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World Missions News, Ideas, and Resources
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WORLD: Discovering a Country’s Digital and Spiritual Landscape

Source: Mobile Ministry Forum, November 10, 2020

Mobile Ministry Forum has published a Digital Atlas for several years, providing a detailed overview of the digital landscape for the 40 least-reached countries [and have now] launched the new Digital World Atlas at digitalworldatlas.com. On this website, you can search for a specific country and view its spiritual and digital data. For example, you can view India’s rich religious make up or the total number of mobile subscriptions in Malaysia.

» Read more or contribute data.

» WorldVenture is publishing a series of blogs and videos to help your ministry or church thrive in the digital age and make disciples locally and internationally. Here’s part 1. See also Digital Media to Launch Movements (Pioneers).

MEXICO: The Cult of Santa Muerte

Source: International Mission Board, October 29, 2020

Casting a long shadow across one of Mexico City’s poorest and most crime-ridden neighborhoods stands a seven-story tall image of Santa Muerte—the Saint of Death. She takes the form of a human skeleton clad in black plastic sheeting with arms outstretched, inviting residents in from the streets to make offerings of flowers, fruit, burned cigarettes, and alcoholic drinks.

Even in a country known for its fascination with death (which is celebrated every November during the Day of the Dead festivities), Santa Muerte seems macabre and gruesome.

The cult of Santa Muerte was popularized by Jonathan Legaría, the ambitious son of a middle-class family in Mexico City, his father a politician and his mother a karaoke bar owner. He had always been fascinated by magic and the occult and convinced many that he had healing powers.

After his violent death in a hail of bullets in 2008, at just 26 years of age, the cult grew rapidly under the organization of his now-deceased mother, Enriqueta Vargas. Indeed, there are now estimated to be more than 10 million followers, not just in Mexico, but across the Americas, with altars to the saint in various cities in the US.

IMB Mexico City missionary, Carlos Llambes, explains the mindset behind the worship of death.

“They think that the only thing in life that is sure is death, so we better be on good terms with her,” Llambe says.

» Read full story with pictures and prayer points.You might also be interested in another article from the IMB, Refugees in Southeast Asia Find Home in Christian Community.

USA: The World’s Least Reached Are on Our Streets

Source: Lausanne Global Analysis, November 2020

On a bustling street corner in a central Queens neighborhood stands a building adorned with Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags, an active Tibetan Buddhist temple. The founder is an immigrant from the Himalayan villages of Nepal who works as a taxi driver. He has American-born grandchildren, and they are just as comfortable catching a subway in New York as they are a motorcycle taxi in Kathmandu. They are residents of this new world, global gateway citizens who have access in one world and influence in another.

Imagine if Christ living in one of us were to meet him here, in his taxi, on a routine drive in the midst our busy schedules. Can one not breathlessly wonder how the Holy Spirit might take hold of not just one heart, but also an entire people group? On behalf of this man, and the unreached people groups, one of which he represents, may I urge you not to sit idly by in a time when the harvest has come to us.

» Full article describes opportunities and challenges for ministry in global gateway cities. Read the overview of LGA’s November Issue.

EGYPT & BEYOND: November 18 Is MBB Global Prayer Day

Source: Mission Network News, October 23, 2020

Egyptian Christians continue to face persecution, and the pressure highlights the need to pray for those suffering.

Oppression has worsened with the pandemic, with believers suffering from everything from unemployment to lack of medical care. Persecution can even become violent. On October 5, Coptic Christians were attacked after an incident at a wedding. Tom Doyle of Uncharted Ministries says incidents like these are tragically normal.

“Christians have to brace themselves for these kinds of attacks, especially when there are public services, spiritual holidays, weddings, or even funerals,” he says.

This persecution makes life even more difficult for people who convert from Islam to Christianity, as those in the Church often don’t know who to trust.

[Doyle] encourages the Church to remember November 18, which will be the first MBB Global Prayer Day. “On November 18, be praying for Muslim background believers who have risked it all—family, jobs, security—to come to faith in Christ.”

» Read full story. Also from Mission Network News, read Religious Persecution Increases Worldwide. It describes how Wycliffe Associates provides communities of believers with printing equipment to print their own Bibles.

INDONESIA: Five Radically Saved

Source: Partners International, November 4, 2020

It was a disappointing day. Nita and Martha had not been able to share the gospel with anyone, and they considered returning home as they saw storm clouds approaching, but the Lord had other plans. They decided to visit a village that has embraced Islam for generations. As they were talking with two girls at a food stall, the rain started pouring down.

They ran to find the nearest shelter and ended up on the terrace of the village chief’s house. There they met a woman they had seen earlier before the storm. This woman, Puja, listened intently to the gospel and said she wanted to believe in Jesus, but they were unable to pray at the terrace because other people were around.

By then, the rain had stopped, so they went to Puja’s house where Nita and Martha continued explaining the gospel. They led her to pray, baptized Puja in the river, and then continued teaching her. In the middle of a story from the Book of Acts, one of Puja’s friends, Ratih, arrived at the house and also wanted to hear the gospel, so Nita and Martha started over from the beginning. A little later, one of Puja’s daughters, Ana, a teenager, entered the house and was also interested in hearing the story. They then started the story over again so that Ana could hear the whole redemption story. Both Ratih and Ana believed in the gospel and prayed to accept Jesus. Ana was baptized, and then Nita and Martha continued their story from Acts.

During the story, this time, one of Puja’s relatives, Ade, an 18-year-old, joined them. Nita and Martha then had to pause their story again and share from the beginning so that Ade could hear about salvation through Jesus. Ade believed in the gospel and had to go back to his house to get a change of clothes before being baptized. While he was gone Ana’s younger sister, Kemala, came and listened to the gospel. She too believed and wanted to be baptized as well. Puja, Ratih, Ana, Ade, and Kemala continued to listen to Nita and Marta teach about being one with Jesus, prayed together, and promised to meet together again.

» Read full story.