces audio Bible equipment].

“There’s something about hearing the Word that differs from reading.”

Templeton recently met an Algerian doctor during an overseas trip, and the two started a conversation. Templeton asked the doctor what language he spoke growing up, and when he answered, “Kabyle,” Templeton handed him an audio Bible.

“I had recently gotten the Kabyle New Testament recording [so] I asked him, ‘Would you please listen to this and tell me [if] it is Kabyle, and if it’s a good accent? Is it acceptable?’” Templeton says.

When the doctor put some headphones on and pressed play, everything changed. “When he started listening to it, it was like someone shot him. I mean, he just crumpled to the floor and began sobbing. It was several minutes before he could talk,” Templeton says.

“This doctor spoke eight languages fluently, but for the first time in his life, he heard God’s Word in his heart language.”

Stories like these happen repeatedly as believers introduce people to Scripture in their heart language for the first time.

“The challenge is to get all these languages recorded because most of these remaining languages are small minority languages and don’t even have an orthography. So, for most of these people, it will have to be an audio Bible.”

Read the full story.

See also a report about Australian Aboriginal people hearing God’s Word for the first time (Global Recordings Network).

Vietnam: The Church Is Growing

Source: Back to Jerusalem, June 20, 2024

Since Vietnam became a Communist country, the Christians have lived under some of the most extreme persecution, but today, that is all changing. In the last couple of years, Vietnamese Christians have seen more religious freedom than at any time in recent history.

In March of this year, BTJ hosted a Business as Mission Conference in Vietnam where more than 250 Christian businessmen and women from around the country squeezed into a meeting room at a hotel in downtown Ho Chi Minh [City] to learn how to use their businesses to grow the kingdom.

“The church is growing,” said Pastor David, a local Vietnamese pastor who oversees a network of about 10,000 believers. “We are seeing God move in Vietnam like never before.”

After the BTJ business conference, Pastor David invited Chinese underground pastors to speak at several house churches throughout the city. “We have a lot in common with our brothers and sisters in Vietnam,” said one Chinese pastor. “We have been through periods of similar persecution.”

However, the Chinese believers were surprised at the freedom the Vietnamese enjoy today. Pastor David, who [was] on the run from the government only 15 years ago, is now openly preaching, planting churches, baptizing new believers, and even launching registered Bible schools to train pastors for ministry in remote minority areas.

Read the full story
 
Editor’s note: BTJ’s headline asserted “massive church growth,” so we had to check it out. By some estimates, the number of Protestant believers in Vietnam has increased by 600 percent over the past ten years, primarily (perhaps almost entirely?) among ethnic minorities. Overall, 8% of the nation identifies as Christian, primarily Catholic.

Yet some populations have very few believers, and the struggle for religious liberty is not over. See reports about recent challenges (Morning Star News).

Your Pastor’s Perspective, Global Emotions, 30 Days of Praise

  1. Article: Get Your Pastor’s Perspective
  2. 10 Globally Inspired Recipes for Your Family’s Table
  3. Download: Grab Your 30-Day Praise Calendar
  4. Article: God Doesn’t Waste Gifts in Missions
  5. Data: What Is the World’s Emotional Temperature?
  6. Events: Missions Conferences and More in July & August

Read or share the email edition.

Article: Get Your Pastor’s Perspective

Source: Catalyst Services Postings, June 20, 2024

It’s summer for those in the Northern Hemisphere, and while many regular programs are paused, church leaders are looking ahead and beginning to plan for the coming ministry year. This makes it a great time for your global outreach team to invite your pastor to engage in a discussion around your congregation’s missions impact.

This month’s Postings offers nine questions for productive interaction to identify what God is doing and how you could work better together.

Read the article.

Just getting started (or starting over) with a strategy to engage your church for global ministry? Read 5 Steps Toward Global Engagement, also from Catalyst Services.