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Missions Catalyst Resource Reviews

Wed, 09/24/2014 - 14:36

In This Issue: Tools for your toolbox

Dear readers,

First of all, thanks for reading! We’re grateful for your partnership in the gospel and the opportunity to hear from you and serve you.

This edition of Resource Reviews includes a few new tools for a mobilizer’s toolbox. Please let us know if you’ve come across others that readers should hear about. We have some more cool things we can’t wait to tell you about, but they’re not quite ready yet – next month, I hope!

Finally, we want to apologize for a mistake in our September 17 edition of Missions Catalyst Newsbriefs. Our item about ISIS included a link to a story about the conversion of the brother of an ISIS leader, a report which (as several readers pointed out) proved to be untrue. Sorry for passing it on!

blessings,

Marti Wade
publisher and managing editor

Monthly Resource Reviews are composed and compiled by Marti Wade, who has managed and published Missions Catalyst since 2004.

Based in Oregon, Marti is a writer, editor, and project manager serving with Pioneers on the Church Partnerships Team. She is the author of Through Her Eyes, a book about the lives of women serving cross-culturally in the Muslim world. She also speaks at conferences, Perspectives classes and similar events.

DOWNLOADS: Free Bible Studies and Coaching Tools

Wed, 09/24/2014 - 14:28

Source: Center for Mission Mobilization

The Center for Mission Mobilization has repackaged some of their materials, created related pieces, and made them all more accessible to a larger audience as free, versatile downloads. You can also purchase hard copies of the Bible studies if that works better for you.

Xplore is a seven-lesson small group study designed to help believers discover God’s overarching purpose throughout the Bible and history, learn about world religions and unreached people groups, and grow in World Christian practices. A set of one-page coaching conversation documents will guide you through one-on-one conversations that reinforce the same topics. Take a look at those; they include some great material and may be able to stand alone.

Go Mobilize is another seven-lesson small group study, designed to help World Christians grow into mobilizers and learn what it takes to start a mission movement among their friends, churches, and families. A set of coaching conversation documents is also available for this study.

The GOer Groups study, video-based with downloadable discussion questions and a leader’s guide, is designed for college students interested in serving internationally. It addresses major questions and barriers students encounter as they pursue cross-cultural ministry.

Finally, take a look at the NVision video series, a set of 15 videos, 5-7 minutes in length, designed to to help you point people who know and follow Jesus to entire groups of people that don’t. Use these to help believers discover God’s pursuit of worship all over the earth, as well as simple, practical ways to impact the nations for Christ.

» Learn more or download resources (registration required for some pieces).

APPLICATIONS: Bible in Hundreds of Languages

Wed, 09/24/2014 - 14:26

Source: Faith Comes By Hearing

Looking for good Bible apps not only for your own study but for your kids or to use evangelistically, even cross-culturally? What about Bibles for those who prefer listening over reading? You may find just what you want from the Bible.is family of applications from Faith Comes By Hearing (FCBH).

The free Bible.is app now features 1,556 languages (including hundreds in audio versions and JESUS film video) and is available on the web and for both iOS and Android devices. The Bible.is app is capable of providing access to God’s Word to over two-thirds of the world’s population.

Then there’s the Deaf Bible app, which FCBH says is the most downloaded Deaf app in the world, with 10 new sign languages added this year.

The Bible.is KIDZ app, created in partnership with Child Evangelism Fellowship, is a new, free scripture app for children. It features illustrated Bible stories, audio, games, and other interactive activities. The story selection is somewhat limited, but they plan to keep adding.

» Visit the app page on the Bible.is website to learn more and follow links to download apps from the various platforms.

BOOKLET: Guide to Mobile Ministry

Wed, 09/24/2014 - 14:23

Source: Mobile Ministry Forum

Your Phone – God’s Glory is a hands-on guide meant to enable Christians anywhere to pull their phone out of their pocket and use it for the glory of God as a tool for evangelism and more.

This document provides a story-based introduction to mobile ministry as well as detailed tutorials that will enable anyone with an Android or iOS mobile device to get equipped and launch out into mobile ministry. A video series that goes along with this guide is under production, and a leader’s guide to assist trainers in presenting these materials and equipping short-termers, national believers, and missionaries is also planned.

» Learn more or download the PDF (3.2 Mb, 74 pages).

TRAINING TOOLS: Team Building Kit

Wed, 09/24/2014 - 14:20

Source: DELTA Ministries International

Looking for lessons and activities to help a short-term mission team get to know one another and learn how to work together? Check out the new Team Building Kit from DELTA Ministries. It includes complete instructions for ten helpful activities, along with all the supplies you’ll need and advice on what you can hope to accomplish with each activity or how it can be adapted. Could save you a lot of time figuring out what you need and how it will work best.

“After 35 years of preparing successful teams, DELTA Ministries International has learned that experiential activities are the most effective way to instill the basics of team dynamics: trust, communication, cooperation, spontaneity, and fun,” says the website. “Each activity can also be customized to accommodate a variety of learning styles.”

Take a look at their list of about two dozen skills mission teams need. Which ones are most important? What would you add? Are the teams you work with getting what they need?

» Learn more or purchase the kit for US$129 from DELTA.

» See also Mission Team Training: Where can I find good resources to use in training a team? (ShortTermMissions.com).

EVENTS: October Classes and Conferences

Wed, 09/24/2014 - 14:19

Source: Missions Catalyst Events Calendar

October 2, So Glad You Asked: Agencies Listening Together to Field Staff for Improved Retention and Practice (online). Missio Nexus webinar.

October 7 to November 17, Mobile Ministry Training Course (online). Six-week class. Learn how to use mobile technology for evangelism.

October 8-12, TENTmaking course (Fort Myers, FL, USA). Provided by Global Opportunities.

October 9, Millennials and Missions: Demystifying and Unleashing a Generation (online). Missio Nexus webinar.

October 10-11, Mission Fest Seattle (Edmonds, WA, USA). Free, annual, community-based mission festival for all ages.

October 16, Guidance for Deployment, Relocation and Evacuation Decisions (online). Missio Nexus webinar.

October 17-18, Support ConneXion (Beaverton, OR, USA). Be equipped to raise personal support for missions and ministry.

October 17-18, Bridges Seminar (Evansville, IN, USA). Building bridges to reach Muslims. Provided by Crescent Project.

October 18, Bridges Seminar (Lodi, CA, USA). Building bridges to reach Muslims. Provided by Crescent Project.

October 19-22, 23-26, Thrive Retreat (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania). For North American women serving cross-culturally.

October 20-24, Kairos Course (Louisville, KY, USA). One-week intensive course.

October 22, International Missions Experience without Crossing International Borders (online). Free webinar from Sixteen:Fifteen.

October 26-31, Sharpening Your Interpersonal Skills Workshop (Portland, OR, USA). Similar workshops held worldwide; learn more.

October 28-29, Support Raising Bootcamp (Fayetteville, AR, USA). Presented by Support Raising Solutions.

October 30, Sudden Re-Entry: Preparing to Care for People Who Leave the Field Prematurely (online). Missio Nexus webinar.

October 30 to November 2, TENTmaking course (Gothenburg, Sweden). Provided by Tent Norway and Global Opportunities.

» View the complete calendar and/or submit an item.

Missions Catalyst News Briefs

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 15:42

In This Issue:

  1. WORLD: How Is Islamic State Affecting Muslim Nations?
  2. SAUDI ARABIA: More than 20 Christians Arrested
  3. CHINA: Canadian Missionaries Accused of Spying
  4. INDIA: Violence against Christians in Bihar
  5. WORLD: Learn about Cultures the Fun Way

Dear readers,

This week we share more news about struggles over national identity, struggles that may have significant affect on Christians and on relationships between the people of different cultures and religions.

This week Scotland will vote on independence from the United Kingdom. The Kurds have postponed their referendum for independence to help forge a new Iraqi government. The Muslims of Mindanao have won a victory as the Philippine government has given them more autonomy. In Turkey, a government minister says Christianity is no longer a religion (able to offer peace and happiness) but simply another culture.

In a story titled Nigeria Declares Its Own Caliphate, Greg Musselman of Voice of the Martyrs Canada explores the dynamics that keep Muslim extremist groups fragmented and others that turn many Christians in extremist-dominated areas into amazing evangelists.

With so many tensions and opinions about sensitive matters, we are grateful to those who help set the record straight and expose misinformation. Hats off to INcontext Ministries for their Hoaxology page – a good place to look before passing on stories that sound too sensational.

Blessings,
Pat

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.

WORLD: How Is Islamic State Affecting Muslim Nations?

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 15:38

Source: Mission Network News, September 11, 2014

As Islamic State (IS) terrorists wreak havoc in Iraq and Syria, their actions are spurring a ripple effect.

“It’s moving across the globe,” says Bruce Allen of Forgotten Missionaries International (FMI).

FMI supports national church leaders in Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Each of these countries is now fighting Islamic State recruitment efforts. Allen says believers are fighting IS darkness with the light of Christ.

“The pastors and church planters and evangelists in these countries have a great window of opportunity,” he shares. “Especially as leaders of the Christian community in these places of darkness, we have to be people who are buoyed by confidence and who are motivated by hope.”

» Read full story, or listen to an interview with Allen.

» See also Only Known Survivor of ISIS War Atrocity Shares His Dramatic Story (GodReports; see also New York Times video coverage of this story) and Brother of Top ISIS Leader Repents, Converts to Christianity (World News Daily Report).

SAUDI ARABIA: More than 20 Christians Arrested

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 15:34

Source: The Christian Post, September 15, 2014

[More than] 20 Christians were arrested for holding a prayer meeting at a home in Saudi Arabia, where Christian churches and worship are banned. The Christians, many of them women and children, are appealing to the United States for help.

According to a report on Fox News, the Christians were arrested at the home of an Indian national in Khafji, a city in east Saudi Arabia, by hard-line Islamists from the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. Their whereabouts is unknown.

Although the Saudi government has denied having any knowledge of the arrests, the Saudi Gazette reported that the arrests took place two Fridays ago.

“Members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia), who raided the house in the city’s Aziziyah neighborhood, arrested 27 people of various Asian nationalities, including women and children, and seized copies of the Bible and various musical instruments,” said the Gazette.

» Read full story. (Note, other reports say 28 people were arrested. We were not able to confirm if any have been released.)

» Have a heart to reach out to the people of Saudi Arabia? Check out the Saudi Advocacy Network.

CHINA: Canadian Missionaries Accused of Spying

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 15:33

Source: CBN News , August 8, 2014

Chinese authorities are accusing a Canadian missionary couple of spying. Kevin and Julie Garratt own a coffee shop in Dandong, a Chinese city near the North Korean border, which they opened in 2008. Peter’s Coffee House, named after their son, made a name for itself in the city for its menu and as a place where locals could practice their English. Originally from Vancouver, the Garratts worked as teachers in southern China since 1984 before moving to Dandong and opening the popular coffee shop.

On Monday, Chinese authorities accused them of espionage and stealing state secrets. The couple had been hosting church services in their home and taking food and aid across the border into North Korea, with government permission.

The investigation comes a week after Canada accused a China-sponsored hacker of infiltrating Canada’s National Research Council.

» Read full story. See also a related story from the Wall Street Journal. Readers, do any of you know if this couple has been released?

INDIA: Violence against Christians in Bihar

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 15:32

Source: Morning Star News, September 13, 2014

Among a wave of attacks against non-Hindus since the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took power in India on May 26, a Christian couple in Bihar state required hospital treatment after Hindu extremists beat and publicly resolved to kill them.

A small band of men forcefully entered the home of Shri Lal Khatiyan in Balwanazir, Kaliyanganj, the morning of August 30, asking who had visited and calling him and his wife pagans as they beat him, according to the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI). When Khatiyan’s wife, Asha Devi, tried to intervene, they called her a slut and hit her on the head with the handle of a sickle, EFI reported.

“Asha sustained a deep cut on her head, and Lal has pain in his chest,” said a local pastor who goes by the single name of Ajayan, adding that they their injuries required hospital treatment.

Later that day, about 100 Hindu extremists with clubs stood in each corner of the village and threatened to cut into pieces any Christian who tried to leave the area to file a police complaint, area pastor Laxmi Prasad told Morning Star News.

“The Hindu extremists warned the Christians that they should not go to anyone’s house, and neither should they entertain anyone in their house,” Prasad said. “The believers somehow contacted me by telephone, and I immediately informed the area superintendent of police.”

Authorities that evening sent two policemen to provide protection to Christians.

» Read full story.

» See also a story from neighboring Pakistan, where dozens of Christians were accused of blasphemy and arrested in a dispute concerning their rights to bury their dead in an old Muslim graveyard (Voice of the Martyrs).

WORLD: Learn about Cultures the Fun Way

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 15:31

Sources: various, via Pat Noble

Finally, something on the lighter side. Last week was the first ever World Nomad Games! Hundreds of competitors from 19-20 countries met in Kyrgyzstan for five days. The president of Kyrgyzstan has deemed 2014 as the year for strengthening Kyrgyz statehood.

The Kyrgyz team set a new record for the fastest time erected a yurt. You can watch this time-lapse video of Mongolians building a ger [yurt] but know that they took a lot longer! See also a BBC slideshow from the event.

Since God loves every tribe, nation, and language, do you think we might have some ethnic games in heaven? I hope so.

How to Be Sure You’ll Never Mobilize Your Pastor for Missions

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 07:01

By Shane Bennett

Dear Missions Guy and Gal,

I know you mean well and I love your passion, I really do. But I’ve got to tell you I’m starting to scan the crowd and drift left when I see you coming from the right. I like you and all. It’s just that your advocacy for the world is becoming a little strident. Your zeal’s starting to make me daydream of making you a missionary to a galaxy far, far away.

I don’t want to be too harsh here. But it’s late on Sunday, my football team lost today and I’m not happy with my sermon this morning. So I might use my current mood to get a few things off my chest. You may want take a couple aspirin right now and put on pads and a helmet.

Here goes… Here’s how you can be sure I’m never going to be mobilized for missions:

1. Present all your requests as though they were crises. Emergencies happen. I get it. But sometimes I think maybe you just didn’t think ahead. Or when your emergency 8500 miles away is competing with eight other emergencies within a stone’s throw of the church door, it’s hard for me to prioritize yours. Heck, it’s kind of tough just to listen to it. For added anti-impact, corner me with your crisis just before the service on Sunday morning!

2. Use jargon that I should probably know, but don’t. This makes me feel dumb. Which makes me get defensive. Which leads to saying snarky stuff I later regret. Yeah, and refer to people I don’t know, but don’t explain who they are.

3. By all means, go to my wife if you’re disappointed in how I’m responding to your requests.

4. Give me books I don’t ask for, the context for which I lack, and the content I’m not interested in. Do this monthly. Then ask me if I’ve read them. Heads up: If you ask me twice, I’ll give the books back to you. That way you’ll have them to give to your new pastor.

5. Leave me out of the process. Send me a support letter that you haven’t even signed, telling me you’re off to do something the Lord’s led you to do with another organization, when we haven’t even had one conversation with each other! When you’re actually in the decision process, keep it between you and your college crew.

6. Don’t pray for me, just give me more work to do. And if you do pray, really give it to God on my behalf. Ask him to change me or re-locate me.

7. Inundate me with information, but don’t ask me questions. Don’t ask how I’m holding up or what God’s saying to me lately. Let me pull back the curtain just a bit: I’ve got all the normal family issues anyone else has. And maybe a few more “pastor family” issues, I don’t know. Plus I’m juggling the good, the bad, and the ugly at church. This week that includes the death of a child – unexpected (aren’t they always?), two dear saints going into hospice, the unplanned pregnancy of an elder’s high school daughter, the need to terminate a staff member, a decision to repair or replace the roof, and preparing a sermon on trusting God. (I’m wondering if I can live it enough to preach it.) So I feel for the persecuted church in the horn of Africa, I really do. I cry for a million displaced Syrians. I just struggle to find the energy and focus to take action.

8. Don’t serve what we’re currently doing; just tell me how our church isn’t doing all it could. It’s hard for me to believe you’re willing to bleed on the foreign mission field when you won’t even get up 30 minutes early to help us set up chairs. And honestly, how familiar with our present ministry are you? God has opened amazing doors here in our community. I’m sure it’s not all he has in mind for us. At the same time, I don’t accept the feeling I get from you sometimes that ministry doesn’t count unless it’s a certain number of miles away from home.

9. Ask me if your missionary friend can speak to whole church. Then get that hurt look on your face when I question if he’s really qualified for that!

10. Ask me to go with you on a three-week-trip to the craziest parts of the world. (Me paying, of course!) Then that hurt look on your face again when I hesitate!

11. When you email me about the cool thing you’d like us to invest in, be sure to bad-mouth eight other similar things. This will feed my insecurity and make me wonder how you speak about me to your missions friends.

12. Tell me missions is what’s really on the heart of God. You and I both know I haven’t preached a missions series in two or three years. The implied distance between God’s heart and mine will be clear.

One last thing: Some of us see the giving records, you know. Are you really asking me to allocate church funds to missions when, as far as I can tell, you’re doing nothing to fund the church?

OK, this is more direct honesty than you usually get from me, but I thought you should know. And you should know this as well: None of these issues is forever. Any of them, in fact all of them, can start being different tomorrow morning. I hope they will.

Sincerely, hopefully,

Your pastor

P.S. If you really want to get me connected to the Muslim world, do this: Fly my wife and me to Turkey for a week’s vacation. Include a day and a half kicking around with your missionary friend there. Just a day and a half.

» Comment on this article on our website.

Photo: Creative Commons image from State Library of Victoria.

About Shane Bennett

Shane has been loving Muslims and connecting people who love Jesus with Muslims for more than 20 years. He speaks like he writes – in a practical, humorous, and easy-to-relate-to way – about God’s passion to bring all peoples into his kingdom. Contact Shane to speak to your people.

Subversive Mobilization: Starting a Church Missions Team

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 07:00

I’m excited about a meeting coming up in a few days in which some friends and I will dream and scheme about starting a missions team for a really cool church I love!

Would you give me the gift of responding to these two questions?

  1. What pitfalls should I watch for as we begin this process?
  2. What should we definitely do early on?

Even if you’ve never commented before, I’d value your thoughts and your time to record them below.

If you’re in a remotely similar situation, you’ll love the brief, insightful ebook, How to Operate an Effective Missions Leadership Team in Your Church. It was written by my hero, mobilization master David Mays, who’s now resting with Jesus.

Missions Catalyst News Briefs

Wed, 09/03/2014 - 10:25

In This Issue:

  1. AFGHANISTAN: Election Crisis
  2. MIDDLE EAST: Media Fueling Terror Threats
  3. WORLD: Bad News, Good News
  4. LAOS: Five Christians Accused of Murder Found Not Guilty
  5. YEMEN: Woman Burned to Death for Her Faith

Dear readers,

Lately I have been thinking about influencers and other leaders and those they recruit and lead.

You have probably heard about the foreign fighters in Syria (Your Middle East). Take a peek into the life of a Tajik recruit (Inter Press Service). Use it as fuel for prayer!

We are often told to pray for our leaders (those in authority). A kingdom worker in the Republic of Congo had an amazing sovereign appointment with one. See also 10 Muslim Leaders You Need to Know to Better Understand the Spiritual Battle (InContext Ministries).

Pray, too, for Afghanistan. September 2 was to have been the inauguration of the first democratically elected president. The UN has delayed the audit of a disputed election in that country, see story below, and pray for Afghanistan and its future leaders. Lebanon is also currently without a president, a situation that has increased a sense of insecurity for that nation’s Christians.

When I think of influencers, my thoughts naturally turn to newscasters and media. Some of today’s news pundits seem nothing more than what I call secular preachers, but journalists can be a different breed. Eddie Arthur expresses my own feelings in his blog post In Praise of Journalists. I wonder if he read about Ilgar Nasibov, the Azeri journalist beaten unconscious (Note: graphic image). If you’d like to pray for journalists, check out the Committee to Protect Journalists.

In the battle with you,
Pat

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.

AFGHANISTAN: Election Crisis

Wed, 09/03/2014 - 10:17

Source: Email from Prayercast, August 31, 2014

Currently overshadowed by other situations in the Middle East, the nation of Afghanistan faces a mounting crisis. Results from June’s election remain contested with claims of fraud on both sides. Tensions are high as this fragile nation stands on the brink of an outbreak of further violence. With over 30 years of continuous war and upheaval, Afghanistan desperately awaits true peace.

Known as the world’s most dangerous place for a child to be born, Afghanistan is a nation that has seen much suffering. The Taliban’s removal brought an increased freedom to a broken nation, but the wounds remain deep. With more than 48,000 mosques covering the countryside, 99.9% of Afghanis are Muslim. Yet God is moving mountains to draw them to himself! Twenty years ago only dozens claimed Christ; today there are believed to be several thousand.

» Pray for Afghanistan.

MIDDLE EAST: Media Fueling Terror Threats

Wed, 09/03/2014 - 10:11

Source: Mission Network News, August 29, 2014

More threats are coming out of radical Islam. Middle East expert with E3 Partners Tom Doyle says we need to be careful what we believe. “Lots of it is false. Lots of it is to tie up the government. Lots of it is to produce fear in the hearts of people. Look at the obsessive news coverage that we’re seeing. These guys are pretty savvy with media.”

Doyle points to the James Foley murder as an example of that. “Everything was rehearsed and scripted. To be able to be put out and tied to Guantanamo Bay, the way he was dressed and with an English-speaking Muslim. All of that is done to just show fear.”

It reminds him of the Assyrian Empire, who did the same thing. Entire villages would kill themselves knowing the Assyrians were coming.

Doyle points to another example. “This week there was an e-mail going around saying the Christians were being lined up and being beheaded. That didn’t happen. Someone put that out. We need to be careful. Christians shouldn’t live in a state of fear, but we need to be prepared.”

» Read full story.

WORLD: Bad News, Good News

Wed, 09/03/2014 - 10:05

Source: Erich Bridges, International Mission Board, August 26, 2014

The cascade of grim global headlines overwhelmed a friend of mine recently. He announced that he couldn’t take it anymore — at least until tomorrow.

“I don’t know why I care,” he wrote. “I don’t know why I bother. I check the news. Bad. All bad. Unless the news is horrible, it’s bad. Why care? Why bother? Why not just play ‘Angry Birds’ and pretend it doesn’t affect me? It sounds easier.”

Despite his frustration and discouragement, I know he won’t stop reading, watching, caring, and praying. He’s an intelligent and compassionate young man, for one thing. He’s concerned about world affairs. He makes a point of keeping up with what’s happening and tries to understand it.

Another young person I know returned recently from a youth mission trip to Amsterdam, the Dutch capital. She and the group arrived there the same week in July that Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down over Ukraine, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew. Two-thirds of the passengers were Dutch. People on the streets of Amsterdam were just beginning to experience the shock of the tragedy as the youth team walked through the city and distributed more than 6,000 copies of the Gospel of John.

Some people they encountered rejected the small gifts of truth. But many accepted it — many more than the Amsterdam-based Christian worker helping the young people expected — and they began reading it. Perhaps they were looking for something to hold onto, something to hope in.

» Read full article.

» Read also these articles about our world: World’s Top Church-Destroying Countries (Christianity Today) and a report from InContext Ministries about how the influence of various countries is viewed, positively or negatively, by the rest of the world. And see this great, concise piece from Asia Harvest, God’s Solution to Terrorism. Part one addresses the “real cause of global terrorism.” Look for part two in next month’s Asia Harvest newsletter.

LAOS: Five Christians Accused of Murder Found Not Guilty

Wed, 09/03/2014 - 10:04

Source: Barnabas Fund, August 21, 2014

A group of Christians in Laos who were falsely accused of murder have been found not guilty. The believers, who remain in custody, were arrested after a sick woman sought prayer at her local church, converted to Christianity, and later died. The five Christians, four of whom are church leaders, have been detained since June 24.

The accusations came after Mrs. Chan, a convert to Christianity, passed away on June 21. Mrs. Chan had been suffering from an unidentified illness for two years, and local Christians prayed for her recovery. After her health initially improved, Mrs. Chan and her eight children became Christians and began attending church. Mrs. Chan’s health then deteriorated further, and she died on the way home from hospital.

Mrs. Chan’s sons and daughters wanted a Christian burial for their mother. When the village authorities prevented this from going ahead, Mrs. Kaithong, the leader of the Saisomboon church, appealed to the district chief. The five believers were then arrested, initially over the burial dispute, and later charged with murder. Buddhist leaders stepped in and conducted Mrs. Chan’s funeral service against her family’s wishes.

» Read full story.

» Interested in East Asia? We’ve been following stories about Christianity in China. See China Plans Establishment of Christian Theology (China Daily) and Why Is China Nationalizing Christianity? (The Diplomat), as well as China Removed More than 200 Crosses (Worthy News).

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