World mission news, ideas, and resources
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In this edition: Testimonies from two parts of the Buddhist world plus news from North Africa, Eritrea, and the US.
Missions Catalyst News Briefs 05.04.22
  1. Buddhists Find True Enlightenment
  2. Media Ministry: The Mighty MicroSD Card
  3. USA: Stay-at-Home Mom Mobilizes for Mission
  4. Eritrea: Authorities Arrest 29 Christians
  5. Sri Lanka: Mob of 600 Attacks Church, Results in Stronger Church
  6. North Africa: Why Did It Take So Long?
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Buddhists Finding True Enlightenment

Source: Back to Jerusalem, May 2022

Buddhism [is] an important religion in many of the countries in Asia, but has also crept into the hearts and homes of people all around the world. In the UK, you don’t have to go far to see a Buddhist statue peering out of a neighbor’s window or nestled in their front garden. Mindfulness meditation has become extremely popular, with shops even aiming related books at children.

Practicing Buddhist monks fill their lives with serious debating in order to find truth. They do this in the hope of attaining enlightenment, [but] only the monks who turn to Jesus find true enlightenment—for Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

One enlightened former monk is Tenzin Lahkpa. He bravely tried to bring the truth he’d learned about Jesus to his own people through the Buddhist debate system. The response from his fellow monks was imprisonment and torture. Brave Tenzin kept his faith in God, and God miraculously set him free. In time, God led Tenzin to return to his village to love and bless the people who tortured and disowned him. The love, power, and peace that Jesus Christ imparts to his devoted followers like Tenzin are incredible proofs that Jesus is who he said he is—the Son of God, Lord of lords, and King of kings.

Read the rest of the article. For more of Tenzin’s story, see the book Leaving Buddha: A Tibetan Monk’s Encounter with the Living God and (for kids) Tales from Fu Fu’s Forest: The Power of Love. The latter is part of a whole series of true stories about Chinese missionaries, told for children by fictional characters. Looks fun.

Asia Harvest recently shared an encouraging word from another Tibetan, Elijah Gergan, evidently a fifth-generation Tibetan follower of Jesus. Can’t be many of those. To go deeper, read Paul Hattaway’s complete chronicle of Christianity in Tibet.

Media Ministry: The Mighty MicroSD Card

Source: Mobile Ministry Forum, April 2022

Ounce for ounce, nothing can beat the ubiquitous microSD card as a ministry tool. Here are a few examples of ministry via microSD card:

  • Donna, a worker in India, gave a microSD card filled with audio and video files about Jesus to her friend, Amira. She was very poor, but she had a media-capable phone with a microSD card slot. The media was fluent in Urdu and powerfully communicated who Jesus is. Amira and her family came to faith and began sharing media with their Muslim neighbors, introducing Jesus.
  • A movement in Asia, where mobile service is not always available, is progressing thanks to microSD cards. Loaded with appropriate media to introduce Jesus and the Bible, the cards are great tools for evangelism and discipleship. Emerging leaders receive cards pre-filled with leadership material, including videos that demonstrate how to guide groups of seekers or young believers.
  • Julie travels often and prays for God to give her opportunities to share the gospel. For less than $50, she buys a dozen or more microSD cards, loading them with media in the local language. When people show an interest in what she is sharing (sometimes she just shows a video when she doesn’t know their local language), she hands them a microSD card that continues speaking to them when she leaves. Sometimes she “accidentally” loses microSD cards in crowded areas, knowing whoever finds them will be curious to view its contents.
The full story includes tips on using these cards.

See also The Largest Stage in All of History: How to Choose the Most Effective Social Media Channel for Your Ministry (Lausanne Movement).

USA: Stay-at-Home Mom Mobilizes for Mission

Source: Operation Mobilization, April 16, 2022

Though Natalie completes her tasks over scattered hours, squeezing in work when her kids are napping or after they go to bed, she’s excited for the little part of missions God’s given her. “I’m thankful I get to have a small role in people going and people sharing the gospel with other people,” she said.

“God really can use you, the gifts and abilities he’s given you, right where you are. I thought I had to go, had to have this super spiritual gift, that missionaries were a pastor or a church planter, but I can be part of God’s call for missions on my couch in Garden City, Michigan, making a poster calling people to go.”

The full story shares how Natalie serves OM’s ministry in the Caribbean part-time by working remotely as a communication coordinator. Opportunities like this seem to be on the rise.

Eritrea: Authorities Arrest 29 Christians

Source: Mission Network News, April 28, 2022

In March, Eritrean security forces raided a Christian prayer meeting and arrested 29 believers. They took 17 women and 12 men to a prison camp near the capital city, Asmara.

Worship in Eritrea is illegal outside of government-recognized churches. Eritrean Christians have often been held for years without charges.

Dr. Berhane Esmelash recently spoke with The Voice of the Martyrs Canada. He says the arrest is part of a trend. “We have experienced several new arrests for the past six months. Some senior pastors were arrested a few months ago, and they are in their seventies.”

“About six months ago, 15 Christians were arrested. Now, these 15 were previously imprisoned for many years.”

Eritrean Christians hoped these believers would be free for the rest of their lives, but now they have been put right back in prison. Eritrean police often use illegal gatherings as an excuse to arrest people. But sometimes they simply take people from work.

Read the full story.

Sri Lanka: Mob of 600 Attacks Church, Results in Stronger Church

Source: Open Doors, April 18, 2022

It was March 6 and the congregation had already gone home; that’s when the assailants saw their opportunity. Led by Buddhist monks, a mob of 600 marched towards the newly established church, ready to threaten Pastor Indunil, his family, and their message.

Days prior to the incident, Pastor Indunil (among other local pastors) was warned his church was under threat of imminent attack, yet he told his congregants—no matter what—they must never repay evil for evil.

A Christian leader in Sri Lanka said, “Right now, Christians in the area are so afraid … However, they are still gathering to worship. They say, ‘It is difficult, but we know we will have to face these things, and we need to be ready for this. This is God’s work and we will not deny him.’”

When the frenzied mob reached Pastor Indunil’s church, they beat on gates and smashed windows. After throwing death threats at the pastor, the angry mob turned on the congregants and beat several quite severely, sending some to the hospital; but the congregants did not retaliate.

The local government has since forced Pastor Indunil and his church to suspend services, but it has only strengthened their resolve.

The pastor and his family continue to meet with their congregants in homes. Not only that, but they’ve also seen God at work through the attack: A recent convert of Pastor Indunil’s church, who had been struggling with alcoholism, has not returned to drinking since the attack. “This one incident was able to accomplish what ten sermons could not,” Pastor Indunil said.

Since the attack, the Bible has come alive in new ways for the congregation, too, with both the pastor and other believers sharing verses they had never fully understood until they experienced their persecution; it has moved them to spend more time on their knees, despite opposition from locals, other religious leaders, and the government.

Read the full story.

You may remember the 2019 Easter Sunday suicide bomb attacks on three Sri Lankan churches and three hotels, killing at least 350 people and injuring thousands more. Open Doors has several updates from survivors.

North Africa: Why Did It Take So Long?

Source: International Mission Board, April 19, 2022

IMB missionaries Andy and Marie Hoffman served more than 11 years without seeing any fruit among their unreached people group in North Africa. During those years, the family and their partners built relationships and shared the gospel with these nomadic farmers and desert horsemen.

It wasn’t until the culmination of their hard work was almost complete that they saw nationals come to saving faith. Andy, with the help of national believers, finished a translation of the Scripture into the heart language of this predominately Muslim people group.

As they were completing the project, Tom, one of the new believers and a fellow translator, asked a question that was “like an arrow that hit me in the heart,” Andy described.

Tom asked, “Andy, the Bible is a very important book, right?”

“Yes,” Andy replied.

Tom continued, “Why did it take you so long to get here and bring it to us?”

Stunned, Andy explained that he came to live among Tom’s people group when he was 29 years old. “I couldn’t have come much sooner.”

“No, I mean, how long has America had the Bible?” Tom pressed. “Our parents and grandparents—they never, ever got to hear.”

Andy replied, “You’re right. We held on to it too long. Praise God, it’s here, working among your people now. Let’s not be guilty of holding on to the Bible in your country. Let’s reach the other languages who still don’t have it.”

Read the full story.

For some of the many groups working to bring the Word of God to the nations, see a list of the 50 largest US missions and Bible translation organizations, by revenue (Ministry Watch).

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Pat Noble

About Pat

Pat Noble has been the “news sleuth” compiling stories for Missions Catalyst since 2004, in addition to serving as a mobilizer and networker in Northern New York. She has been a mission leader in her church and enjoys serving international students and refugees.

Contact Pat.

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