Missions Catalyst

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BOOK: Critical Questions to Ask Before Going Overseas

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 07:06

Source: Equipping Servants International

Mission Smart: 15 Critical Questions to Ask Before Launching Overseas, by David L. Frazier. Equipping Servants International, 2013. 192 pages.

Those of us with a passion and position to mobilize the next generation of cross-cultural laborers sometimes forget that not everyone who volunteers to go has the calling, gifts, self-knowledge, training, and church support to make it as a cross-cultural missionary. David Frazier’s book encourages both goers and senders to slow down and confront unhealthy idealism. It takes a look at the gaps and asks 15 critical questions about missionary appointment, preparation, placement, and care. The book’s goal is to reduce attrition and send out well-prepared workers who understand their callings and are prepared to thrive cross-culturally.

Mission Smart also includes thoughtful questions and assignments for missionary candidates to work through with a mentor.

» Purchase from Amazon for US$11.70; US$9.99 for the Kindle edition.

PODCAST: Crescent Project Radio

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 07:05

Source: Crescent Project

Love Muslims? Listen to podcasts? Check out Crescent Project Radio, which airs every Wednesday night on Revival Radio WROL 950, a Christian radio station in Boston, Massachusetts.

Crescent Project is a nation-wide U.S. Christian ministry focused on equipping the Church to share the gospel with Muslims. Launched in January of 2014, Crescent Project radio is a half-hour program featuring powerful teaching, testimony, and truth about God’s miraculous movement in the Muslim world and how we as Christians can join him in this kingdom work.

One recent broadcast, dated August 22, explores the growing phenomenon of Christian women turning to Islam through relationships with Muslim men. Host Matt Bonner interviews one such woman and shares his findings about how and why this is happening and resources available to help.

» Learn more or listen to broadcasts on the Crescent Project website or subscribe in iTunes.

DOCUMENTARY: In the House of Islam

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 07:04

Source: World Christian

We’ve mentioned David Garrison’s book A Wind in the House of Islam several times. But did you know there’s now a documentary version? The DVD, In the House of Islam, provides an overview of Islam, the history of Christian-Muslim relations, and stories of the unprecedented movement of Muslims to Jesus occurring in our lifetime.

The same DVD includes a 17-minute version as well as 30- and 56-minute versions, and is produced by the video-sharing ministry, YWAM Organic.

» Learn more or purchase the DVD for US$18.39 from World Christian.

BOOK: Stories of Transformation from Kyrgyzstan

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 07:02

Source: Pioneers USA

God is transforming lives in Kyrgyzstan. A Pioneers worker serving in that country felt called to collect the testimonies of believers in Jesus from Muslim backgrounds, interviewed more than 100 of them (mostly Kyrgyz and Uzbek), and published this collection of 60 testimonies.

They Loved Not Their Lives: Stories of Transformation from Kyrgyzstan was originally published in the Kyrgyz language and with a local audience in mind, so even the English translation feels a bit rough. It does, however, include a helpful introduction and footnotes for non-English terminology. It also paints an accurate picture of common struggles and obstacles for Central Asians coming to Christ (including misconceptions that Christians worship three gods, ignore their parents, or have “sold” their religion to become Russians).

» Learn more or download the free ebook.

VIDEO: God’s Heart for the Nations

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 07:01

Source: WEC International

The UK’s Saltmine Players produced this video, a dramatic reading of scriptures about God’s heart for the nations, for a Keswick Convention event. Enjoy!

EVENTS: September Classes and Conferences

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 07:00

Source: Missions Catalyst Events Calendar

September 8 to December 7, Encountering the World of Islam course (online). This 12-week course is offered several times a year.

September 5-6, Missions Fest Pretoria (Pretoria, South Africa). Free, community-based conference in the Missions Fest tradition.

September 11, How Should We Define Missions? (online). Free webinar from sixteen:fifteen.

September 12-14, The Journey Deepens (Canby, OR, USA). Weekend retreat for prospective missionaries.

September 14 to November 16, Ministering in a Multicultural World (San Jose, CA, USA). Ten-week Sunday-evening class on cultural awareness and skills.

September 16-22, Traction Conference for Men (Interlaken, Switzerland). For men who serve in cross-cultural settings, hosted by Catalyst International.

September 17-18, Support Raising Bootcamp (Charlotte, NC, USA). Presented by Support Raising Solutions.

September 17-20, Offering Healing and Hope for Children in Crisis: Trauma and Crisis Care (Englewood, CO, USA). Seminar from Crisis Care Training International.

September 19-21, IBAM Impact Conference (Minneapolis, MN, USA). Take the next step in Business as mission.

September 23-25, International Society for Frontier Missiology (Atlanta, GA, USA).

September 25-26, Mission Finance and Administration Conference (Atlanta, GA, USA). Provided by MissioNexus.

September 25-27, Mission Leaders Conference (Atlanta, GA, USA). Provided by MissioNexus.

September 26-28, The Journey Deepens (Charlotte, NC, USA). Weekend retreat for prospective missionaries.

September 26-29, Experiencing Partnering Workshop (Dallas, TX, USA). Develop a partnering approach to ministry. Provided by International Partnering Associates.

September 27, Bridges Seminar (Cleveland, OH, USA). Building bridges to reach Muslims. Provided by Crescent Project.

September 30 to October 20, 21 Days for Global Harvest (international). Prayer campaign organized by the SVM2.

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

Missions Catalyst News Briefs

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 06:10

In This Issue:

  1. EDITOR’S NOTE: Taking Risks
  2. LIBERIA: Ebola Giving Christ Center Stage
  3. NIGERIA: Market Price for a Christian’s Life
  4. UKRAINE: Christians Captured and Killed
  5. MIDDLE EAST: Children at Risk
  6. SAUDI ARABIA: Is God at Work?
For additional news, see our Twitter feed.

Dear readers, 

I’ve been thinking about risk: those at risk, those who take risks, and those for whom life has become too risky. You may have heard our local story about the Amish girls kidnapped and miraculously released. This happened about 10 miles from my home. Then there are the girls still missing in Nigeria, the Christian and Yazidi women and children in Iraq, and many in Gaza and Syria. What about the children who risk all to cross a border because life in their home country is far worse? How do we “think Christianly” about this?

Also hotly debated in the news are those who take risks, like missionaries that get Ebola, saints like the Vicar of Bagdad, and those that run to the battle.

I once heard it said that the risk ratio is the wrong number to look at if we wish to quantify risk. Rather, we should measure what might be gained by taking that risk. This way of quantifying risk is more useful when deciding if a risk is good or bad. John Piper says it better in his book, Risk Is Right:

“There are a thousand ways to magnify Christ in life and death. None should be scorned. All are important. But none makes the worth of Christ shine more brightly than sacrificial love for other people in the name of Jesus.”


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.

LIBERIA: Ebola Giving Christ Center Stage

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 06:06

Source: Mission Network News, August 11, 2014

It’s now being called a “public health emergency of international concern.” We’re talking about Ebola. While you may not think it’ll affect you, the World Health Organization (WHO) made that statement to wake you up to the problem. WHO says Ebola took an additional 29 lives between Tuesday and Wednesday alone. Their report indicates Ebola has killed 961 people and sickened 1,779 others. This makes it the worst outbreak in history.

Two U.S. citizens, medical missionaries with SIM International Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, have been brought to United States for treatment.

In a statement release by Dr. Brantly, he said, “We went to Liberia because we believe God called us to serve him at ELWA Hospital. One thing I have learned is that following God often leads us to unexpected places. When Ebola spread into Liberia, my usual hospital work turned more and more toward treating the increasing number of Ebola patients. I held the hands of countless individuals as this terrible disease took their lives away from them. I witnessed the horror firsthand, and I can still remember every face and name.”

Since these Americans have contracted the disease, [SIM USA President Bruce] Johnson says doctors have responded by volunteering to go to Liberia to serve. “It’s that kind of sacrificial spirit that’s been such an encouragement to me, and I think really has been an encouragement to the whole church to see the sacrifice and willingness of our brothers and sisters to do that.”

Johnson says he could never have imagined being in the middle of this international media firestorm. SIM has been on many major television and radio networks. “We feel God is saying, ‘Express my glory through this,’ both in testimony as well as to help the U.S. government and other governments.”

» Read full story.

» See also Why Missionaries Put Their Lives on the Line (CNN

NIGERIA: Market Price for a Christian’s Life

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 06:05

Source: Jubilee Campaign

Seven suspected Boko Haram men alleged to have masterminded the attack on Ekklizivar Yan’uwa A Nigeria (EYN) Church in Biu, Borno State recently said they were paid N7, 000 [Nigerian Naira, local currency] each to carry out the attack which left no fewer than three worshipers dead.

One of the seven suspects, Ibrahim Mohammed Babangida, who spoke with journalists from his custody said one Magaji Bala, a butcher paid him to carry out the dastardly act.

“I was sleeping in my house when Magaji called me and handed over N7,000 to me for the operation,” he said, even as one of the suspects also corroborated the claim. The suspects told newsmen in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, yesterday that they were butchers by profession in Biu Market and were picked up in their different houses in Biu by the JTF operatives.

The suspects also claimed to hail from Jigawa and Katsina states, adding that they came to Biu, about 187 kilometers to Maiduguri and South of Borno, to eke a living.

So how much is 7000 Naira? It is about US$45. That is how much the life of a Christian in Nigeria is worth these days.

» Read full story.

» See also a Jubilee Campaign interview with one of the kidnapped girls in Nigeria (YouTube) and read Boko Haram Terrorists Find Salvation (WIN Reporter).

UKRAINE: Christians Captured and Killed

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 06:04

Source: ASSIST News Service, August 7, 2014

Four young volunteers with Far East Broadcasting Company (FEBC) who were recently captured by pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine were brutally beaten to death simply for being Christians, according to a report from the organization last week.

“These men volunteered for FEBC with zeal, passionately helping to spread the Gospel throughout Ukraine,” the organization reported. We are deeply saddened and shocked.”

According to a report from National Religious Broadcasters (NRB), just weeks prior to this horrific tragedy, FEBC’s Eastern Ukrainian broadcast tower in Slavyansk – that for months has been in the middle of the fighting between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian central government – was shot down and completely destroyed.

While FEBC is still broadcasting in Western Ukraine and reaching millions there, they are now looking for a new location to resume broadcasting to Eastern Ukraine.

“We are doing everything we can to give hope to people in a seemingly hopeless situation, but more than ever, we are desperate for your prayers and for God to move in the lives of the people of Ukraine,” the ministry shared last week.

“Please pray for those who continue to serve and risk their lives every day to see the gospel go forth. Pray for peace in Russia and Ukraine.”

» Read full story.

» Also watch the video In the Midst, about Ukrainians finding new life in Christ, and read several related stories, including Crisis Draws a Nation Back to God (Commission Stories).

MIDDLE EAST: Children at Risk

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 06:04

Source: Stand4Kids, August 19, 2014

In the ongoing, violent conflict between Israel and Hamas, almost 2,000 people have been killed (as of August 10). The majority of those killed were civilians in Gaza, including 452 children. More than 2,800 Palestinian children have been injured in the violence. Over a half million people have been displaced.

  • Pray for those on both sides of this conflict who are grieving the loss of loved ones. Pray for God’s comforting peace to surround and sustain them.
  • Please pray for the thousands of children and families made homeless in Gaza. Pray for those in Israel who have had to abandon their homes and communities.
  • Pray God will bring healing to the hundreds of thousands of children who’ve seen horrors no child should ever have to witness. Pray for children who have already lived through multiple wars in their short lifetimes.
  • Please pray for a comprehensive and lasting ceasefire agreement between Israeli troops and Hamas militants. Give God thanks for the previous ceasefires that have allowed more humanitarian aid into Gaza.
  • Pray the diplomatic talks in Cairo, Egypt will bear fruit; that mediators will reach a peace agreement that stops this devastating conflict. Pray for a sustainable peace in this region.

» Read full story. If you’re interested, sign up for weekly updates from Stand4Kids on how to pray for at-risk children around the world.

SAUDI ARABIA: Is God at Work?

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 06:03

Source: Arab World Media, August 15, 2014

Saudis are taught from a very young age that Islam is the only true religion and that the Christian Bible is corrupt. Anyone who questions these basic teachings faces harassment and harsh penalties from their family and acquaintances. Sometimes it results in their death. You can imagine, therefore, how difficult it is for them to change their mind about these things or even to express an opinion on the subject.

But regardless of the penalties, Saudis are responding to Christian media. This month our video of a Saudi man’s testimony has continued to generate a large number of comments and inquiries. There are several known local believers and many of them came to faith at least partly through Christian media. Since Sharia law includes the death penalty for leaving Islam, local believers must use extreme caution in telling others about their new faith. Many attempt to leave Saudi Arabia to avoid detection.

Our prayer is that God will touch the hearts of relatives and friends of these Saudi believers so that they too will believe, and that the Christian church will be birthed in Saudi Arabia.

You may think that it is not possible for foreigners to live in Saudi, or at least, that if they do, everything must be forbidden. But I am happy to say that I have lived here for ten years with my husband and children and I love it!

» Read full story.

A Dozen Ways You Can Summon and Release the Next Generation of Global Christians

Wed, 08/13/2014 - 10:14

By Shane Bennett

As the father of four daughters, it’s been impressed upon me that different people think differently. What seems entirely sensible to me does not make similar sense to everyone, apparently! In some cases, it doesn’t make sense to anyone in our house. And the crazy thing is, unless the sense-difference results in tears (not at all uncommon), I might not even notice it.

What if that dynamic is at work on a broad scale as we invite people into God’s global purposes? On the one hand, we have a huge, manpower-intensive task before us in reaching the couple billion people who presently have little or no access to the gospel. (Justin Long unfolds the task brilliantly and soberly.)

On the other hand, the U.S. is home to more than 95 million Millennials, the generation born between 1982 and 2000. If you live in another country, maybe you’ve noticed them there, too! Some percentage of them love Jesus and wouldn’t be totally put off by a relevant invitation to get some skin in the Great Commission game. But what if the “relevant invitation” that makes sense to me (straddling the frontier between the Boomer and Gen X generations), doesn’t, like, work for them?

This is more than marketing. God help us, we don’t need Millennials to buy our stuff. But we certainly need them to take up the mantle for reaching unreached Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, and others. If you’re under 32, please copy and paste this line into the comments section (below) and fill in the blank: “Seriously? If you want me to jump into God’s purposes with you, you need to…” If you’re older than 32, here are a dozen things I already know we should keep in mind as we invite Millennials to follow us as we follow Jesus.

1. Learn how they tick.

Sign up for the MissioNexus webinar on October 9 during which Jim Raymo, co-author of Millenials and Mission, will give you the real scoop! Or, you could get the book. In the meantime…

2. Invite them in.

Nothing beats laying down your phone, leaning in over a coffee-stained table, looking someone right in the eyes, and asking them to go do a certain job in a specific hard place among a truly beautiful people.

Turns out that also bestows great honor on the invited, and it’s closely related to number three:

3. Unleash their latent capacity.

Peter says in his first letter, “Based on the gift each one has received, use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God.” The Holy Spirit has put gifts in the lives of Jesus-loving Millennials. Do you recognize their gifts and skills? Our job is to help them see those and connect the dots to productive global service.

As we do this, we’ve got to invite Millennials to lead and also give them room to fail.

4. Teach them to raise money and to make money.

The movements we long to see in the world will be funded not only with raised funds, but by hard work paid by the hour. People catalyzing those movements need to be familiar and skilled in both.

5. Motivate with the Bible, the world, and a big God.

We shouldn’t be surprised if Millennials need more than an accurate exposition of the Great Commission to get in the game. Couple biblical mandate and authority with a vision of solving big-time global problems. Place these both under the umbrella of a big God bent on remaking the cosmos and we’ll find Millennials rising to the challenge.

6. Hire one to get the rest.

In What the Church Can Learn from Jimmy Fallon, Tiffany DeLuccia talks about NBC’s brilliance in hiring Fallon to replace Jay Leno in their premier late-night time slot: “They invested in a person who could authentically speak to a different generation, who could make them laugh and make them want to share their laughs with a friend.”

We might see success that mirrors their ratings bump if we hired Millennials to mobilize Millennials.

7. Recognize that friends bring friends.

Youth with a Mission recently surveyed 186 of their global staff. When asked to list all the factors that influenced their decision to join YWAM, almost everyone cited a friend’s leverage in their decision to join. Only five percent cited a missions event or conference.

How can we encourage people to invite their friends to jump in?

8. Embrace the appeal of diversity.

When we moved back to Colorado from England, our then-twelve-year-old son looked around our town and asked, “Where are all the black people?” Millennials form the most racially diverse generation in American history; more than four out of ten are non-white.

When they look at your agency or church, does it feel really white?

9. Make cross-generational connections.

Drew Dyck, managing editor of Leadership Journal and author of Yawning at Tigers, says, “Intergenerational relationships are crucial. The number one predictive factor as to whether or not a young Christian will retain his or her faith is whether that person has a meaningful relationship with an older Christian.”

We’ll see a similar benefit in Millennials staying connected to the Great Commission if we also connect them with older mentors.

10. Open your network.

One of the greatest gifts an older person can give to a younger person is access. You know people succeeding in a variety of fields and a plethora of cross-cultural situations. Consider introducing newcomers to veterans of similar focus and passion. As a bridge, you can tell a smart, successful older person that it’s OK, beneficial even, to give some time and attention to a future (apparently distant future) rock star. Cast the vision: “I know he talks kind of funny and he only owns one pair of pants, but I think you two could accomplish some good stuff together.”

11. You think what?!?

You see it coming don’t you? Maybe you’ve already experienced it: You’re sitting in the lunch room, someone’s decrying the latest court ruling allowing same-sex marriage, and your sharp, young mobilization director (see number 6 above) says softly, “What’s the big deal anyway? Why are we so concerned about this?” Or your brochure-worthy evangelist, reviewing with you the future of the fourth church she’s helped start, confesses that she’s both gay and not inclined to leave the work God is obviously blessing.

Millennials are living through tidal shifts in culture and thinking differently from many of us in significant ways. How do we respond? How can we get ready for this?

11. Know that smart phone’s not going away.

Expect that technology will play a bigger part in a Millennial’s life than yours. We also need to check the assumption that technology is a distraction or an inferior way of relating. While we’re at it, let’s add live-chat to our websites! I totally believe that will lead to more coffee-shop opps (see number 2 above).

12. Foster holy hookups.

Millennials are marrying later and doing so out of a greater context of broken relationships than previous generations. Without rushing people to marriage, how can we provide relationship counsel and help them through the minefields and decisions? How can we offer opportunities to meet like-minded Jesus followers? For starters, how about, “Go on a short-term trip with us and get a free six-month membership to CalledTogether.us”?


God will accomplish his global purposes, his kingdom will come, and I love to watch as coming generations rise up to run their leg of the race. May he give those of us who need it grace to listen well, open the door, and get out of the way. And to you who are stepping into the fray, success to you beyond what we all together have ever asked or dreamed.

» Comment on this article below.

Photo: Creative Commons image from quinn.anya.

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.

Missions Catalyst News Briefs

Wed, 08/06/2014 - 14:05

In this issue: Schisms and signs of solidarity

Dear Readers,

Recent headlines are filled with story after story about conflicts between cultural and religious groups; see stories below. This brings to my mind a book by one of my favorite analysts, Richard Swenson, titled Hurtling toward Oblivion: A Logical Argument for the End of the Age. Are things getting worse?

I’m also reading Steve Addison’s Movements that Change the World. Though I’m not known to be a pessimist, I can’t help but think: Is it too little too late?

Maybe both can be true in the end. Doesn’t scripture give us both narratives, that it gets better and that it gets worse? An article on the Evangelical persecution complex asserts that among Christians, a sense of victimization may be exaggerated with results that are dangerous or at least distracting.

Some of the conflicts seem to be rooted in the desire of more and more groups to be separated from those they consider to be “other.” Identity and self-determination or freedom will probably be driving forces in both movements to Christ and the race to destruction. One thing is for sure: The next generation will be key. The children of Syria and Gaza are being taught very early that death is better than being swallowed up by the “other.” Watch the video Syrian Children on the Frontline (jump to the 10-minute mark to hear from the children).

Solidarity is a beacon of hope in this tumultuous time. I was encouraged by a seven-minute video from YWAM New Zealand, Resolutions to Impact the World (shared by INcontext Ministries). Whether you believe we are hurtling toward oblivion or seeing movements to Christ that will change our world, please watch this video and resolve to impact the world that God “so loves.”

Standing in solidarity with you,

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.

IRAQ: From Symbol of Terror to Sign of Solidarity

Wed, 08/06/2014 - 13:46

Source: Assyrian International News Agency, August 8, 2014

Assyrian people in Fairfield [Australia] and across the globe have changed their profile picture on social media to the Arabic letter “N” in a show of support for people being persecuted by Islamic State terrorists in northern Iraq.

On July 19, Christians in the city of Mosul and on the surrounding Nineveh Plains were issued with an ultimatum to leave, pay a tax, or face death by the sword. The next day IS fighters drew the Arabic letter “N” on all property owned by Assyrian Christians.

Nasrani is the Arabic word for Christian and the letter was being used in a way that harkened back to the Nazis’ use of the Jewish star before World War II.

Within days Assyrian Christians were changing their profile picture and over the course of the week T-shirts proclaiming #WeAreN were being sold. An effort to send aid to those displaced by the conflict also got underway. Twenty-three-year-old Steven Barkho of Cecil Hills was one of the thousands of people [and many more worldwide] who changed his profile picture. “We didn’t think it would go viral as quickly as it has,” he said. “It isn’t just Assyrians changing their profile picture, it’s Christians and other people everywhere. For me it is just a way of saying to ISIS, ‘If you want to go for these people you have to come for us.’”

» Read full story, and see Assyrians Demonstrate Worldwide against ISIS Persecution.

» See also In Pictures: Iraq United vs Islamic State (Al Jazeera). Also note that today (August 6), a Global Day of Prayer for Iraqi Christians has been called.

PHILIPPINES: Village of Christians Seeks Exclusion from Islamic Region

Wed, 08/06/2014 - 13:30

Source: Worthy News, August 4, 2014

A Christian town in Mindanao is protesting its incorporation into the newly created, semi-independent Islamic region of Bangsamoro in the Philippines, according to Barnabas Aid.

Wao’s mayor, Elvino Balicao, is seeking an exemption from Bangsamoro’s Islamic law and has asked that his town remain directly under the administration of the Philippine government.

Wao is located in the middle of the Muslim-majority province of Lanao del Sur; Wao is the only Christian-majority town in the province.

After a decades-long insurgency, the Philippines signed off on a peace deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to establish Bangsamoro.

» Read full story.

GAZA: Church Bells Silenced

Wed, 08/06/2014 - 13:26

Source: Mission Network News, August 4, 2014

Church bells have been silenced at a small Baptist church in Gaza. Since the region has turned into a war zone over the past few weeks, the small Baptist community is no longer holding church services.

An Open Doors contact shares: “We considered having a church service in our church on Sunday during the ceasefire. But since it became very clear that the ceasefire was not being kept, we decided it was irresponsible to meet together in the church.”

To encourage each other, the members of the church stay in touch with each other through telephone—if the lines are working—and also through organizing house meetings.

Apart from the Baptist church, the only two other active churches in all the Gaza Strip are the Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches. Both churches have welcomed refugees from areas in Gaza that have taken heavy incoming artillery fire. Among the 1.7 million Muslims, there are approximately 1,500-2,000 Christians.

» Read full story and a related story on the emotional and spiritual toll of the war in Gaza.

»See also Colin Chapman’s analysis piece, Trying to Make Sense of Gaza (The Institute of Middle East Studies).

INDIA: Non-Hindu Religious Activity Banned in More than 50 Villages

Wed, 08/06/2014 - 13:18

Source: Morning Star News, July 21, 2014

Church leaders in India have asked national and Chhattisgarh state officials to reverse a ban on non-Hindu religious activity that more than 50 villages have reportedly adopted.

The resolutions were passed under the pretext of stopping alleged forcible conversions of Hindus. Belar village banned all non-Hindu activities in a council meeting on July 6, after about a dozen villages adopted a similar resolution in Sirisguda village on May 10 that included a ban on non-Hindu missionaries.

“To stop the forced conversion by some outsiders religious campaigners and to prevent them from using derogatory language against Hindu deities and customs, the Sirisguda Gram Sabha [Village Council] bans religious activities such as prayers, meetings and propaganda of non-Hindu religions,” the resolution states.

“This resolution goes against the ethos of the constitution, which guarantees to everyone the right to equality and freedom of religion,” said attorney Tehmina Arora of religious rights group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) of India.

» Read full story.

» See also Indian Villages Outlaw Christian Practices (World Watch Monitor).

SRI LANKA: Buddhists Launch Anti-Christian Campaign

Wed, 08/06/2014 - 12:53

Source: Barnabas Fund, July 15, 2014

A hardline Buddhist group in Sri Lanka launched a four-day campaign against “Christian fundamentalism” in the country as Christians face vicious attacks in ongoing efforts to stop their activities. Buddhist groups such as the Ravana Balaya are becoming increasingly militant in Sri Lanka, and as their agenda gathers greater support, attacks on Christians are becoming more frequent. In two recent incidents, Christians were hospitalized with injuries sustained in mob violence.

» Read full story.

» The phenomenon of militant Buddhism in Sri Lanka is not limited to anti-Christian activity, but also includes violence against Muslims.