Article: Blessed Are the Peacemakers

Source: Global Witness, Globally Reimagined

“At a recent mission conference in Africa, I sat through a sermon (disguised as a seminar paper) that sought to mobilise Africans to be drafted into God’s army, to join the missions force, and to let God deploy them to the trenches on the frontline where they can make a surprise attack on the enemy,” writes mission leader Harvey Kwiyani.

“I was told they were planning to send a battalion of young men and women as missionaries to occupy—like an occupying force—a city near me.”

How would you feel if you heard someone describe ministry in your area that way? It would not go over well in Malawi, says Kwiyani.

Read more. See also A Missiology of Non-Violence.

Events: Helpful Conferences and Courses in February

Source: Missions Catalyst Events Calendar

February 1, How to Double Your Next Fundraising Campaign (online). From Missio Nexus for mission communication and marketing teams.

February 1-3, Azmera Stateside Summit (Dallas/Fort Worth, TX, USA). A mission event just for women. Provided by Azmera. Be sure to also check out their Haven retreats for women serving cross-culturally. For 2024, retreats are planned for Namibia, Tanzania, Bolivia, Malta, and Israel.

February 3-4, Missionfest Manitoba (Winnipeg, MB, Canada). Community-based mission festival.

February 3, Santa Barbara Mission Conference (Santa Barbara, CA, USA). An annual regional mission event.

February 7, Missionary Care for the Local Church (online). From Missio Nexus for church mission leaders.

February 7-14, Culture Shock (online). An online course from Grow2Serve.

February 8, Finding Great Stories When You Can’t Be There in Person. From Missio Nexus for mission communication and marketing teams.

February 9-12, Field Security Seminar (Union Mills, NC, USA). Provided by Crisis Consulting International.

February 10, Generational Discipleship (online). Three-hour training event from AllNations.

February 11, Virtual Prayer Gathering: Call to Prayer (online). Join others to engage the Muslim world through prayer on the second Sunday of each month.

February 12-13, Support Raising Bootcamp (Austin, TX, USA). Provided by Via, formerly Support Raising Solutions. More classes held around the world throughout the year.Note that two virtual bootcamps will be held in February, one for folks in Australia (February 5-7) and another for the UK (February 27-29).

February 15, Winter Coordinates and The Shifting Center of the Global Church. Webinar from Missio Nexus.

February 15-17, MissionFest Vancouver (Vancouver, Canada). A free, community-wide mission conference.

February 16-17, Help! We’re Going on a Short-Term Trip (Tampa, FL, USA). Seminar for team leaders from CultureLink.

February 20, Contend: Monthly Day of Prayer For Mission Mobilization (global). Coordinated by GMMI and held on the third Tuesday of each month.

February 20-23, Critical Skills for Emerging Leaders (Winter Park, FL, USA). A Missio Nexus training event.

February 22-24, TELL Training: Bridges to Oral Cultures (Joplin, MO, USA). Provided by TRAIN International. Check out their other pre-field training and debriefing programs.

February 22-24, The International Congress on Language Learning (online). Learn about field-based language learning, best practices, coaching language learners, and connecting with experts in second language acquisition.

February 22-25, Refugee Highway Partnership Roundtable (Warsaw, Poland). An annual gathering.

February 23-24, Midwest Care Connexion (Roseville, MN, USA). An annual event, formerly Midwest Conference on Missionary Care (MC2), now a ministry of MissionConnexion and MissionWorks.

February 28-29, Move Conference (Marietta, GA, USA). Annual mission conference sponsored by Johnson Ferry Baptist Church. All are welcome.

View the complete calendar, updated regularly. Submissions welcome.

Best Books, 5 Links to Follow, Articles & Events

Missions Catalyst Resource Reviews

  1. Afghan Mountain Faith: Stories of Justice, Beauty, and Relationships
  2. Roundup: Five Links You Might Want to Follow
  3. Articles: For Missionary Families from A Life Overseas
  4. Events: Helpful Conferences and Courses Planned for Early 2024

Thanks for reading Missions Catalyst in 2023! We love writing for you and pray your new year gets off to a great start. In the meantime, here’s a quick book review and a roundup of articles and events. Enjoy.

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Afghan Mountain Faith, Stories of Justice, Beauty, and Relationships

Afghan Mountain Faith: Stories of Justice, Beauty, and Relationships, by Miriam Adeney and Rashid Aalish. William Carey Publishing, 2023. 150 pages.

If you’ve supported work in Afghanistan, served in the country, or ministered to Afghan refugees—or if you plan to—you’ll find this book a great resource. In providing a concise introduction to Afghanistan and Afghan people, it explores the country’s history and provides keys to understanding the cultural and religious backdrop. Refugee stories and testimonies of Afghan Christians bring it all to life. This book is fairly short but provides plenty of nuance and is beautifully written. I really enjoyed it.

Learn more and get the ebook edition for US$7.99 or pay $13.99 for a paperback copy. See also the publisher’s Top Books of 2023.

Every year, Ellen at Catalyst Services polls readers about books they’ve read. See Best Missions Books of 2023. Find your next great read!

Roundup: Five Links You Might Want to Follow

  1. What would you guess are the top-ten most religious countries? What about the top-ten least religious countries? Check out an analysis piece based on the World Values Survey from Ryan Burge’s Graphs About Religion.
  2. What’s the most popular Bible verse these days? YouVersion Bible app tells us it’s Isaiah 41:10—again. They also report a 20% increase in daily Bible reading in 2023. Good news.
  3. Every year, Ministry Watch publishes a list of best ministries to support based on their financial transparency, accountability, and efficiency. Take a look. Some of us have room to improve.
  4. For a list of fun and intriguing facts—each with attribution—see Tom Whitwell’s 52 things I learned in 2023. What a cool annual project! You may find something to use in a message or presentation.
  5. Move over, 10/40 Window. Did you know that 50% of the world’s population, including most of the least reached people, can be found in a circle of significance with just 15% of the planet’s landmass? The model and map are from John Mayer of City Vision.

Articles: For Missionary Families from A Life Overseas

Source: A Life Overseas

Parents of Missionaries

Whether they are followers of Jesus or not, typical parents are not thrilled when their kids move overseas to serve in mission. But consider what it may cost them, especially when there are grandchildren involved. Read Dear Sending Church: We Need to Get the Parents of Missionaries on Board (Amy Medina) and follow links to some helpful resources.

Another piece honors the parents of cross-cultural workers. Read Dear Mom and Dad, Thanks for Letting Us Go without Letting Go of Us (Craig Thompson).

Missionary Families

Maybe you’ve heard of “adverse childhood experiences” (ACEs). But research also suggests eight categories of positive childhood experiences (PCEs) that can make kids more resilient. Learn what you can do to make a difference for missionary kids. Read It Takes a Village—Including for Missionary Families (Tanya Crossman).

With all the potential dangers of a life overseas, should people with kids even become missionaries? One mom struggled with this question, wishing she could protect her children from everything ugly. Read The Myth of the Ideal Childhood (Abigail Follows). Thought provoking.

Events: Helpful Conferences and Courses Planned for Early 2024

Source: Missions Catalyst Events Calendar

January 3-5, CROSS Conference (Louisville, KY, USA). Help this generation make their lives count.

January 8 to February 8, COMPASS (Palmer Lake, CO, USA). Language and culture acquisition provided by Missionary Training International.

January 8 to April 7, Encounter Muslims (online). Online classes held regularly. The next one will be April 29 to July 28.

January 8 to May 12, Perspectives on the World Christian Movement (online). An additionally January class begins January 22, with more classes launching year-round. For a good alternative, check out Kairos.

January 11, The Harvest Is Plenty—What If the Workers Were Too? (online) Webinar from Missio Nexus.

January 11, Leverage Your Website to Reach the Nations (online). Peer2Peer event for communication and marketing teams.

January 13, The Heart of Jesus in the Skin of Every Culture (online). Three-hour training event with AllNations.

January 14, Virtual Call to Prayer (online). Join others to engage the Muslim world through prayer on the second Sunday of each month.

January 14 to February 9, Equipping for Cross-Cultural Life and Ministry (Union Mills, NC, USA). Followed by a Language Learning Accelerator course. Provided by the Center for Intercultural Training.

January 15-19, Storytelling Training (online). Offered regularly by StoryRunners, a ministry of Cru.

January 16, Contend: Monthly Day of Prayer For Mission Mobilization (global). Coordinated by GMMI and held on the third Tuesday of each month.

January 17-18, Support Raising Bootcamp (Rogers, AR, USA). Provided by Via, formerly Support Raising Solutions. More classes held around the world throughout the year. Another bootcamp will be held in Kampala, Uganda, January 30 to February 1.

January 19-20, MissionConnexion Northwest (Portland, OR, USA). A free, regional missions conference, the largest event of its type in the region. Come early for Leadership Connexion, designed to equip church mission leaders. This year, a more focused event called Short-Term Mission Connexion meets at the same time with shared plenary sessions and exhibitors.

January 19-20, Help! We’re Going on a Short-Term Trip (Atlanta, GA, USA). Seminar for team leaders from CultureLink.

January 31, Critical Dilemma – a CEO Thought Leader Briefing (online). Briefings held regularly for mission CEOs only, provided by Mission Nexus.

February 1-3, Azmera Stateside Summit (Dallas/Fort Worth, TX, USA). A mission event just for women. Provided by Azmera. Be sure to also check out their Haven retreats for women serving cross-culturally. For 2024, retreats are planned for Namibia, Tanzania, Bolivia, Malta, and Israel.

February 3-4, Missionfest Manitoba (Winnipeg, MB, Canada). Community-based mission festival.

February 3, Santa Barbara Mission Conference (Santa Barbara, CA, USA). An annual regional mission event.

February 8, How to Double Your Next Fundraising Campaign (online). From Missio Nexus for mission communication and marketing teams.

February 10, Generational Discipleship (online). Three-hour training event from AllNations.

February 11, Virtual Prayer Gathering: Call to Prayer (online). Join others to engage the Muslim world through prayer on the second Sunday of each month.

February 12-13, Support Raising Bootcamp (Austin, TX, USA). Provided by Via, formerly Support Raising Solutions. More classes held around the world throughout the year. Note that two virtual bootcamps will be held in February, one for folks in Australia (February 5-7) and another for the UK (February 27-29).

February 15-17, MissionFest Vancouver (Vancouver, Canada). A free, community-wide mission conference.

February 16-17, Help! We’re Going on a Short-Term Trip (Tampa, FL, USA). Seminar for team leaders from CultureLink.

February 20, Contend: Monthly Day of Prayer For Mission Mobilization (global). Coordinated by GMMI and held on the third Tuesday of each month.

February 20-23, Critical Skills for Emerging Leaders (Winter Park, FL, USA). A Missio Nexus training event.

February 22-24, The International Congress on Language Learning (online). Learn about field-based language learning, best practices, coaching language learners, and connecting with experts in second language acquisition.

February 22-25, Refugee Highway Partnership Roundtable (Warsaw, Poland). An annual gathering.

February 23-24, Midwest Care Connexion (Roseville, MN, USA). An annual event, formerly Midwest Conference on Missionary Care (MC2), now a ministry of MissionConnexion and MissionWorks.

February 28-29, Move Conference (Marietta, GA, USA). Annual mission conference sponsored by Johnson Ferry Baptist Church. All are welcome.

View the complete calendar, updated regularly. Submissions welcome.

The World as 1,000 People | Items May Have Shifted

Missions Catalyst Resource Reviews

  1. Map: The World as 1,000 People (Representing 8,045,311,447)
  2. Book: Items May Have Shifted, When Missionaries Get Rerouted
  3. Podcasts & Articles: Practical Help as You Prepare to Go or Send
  4. Roundup: Getting Ready for Christmas
  5. Events: December Mission Gatherings & Training Opportunities

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

Map: The World as 1,000 People (Representing 8,045,311,447)

Source: Visual Capitalist

You may remember The World as 100 People. It went viral a few years back—a helpful attempt to explain who lives in our world according to a number of different categories.

Do you realize Earth’s population has doubled in size over the last 50 years, now exceeding 8 billion people? More than half of them live in Asia! If you represented the planet’s population as just 1,000 people, using UN data from mid-2023, you’d have 178 in India and 177 in China. Sweden and Honduras would be down to just one person each.

See how many would live on each continent and in each country with this interactive map and chart.

See also Gina Zurlo’s 2020 visualization of The World as 100 Christians (with data on Global Christianity).

Interested in the big picture? Find some food for thought in a brief article called Better Than You Think, in which Philip Yancey reflects on the message of Hans Roslin (author of the 2018 book Factfulness) about the state of the world.

New Book: Items May Have Shifted, When Missionaries Get Rerouted

Source: Pioneers-USA

Items May Have Shifted: When Missionaries Get Rerouted, by Maxine McDonald. Pioneers, 2023. 146 pages.

Many of the most popular missionary biographies paint a picture of heroic figures, often in primitive settings, who stay for many years and become beloved by the people. But things are different now. Pioneers found that half of its field workers who had served for ten years or more had lived in more than one country. Often they saw themselves as “lifers” with a one-way ticket to the first place on their hearts, but issues with visas, civil unrest, health, or family needs took them somewhere they never expected. So, how do they navigate that? What’s it like?

Hear four American missionary couples and a single woman, all serving with Pioneers, tell their stories in Items May Have Shifted.

This book is currently available in three formats. Help yourself to the one that fits your budget and reading preferences.

Disclaimer, I work for Pioneers and was part of the editorial team that created this book. It’s part of our ongoing effort to demystify missions for those who would go and those who send, that both might have a more accurate picture of what it takes and what it may look like to serve cross-culturally in today’s world.

Readers may be interested in a few other 2023 titles related to mission transition. We previously reviewed Grit to Stay Grace to Go, by Sue Eenigenburg and Eva Burkholder, and Liturgies and Laments for the Sojourner, by Alicia Boyce, Heather Fallis, and Tamika Rybinski. Another new book that caught my eye, though I haven’t read it, is Rerouted: Caring for Missionaries When Unexpected Trials Bring Them Home.