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World Missions News, Ideas, and Resources
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EVENTS: Conferences, Courses, and More

Source: Missions Catalyst Events Calendar

January 4-30, COMPASS (Palmer Lake, CO, USA). Language and culture acquisition provided by Missionary Training International. There’s a wait list for this one, but MTI plans to offer COMPASS six more times in 2021.

January 11 to April 11, Encountering the World of Islam (online). New online classes start several times a year; also available in other formats/languages.

January 11 to May 16, Perspectives on the World Christian Movement (online). New online classes begin regularly. Note that a special virtual class will take place from January 17 to May 23 and taught via Zoom rather than using recordings as the usual online course does. Perspectives Canada has a similar offering. There are also classes in Spanish and Mandarin Chinese.

January 10 to February 5, Equipping for Cross-Cultural Life and Ministry (Union Mills, NC, USA). Provided by the Center for Intercultural Training. CIT plans to offer the course four more times in 2021. They also offer a second-language acquisition course; many participants come for both.

January 12, Planting the Seed: Gospel-Driven Discipleship (online). Part of a free series for church mission leaders from Pioneers USA.

January 14-15, The Mobilized Church: Keys to Unlock Missions Potential (online). Two-day interactive workshop provided by Sixteen:Fifteen and the National African-American Missions Council. For a taste of this, register for the executive preview January 6.

January 14, Publishing in a New Era (online). Webinar from Missio Nexus, featuring Denise Wynn of William Carey Publishing. This may help you figure out what to do with that manuscript you worked on during lockdown.

January 15-16, Mission ConneXion (online). Formerly a regional conference based in Portland, OR, this has been turned into a virtual, worldwide event. Related events include a Short-Term Mission ConneXion which will be online this year as well, February 19-20.

January 26-28, Support Raising Bootcamp (online). Similar events held throughout the year in various locations by Support Raising Solutions, but provided virtually as needed. The next virtual event is February 17-19. You might also look at Tailored Fundraising for personal coaching in this area.

January 28, Through the Wall (online). Webinar from Missio Nexus, featuring psychologist Bill Gaultiere. Looks like it’s focused on soul care.

January 29-30, Missions Fest Santa Barbara (online). Usually offered in Santa Barbara, CA but moved online this year.

January 29-31, Mission Central Conference: Serve (online). Formerly Missions Fest Vancouver, the largest mission event in Canada has been recast into three parts. Part 2, Grow, will be February 19-20, and Part 3: Create (focused on the arts) will be February 26-27. Note that several other Canadian Mission(s) Fests have been called off for 2021.

» View complete calendar. Right now it is not very complete; still too much uncertainty for many of the sponsoring organizations. Any corrections and submissions are welcome.

CHINA: A Mother’s Love and a House Church Movement

Source: Asia Harvest, December 2020

Sister Hu shares the amazing story of how their house church movement started in northeast China:

Some years ago, my son fell seriously ill with kidney disease. I visited numerous temples where I earnestly worshiped all the idols, but he got worse. Then someone at the hospital told me that if I believed in Jesus my son could be healed.

I had no idea how to pray to this Jesus, or even what prayer was. How many times must I pray? What words should I recite and what postures should I take? It occurred to me that I should take my son to Beijing and shout aloud to Jesus on the streets, in the hope that this mysterious person would hear me and find us. However, I lacked the money to travel to Beijing or to make offerings to Jesus once I found him.

My fellow workers at the factory all laughed at me when I pleaded for their help to sell my house so I could take my son to Beijing. I cried so hard that I had a stroke and was unable to talk. Feeling ashamed, my co-workers loaded me onto a cart and pushed it to a medical clinic. Two doctors treated me, and strangely one of them said, ‘God must have a plan for your life.’

Guilt-ridden because of the way they had treated me, my co-workers had a change of heart and decided to help raise money for our trip. I had no idea where to go once we reached Beijing, but the hospital administrator also had to go to Beijing for a meeting, so he accompanied us on the long train journey.

I felt overwhelmed by the crowds of people and the hustle and bustle of the big city, but the administrator took us to a hospital, where there happened to be a doctor who specialized in kidney disease. He took one look at my son and said he must be admitted immediately. We stayed in Beijing, with my son receiving treatment as I recovered from my stroke.

One day I visited a big cathedral in the city. It was the first time I had ever set foot inside a church building, but somehow, I felt at home. I began attending services there, and some sisters encouraged me to follow Jesus and dedicate my son to him. I told God that if he healed my son, I would always serve him and would share the gospel with as many people as I could.

We traveled back home on the train, and I told my boss I had enough money either to buy food or to pay the medical bills, but not both. I was perplexed about what to do, but then I remembered my vow to God, so I quit my job and began sharing the gospel with everyone I met. Soon, a small group of believers emerged, and we began a class to train evangelists and pastors. The fellowship grew quickly and became so large that it caused traffic jams in our town whenever we held a service! We rented a larger building to meet in.

Over time, the Holy Spirit revealed that we should focus on two things: evangelizing the lost and training leaders. We formed teams with five people in each, and we targeted 18 towns with the gospel. As we approached each town we prayed, and then we would look for the poorest household to share the Good News of Jesus with.

Each team was supported by an intercession and fasting chain, which operated around the clock, with believers rotating in two-hour shifts. We fasted for seven days before a campaign, and to this day we still gather every morning at 4:30 a.m. for prayer, even in winter when it’s minus 30 degrees outside.

Now, our church has grown to 40,000 believers, and we have 1,000 evangelists and pastors. We have seen God perform many remarkable things, which have helped spread his salvation message more widely. Some towns have been so thoroughly saturated with the gospel that now over 80 percent of the people are Christians.

» Read the full story. Also check out The China Chronicles, available in paperback and Kindle editions. Looks like a volume about the growth of the Church in Henan Province coming out next month.

WORLD: Terrorism-Related Deaths Drop for the Fifth Straight Year

Source: Mission Network News, December 8, 2020

According to the 2020 Global Terrorism Index, global deaths from terrorism have fallen for five straight years, even as far-right terrorism emerges as a threat in several western countries. Read the full report.

While deaths from terrorism have been dropping globally, [systemic persecution of Christians] has been on the rise. Pray for Christians facing these difficulties in countries all around the world. Ask God to be with them and strengthen them in love and hope.

» Full story includes comments from Bruce Allen of FMI.

» You might also read 10 Steps Forward for Religious Freedom in 2020 (Open Doors).

MIDDLE EAST (?): A Militant Forsakes a Life of Violence for Christ

Source: Frontiers USA, December 12, 2020

[Ali] was curious about the doctor’s faith in Jesus and asked Hadawi to tell him more. Hadawi shared how he had discovered in God’s Word that Christ has overcome the world and all its evil. Many other men and women in the town also believed in Jesus, Hadawi told Ali. They gathered in groups every week to study the Bible and learn more about following Christ.

“I would like to learn about Jesus,” Ali said. “Can I join one of these groups?”

Hadawi doubted that any of the groups would welcome a militant to study with them. Extremists had terrorized the region, and most townspeople were afraid of men like Ali.

So Hadawi suggested they start a brand-new group. Ali was thrilled. The two men started meeting weekly, working their way through the stories of Old Testament prophets. Then they started reading about Jesus in the gospels.

Ali started inviting his fellow fighters to study the Bible with him and Hadawi. The group grew, and soon it got so big it had to split. More men have joined the groups, multiplying to nearly a dozen Bible studies made up of battle-scarred militants. Many have become baptized followers of Jesus, and the number of groups has continued to grow.

» Read the full story.

WORLD: Terrorism-Related Deaths Drop for the Fifth Straight Year

Source: Mission Network News, December 8, 2020

According to the 2020 Global Terrorism Index, global deaths from terrorism have fallen for five straight years, even as far-right terrorism emerges as a threat in several western countries. Read the full report.

While deaths from terrorism have been dropping globally, [systemic persecution of Christians] has been on the rise. Pray for Christians facing these difficulties in countries all around the world. Ask God to be with them and strengthen them in love and hope.

» Full story includes comments from Bruce Allen of FMI.

» You might also read 10 Steps Forward for Religious Freedom in 2020 (Open Doors).

UNDISCLOSED LOCATION: What Kind of Prayer Would You Like God to Answer?

Source: Pioneers USA, December 16, 2020

A church planting team ran a week-long campaign featuring clips from the JESUS Film. One student responded to an ad with a message saying, “I thought I was the only person feeling so lonely during the pandemic, yet I hear of you Christians and your love for us.” This student was not alone in hearing the love of Christ. At least three people have accepted Christ after responding to these ads.

One of the posts asked, “What kind of prayer you would ask God to answer?”

  • “God, please forgive me,” 105 people replied.
  • “God, please help me with the things that make me afraid,” said 98 people.
  • “Please bring me someone who understands and loves me,” responded 74 people.
  • “God, please show me what choices to make,” said 57 people.

May God answer their prayers and guide those who continue to exchange private messages with the many responding online.

» Complete article includes several more stories about the impact of media ministry.

» You might check out a couple of recent articles from the Jesus Film Project: 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Sharing Your Faith with Family and 22 Inspirational Bible Verses for Christmas.

Subversive Mobilization: Christmas Gift Edition

For the 2020 Mobilizing and Mobilizer Christmas Lists, I want to give you a couple of ideas in a variety of cost ranges. These are gifts that will either help people grow in their partnership with God’s global purpose or bless those who are helping people do that.

Stocking Stuffers


Smallish Gifts
  • Amazon gift card of whatever amount you determine. “Read something good for you! Neither N.T. Wright nor Jeannie Marie would be terrible!”
  • Netflix access. “Be sure to watch some good documentaries, oh, and The Great British Baking Show!”
  • Chess set: “Your strategic thinking could be improved. It’s going to take more of us thinking well to finish off our shadow king enemy!”
Big-Time Presents
  • Coupon for passport application or renewal. “You fill out the paperwork. I’ll cover the cost!”
  • Workout equipment or a gym membership. “I love you, but I think ‘less of you’ might be a good idea!”
  • Favorite food from far-flung places. “While the pandemic prevents you going in person to Fatima’s Falooda shop in Faroffistan, the snacks will come to you!”
Wow! Seriously?
  • A reliable car. “Stay off planes. Drive places. Buy pastors coffee. Renew their hope a little bit.”
  • Zoom like a boss. “Since you can’t really avoid it, I want to make your Zoom life as clear, comfortable, and trouble-free as possible. Order the stuff and send me the bill.”
  • We fly. I buy. “Here’s the deal: I want you to take me to the edge. Post-vaccine, let’s visit the most unengaged situation we can get access to. You work out the details and I’ll foot the bill. We’ll ask God to strike the ‘un’ from unengaged in the following 18 months.”

From Burundi to Iraq, the US and Europe | News Briefs

  1. IRAQ: The Difference Between Refugees and IDPs
  2. EUROPE (?): “Jesus Is Going to Set You Free Today”
  3. USA: Latest Statistics on International Students
  4. SOMALILAND: Couple Jailed for Evangelism Freed
  5. BURUNDI: How Faith Leaders Helped Bring Peace

We at Missions Catalyst are so thankful for our readers. I can’t speak for Marti or Shane, but I wish I could send every one of you a Christmas card! I hope this will do.

Let me share a little bit about what I’ve been up to. I am one of the first to enroll in The Awakening School of Theology and am in the second semester of an online class about the “unseen realm.” I am loving it! Ponder this, from the instructor, Dr. Michael Heiser: “‘Spiritual warfare’ is the Great Commission!”

My gifts are a few recommendations:

  • Buy An Advent for the Cosmos by Jeffrey Pitts (a fellow student of Dr. Heiser, whose ideas are reflected in this book).
  • Don’t miss all of the wonderful content that Paul Neeley posts at Global Christian Worship. He has collected some wonderful songs and artwork for your Advent season!

Peace of Christ to you and yours,

Pat Noble

IRAQ: The Difference Between Refugees and IDPs (and Why It Matters More Than Ever)

Source: Preemptive Love, November 24, 2020

There are two camps in northern Iraq, separated by a single road, for those who fled war. Neither is what you’d call comfortable. Hardship and hunger are present in both. But when you look at these camps, within sight of each other, you can’t help but see the difference.

In one, concrete houses line mostly paved roads. The structures are tiny and nothing remotely like home. But they’re reasonably sturdy, and they give families a degree of safety and privacy. UN and big aid logos are emblazoned on practically everything. And while the amount of help here is nothing like what it used to be, it’s also not nothing.

Across the road, there are mainly tents—many of them years beyond their useful life. There is far less security here, and far too little help. What meager support there is for the families who live here? It’s disappearing soon.

What makes the difference? One is a refugee camp, and one is a camp for IDPs, or internally displaced people.

The humanitarian aid world is famous for its jargon—for its insider language and acronyms. To the outside observer, it can all seem pretty opaque. But some labels matter. Arguably, none matter more than the labels “refugee” versus “internally displaced person” (IDP).

It may seem like splitting hairs, but the difference between these two categories—and which you fall into if you have to flee your home—can be the difference between getting the help you need… or not.

» See full story with pictures.

» Also read this story about a young man in an IDP camp in Iraq who escaped ISIS to encounter coronavirus—and Christ (Christian Aid Mission).

EUROPE (?): “Jesus Is Going to Set You Free Today”

Source: Assemblies of God World Missions, November 30, 2020

(This article is from AGWM personnel in a sensitive region.)

When “John” walked into the room where “Sara” was sitting, he thought someone had beaten her. She was covered with bruises and staring blankly into space. But her father told John she had been beating herself, punishing herself for almost strangling her three-year-old son in a demonic fit. Relatives had intervened and saved the boy in time, but then sent Sara back to her parents’ home.

Sara had been demon possessed for 13 years and had three failed marriages. She would often climb up on the roof, screaming and cursing at anyone walking by.

In desperation, her parents had reached out to our Roma friend John, whom they heard about from Roma believers in their city. John agreed to come pray for Sara. On the way, he asked two other believers to accompany him, although they really didn’t want to go. John didn’t give them a choice—they were going!

When they arrived, John asked Sara what her name was. She wouldn’t answer and would only stare back at him in frenzied silence.

John said, “Jesus is going to set you free today.” In a deep, inhuman voice that sounded as if a whole choir were speaking, the spirits inside Sara snarled, “No, she’s ours; she belongs to us. She’s cursed.”

» Read full story.

» Readers might also be interested in The Battle for China’s One Billion Souls (Asia Harvest).

USA: Latest Statistics on International Students

Source: Missiologically Thinking (J.D. Payne), November 17, 2020

The Institute for International Education tracks data on students studying at colleges in the United States. Their annual report, Open Doors, is an excellent resource and was released [November 16]. Be sure to check out the 2020 Fast Facts PDF.

The student population exceeds one million international students. However, this past academic year witnessed a two percent decline. Despite this change, the United States remains the top destination for students.

The top sending countries of students to the United States continue to be China, India, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia.

Many colleges and universities have friendship programs that connect students with citizens. This is a great way to meet and share life with individuals who represent some of the least-reached peoples of the world. Find out what is available in your area.

No passport required. No language learning required. No teaching certificate required. Simply be yourself as you let the gospel shine into the lives of others.

» Read full story.

» Check out three startling statistics that reveal how much the church has changed this year (Outreach Magazine).

SOMALILAND: Couple Jailed for Evangelism Freed

Source: BosNews Life, November 22, 2020

A married Christian couple detained for evangelizing in Muslim-majority Somaliland have been released, well-informed sources told BosNewsLife.

Aid group Barnabas Fund said the couple was deported to Somalia, allowing them “to travel with their youngest child to a safe country and reunite with their two elder sons.”

Their names have not been released amid security concerns. Somaliland police spokesman Colonel Faisal Hiis Elmi confirmed that the Christians were detained on September 21 after Christian material was found at their home.

In remarks monitored by Worthy News, police “arrested two apostates who had become preachers of Christianity.”

The couple made several appearances in the Somaliland regional court before being unexpectedly released and ordered to be deported on November 1, Christians said. Their release came after an unnamed European government official raised the issue with the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Barnabas Fund explained.

» Read full story and another from BosNews, Hungary Warns of Christian Persecution in Europe.

» From another part of Africa, please pray for Nigeria after armed men killed several dozen people working in rice fields (INcontext International).

BURUNDI: How Faith Leaders Helped Bring Peace

Source: Tearfund, November 5, 2020

Faith leaders can play a crucial role before and after elections. As ambassadors for peace, they can heal the hurts that divide people and promote unity. In this year’s election in Burundi, faith leaders were a beacon of hope, showing communities what a peaceful election could look like.

“Earlier this year, before the 2020 Burundi elections, we organized different workshops with faith leaders to equip and engage them to advocate for free, fair, and peaceful elections,” shares Désiré Majambere, who leads Tearfund’s work in Burundi.

“Elections in Burundi have often been marred by violence. We wanted to show people there was another way.”

After the Tearfund-run workshops, faith leaders took the message of peace into their communities. A prayer event was organized for the leaders and candidates of the political parties. Sermons on electoral participation and unity were crafted and delivered. Faith leaders even took to the radio so they could reach even more people.

Whole communities were discipled in peace and reconciliation. And it didn’t stop there. After the election, faith leaders continued to hold people together, and communities remained largely calm and peaceful.

» Read full story.

Mission Books | Virtual Events

  1. The Expat Cookbook
  2. Two New Titles from Pioneers
  3. National African American Missions Council
  4. Perspectives Virtual Class to Start in January
  5. Mission Events Online in December

The Expat Cookbook

Source: Rachel Pieh Jones, via A Life Overseas

The Expat Cookbook: Travel, Cook, Eat, Love, by Rachel Pieh Jones. Independently published, 2020. 145 pages.

The Expat Cookbook is more than a cookbook. It is 60+ recipes that can be adapted into dozens more. It is a guidebook for cooking, packing, transporting, even mailing food, all designed to contribute to a flourishing international life.”

» Learn more or purchase the Kindle edition for US$9.99 or US$15.99 for a paperback.

» Can’t live on bread alone. Another contributor to A Life Overseas, Amy Young, wrote Connected: Starting Your Life Overseas Spiritually Fed.

» William Carey Publishing has released a new, 30th anniversary edition of the practical book, Managing Conflict Creatively: A Guide for Missionaries & Christian Workers, by Donald C. Palmer. Includes case studies, discussion questions, and more.

BOOKS: Two New Titles from Pioneers

Source: BottomLine Media / Pioneers USA

Here are a couple of titles from our parent ministry, Pioneers. They may interest many of you. Both will be released next week (December 1) but can be pre-ordered now.

1. A Sequel to When Everything Is Missions

Conversations on When Everything Is Missions: Recovering the Mission of the Church, edited by Denny Spitters and Matthew Ellison. BottomLine Media, 2020. 146 pages.

In their previous book, When Everything Is Missions, Denny Spitters and Matthew Ellison raised seven questions that shape how we think about and carry out the global mission of the Church and called readers to refocus their gaze on the gospel and the Great Commission.

Conversations on When Everything Is Missions adds the voices of mission leaders J. D. Payne, Ted Esler, Jeff Jackson, Gary Corwin, Pam Arlund, James Mason, Jean Johnson, Jeff Lewis, Steve Beirn, David Platt, Mark Vowels, Dick Brogden, Ed Stetzer, and others. They write on the same theme but from different angles. Some chapters were previously published in the November/December 2019 edition of Mission Frontiers.

» Preorder the Kindle edition (available December 1) for US$4.99 or paperback for US$9.99 from Amazon or elsewhere. Missio Nexus member? You might want to catch a webinar with Spitters and Ellison on December 2 (see events calendar, below).

» For a different look at tensions between mission priorities and how to navigate them in a local church context, see Sharon Hoover’s excellent 2018 book Mapping Church Missions: A Compass for Ministry Strategy.

2. An Adaptation of Peace Child

Treachery on the Twisted River, by Don Richardson, adapted by Karen Robertson, BottomLine Media, 2020. 180 pages.

This book is a young-adult adaption of the late Don Richardson’s 1974 bestseller Peace Child. Both describe the early years of his family’s ministry among a tribe of headhunters and cannibals in New Guinea in the 1960s. After more than 50 years, perhaps it’s no spoiler to tell you many of them become followers of Jesus and saw their community transformed (a story revisited in the documentary Never the Same).

Treachery on the Twisted River was condensed and adapted by a teacher who wanted a version of the story to share with her students. It simplifies the language and removes some of the description and context for a younger and/or less patient audience. There’s too much violence and intensity for young/sensitive children; that’s intrinsic to the story. But this is certainly an easier read for today’s teens (and adults) than Peace Child.

» Preorder the Kindle edition (available December 1) for US$5.99 or the paperback for US$13.99 from Amazon or elsewhere. It might make a good Christmas gift for someone on your list.The Pioneers bookstore also has related titles.

National African American Missions Council

Source: NAAMC

Did you see NAAMC’s big announcement, below?

» Read more about NAAMC’s vision and plans.

Perspectives Virtual Class to Start in January

Source: Perspectives Study Program

Due to COVID-19, the folks who organize Perspectives on the World Christian Movement courses are conducting a National Virtual Class in English this spring via Zoom. Anyone in the US is welcome, but the goal is to provide a class for people who don’t have one in their area or don’t feel safe attending a class in person.

The class starts Sunday, January 17 with registration and orientation and concludes May 23. Will you help spread the word? They would love to have 200-300 people in the class. Alumni get a discount. They’re also looking for some alums to volunteer as mentors and graders.

Perspectives also offers the class in a flexible, pre-recorded online format which may work better for some. New classes start about once a month. In 2021, a number of groups plan to host traditional 15-week, in-person Perspectives classes for their cities, while others will take to the internet.

» Learn about or register for the National Virtual Perspectives Class. Perspectives Canada is also offering a virtual course for Canadians. Don’t forget to download activity sheets to include your kiddos!

» You should also check out Pathways to Global Understanding and the Kairos course, independent incarnations of much the same sort. Need something shorter? Consider the six-week class MomentumYes.

Mission Events Online in December

Source: Missions Catalyst Events Calendar

See our online calendar for a handful of in-person events as well as some events planned for 2021. Got submissions? Send them my way!

December 2, Conversations on When Everything Is Missions: Rediscovering the Mission of the Church. Webinar from Missio Nexus.

December 3, Counting the Cost of Movements. Part of a training series from Beyond, but each can stand alone.

December 3, Fertilizing the Soil: Define Missions. Part of The Greenhouse, a free series for church mission leaders from Pioneers USA.

December 8, Mission Trips, COVID, and 2021. Webinar from Standards of Excellence in Short-Term Mission.

December 8-10, Support Raising Bootcamp. Provided by Support Raising Solutions. Similar events offered throughout the year (live or virtual).

December 10, The Five Directions to Guide Investing Your Leadership. Webinar from Missio Nexus.

December 28-30, CMC Global 2020. Chinese Mission Convention, organized by Ambassadors for Christ. Completely new format with multiple events.

December 29-30, Cross Conference. Student missions conference. Previously scheduled for Louisville, KY; now moved online.

» View complete calendar. Corrections and submissions welcome.