Missions Catalyst 9.4.13 – Special Edition

In This Issue: Special Edition on Egypt

Dear Readers,

This week we bring you a special edition. The two opinion pieces below, from Answering Islam and Operation Mobilization, offer different angles on the situation in Egypt and its spiritual implications. May they help you pray!

See also John Piper’s meditation on Isaiah 19, What God Says to Egypt, and the Windows International Network article, The Lord Will Bring Egypt from the Brink of Self-destruction.


In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together.

In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. The Lord Almighty will bless them, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.”

Isaiah 19:23-25

About Us

Missions Catalyst is a free, weekly electronic digest of mission news and resources designed to inspire and equip Christians worldwide for global ministry. Use it to fuel your prayers, find tips and opportunities, and stay in touch with how God is building his kingdom all over the world. Please forward it freely!


Pat Noble has been the “news sleuth” for Missions Catalyst since 2004. In addition to churning out the news, she is working to create a SWARM (Serving World A Regional Mobilizers) in Northern New York using the NorthernChristian.org website. You can connect with her at www.whatsoeverthings.com.



Are Diabolic Forces Undermining Egypt?

Source: Roland Clarke, Answering Islam, August 2013

Egypt is embroiled in its worst crisis in thirty years. What does all this bloodshed mean? It seems significant numbers of Egyptians have woken up to the fact that their aspirations for freedom have been hijacked by radical religionists.

Under Morsi’s sharia-driven regime, Muslims attacked churches and Christians with impunity. Not only so, no sooner did the military start disbanding obstinate camps of protesters than a series of attacks broke out against Christians. Within a week, six dozen churches were burned, vandalized, or attacked. Morsi’s supporters also attacked several dozen Christian schools, businesses, and institutions. Among these were two Bible Society shops which were completely destroyed.

During this same period of rage, an article was published online showing pictures of Islamists vandalizing a church (This Is What It Looks Like Just Before the Muslim Brotherhood Jumps You). What makes this incident so astonishing is that it evoked a backlash within the Muslim Brotherhood ranks and caused them to deep embarrassment.

[Another article,] Egyptian Churches Burn as the Muslim Brotherhood Shows its True Face, quotes a Twitter statement by the Brotherhood spokesman, Gehad El-Haddad: “We will always be non-violent and peaceful… Our peacefulness is our strength and we will never be dragged into violence. We unequivocally reject all forms of violence/vandalism.” However, the burning and looting of dozens of churches [tells] a different story.

On August 16, I received a letter from an evangelical church leader in Egypt that voiced similar concerns. Speaking as an insider, he gives a very different picture to reports in the mainstream media.

“I speak with absolute certainty when I say that, for the vast majority of Egyptians, the military are finally doing what the people have been asking – this is not part of a military coup but rather a restoration of control to the majority of Egyptian people. Although the huge number of mortalities is both tragic and regrettable, they could have been avoided, had the MB (Muslim Brotherhood) entered into peaceful productive dialogue with the transitional government, as the military so often invited them to over the past six weeks.”

[In Understanding the Present Situation in Egypt, another respected Egyptian leader, Ramez Atallah (General Secretary for The Bible Society of Egypt), confirms what my friend wrote:

“Many of us involved in Christian ministry in Egypt are appalled at the misunderstandings about the situation in Egypt being propagated by even normally balanced international media like the BBC, and the way it has, in general, portrayed the Muslim Brotherhood as the victims of injustice…

“In November 2012, he [Morsi] illegally gave himself new sweeping powers to act without censure and rushed through a new pro-Islamic constitution despite the protests and boycotts from liberals, moderate Muslims, and Christians, and then he refused to call for new elections – as had previously been agreed to do after a new constitution had been adopted.”

It seems that more and more peace-loving Muslims feel anguish and deep embarrassment at the never-ending atrocities (as well as pervasive deceit) perpetrated in the name of Allah. The bloodshed in Egypt and Syria – indeed, across the Muslim world – is causing many Muslims to feel disillusioned and to yearn for real peace.

» Full story here.

» Feel free to ask Roland Clarke any questions related to this article. You may also be interested in these articles he mentions: Egyptian Ambassador: ‘It Became Necessary to Finish This Thing Today’, Muslim Brotherhood Kills Its Own, and Inside Egypt’s Terrorist Camps: Torture, Rape, Mass Murder.

Egypt: Breaking the Fear Barrier!

Source: Debbie Meroff, OM News, August 18, 2013

A lot more is happening in Egypt these days than is apparent on our nightly news. A Christian worker on the ground in Cairo, whom we will call John Nyalls to protect his security, reports a groundswell of excitement among the Christian population who are involved in reaching Muslims. He declares, “One year of Morsi’s government has done more to advance Christianity in Egypt than all the decades before it.”

Media attention to Muslim Brotherhood demonstrations gives the impression that this group is much bigger than it actually is. John estimates that only about one-half to one percent of the population are avid pro-Brotherhood and up to five percent may be ultra-conservative Islamists. But after Morsi failed in his promise to represent all the people rather than the Islamist faction and [passed] an Islamist-favored constitution, the vast majority of Egyptians made it clear they’d had enough.

So unpopular is the Muslim Brotherhood these days, observes John, that many shopkeepers are refusing to serve men with long beards (the usual Brotherhood trademark), and taxi drivers are refusing to pick them up. Some Muslims have shaved off their beards in self-defense.

Christians – especially young people from the churches – have become proactive, handing out thousands of copies of Bibles, New Testaments, [copies] of the JESUS Film, and other material. Very few Arabic Bibles are refused. Believers add that they’ve even observed some covered Muslim women, after receiving Bibles, lift the book to their lips in a reverent kiss.

It hasn’t all been easy for the Christian population, however. Ultra-conservative Muslims have retaliated against what they called Christian support for Morsi’s removal. A number of attacks have been launched against churches and Christians, particularly those who live in Brotherhood strongholds.

“Now,” says John, “the wolf – the Brotherhood – is no longer pretending to be a sheep. Members are now unbridled in going after churches and Christians. And this is turning more moderate Muslims against them.”

He pointed out the astonishing fact that tens of thousands of Bibles are being downloaded each month in the Muslim world. The website aljazeera.net published an interview with Ahmad Al Qataan, an important Islamic cleric, who said that every year six million Muslims convert to Christianity. Unfortunately, most disillusioned Muslims will turn to atheism rather than Christianity unless more people seize the day. John reports that Christian Egyptians who have been reaching out are coming across a significant enough number of atheists; they are feeling the need for specific training on how to reach them.

» Full story here.

Missions Catalyst 10.17.12 – Feature Article

In This Issue: Could it be the key to evangelism in our day?

  • Editor’s Note
  • Hospitality and the Great Commission

“In a progressively post-Christian society, the importance of hospitality as an evangelistic asset is growing rapidly. Increasingly, the most strategic turf on which to engage the unbelieving with the good news of Jesus may be the turf of our own homes.”

Continue reading Missions Catalyst 10.17.12 – Feature Article

Compelling Cultural Encounters: Seven Ways to Connect People with the World

By Marti Wade

Hey, mobilizers! You’ve got the missions bug and want to spread it. What can you do? Here’s a starter list of ways to create compelling events and encounters of a cross-cultural kind. Some of them can be done without much time or money, though putting more heart into them will likely improve the results. Ready to think outside the box?

1. Cultural simulation

Get people’s attention and lodge an experience in their memories by creating a bit of tension. I know none of us likes to be  uncomfortable for very long. But the few moments of pain and surprise that come with a cross-cultural simulation can be great teachers.

Mission mobilizers have facilitated this by re-creating a border crossing, a police raid on an underground church, or simply what it’s like to be in another culture. Sandra, with World Relief, offers a good example: she coordinates The Refugee Project. This three-hour simulation transforms groups into refugees who are escaping for their lives, seeking safety somewhere, anywhere.

Carefully handled, a simulation like this can help us understand a bit more what life is like for someone with whom we may have never felt a point of identification.

2. Make it a meal

Maybe you’d like to avoid the “wow, those people are so different from us” dynamic. You can still go for the cultural simulation, but instead of dramatizing the differences, design it to build on more common ground.

Coordinators for Encountering the World of Islam tell their students to come to the next class session hungry and on time, because they’ll be sharing a meal. Praying for students’ appreciation for Muslims and Muslim cultures to increase, they simulate what it’s like to visit a Muslim home for dinner (complete, of course, with yummy food). Write them for a document that includes tips and recipes.

Such an experience helps students appreciate that while they may not feel up to debating the theology of the Trinity with a Muslim they may meet, they can sit down and eat together and make some new friends.

3. Fun for kids means more fun for all

Plan your cultural exposure event with fun in mind. Make it a family event, complete with games, food, music, videos, and other creative bells and whistles designed to hold the attention of the younger set. Have the kids participate by singing a song, leading an activity, or serving snacks. Chances are good the kids will want to be there and probably bring their parents, too. Maybe everyone will find it more fun than a more grown-up event would be, and the memories are more likely to “stick.”

Shane took this idea and turned it into a field trip. He took families from his church to a nearby city full of refugees. The kids went into shops and tried things they’d never seen before, hosted a kaleidoscope of refugee kids for a homegrown carnival, and worked like dogs deep-cleaning a local community center. A year and a half later, people still talk about it and want to do it again.

It’s one thing to have a cultural experience in the safety of, say, your home or church, but you can take it a step further by venturing out on someone else’s turf.

4. The best way to serve may be letting them serve you

Matt used to live in the Middle East. He recognizes that the Muslim community in his California town wants more than anything to be respected and known as people who are friendly and hospitable. During Ramadan he rounds up small groups of Christians interested in reaching out to people from different cultures and takes them to visit the local mosque for iftar, the meal served at sunset after a long day of fasting.

If that sounds too intimidating, a little research can probably identify festivals and events near you that celebrate specific cultures or holidays. Gather friends and family and take them there. Honor your hosts by giving them the chance to show you all they have to offer.

5. Get out of the mission trip bubble

If you are organizing a short-term mission trip in a cross-cultural situation, look for ways to make sure those who go get out of the foreign bubble. A real, ongoing friendship would be best, but even a brief encounter can be a highlight of the trip.

Maybe you can finagle an invitation to join a soccer game or attend a wedding. Visit an English class and hang out with the students afterwards. Pair up your short-termers and send them home with a trusted local friend for lunch or, better yet, make it an overnight home-stay. When your local partner makes this opportunity known in the community, you may have no lack of volunteers!

“Divine appointments” can’t be controlled or arranged in advance, but when you take a team overseas, put this on your to-do list: look for someone born and raised in your host community to give you and your teammates a culture briefing, language lesson, city tour, or all three. Any of those things will help you get a look behind the scenes.

6. Coordinate a cultural scavenger hunt

Most of us need a little push before we’re willing to embarrass ourselves or ask for help, but few things do more to endear us to others than to let them laugh at us or just give us a hand.

When short-term teams come to visit Angie, she makes sure they get a cultural orientation and sets up a cultural immersion experience:

“We take the group to the largest market in South America, pair them up, and tell them to write down a dictated list of items. Here’s the catch: the list is in Spanish. We give them some Bolivian money and tell them to go buy the things on the list.”

“If it works out right they are forced to interact personally with Bolivian people in the heart language of the people. Any fears or barriers start to crumble or disintegrate completely. What fun to discover, with the help of kind and patient Bolivian shop owners, what crazy things you can find, like pomelo, goma eva, guantes, pil frut, and un cuaderno. They come back to the bus with a sense of accomplishment and a connection with the Bolivian people that lasts for the whole trip and hopefully beyond.”

Want to know what those words mean? You’ll have to look them up, or make your own trip to the market!

7. Be neighborly with someone from another nation

Maybe you’ll never get on another airplane, but you’re in luck: the nations are coming to your town. Can you put out the welcome mat for them? You’ve heard the statistics about how few international students ever visit a local home. Consider being one of those rare people who bucks this trend!

I don’t know about you, but when I think of hosting internationals, what comes to mind are the exchange students from Germany or France who came to my high school for a year at a time. Many schools and international student ministries set up home-stay situations that do not require such a big commitment. You might be able to host an Arab or Chinese student for just a meal, a weekend, or a week. As a bonus, your own kids (if you have some) will never forget it. They’ll be more likely to reach out to people different from them when you set the example yourself.

Explore the cross-cultural hospitality options in your town, then let your church or network know about them. Then, be the first one to sign up to participate.

Fuel inspiration and encouragement for this kind of ministry with a fun event like those described above or a you-can-do-it book like Donna Thomas’ Faces in the Crowd.


There you have it, seven creative ways to break down the barriers and create cultural encounters. Have you done some of these? We’d love to hear about it. Go to our website or Facebook page to tell your stories or share more ideas.

Marti Wade is a writer, speaker, and project manager for the Church Partnerships Team at Pioneers. Since the mid-90s she has also helped prepare cultural research teams to explore unreached communities and mobilize efforts to serve them.

Marti has managed and published Missions Catalyst since 2004 and is the author of Through Her Eyes, a book about the lives of women serving cross-culturally in the Muslim world. She married Chris Wade in May 2012.

Missions Catalyst Special Edition – 2011 in Headlines

Dear Readers,

While we like to think weekly emails from Missions Catalyst enrich your life in some way, we know most people don’t read every edition. And some of you have only been with us for a month or two; others subscribe only to the News Briefs, or only to the Features.

So we thought we’d invite you to skim our complete set of headlines from 2011. Take a look and see if you missed anything you’d find interesting or helpful. Just click on the links to get the rest of the story.

Are there topics you wish we’d say more about, or things you’d love to see us cover in the year to come? Post your comments below,  write to us directly, or catch us through Facebook or Twitter.


Continue reading Missions Catalyst Special Edition – 2011 in Headlines

Missions Catalyst Special Edition – 2012 Calendar of Events

Dear Readers,calendar pages

As a service to readers, Missions Catalyst compiles and maintains an online calendar of mission-related events across the US and around the world. Interested in what’s coming up for 2012?

Maybe you’d like to attend some of these events or tell a friend about them. Perhaps you’re planning an event of your own and wonder what else might be going on that weekend. Or it could be that you know about an event that would interest other reader and should be added to our calendar! Hope you find this helpful.

>> View the online calendar.

Marti Smith

Marti Smith is a writer, speaker, and project manager for the Church Partnerships Team at Pioneers. Since the mid-90s she has helped prepare cultural research teams to explore unreached communities and mobilize efforts to serve them.

Marti manages and publishes Missions Catalyst and is the author of Through Her Eyes, a book about the lives of missionary women in the Muslim world.