- USA: Revival Springs up at Another American University
- Morocco: Ways to Pray for Marrakesh
- Afghanistan: Taliban Detains 18 People for Promoting Christianity
- India: Violence in Manipur Has Reached “a Breaking Point”
- South Asia: A Shiva Devotee Has a Change of Heart
Read or share the email edition, or scroll down for stories.
Thousands of Auburn University students attended a worship event that ended in the unplanned baptism of hundreds in a nearby lake as students responded to the gospel. See story below.
Source: God Reports, September 14, 2023
God is moving on college campuses across the country. Revival hit campuses like Asbury University, Lee University, and Samford University earlier this year. And now Auburn University students are testifying that God moved at an event earlier this week that still has them “speechless and in awe.”
Thousand of students at Auburn packed out Neville Arena on [September 12] to worship and praise Jesus, but an impromptu baptism that started with one student wanting to be baptized grew to roughly 200 people who decided to give their lives to Christ.
“I’ve seen Auburn basketball beat Kentucky. I’ve seen Auburn football beat Alabama, but I have never seen something like I did Tuesday night,” Auburn University senior Michael Floyd told WFSA12 News.
More than 5,000 people showed up to Unite Auburn’s “Night of Worship.” The campus ministry’s outreach was created to bring the Alabama school’s Christian community together for a night of worship. It featured guest speakers New York Times Best Selling Author Jennie Allen and Pastor Jonathan Pokluda, and worship was led by Passion Music.
Allen shared on Instagram that toward the end of the night, she felt led to ask students if they wanted to be baptized.
“I finished a message at Auburn and was off stage, and a student texted the pastor beside me they wanted to be baptized tonight. So I went back on stage and asked if anyone else wanted to trust Christ and be baptized,” she explained.
“Dozens raised their hands,” Allen added.
There wasn’t a tub to baptize the students, so thousands of people headed over to a lake at Auburn’s Red Barn.
“They circled the lake, and 6-10 of us were in the water baptizing hundreds,” Allen described.
Read the full story and another from God Reports, Bigger than Asbury Revival Unfolding in This Majority Muslim Country (spoiler: It’s Guinea-Bissau). See also 100s of Students Baptized After Worship Service on Auburn University Campus (Dennison Forum).
There’s a new book about the Asbury revival. Check out Taken by Surprise by Asbury’s Mark R. Elliott.
Source: 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World, September 12, 2023
In the early hours of the morning on September 8, 2023, a magnitude 6.8+ earthquake struck Morocco’s Marrakesh–Safi region. The earthquake’s epicenter was located 70 km southwest of Marrakesh, near the Oukaïmeden ski resort in the Atlas Mountains.
The earthquake caused widespread damage in the region, with more than 2,500 people killed and over 2,000 injured. Many buildings were destroyed, including homes, schools, and mosques. The earthquake also caused landslides and rockfalls, which blocked roads and made it difficult for rescue workers to reach affected areas.Updates from around the world:
- Morocco Earthquake: Such Magnitude Unusual for Country (BBC)
- Morocco Earthquake Updates: Death Toll Near 3,000 as Rescuers Reach More Towns (Al Jazeera)
- Fear and Trembling in Ouarzazate: Notes From the Foothills of Morocco’s Atlas Mountains (Morocco World News)
The earthquake is the deadliest to hit Morocco in more than a century. It is a reminder of the country’s vulnerability, even though the last major earthquake in Morocco occurred in 1960 when a magnitude 6.7 earthquake killed more than 12,000 people.
- Pray for comfort for families and friends of victims and for families and communities torn apart by the destruction.
- Pray for peace and healing as the nation deals with the aftermath of the earthquake and families struggle to rebuild.
- Pray for Moroccans to be open to the Good News and for the church to be a blessing in this time of need.
Read the full story or see more pictures (Christian Post). See how Moroccan Christians are serving others following the earthquake (Christianity Today).
We can pray in much the same way for Libya, where thousands more were killed in recent floods (International Christian Concern).
Source: Christian Headlines, September 18, 2023
The Taliban has detained 18 workers, including one American, in Afghanistan for allegedly preaching Christianity. The International Assistance Mission (IAM), a Swiss nonprofit group, said the Taliban stormed its office in Ghor twice and abducted 18 workers, The New York Post reports.
Three workers were taken in the first raid on September 3, and 15 were taken in the second raid on September 13.
IAM said it was “unaware of the circumstances that led to these incidents and have not been advised of the reason for the detention of our staff members.”
Meanwhile, the Taliban said in a statement that the workers were taken for “propagating and promoting Christianity” in the predominantly Muslim country.
Read the full story. Another quotes IAM saying all its staff agree to abide by the laws of the country (CBS News). Read their complete statement.
Source: The Christian Post, September 10, 2023
UN experts have appealed to India’s government over the ongoing violence in Manipur state, which has left 187 dead, 70,000 displaced, and hundreds of churches destroyed amid ethnic and religious tensions.
Nineteen independent experts with the UN Human Rights Council have noted that Christians have been disproportionately impacted, saying the violence was incited by hateful speech against the Christian Kuki-Zo minority, particularly women, due to their ethnicity and religious beliefs.
The conflict involves Manipur’s largely Hindu Meitei and largely Christian Kuki-Zo tribes. The UN experts also expressed alarm over the misuse of counter-terrorism measures against ethnic and religious minorities, the human rights group ADF International said in a statement.
Source: East-West Ministries International, September 2023
Meera was a devout follower of Shiva as well as other [Hindu gods and] goddesses. Daily, she would pray to the gods and regularly provided animal sacrifices and fasted. She would even cut her fingers to offer her blood as a sacrifice.
Being a devoted Hindu was Meera’s entire identity, and she renounced other beliefs. She hated Christians and would sometimes join others to persecute them.
One day, Meera became sick and discovered she had a tumor in her stomach. She immediately turned to her Hindu gods for healing. She built a temple at her home to worship them and performed even more rituals. But her illness only became worse. She became bedridden and could no longer get up to perform her sacrifices.
When she had lost all hope to live, Meera invited a Christian neighbor named Rohan to her home. Rohan shared the gospel with Meera and prayed that Jesus would heal her. But Meera’s heart was hardened, and she refused to believe in Jesus. She stubbornly continued to worship her gods while her sickness ravaged her body.
After several months, Meera was desperate. She invited Rohan to her home again. This time, Rohan brought other Christian friends to pray for her and share the gospel again.
Eventually, Meera’s heart softened, and she began to show signs of healing. Rohan and his friends continually visited Meera to pray, and Meera’s condition improved day by day. The Christ-followers began meeting in Meera’s home to teach her the Bible.
Then, Meera was able to get out of her bed. She was completely healed.
The full story reports that Meera was baptized and has led several people in her village to Christ.
Earlier this month, East-West published What Is Ganesh Chaturthi? in reference to a festival celebrated this week. Let’s pray for more “changes of heart.”
15 Days of Prayer for the Hindu World will be November 5-19. If you’re interested, get a free copy of the booklet (Bibles for the World/Mission Network News). It’s also for sale for US$3/copy (World Prayer Guides). The focus this year is Hindus in diaspora.
In this edition:
- Central America: Now More Evangelicals Than Catholics
- Brazil: Open Doors in the Heart of the Amazon
- Egypt: A Coptic Pope for the Modern Age
- World: Honoring Data in Missions
- Australia and Bhutan: Mass Exodus Brings Hope Amid Uncertainty
Read or share the email edition or scroll down for more.
Source: Evangelical Focus, August 28, 2023
In Central America, the evangelical faith has become the majority faith, a survey conducted in 2023 showed.
There, 42% now identify as Protestants (a large majority being evangelical Christians) while 39.9% identify as Roman Catholics, according to the results of a survey conducted by M&R Consultores.
The research has been conducted in the countries of Nicaragua, Guatemeala, Costa Rica, Panamá, El Salvador, and Honduras. According to Raúl Obregón, of the consultancy firm, the intention of this project is to evaluate and measure periodically and systematically how religion is evolving in Central America.
A representative case of the change in the trend is that of Nicaragua. Since 1950, the Catholic Church has lost 60% of its adherents in the country and currently only one in three people profess this religion. In 1950, 96% of the Nicaraguan population participated in Catholic activities; today it is only 34%. Non-Catholics were 4.2% over 40 years ago, but the figure has risen to 65% percent by 2023.
In Central America, more than half who no longer consider themselves Catholics say they are now Protestants.
The full story adds that evangelicals in the region are also more faithful in church attendance and giving.
More religious trends:
Read Prosperity Gospel Beliefs on the Rise Among Churchgoers (Lifeway Research). It suggests that three out of four American Christians now hold beliefs we can trace to this teaching.
See a recent report on Measuring Religion in China (Pew Research Center). Bottom line: It’s hard to get a good read on what’s happening. But take a look.
Source: World Team (no date)
An informal settlement of over 4,000 people sits in the northwest corner of Manaus, Brazil. The residents hail from [more than] 30 different Amazonian tribes, some [with] little to no gospel witness. This is Parque das Tribos, one of many indigenous settlements that have sprung up in and around the jungle city over the past few decades. Its existence opens a world of possibility in a region nearly impenetrable for generations.
The story of missions in the Amazon has historically been further downriver, deeper into the jungle, one life at a time. Courageous missionaries like Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, and countless others gave their lives to reach individual remote tribes scattered throughout the dense, 2.6 million square mile rainforest encompassing land from eight different countries [and home to] an estimated 1 million indigenous people.
Now, with guaranteed claims to land, voting, education, and financial assistance, indigenous people have begun moving to cities to access these newly granted rights. The wave of migration created a new kind of indigenous identity: the urban indigenous. Composed of a variety of distinct languages, tribes, and customs, these migrants were still distinctly indigenous yet plunged into a modern, globalized world completely unlike the communities they had left.
What if there was a movement to mobilize the urban indigenous in Manaus to become missionaries to these closed-off regions? By focusing on the urban indigenous, we are investing in the future of Amazonian missions: raising up urban indigenous missionaries who could return to their homelands and beyond, reaching the last of the last.
Read the full story. According to a related page, approximately 50% of Brazil’s indigenous peoples have migrated to the major cities of the Amazon region.
See also Brazilian Young People Love Jesus and Are Hungry for a Deeper Faith (Christianity Today).
Source: Haggai International, August 23, 2023
With roots dating back to the first century, the Coptic Church is a denomination of Christians following Jesus across the Middle East and North Africa—arguably one of the most difficult regions for believers to worship and live safely in during the modern age.
Born Wagih Sobhi Baki Soliman, Haggai leader Pope Tawadros II left a career in pharmaceutical manufacturing for the priesthood in the 1980s and today serves as the 118th Coptic Pope of Alexandria and patriarch of the Holy See of St. Mark.
In the face of radical change and persecution, Pope Tawadros II stands out as a picture of peace and perseverance. Most recently, Pope Tawadros II has made inroads in Saudi Arabia, playing a key role in efforts to protect the religious freedom of Coptic Christians in that nation. In January—when Coptic Christians celebrate Christmas—the first-ever public Christmas celebration was allowed in Saudi Arabia. This was a momentous occasion for the 3,000 Coptic Christians in Saudi Arabia, as well as for a watching world.
Pope Tawadros II’s role in guiding the future of Christianity in Egypt—the most populous country in the Arab world—is critical. His leadership is currently guiding the future of Christianity in this region of the world and beyond.
Read the full story and pray for this man and others like him when you intercede for leaders.
Source: WEA Mission Commission, August 26, 2023
More than 30 years have passed since the term “managerial missiology” was introduced to the vocabulary of global missions. At the turn of the century, the concept was embraced and explored by the Mission Commission as we countered what we considered to be an unbalanced emphasis on human controls to achieve the Matthew 24:14 vision in obedience to Jesus’ Matthew 28:18-20 commission within a certain time constraint.
But, as a wise person once said, “God cannot lead you where to go with information you do not know.” It is well beyond time to address the denigration of missions research, statistics, data, and other information that has evolved in some missions circles. We desperately need robust and well-presented data to guide us as we “reimagine” missions for the new era ahead.
The full article. Maybe we and our churches and ministries should ask ourselves: Do we tend to elevate data too highly or dismiss it too quickly? Is there a middle way?
Source: INcontext International, August 16, 2023
Since May 2022, 12,000 Bhutanese have emigrated to Australia, approximately 1.5% of the population [of Bhutan]. In 2022, there were 30,000 Bhutanese living in Australia, and the rate at which people are leaving is increasing exponentially.
Bhutan has a mostly closed economy, largely dependent on tourism and hydroelectric power. When the borders were reopened post COVID-19 in September 2022, new tourism taxes on top of a nightly fee caused a slower-than-expected recovery in the country’s tourism sector [and contributed to] a 24% unemployment rate, especially among students, who now find themselves fleeing to Australia.
There are several perspectives to consider concerning this mass migration.
Firstly, more Bhutanese will have the opportunity to be exposed to Christianity in Australia. The global Body of Christ can pray that the Australian Church will take up this opportunity to minister to those coming from a nation with such a large “unreached” population, and that the Bhutanese who encounter Christ in Australia will have a desire to return to their country and share the gospel with those within their sphere of influence.
Secondly, Bhutan might be pressured to be more open in order to encourage more people to stay in the country.
In all instances of migration, we can see the fingerprints of God.
Speaking of what God’s doing through migration, read an article making a case that immigrant churches may be key to church growth in America (Ministry Watch) and a related article about a network of diaspora churches We Must Praise Him in the African Way (The Diocese of Churches for the Sake of Others). Inspiring.
Sun going down on a full summer? We’ve got a prayer that may match your mood, a training opportunity for mission trip leaders, articles to help your church, and events coming up in September. Read on.
- Liturgy: After Times of Intense Ministry
- Training: 7 Keys to Mission Trips that Honor God
- Roundup: Practical Help for You and Your Church
- Events: Conferences, Training, and More Coming up in September
Read or share the email edition or scroll down for more.
Source: Eva Burkholder
Lord God, I’m so weary.
I feel like I could cry but not sure what about.
I’ve run a sprint and I need to pause. Rest. Reset.
It felt like a successful sprint.
I reached my goals. I survived.
I served. I taught. I empathized and encouraged.
I adapted. I pivoted.
I listened a lot. I prayed incessantly.
I invited co-workers into rest.
I heard hard stories and
know that some aren’t doing as well
as I’d like them to.
I made recommendations.
I shared resources.
I nudged toward restoration
and gave the gift of presence.
I also laughed heartily,
soaked in the beauty of your creation,
witnessed your healing and reconciliation,
saw them relax and breathe deep,
find solutions and next steps.
You enabled me to serve well. And I am grateful.
But now I’m tired and depleted…
Read the full liturgy, especially if you serve in ministry leadership or a missionary care role.
The author co-wrote a helpful book that came out earlier this year, Grit to Stay Grace to Go. Read our review.
The Standards Introductory Workshop is a 10-hour seminar designed to help short-term mission leaders and mobilizers make their mission trips better. It explores seven standards of excellence in short-term missions and what makes them key elements of successful, God-honoring mission trips.
The workshop is taught by experienced MissionExcellence trainers, is interactive, and uses case studies and small group discussions to help you apply the standards to your specific ministry context. It can also serve as a step in becoming a MissionExcellence member organization, which will give you access to all kinds of mission trip help.
Workshops are offered at least a few times a year, in person as well as online. The next one will be September 26-27 in Orlando, Florida, preceding the Missio Nexus Mission Leaders Conference. The next online workshop will be October 24-26. Use the promo code CATALYST to get 20% off an online workshop registration.
See also a collection of articles about mission trips (from MissionGuide, another arm of the same ministry).
7 Principles for Responding to Crises
Emails and church hallway conversations may raise urgent questions: “People are suffering! What will our churcåçh do? How can we help?” Catalyst Services shares principles to help your church decide when and how to wisely respond to crises.
7 Practical Ways Churches Can Care for Missionaries
Want to do a better job at caring for those you support and send out? A winsome Canadian church mission leader shared some solid ideas on the Global Missions Podcast. But they may require leaving margin in your mission budget—funds not allocated to monthly support.
Listen to the podcast (it first aired in 2021).
9 Ways to Share Wins Overseas
“Celebrating out loud is a way of putting skin on how God responds to us, in his own bounding, bursting-at-the-buttons joy. And the Bible’s clear that sharing the wins in community ratchets our joy up a notch.” Go.Serve.Love suggests a variety of ways to celebrate the good stuff.
Prevent Burnout by Enjoying God in 4 Simple Ways
In an article for Missio Nexus, Carolyn from Soul Shepherding offers four little but surprisingly powerful ways to renew your intimacy with God (and includes other helpful insights and links).
- Share your real emotions and struggles with someone you trust to give you empathy.
- Get outside to run, hike, walk, or sit and breathe in the beauty.
- Make a healthy meal and savor it.
- Sleep or lay in bed for eight hours.
Source: Missions Catalyst Events Calendar
September 4-17, Orient Pre-field Training (Joplin, MO, USA). Provided regularly by TRAIN International.
September 7, Mission Design: Practical Tools for Navigating your Changing Ministry Landscape and Leading Your Team to Creative Breakthrough (online). Webinar from Missio Nexus.
September 7-9, Support Raising Bootcamp (Kigali, Rwanda). Provided by Via Generosity (formerly Support Raising Solutions).
September 11 to December 10, Encountering Muslims (online). Formerly Encountering the World of Islam. New online classes start several times a year. Also available in other formats and languages.
September 11 to January 14, Perspectives on the World Christian Movement (online). New online classes begin regularly.
September 11-12, Support Raising Bootcamp (Phoenix, AZ, USA). Provided regularly in various locations by Via Generosity (formerly Support Raising Solutions).
September 11-15, Storytelling Training (online). Offered regularly by Storyrunners, a ministry of Cru.
September 12-18, Traction Conference (Wilderswil, Switzerland). Conference to serve men who are global workers serving cross-culturally. Provided annually by Catalyst International.
September 13, Hope Conference (online). An annual event from Crescent Project featuring powerful stories from former Muslims and insights from leaders in Muslim ministry.
September 14, Bitcoin for Missions: Unlocking the Potential and Exploring the Possibilities (online). Webinar from Missio Nexus.
September 15-16, Missions Expo (Capetown, South Africa). A free community missions conference; held annually.
September 19, Contend: Monthly Day of Prayer For Mission Mobilization (global). Coordinated by GMMI and held on the third Tuesday of each month.
September 20-21, People Raising Conference (online). Be equipped for raising personal support. Provided regularly by People Raising.
September 21, North America Central Asia Forum (online). Now relaunching, this group of people interested in ministry in Central Asia will hold short, online meetings several times a year. You may also be interested in a Central Asia Consultation planned for March in Eurasia.
September 21-29, Breathe (Wilderswil, Switzerland). A retreat for mission workers offered annually by Catalyst International.
September 24-27, Live the Mission Conference (Fresno, CA, USA). Hosted by Mountain View Church.
September 27-29, Mission Leaders Conference (Orlando, FL, USA). An annual event from Missio Nexus. Primarily for mission executives and church mission leaders. The conference includes several pre-conference meetings and training events that may also be worth your while. Note: I (Marti) will be there, so if you go, please look for me and say hello!
September 28-30, Unreached Peoples North America Summit (Pleasant Valley, MO, USA). Sponsored by a coalition of ministries.
September 28 to November 28, Frontier Filmmaking Seminar (online). Join Create International for an eight-week training in how to write, produce, direct, film, and edit gospel films for unreached people groups in their language and cultural context.
September 29-30, Help! We’re Going on a Short-Term Trip (Downington, PA, USA). Seminar for team leaders from CultureLink. Looks like they will also offer this seminar in Georgia in January and Florida in February.
View the complete calendar, updated regularly. Submissions welcome.
- Editor’s Note: Persecution, Proverbs 22, and a World Parliament
- Korea: The Future of the Korean Mission Movement
- Niger: Triggers, Causes, and Ramifications of the Coup
- India: Religious Violence in Uttar Pradesh and Manipur
- Eritrea: 13 Christians Have Been Set Free from Prison
This edition includes several in-depth analyses (in the form of short excerpts). You may want to save or share some of them with others. They address situations in Korea, Niger, and India with skill, humility, and a biblical perspective. Too heavy for you today? Skip to the end for news of prisoners set free in Eritrea and several other countries.
A few more finds:
Standing with the Persecuted
Supporting and praying for our persecuted brothers and sisters is a frequent theme in our Missions Catalyst news briefs. But Wissam al-Saliby says it’s not enough. In fact, he goes so far as to say international anti-persecution strategies are failing Nigerian churches (Christianity Today). Learn more about al-Saliby and his fight for persecuted Christians around the world in Faithful Among the Nations (World).
Wisdom from Proverbs
We’ve heard a lot about the Proverbs 31 woman. But where are today’s Proverbs 22 men? Read Jaimie Oliver Garande of Zimbabwe’s brief reflection on Proverbs 22:9 in To Solve Problems Skillfully (Haggai International). Do you think we need more Proverbs 22 leaders? Let’s pray for them.
Also pray for those participating in the Parliament of World’s Religions, August 14-18 in Chicago. But all religions are not one. I suggest you get the insider scoop from Carl Teichrib, a critical observer and author of the book Game of Gods.Blessings,
Source: Sahel Blog, August 3, 2023
On July 26, Niger suffered a coup, or perhaps a show of force that escalated into a coup. On July 28, the CNSP proclaimed the head of the Presidential Guard, Abdourahmane Tchiani (or Tiani), as military head of state. The coup has all sorts of geopolitical ramifications, real and imagined, but here I want to leave geopolitics aside and focus on Niger.
The first question concerns the proximate trigger for the coup. Tchiani himself, in a major speech on July 28, evoked “the continuous degradation of the security situation in our country” as well as “bad economic and social governance” as the reasons for the coup. Meanwhile, well-informed observers believe that the real trigger was an effort by [ousted president Mohamed] Bazoum to fire Tchiani. That is the most plausible theory I’ve heard so far.
Tchiani, born in 1964, is an elite, career member of the Nigerien Armed Forces. He has been at the head of the Presidential Guard since 2011. It is probably obvious why he would not want to give up such a post, but to add a little academic heft to the discussion, this saga has made me think of Professor Richard Joseph’s work on “prebendalism” in neighboring Nigeria—the idea that corrupt officeholders treat their offices as extractive opportunities for themselves and their network of supporters. In this view, Tchiani saw his job as simply too valuable to lose.
See also an infographic on the coup in Niger (INcontext).
How will believers and ministries be affected by the presence of military dictatorships stretching across this band of Africa from coast to coast? Justin Long addresses this in a new prayer publication based on his weekly news roundup.