Dominican Republic: Seeking Revival in the Cradle of the Americas

Source: Haggai International, May 9, 2024

Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean in the north and the Caribbean Sea in the south, the Dominican Republic is known for its beaches, historic sites, and merengue music. Also called the Cradle of the Americas, this region hosted one of the earliest known Mesoamerican civilizations, the Olmecs. But a lesser-known fact is that the Dominican Republic is the only country with a Bible on its flag.

With this heritage of faith evident in his country, Haggai leader Roberto Peña is committed to continue sharing the gospel through preaching, teaching, and equipping new leaders. As the senior pastor of a church in Santo Domingo, he says, “We have reached hundreds of people in the last year through different evangelical campaigns. …This is a great time when the church of Jesus needs to be prepared for the great revival that is coming.”

The full story briefly mentions ways this ministry is reaching people beyond the Dominican Republic (in the Middle East!)

You might also be interested in a story from neighboring Haiti, where a young man has become MAF’s first Haitian pilot/mechanic (Mission Network News).

Bhutan: A Pastor Is Imprisoned and His Family Needs Help

Source: Back to Jerusalem, April 3, 2024

“One of our brothers has been thrown in prison,” Pastor Anil (not his real name) reported on Monday. “Please pray for him. His family has no other way to get support.”

Bhutan’s ruling Drukpa people are 100% unreached and strictly enforce the Buddhist religion. “The government does not want to say that they put him in jail for being a Christian, so they made up charges against him,” Pastor Anil said. Pastor Anil is one of the few Drukpa Christians in Bhutan and is in charge of a nationwide fellowship.

The pastor has a daughter who is currently in school. With her father in prison, she has no way to pay for tuition.

Read the full story. BTJ has a scholarship fund to help the children of persecuted pastors.

Did you know? Many Buddhists observe Buddha’s birthday today (May 15). Learn how Buddhists in different countries celebrate and why they do so on different days (AP/RNS) and, to join Christians who want to see the Buddhist world transformed, watch or listen to the Change the Map podcast.

Cabbages in the desert | a mission shared in Lebanon

In this edition:

  1. Kenya: How God Transformed a Devout Muslim
  2. Lebanon: Movement Day Unites Lebanese Christians
  3. Sudan: A Left-Behind Bible Leads to Churches
  4. Myanmar: Baptist Pastor Re-arrested the Day He Was Released From Prison
  5. India: Violence Returns to Troubled Manipur State
  6. India: Christian Leaders Attacked by Sikhs With Swords

Read or share email edition.

Kenya: How God Transformed a Devout Muslim

Source: Mission Frontiers, May/August 2024

Aila Tasse began attending the mosque at an early age. Raised in a strong Muslim family in northern Kenya, he took his Islamic studies seriously and avoided Christians. At around the age of nine, he developed a deep desire to know more about his Islamic faith. He started spending time with the elders after each day’s afternoon prayers, listening to them discuss the Qur’an and other issues. But a question gnawed at Aila’s heart: Who is Allah?

Through unexpected and terrifying circumstances, God opened Aila’s heart to receive the gospel and Christ’s forgiveness. Aila describes the details of this radical transformation in Cabbages in the Desert: How God Transformed a Devout Muslim and Catalyzed Disciple Making Movements Among Unreached Peoples.

Read more (excerpts adapted from the book). Want more? The book will launch Friday, May 3. Currently, you can purchase the Kindle edition for just US$2.99, though the prices will likely go up on Monday according to collaborator Dave Coles.

This edition of Mission Frontiers features a variety of articles about the Perspectives movement. Take a look.

Lebanon: Movement Day Unites Lebanese Christians

Source: Mission Network News, April 17, 2024

Lebanon is poised to be a strategic spiritual influence in the Middle East. Approximately one-third of the country identifies as Christian, and the laws safeguard religious freedom and equality. Many Christian groups in Lebanon have made progress sharing the gospel among local Lebanese, Syrian refugees, and Palestinians.

But so far, they have worked independently. The country’s first-ever Movement Day recently mobilized Christian leaders for greater impact together.

Hunter Williamson of Thimar-LSESD says, “This was a one-day conference that brought together more than 100 local Christian leaders from various sectors, including business media, NGOs, and churches. The idea behind the event was to create a venue for local leaders to meet and collaborate in order to promote the gospel throughout Lebanon. And it was also aimed at fostering unity.”

Movement Day is an initiative that has traveled around the world to connect local Christian leaders and help them start gospel movements in their area. The conference in Beirut was organized by Thimar-LSESD, Heart For Lebanon, and other ministries. The Supreme Council of Evangelical Community in Syria and Lebanon helped facilitate the event.

During the day, representatives from more than 20 Christian NGOs met together for the first time and began planning how to better support each other moving forward. Watch a five-minute video summary.

Read the full story or learn more about the Movement Day strategy.

Also from Lebanon, read Grape Leaves and Frozen Kibbe (World Venture).

Sudan: A Left-Behind Bible Leads to Churches

Source: God Reports, April 29, 2024

Nuraldaim Hassan was raised as a Muslim in a Muslim area of Sudan, at some distance from any Christian influences.

One day, a man traveling from Gofa stopped at his home along the roadside during a rainstorm. Nuraldaim’s family welcomed the man into their home to rest. After the traveler moved on, Nuraldain noticed the man had left behind a Bible.

Curious, Nuraldain began to read the Bible over the next several days. Later, Nuraldaim’s father saw him reading and asked who gave him “that book.” Nuraldaim told him the traveler left it behind. The father took the Bible and forbade his son to read it again.

However, one of Nuraldaim’s friends happened to be a Christian and told him more about Christ.

Later, Nuraldaim visited a church with his friend. A leader at the church told him that there was an opportunity to go to Bible school. Nuraldaim and some of his friends agreed to attend even though he still had not accepted Christ. It was not until after he was at Bible school that Nuraldaim accepted Jesus as His Savior and was baptized.

Nuraldaim still does not know who left the Bible in his home but knows it was God’s amazing way to reach him. Now, he is a leader in the Blue Nile Community Churches.

The full story includes more context about Sudan.

Sudan’s civil war is now in its second year, and 25 million people, nearly half the population, require humanitarian assistance, according to aid agencies (Catholic Information Service for Africa).

Myanmar: Baptist Pastor Re-arrested the Day He Was Released from Prison

Source: International Christian Concern, April 23, 2024

To mark the Buddhist New Year festival of Thingyan, officials in Myanmar released 3,300 people from prison. Authorities re-arrested one of them, a Baptist pastor, later that night.

The Rev. Hkalam Samson is a well-known and respected church leader and former chair of the Kachin Baptist Convention. He is also an outspoken advocate and defender of the rights of religious and ethnic minorities in Myanmar. The U.S. Department of State has called for his release.

Samson was released in the afternoon on April 17. At 10 p.m. that night, security officials detained him at his home. The reverend, who was originally detained on false charges of unlawful association, inciting opposition to the regime, and terrorism, was sentenced in April 2023 to six years in prison. Initially detained in December 2022, Samson had served 16 months of his sentence at the time of his release.

After being welcomed by friends and family the afternoon of his release, a relative who spoke on the condition of anonymity shared that authorities took Samson, his wife Zung Nyaw, and a member of the Kachin-based Peace-talk Creation Group to Myitkyina prison, where Samson had previously served time, claiming it was for their safety.

About 6 percent of Myanmar’s 54 million people are Christian. However, Kachin state, the country’s northernmost state that borders China and India, has a significant Christian population that is frequently harassed and persecuted. About 35% of the state’s 1.7 million people are Christians.
The full story includes a picture of the pastor and his wife. Also read a related story with additional details and links (AP, via Religion News Service).

Note that Myanmar neighbors the Indian state of Manipur (and several others). The border has long been porous, but India wants to change that. Read India Says It Has a Border Crisis. Christians Say the Solution Will Divide Them (Christianity Today).

India: Violence Returns to Troubled Manipur State

Source: The Christian Post, April 22, 2024

Two tribal Christians guarding their village have been killed in attacks that involved gunfire and mortars in the northeast Indian state of Manipur, as per allegations by a local Kuki-Zo tribal organization. The attacks were reportedly carried out by central forces and Hindu Meitei insurgents, who then engaged in acts of dragging, mutilating and stomping on the bodies.

The Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF) has accused the central forces, which are deployed to ensure peace, of collaborating with Meitei militants in the attacks that led to the deaths of 23-year-old Kamminlal Lupheng and 25-year-old Kamlengsat Lunkim in Manipur’s Kangpokpi district last week. The men were part of a civilian guard, a necessity borne out of the persistent ethnic conflict that has gripped the state since May 2023.

According to ITLF, a combined force of militants from the Arambai Tenggol and the insurgent group United National Liberation Front began attacking tribal areas last Friday and openly boasted about their exploits on social media platforms.

This resurgence of violence reflects a deep-rooted conflict that has plagued Manipur since May 2023, leading to over 200 deaths and displacing more than 75,000 people.

Read the full story.

A PBS Newswire story reports, “As ethnic violence rages on in Manipur, Indian government accused of looking the other way” (seven-minute video; worth watching).

India: Christian Leaders Attacked by Sikhs With Swords

Source: Morning Star News, April 22, 2024

A group belonging to a Sikh warrior order last week attacked a pastor and another Christian with swords and knives in northern India’s Punjab state for leading church worship in their village.

Four Nihang Sikhs, who as members of the traditional warrior group are permitted to carry such weapons, attacked Pastor Gurjeet Singh, alias Gurjeet Rinku, and his younger brother Gurdeep Singh on Thursday (April 18) in Sultanwind village, Amritsar District, a relative said.

The assailants first told Gurdeep Singh and later Pastor Singh, “We have warned you earlier as well not to conduct church and not convert people, but you have not paid heed,” according to Daljit Kaur, the pastor’s wife and an eyewitness.

Read the full story.

Let’s keep praying for India, in the midst of elections, as tensions remain heightened.

Notable People, Heavenly Headlines, & the State of the Great Commission

  1. From the Editor: Notable People
  2. China: One Chinese City Has More Christians Than Any Other and How It Happened Might Surprise You
  3. Pakistan: Witch Doctor Summons Powerful Demons, Then Turns to Christ
  4. World: The State of the Great Commission
  5. Middle East: Answers From Heaven for an Anxious New Mother

View or share the email edition.