I’m putting together a language tool for a sister newsletter I write called Muslim Connect. The tool will be a cheat sheet to help people say “hi,” “thank you,” and “you’re welcome” (or the cultural equivalents) in many of the major languages Muslims speak. I hope it will help normal people like us initiate conversations.
I’d love for you check it out and add words to the language(s) you know. I appreciate your insight and experience.
» You’ll find the list and pertinent instructions here. Thank you a ton.
Nowruz is coming up! The Persian New Year is celebrated by Muslims from Turkey to India and in diaspora communities across the planet. Learn more in Shane Bennett’s Muslim Connect. Below, learn what God is doing among Persians in Iran and the UK.
- IRAN: Bringing Worship to Underground House Churches
- USA: Barna’s “Reviving Evangelism” Study Is Disturbing
- TAJIKISTAN: Children Barred from Church, Christian Calendars Burned
- MYANMAR: Buddhist Militants Kidnap Second Pastor
- SWEDEN: Muslim Mom Brought Home Bible from Library by Mistake, Daughter Found Joy
Photo: Tajik girls celebrate Navruz in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. By Franrasyan, Wikimedia Commons.
Source: SAT-7, February 22, 2019
Persian house churches worry that worshiping loudly could attract the attention of suspicious neighbors and authorities. One Iranian Christian recalls,
“When we gathered [at] a house [we would play] worship songs on CD or a satellite program…and if we had a worship leader they would lead us in worship. But very quietly and with no clapping. We had to be especially careful in apartments. Sometimes, we would use blankets to soundproof doors for extra security.”
Another challenge for Persian believers is that the repertoire of Persian worship material is limited, and musicians are relatively scarce.
In response to an environment of risk, and limited Persian worship resources, SAT-7 produced and is airing the weekly live program Heavenly Worship.
Behind closed doors, they watch to learn about the miracle of salvation they’ve experienced, to fellowship with the hosts and pastors, and to join in songs of praise. They receive vital information and support [amid] opposition.
“We get feedback from our viewers who meet at home and are unable to sing aloud,” shares Producer Mostafa Keshavarz. “Some don’t know how to sing. We make sure the song words are on the screen and invite the viewers to join in with the singing and worship—whether silently or aloud. Viewers get in touch and tell us how happy they are that they had the opportunity to join us in praise and worship, and this is really encouraging for us.”
» Also read about how the Church of England held a service in Farsi after a huge rise in Iranian converts (Telegraph) and learn about Christianity in Iran 40 years after the Iranian revolution (Christianity Today).
Source: Brigada Today, March 3, 2019
This past week, I (Doug) read through every word of Barna’s report, Reviving Evangelism. It’s a disturbing commentary. According to their data, nearly half of Millennial practicing Christians say it is wrong to evangelize (47%). Almost two in five practicing Christians (of all ages) say they have no non-Christian friends or family members (30%). More than half of all practicing Christians report having two or fewer conversations about faith in past year (56%).
To us, these are some of the most disturbing trends of our day. We could probably survive if political figures stop treating one another with adequate civility. But if, as the years tick by, we “forget” (or stop caring) about evangelizing (as it appears we are) and if, in the process, we forget how to tell the Good News (as it appears we are), we would be placing the Kingdom of God in a precarious position.
What do YOU think we should do about the study? How would YOU guess we respond?
» Read an excerpt from the Barna report: Almost Half of Practicing Christian Millenials Say Evangelism Is Wrong. See also Some Pastors Optimistic about Millennials, Church Growth. Stats Don’t Bear Them Out (Baptist News Global).
Source: World Watch Monitor, February 25, 2019
Tajik authorities implementing a new religion law are barring children from attending religious services and have burned thousands of calendars with Bible verses.
Amendments to Tajikistan’s Religion Law came into force in January last year, giving the state greater control over religious education and increasing the amount of information religious organizations must pass on to the state.
The State Committee for Religious Affairs and Regulation of Traditions, Ceremonies and Rituals (SCRA) now demands “all kinds of information on the number of members, finances and activities,” a member of a religious community told Oslo-based news agency Forum 18 anonymously, fearing reprisals (see Forum 18 article).
They also gather information about the number of children under the age of 10 attending religious meetings, using the Religion Law and the Parental Responsibility Law to put pressure on parents and religious communities.
» Read full story. It looks like Jehovah’s Witnesses are being targeted in particular, but other faith communities like the Baptists who imported the Christian calendars are suffering as well.
» Also read the article Five Reality Checks for Mission, a recent article which deftly summarizes today’s key challenges for Christian witness in Asia and globally (Church Mission Society).
Source: Barnabas Fund, March 2019
Barnabas Fund contacts report that Pastor Thar Tun was kidnapped from his home in Rakhine state, Myanmar (Burma) on February 13 by Buddhist militants thought to be members of the Arakan Army (AA).
Pastor Tun, 56, who has five children, is the second pastor to be kidnapped in Myanmar in less than a month. It is thought that the pastor’s work helping refugees in his home town of Buthidaung made him a target.
On January 19, Pastor Tun Nu, 41, was kidnapped at gunpoint in Rakhine state by militants also thought to be members of AA. He was reported killed on February 1 alongside several others held captive, but his body has not been found.
At the time of Pastor Tun Nu’s abduction, witnesses described the AA as “truly brutal” and had warned that more abductions of Christians were likely because their missionary work made them a target.
» Read full story and please pray for these men’s families and ministries.
» Readers might also be interested in learning about a ministry in another part of East Asia. Christian Freedom International reports that religious refugees are counting on the tides to bring rice, medicine, and Bibles to the suffering people of North Korea.
Source: God Reports, February 19, 2019
Chaima wanted to join ISIS and kill Christians. “I loved to see people dying, I loved to see them bleeding,” Chaima says on a video on YouTube. “I was seeing videos of decapitation on the Internet and I loved it. I was just blind.”
Her mother was an immigrant from Africa to Sweden and both parents were devout Muslims. Chaima saw life as cruel and wondered, “What am I doing in this world?”
“I tried to kill myself three times. I was doing drugs. I just wanted to destroy myself.”
Chaima, from childhood, grew up unhappy. “I hated people who were not Muslim. I wanted to kill them. I was bound to dangerous things,” she says. “I didn’t feel loved by anyone.”
She had a passion for reading, so her mom, concerned for her bouts with depression, brought her library books. One of the books, by accident, was the Bible. Chaima decided to read it and try to prove to Christians that they were wrong.
» Read full story or watch Chaima tell her story on YouTube. This video was made about 18 months ago when she was 18 years old and explores not only her change of heart and baptism but deliverance from demonic activity. Some might find it a bit disturbing.