Mozambique: Missionary Pilot and Two Others Imprisoned
Source: The Christian Post, December 5, 2022
The US-based ministry Mission Aviation Fellowship is urging Christians to pray for the release and safety of one of its pilots, Ryan Koher, and two South African volunteers who have been detained for nearly a month in Mozambique on suspicion of supporting insurgent activity.
Koher, 31, and two South Africans—77-year-old W.J. du Plessis and 69-year-old Eric Dry—were detained in the coastal city of Inhambane on November 4 while they were loading supplies into the aircraft to be taken to church-run orphanages in the Montepuez district in the troubled Cabo Delgado Province.
“I urge Christians around the world to pray for Ryan’s safety and swift release, and call on those in power both in Mozambique and here in the U.S. to do everything they can to resolve this wrongful detainment,” MAF President and CEO David Holsten said in a statement [December 2].
Read the full story or the MAF press release. A Christianity Today article includes more background and some good pictures. Thanks for praying for these men. Koher’s wife Annabel and their two sons have now returned to the US, in accordance with MAF security protocols.
Morocco: Finding Faith on the Internet
Source: Pioneers-USA, November 15, 2022
Karim’s search for God [began] when he was serving a sentence in a Moroccan prison. Islamic spiritual leaders visited him and gave him lectures about what a bad person he was. “There was little grace,” he says, “only a wide chasm between me and the expectations of Islam.” Their words seemed meaningless. He struggled with the rigidity and lack of compassion he saw in spiritual leaders and was longing for something different.
After he was released, Karim searched the internet for answers and, finding a media outreach website in his language, filled out a simple contact form. To Karim’s surprise, a local believer named Elias sent him a message the very same day.
Elias invited Karim to download a copy of the Bible on his phone and begin reading it. As he did, Elias was there to explain the parts he didn’t understand. “I had so many questions,” says Karim. “How can you say Christ is God? How can I become a Christian? What is the difference between Jews, Christians, and Muslims?”
Read the full story. Also from Pioneers, read Googling Jesus: Nine Amazing Stories of Digital Media Outreach.
Bangladesh: Helping 1 Million Rohingya Refugees
Source: Mission Network News, November 18, 2022
A foreign minister of Bangladesh says the country has been left alone to help 1 million Rohingya refugees [who fled to the country from Myanmar]. International funding to help the refugees has decreased every year.
Greg Kelley with World Mission says, “They truly are a stateless people group, which makes the situation all the more tragic. …the likelihood of them getting back into Myanmar is very low. Bangladesh doesn’t want them growing and has shut off the numbers of officially recognized refugees.”
“Meanwhile, babies continue to come out of these camps and the population of Rohingya is growing exponentially.”
The full story briefly describes World Mission’s ministry in the refugee camps, where they recently conducted secret baptisms. Most Rohingya in the camps practice Islam.
Europe: Myths, Truths, and Opportunities for Mission
Source: Lausanne Movement, November 23, 2022
Data from the most recent edition of the European Values Survey indicates that 61% of Swedes, 53% of Dutch, 51% of Brits and Norwegians, and 50% of Czechs say they do not believe in God.
When it comes to church attendance, only one in 20 Swedes, Norwegians, and Finns are in church on a given Sunday, and one in 40 Danes. 63% of French, 61% of Czechs, and 60% of Britons never attend a religious service.
It has taken over 300 years, but gradually Europe has been transformed, as philosopher Charles Taylor puts it in A Secular Age, “from a society where belief in God (was) unchallenged and, indeed, unproblematic, to one in which it is understood to be one option among others, and frequently not the easiest to embrace.”
Read the full story to learn about three myths (that Europe is Christian, that Europe is atheist, and that Europe is post-Christian) and how the millions of Christians who have migrated to Europe over the last 50 years are changing things. Europe is not post-Christian, the author says, but pre-revival. Lord, bring revival.
See also Why Europe? from Greater Europe Mission, which asserts “Europe contains less than 2% of committed followers of Jesus Christ. We believe Europe is the least reached continent in the world.”
Also read Five Signs of Christian Revival in Europe (Christianity Today) and pray for Revive 22, a conference for university students seeking God for revival which is coming up at the end of the month in Germany (IFES).
Indonesia: Discovering Christ as a Kurdish Refugee
Source: International Christian Concern, December 1, 2022
I was born and raised in a [Kurdish] Muslim family in Iran. I only studied until junior high school. Then, I was expelled because I could not afford school tuition. At that time, my father became ill, and because I was the eldest of seven children, I had to replace my father as the breadwinner for my family.
As [I belong to] an ethnic minority in Iran, the government doesn’t care about my rights. For example, I do not have an ID card because the government does not provide it. Because I don’t have an ID card, I can’t work in Iran.
In 2013, I had the idea of moving to Australia to change my life. There is an agent who can make an illegal passport for me, and I had to pay around US$3,500. They said I could go to Australia by sea. At the port, the police stopped me, saying that if I wanted to go to Australia, I had to go through immigration.
At immigration, they said that I needed to go through the UN agency UNHCR and this meant I essentially had to live in prison for about 16 months. And to reach Australia, one of the countries I had to go through was Indonesia. I got a placement in jail in Indonesia. After that, I was transferred to a refugee camp in another city in Indonesia. I chose to live in Indonesia instead of continuing on to Australia.
In Indonesia, I met an Afghan named Adam. He taught me about Christianity, who God is, and the Christian faith. I became a believer in Christ.
In early 2022, my friend Hassan came to Indonesia. He was my neighbor in Iran. In September, police [in Iran] shot Hassan’s son for participating in a demonstration against the government’s obligation to wear the hijab. He survived but was scared for his life. The police are looking for Hassan’s son, but he has fled to a village in Iran.
I’m so grateful for my life now. I used to be a devout Muslim. When I learned about Christ, my heart felt peace and joy, which I had never felt before. Then, finally, I found what I was looking for.
Read Kurdish Church Growing Despite Increased Regional Tension (INcontext International). It includes background on who the Kurds are and why Iran would blame them for the current unrest.