Roundup 148

Don’t Miss

Feb, 12, Beyond’s next DMM Nugget Training: When going isn’t enough
Join us to hear first-hand stories from a movement that has led to thousands of new disciples in a spiritually dark region. In this Nugget, a Beyond field worker will share her personal story of transformation which led her to alter her strategy and begin making reproducible disciples. After serving on the mission field for many years without seeing any fruit, she eventually realized that simply going to the lost was not enough. What helped her change her focus, and what were the results? Come find out!

Have you seen Shane Bennett’s Muslim Connect?
Shane’s a great friend who sends a fantastic weekly email to help people figure out how to think and talk about Muslims like God does and how to practically cross the divide and connect. Each week’s tidbit is short but powerful: I’ve found several of them to be convicting. I’d encourage you to give it a read. Sign up here:

New Blog Posts

Population decline, 2050-2100

Which populations will halve, and which will 10x between 2000 and 2100

New events


Sudan’s army supports government, says it will not allow the state to collapse, following weeks of mass protests – Link


Mass graves found in DR Congo, possibly over 900 killed in 3 days of ethnic strife in December – Link

Thousands flee Nigerian city for Cameroon, fearing Boko Haram attack: yet another example of the ongoing movements of people and fear in the north of Nigeria – Link


The Diplomat analyzes Chinese investment in East Africa: financed more than 3,000 projects, provided 10s of billions of $, faster transport, millions of tons of cargo, improved regional trade, reduced road congestion, less intertribal discord – Link


In UAE, “Christians, Buddhists and Jews emerge to worship”: “The world’s best hidden megachurch” – Link

Saudi Arabia has ended its anti-corruption drive. It’s also seeking billions of dollars in investments in order to diversify away from oil. Pondering if this is a quiet new initiative to move the kingdom beyond the recent MBS PR nightmare. – Link


Brookings has a special series of articles about Iran’s revolution and how it impacted the Middle East, with some behind-the-scenes insights by people who were there – Link


Big piece from the New York Times on China’s involvement in Central Asia: “Can China turn the Middle of Nowhere into the center of the world economy?” Important considering implications of Belt & Road in East Africa (link above) and Xinjiang (link below) – Link


Taliban, US agree in principle on the framework for a peace deal, calling for a phased withdrawal of American troops in exchange for a Taliban cease-fire, pledge that international terrorists would not be allowed to use the country as a hub – Link

Afghan government control, troop numbers continue to decline – Link

Afghan women fear peace with Taliban may mean war on them – Link

China may try to push forward Afghan peace process o protect Belt & Road – Link

Pakistan: Asia Bibi has finally been fully acquitted – Link

She’s free to leave Pakistan after acquittal challenge dismissed, will probably go to Canada where her daughters already have asylum – Link

Canada looks to ensure safety of Asia Bibi – Link

While Asia Bibi is now “safe,” don’t forget there are nearly 200 other blasphemy cases in Pakistan; these haven’t gotten the same level of attention – Link

A water crisis is brewing between nuclear-armed arch-rivals India and Pakistan. I doubt this would ever go nuclear, or even get to the stage of an all-out war—too much is at stake, and diplomats would negotiate. But tensions, skirmishes, etc., are not impossible and could impact ministry work in the region – Link


Bloomberg article posits the “why” of the crackdown on Xinjiang: it sets at the geographic heart of Xi’s Belt and Road initiative, the linchpin of China’s return to being one of the world’s great powers. Link

Along the same lines, see Brookings: “Protect the Party: China’s growing influence in the developing world” – Link

The coming fight for the Dalai Lama’s soul: China and controlling Buddhist ‘soft power,’ policy, narrative by controlling his reincarnation – Link

Crisis plans and communication challenges: when people are expelled – Link

Several Early Rain Covenant Church members released from detention – Link

Philippines: church bombings kill 20 – Link

Filipino Muslims approve creation of new autonomous region in referendum … “in hopes of ending nearly half a century of unrest… new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Mindanao…” – Link

#Religious Climate in Sending Countries

USA: Reaching international students in our own backyards – Link

African churches boom in London’s back streets – another data point on the well known trend of African evangelists seeing great fruit in Europe – Link

Brazil investigates whether US missionary encroached on tiny, isolated Amazonian tribe, can be charged with genocide for endangering the safety of the tribe – Link

Raw Data / Resources / Collections

Transparency International – New 2018 Corruptions Perception Index – Link

New Report on Human Trafficking: 2016 saw record high in cases, but also record high in convictions – Link

Monitoring food security in countries with conflict situations – new report from FAO/WFP – Link

“Gendered Persecution”: New Open Doors Report – For Christian women around the world, persecution looks like rape: of 245 million Christians attacked for their faith last year, many are women/girls specifically attacked through sexual violence – Link


The simple hack to make meetings better (a bit of a rant, but good tidbits) – Link

200 cognitive biases rule our everyday thinking. This great long-read with accompanying info graphics boils these down and simplifies them so we can better understand, cope with them. Link

Why efficiency can make us fragile, and inefficiency can actually help us survive and thrive – Link

CNN asks “what type of Christian are you” and suggests the future of Christianity is “more Lady Gaga, less Mike Pence.” This question is really “what type of Christian are you in America.” The bigger reality: in the future, the vast majority of Christians will be in “African Christianity” and “Asian Christianity” and will be very different from American or European Christianity; Africans and Asians would answer this question very differently. As Christians on different continents and regions interact, these differences will be felt more and more. Already, the Anglican communion has felt the sting of this, and African evangelists in Europe are seeing great fruit, but these differences will show up more and more. Link

Future, Tech

Apple Facetime has a terrible eavesdropping bug: here’s how to turn it off for now – Link

USA: Automation set to hit the heartland the hardest—again – “As middle and low-wage jobs in the American heartland disintegrate…” – could affect fundraising, etc. – Link

Connecting the unconnected: 9 startups expanding Internet access around the world – Link

In the midst of protests, Zimbabwe shut down the Internet – the authoritarian’s playbook – Link


“A person who won’t read has no advantage of a person who can’t read.” ~Mark Twain

“A tree that lacks the experience of the wind will not survive the storm.” ~Eric King

“We don’t need churches only in cities. We need them everywhere there are people. Therefore, we need them especially in cities.” ~Tim Keller

The Last Five

Not content to leave well enough alone, I have migrated over to Squarespace for my website and newsletter. Thus, the old subscribe links and links to the old issues are no longer valid. The “Last Five” will be “restarting” – once I’ve resolved how to do so.

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