News From India, USA, France, Ukraine, Haiti and More

In this edition:

  1. India: Results From the World’s Biggest Election
  2. North America: Deaf Missions to Release a Feature-Length Jesus Film in ASL
  3. France: Digital Responders Needed for Olympic Outreach
  4. Ukraine: Evangelicals Targeted by Russian Forces
  5. Haiti: $130K+ Raised After a Missionary Couple Killed

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Does it make a difference to know Jesus speaks your language? JESUS: A Deaf Missions Film has debuted to rave reviews and will be released in theaters starting June 20 (Deaf Missions).

India: Results From the World’s Biggest Election

Sources: Various

Results of India’s national elections, which stretched over a six-week period, were announced on Tuesday, June 4. By the time you get this edition of News Briefs, commentaries may be showing up in many news sources. See India’s Christians Brace for 2024 Election Results (Christianity Today) and India’s Religious Nationalism (WORLD), among others.

Prime Minister Modi is claiming victory but not in the landslide some expected. As a result, the BJP, which has been in power since 2014, lost outright majority in the parliament for the first time in a decade and will need to secure the support of allies to form a government.

Let’s pray for India and its people, especially those who are part of religious minorities, in the months and years to come.

You might be interested in a new PBS documentary, America’s First Guru. It chronicles the impact of Swami Vivekananda visit to the first Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893. Also watch the testimony of Sandeep, who grew up in India as a devout Hindu Brahmin but left that identity behind to follow Jesus (Cultish Show, YouTube).

North America: Deaf Missions to Release a Feature-Length Jesus Film in ASL

Source: Crosswalk, May 23, 2024

Deaf Missions, a ministry dedicated to serving people who are Deaf, is releasing the first-ever feature film presented completely in American Sign Language (ASL). The film, set to release June 20, is directed by Joseph D. Josselyn and stars Gideon Firl, both of whom are Deaf.

“Growing up in a Christian family, I watched many films about Jesus. But I always wondered, what if these movies were in sign language?” Josselyn told The Christian Post through an interpreter. “After joining Deaf Missions in 2006, the idea began to take shape, though it seemed daunting at the time due to the scale of production, technology and funding required.”

“We initially created a film adaptation of the book of Job, which gave us the experience we needed. We felt ready to pursue a larger project,” he added.

JESUS: A Deaf Missions Film will highlight key moments from the life of Jesus, including his miracles, his power and his challenges to the religious leaders of the day amid high tension under Roman rule in Judea.

Read the full story or watch the trailer. Looks great. Deaf audiences gave it rave reviews in pre-release showings (Mission Network News). Only two percent of the 70 million Deaf know and follow Christ. 

You might also be interested in learning about the first dyslexia-friendly Bible (United Bible Society).

France: Digital Responders Needed for a Summer Olympics Outreach

Source: SBC International Mission Board, May 28, 2024

[Soon] thousands of people from across the globe will descend on the city that’s home to the Eiffel Tower for the Olympics.

While volunteers are traveling to Paris to serve, people can also minister from their living rooms.  

Digital engagement ministry strategies will extend the reach of the gospel far past the closing torch. Through chatting with a digital responder, not only will spectators hear the gospel, they’ll have the opportunity to connect with a Christian in their home country.

Read the full story for interesting details about how the strategy will use specially designed trading pins popular at such events. Maybe you or someone you know would like to join the digital response team?

Ukraine: Evangelicals Among the Main Groups Targeted by Russian Forces

Source: Evangelical Focus, May 20, 2024

More than two years after the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, the consequences at all levels are devastating.

One of the most targeted groups by Russia in occupied Ukraine are Protestants, only surpassed by members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Time magazine has reported that 34% of the registered religious persecution events had Protestants as victims, and 48% of them were in the Zaporizhzhia region.

Furthermore, there are 600 places of worship destroyed, over 30 cases of religious clergy killed and kidnapped, 109 known cases of interrogations, as well as forced expulsions, imprisonments, arrests, and sometimes even torture.

The full article includes links to other coverage and also reports that the vast majority of Orthodox Ukrainians have switched their membership away from the Russian Orthodox Church.

Got a burden for this part of the world? Check out Pray for Eurasia which profiles 175 unreached people groups Users can also set up a daily notification as a reminder to pray. The app is available in English, Ukrainian, Russian, and German. Spanish and Chinese will soon be added.

Haiti: More Than $130K Raised After a Missionary Couple Killed

Source: The Christian Post, June 2, 2024

More than $130,000 has been raised through online campaigns for Davy and Natalie Lloyd, American missionaries who were killed in Haiti by gangsters and whose remains were flown back to the United States on Saturday. The couple, along with the Haitian director of their mission, Jude Montis, 45, fell victim to an ambush at their mission compound on May 23.

Davy, 23, and his wife, Natalie, 21, were known for their commitment to providing education and religious services for children in Haiti. They were part of the Oklahoma-based group, Missions in Haiti, which was established by Davy’s parents in 2000. Natalie was the daughter of Missouri state Representative Ben Baker.

Two official fundraising campaigns were set up to cover the funeral expenses and transportation costs for transporting the couple’s remains back to the U.S.

Read the full story. Note that while these deaths got national headlines in the U.S., criminal gangs killed nearly 5,000 people in Haiti last year.

See also American Missionaries Killed in Port-au-Prince (Christianity Today) or watch the video below from South Africa’s INcontext International.

In other news, read about Haitians seeking solace from gang violence in Voudou practices (Religion News Service).

Book: Come and See, a History and Theology of Missions

Source: Union Publishing

Come and See: A History and Theology of Missions, by Glen Scrivener and Justin Schell. Union Publishing, 2022.

Could you use a “mission 101” resource that covers the biblical basis for mission and the expansion of Christianity for your church, mission committee or student small group? Here’s a solid option.

Learn more or buy the book in paperback or a digital edition; a video series (ten 30-minute videos) and a free, downloadable study guide are also available.

See also The Mission of God and the Witness of the Church, Justin Schell’s new book coming out next month from Crossway, or Glenn Scrivener’s 2022 book The Air We Breathe, which explores Christianity’s extraordinary impact on history and culture.

Article: Social Media Guidelines for Short-Term Missions

Source: The Chalmers Center

Many Western Christians’ first engagement with cross-cultural ministry is through a short-term mission trip. When we go, though, we also need to commit to embodying healthy and dignifying ways of telling others about the trip.

We live in a “pics or it didn’t happen” culture where every latte, sunset, or family gathering is fair game for a picture and a social media post. For many of us, it’s how we allow friends and family to share in our day-to-day lives. But we need to be mindful of how these habits play out in short-term missions (and cross-cultural ministry settings more generally).

Chalmers has created a social media guidelines sheet you can share with your short-term teams. They also have a whole book on helping without hurting in short-term missions.

Speaking of sharing our stories, see One Big Change to Make for Ethical Storytelling (Nonprofit PRO) and Creating Change Through Marketing (Lasting Change Podcast).

Or maybe you want to learn ways to share Jesus stories with people who don’t know him. All Nations has been doing webinars and workshops on that and now offers self-paced online courses.

Podcast: The Power of Intentional Prayer

Source: Lausanne Podcast

Do you feel stagnant in your ministry? Dr. Jason Hubbard, the leader of International Prayer Connect, shares how he was once a prayerless pastor of a prayerless church, and tells of his journey turning to God in intentional prayer igniting a revival in his congregation and leading to multiple church plants in his community.

The episode offers practical advice, inspiring stories, and insights to help you make prayer for the global mission of God a cornerstone of your ministry.

Watch or listen to the episode (43 minutes). Among other things, it states that 90% of the unreached live in or near 110 large cities—a great focus for prayer. What cities, you ask? These ones.