Banjar Breakthrough, Praying for the Persecuted, Afghanistan & Aliens

  1. Indonesia: Pray for a Banjar Breakthrough
  2. India: Glimpses of the Persecuted Church
  3. Afghanistan: Earthquakes Shake Herat
  4. UK: Minister Who Lost 20 Relatives in Terrorist Attack Speaks of Forgiveness
  5. Earth: Aliens and Church Planters

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Indonesia: Pray for a Banjar Breakthrough

Source: A Mission Mobilizer

Decades ago, missiologist Ralph Winter wrote about three eras of missionary history—how God sent his servants first to the coastlines of various continents, then to the inland areas of various continents, and then, finally, to the unreached peoples of those continents.

But the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia is an exception. Missionaries went first to the inland areas, reaching various Dayak groups but making little impact in coastal communities. The Banjar people, with a population of more than four million, are the largest such coastal people group. Twenty-five years ago they had no scripture in their language, and even now, no churches worship God in the Banjar language.

This has been an extremely difficult group to reach. Some of God’s workers have been killed. Others have been deported and blacklisted. Due to the challenges of reaching this group, gospel workers have set up a website with the goal of raising up 1,000 daily prayer warriors who would continue to pray until there is a breakthrough among the Banjar—the birth of fellowships that worship God in the Banjar language.

Would you prayerfully consider becoming one of these 1,000 prayer warriors?

To learn more, visit

Want to find (or create) something like this for another people group on your heart? Check out this extensive list of prayer links (Justin Long).

India: Glimpses of the Persecuted Church

Source: Mission India, November 2023

In September, Pakiza [a church planter in Uttar Pradesh, India] and her brother Baheen were hosting a prayer gathering in the home of another believer, Pervaiz. A group of locals reported them to the police, alleging that they were in violation of their state’s anti-conversion law. Pakiza, Baheen, Pervaiz, and even Pakiza’s one-year-old daughter were arrested and placed in jail.

When I first learned of Pakiza’s situation, Acts 18:9 came to mind: “One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: ‘Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent.’” Pakiza, along with many church planters in India, have very good reason to be afraid of sharing the gospel, and yet they continue their work. They ‘keep on speaking’ knowing that believers just like you are praying for them. Prayer has kingdom impact, even in the midst of persecution!

As we recognize the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church this month, please pray for Pakiza, Baheen, and Pervaiz as they endure this trial. Pray that God provides for their needs and encourages their hearts, and that they are released from the charges.

Read the full story. See many stories like this (and more encouraging ones) on the Mission India website.

International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church will be observed these next two Sundays (November 5 and 12). In addition to, check out free materials from Voice of the Martyrs.

See also 15 Days of Prayer for the Hindu World (November 5-19).

For more from India, see also Three Arrested in Uttar Pradesh for Forced Conversions and India Court Rules in Favor of Christian Converts (both from International Christian Concern).

Afghanistan: Earthquakes Shake Herat

Source: 30 Days of Prayer, October 10, 2023

[Beginning] on October 7, a series of devastating earthquakes rocked Herat, Afghanistan. So far, the city of Herat, with its concrete structures, has seen little structural damage. However, villages in nearby areas have been devastated. Composed mostly of mud homes, many have seen significant damage, with whole areas being flattened to the ground and many lives lost.

The Body of Christ has always been called to respond and come together to meet needs. In 2 Corinthians 8:1-24, we read about the practice of taking up a “collection” in response to natural disasters. The Apostle Paul invited churches to rally together in support of their sisters and brothers of faith in another place, as a practical expression of unity. Let’s consider how we can do likewise today.

Pray where their friends and family continue to face significant challenges and hardship. Please join us in prayer and action as we continue to journey alongside and recognize the strength and resiliency of people who have been forcibly displaced.

Read the full story and watch an interview with someone on the ground. (4.5 minutes).

See also Christian Missionaries Find a Back Door into Afghanistan! (Back to Jerusalem) and read about thousands of Afghan refugees fleeing Pakistan as deportation deadline looms (Al Jazeera). Pakistan ordered the 1.7 million undocumented Afghan immigrants to leave or face deportation; the deadline is today (November 1).

UK: Pastor Lost 20 Relatives in Terrorist Attack, Now Speaks of Forgiveness

Source: Christian Today, September 25, 2023

[On September 22, 2013] at least 122 people were killed when two explosions ripped through All Saints Church in Peshawar and over 250 were injured. Rev. Aftab Gohar’s mother, Iqbal Gohar, was killed in the attack, as were his nieces, nephews, cousins, uncles, aunts, and friends.

He admits it was not easy to forgive their killers but he took inspiration from Corrie Ten Boom, a Dutch woman who survived the Ravensbrück concentration camp after being caught helping Jews to escape the Nazis.

“On the cross, Jesus prayed for those who were crucifying him: ‘Forgive them Father, they don’t know what they are doing.’ Jesus [also] said, ‘Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you’—a lesson that some people find impossible to follow.”

He blames the attack on Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws, which Christians say are often abused to target them.

Rev. Gohar, who grew up in Peshawar and has been a full-time minister in the Church of Scotland since 2008, joined other campaigners in handing in a petition to the Pakistan Consulate in Glasgow [in September].

The petition calls on the Pakistani government to improve safety for religious minorities and use the blasphemy law to punish those who attack Christians.

Read the full story. I like to hear that the teachings of a Middle Eastern Messiah and Dutch holocaust survivor can inspire a British Pakistani man to forgive his family’s enemies in South Asia while advocating for change. We are all connected.

Earth: Aliens and Church Planters

Editor’s Note: And now for something different. Aliens are in the news lately. Have you noticed? I haven’t found any articles that fit our Missions Catalyst content strategy, but the following comes close.

Source: Ethnos360, October 15, 2023

Ian Thomas begins his book The Indwelling Life of Christ with a fictitious story of aliens who know they were fashioned by God, who created everything but do not know what God is like. Through their advanced technology, they have discovered the Bible, in which God describes the people of Earth. They read, “In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God… In the image of God He made man” (Genesis 5:1).

Thomas says, “Such a revelation is absolutely the most thrilling news these alien beings have ever heard. By getting a close-up view of humanity, they will be getting their first-ever glimpse of God.”

So, they build a spaceship and select an elite crew and send them on a journey of discovery. Unfortunately, as they arrive on Earth and begin to look around, what they encounter are not image bearers of God, but rather drunks, inner city gangs, bars, TVs displaying world news showing terrorist and murderers, corruption in business and government, and the childish and foolish behavior by celebrities in the realms of entertainment and sports.

“The aliens stare in shock at the screen, until one of them turns to the others and says, “Let’s get off this planet. This place stinks.”

Thomas said, “Of course, you and I know that what they actually learned was not what God is like, but what sin is like.”

Read the full story to see how the authors relate this scenario to church planters. And ask yourself what others see when they observe us.

If you are wondering about using stories about aliens to communicate biblical truths, C.S. Lewis may come to mind. Read Smuggling Theology Into “Out of the Silent Planet” (Probe Ministries).