Muslim World: Baptized on a Beach Vacation

Source: Frontiers, March 13, 2023

Murat’s overbearing parents never let him out of their sight. But he wouldn’t let that stop him from being baptized.

Murat glanced behind him as he hurried down the street of the unfamiliar seaside village.

It felt strange to walk alone, especially in a place he’d never been. Although he was an adult according to both Islam and his country, his parents still treated him like a child, refusing to let him leave the house unaccompanied. They were finally discussing the idea of letting him get a driver’s license so he could run errands, but Murat wasn’t very hopeful.

He wondered if they suspected that he had decided to follow Jesus. If they tracked his internet use, they might have been able to tell that he’d done research about Jesus since his early teens and had struck up a friendship over video chat with Stanley, a Frontiers field worker who lived in his city.

He’d been talking with Stanley for two years, studying the Injil and getting answers to his questions, but the two friends had never been able to meet. Every time he tried to leave his house, one of his parents insisted on going with him.

He’d never even managed to make it to a meeting of believers that Stanley had invited him to.

But today that would change. Distracted by the details of their vacation and outings with his younger siblings, Murat’s parents had left him alone at their hotel. It was Sunday morning, and he had at least a few hours to visit a church he’d noticed as they drove through the city.

When he reached the small building, dwarfed by the mosques in the area, Murat stopped and hesitated. A few families walked past him through the door. A young man around his age smiled over his shoulder before disappearing inside.

Taking a deep breath, Murat climbed the steps and entered too.

Read the full story.

India: “Hindus Only,” Says Village in Andhra Pradesh

Source: Religion News Service, February 15, 2023

A decade ago the residents of Kesalingayapalli, a village in the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, succeeded in building a temple to the Hindu god Ram, modeling their home as a place “rooted in Indian culture and tradition.”

Three years later, during the festival commemorating Ram’s birth, Bandi Venkatramana, a local farmer, erected an urgent red-and-white sign, known here as a saffron board, at the entrance to the quiet village.

It read: “In this village, everyone is a Hindu, hence people of other religions can’t propagate their faith here. If someone violates this warning, stern action will be taken against them. If you convert to a different religion, it’s akin to changing your mother.”

“If we see anyone carrying or distributing the Bible or Qur’an we first give them a couple of warnings,” said Sai Charan, a student living there. “If they don’t heed our warnings, we just beat them up.”

Read Hindus Only: How Religious Nationalism Has Spread Through India’s Villages for insights into the fears and concerns of these villagers.

Stories about inter-religious conflict seem everywhere these days. Read about ongoing pressure on Israel’s migrant churches (Middle East Concern). On the other hand, see Abrahamic Family House Serves as a Symbol of Opportunity in the UAE (INcontext Ministries).

Vietnam: Thousands Come to Christ Through Two-Day Evangelistic Event

Source: A3 (formerly Asian Access), March 9, 2023

“Hello Brother Joe, thank you for your prayer for our evangelistic event. For the two nights (March 4th and 5th), about 42,000 people came. More than 4,500 people opened their hearts to accept Jesus Christ. Praise God!” [Vietnamese pastor Loc Lam wrote to A3’s Joseph Handley]

Pastor Loc, our [A3] national director who also is the Vice General Secretary of The Vietnam Evangelical Alliance helped the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association coordinate this festival and translate the messages of Rev. Franklin Graham.

For years A3 has partnered with BGEA through Samaritans Purse in Japan and Nepal and through festivals like this one. It’s a privilege to be part of seeing so many come to Christ.

See the full story with pictures and pray for the new believers and those following up with them (a critical piece).

You may also be encouraged by watching a short video about this campaign (BGEA).

Question: What (Else) Should Missionaries and Other Globetrotters Know Before They Go?

A huge thanks to all who read and responded to our article about pre-field practical training. Want to see your tips or stories make the sequel? Skim the first article, then respond to this email or shoot me a line. Thanks!

Training: Coordinators Workshops and a Taste of Perspectives

Source: Perspectives Study Program

Coordinator Training

You know about Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, right? Most subscribers to this list have probably taken it. If you paid attention in class, you may also have a sense of how much was going on behind the scenes to make sure it all went smoothly.

If you are ready to bring the class to your church or community, sign up now for a Perspectives Coordinators Workshop. Bring a friend (especially one with a knack for event planning, education, or project management). Looks like 15 workshops are on the calendar for the coming months in cities across the US. There may be one near you.

Taste of Perspectives

Perspectives fans should also be aware of another bite-sized Perspectives-related event that happens in various locations throughout the year. “Taste of Perspectives” provides a free sample of what you’d find in the 15-week course, complete with short presentations looking at God’s perspective on the world through biblical, historical, cultural, and strategic lenses. Bring your pastor, a fellow leader, or family and friends.

Unfortunately, there’s no place to find a list of these online. Live in the Pacific Northwest? A Taste of Perspectives will happen in Beaverton, Oregon on Saturday, April 22. I’ll be there and would be happy to send you the info.

Contact a Perspectives leader in your region about events near you.

Looking for a simpler training tool? You have options. Consider The Missions Course, for example.

Events: Six New Things on the Missions Catalyst Calendar

Source: Missions Catalyst Events Calendar

After we sent out the March events, we found more. Interested, but can’t make it on such short notice? Follow links to find future events from the same groups.

March 10, Interrogation Management Workshop (Albuquerque, NM, USA). Followed by a Security Orientation Workshop March 11 in the same location. Both are provided by Crisis Consulting International.

March 14-16, Support Raising Bootcamp (Curitiba, Parana, Brazil). Provided by Support Raising Solutions. Bootcamps are held in many locations throughout the year. A conference for support-raising leaders is planned for April in Colorado. SRS will also have a new name in April; stay tuned.

March 16 to April 6, How to Prepare Your STM Teams (online). Training for trainers from Touch the World; part of their Mission Academy. This looks like a great course, and TTW has other resources you may want to use.

March 22, Coast to Coast: Covering Ramadan in Prayer (online). Kick off your focus on the Muslim world in this key time by joining Frontiers mobilizers in prayer.

March 23-26, Gather (online). Gather is a four-day, web-based live event specifically for women ministering overseas. Provided by Thrive.

March 28, Women in World Christianity: Facts, Figures, Challenges, and Opportunities (Hamilton, MA, USA and streaming online). From the Center for Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell and featuring Gina Zurlo. Looks like it’s free, too.

View the whole calendar, updated regularly. Submissions welcome.

News from Indonesia, Uganda, Israel, Turkey & More

Missions Catalyst News Briefs 03.01.23

  1. Ukraine: Invasion Passes Grim One-Year Milestone
  2. Uganda: Police Rescue 40 Christian Children from Kidnapping Scam
  3. Israel: Opposition to Messianic Ministry
  4. Turkey: Antakya (Antioch) Church Prepares to Rebuild after Earthquake
  5. Indonesia: Reli Finds Christ at the Flourish Café
  6. USA: Nigerians Find New Home in Indiana

Read or share the email edition or scroll down for more.

Ukraine: Invasion Passes Grim One-Year Milestone

Source: Mission Network News, February 24, 2023

It has been one year now since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, marking a grim milestone for the people of Ukraine.

The war has had a devastating impact on the country’s economy and infrastructure, with more than 13,000 people killed and thousands more injured. Many families have been displaced and their homes and businesses destroyed.

Ukraine is a predominantly Christian country. The Church has played a vital role in providing support to those affected by the conflict, including refugees and those who have lost loved ones.

The full story includes perspective from Slavic Gospel Mission.

See also an informative infographic about the Russia-Ukraine war (INcontext International). In addition to data, it includes quotes from several Ukrainian pastors.

For more on how Ukrainians are responding, read Suffering, Grace and Glory (Jeff Fountain’s Weekly Word).

Download new resources to help you (or your group) pray for Ukraine (Ukraine Christian Ministries).