Roundup 150

Don’t Miss

From Mission Catalyst: “9 reasons you’re not going to make it”: This amazing list of “traps and tendencies that keep us from global ministry” is a must read. Most important are Shane’s last words: “God is more powerful than all of these.” – Link

David Joannes interview with me for his podcast, Missions Pulse, dropping next Monday – Link

New Events


At least a million Sub-Saharan Africans moved to Europe since 2010: – Link

How Africa is converting China: Many local African churches have reached out to Chinese workers, including incorporating Mandarin into services. A number of Chinese, in turn, have welcomed the sense of community and belonging the churches offer. – Link

#North Africa

Why South Libya supports a military strongman: The key southern region — which has been lawless for almost a decade — has now seen a return to the rule of law with Hifter’s military advances in the south. – Link

Sons of Egyptian farmers would rather migrate than work in fields: A look at Tatoun, where “every household in this village has two or three members working in Italy.” – Link

The root of Sudan’s current uprising: Sudan has a long history of peaceful civil disobedience bringing down military regimes. Previous protests have brought governments down in two weeks. This time, the regime looks prepared to ride out the revolutionary fervor. – Link

#West Africa

Gospel Glamor: How Nigeria’s pastors wield political power: The “pentecostalisation” of politics which began 20 years ago continues unabated. – Link

#West Asia

Iran’s revolution at 40: from theocracy to ‘normality’ – Link

Iran bans dogs in public spaces: Dogs are viewed as ‘unclean’–but also, dog ownership is a symbol of the pro-Western policy of the ousted monarchy. – Link

Iran’s revolution feels threatened by house churches: A long read on the plight of Christians in Iran. At the same time, there is a well known turning of Iranians to Christianity. – Link

Turkey arrests over 1,000 more clerics over Gulen – Link

Why Turkey is breaking its silence on China’s Uighurs: Anger of Turks at home has forced Ankara to take a stand. – Link

#East Asia

Half of China struggles to stay warm indoors: Central heating has long been a great north-south divide (none south of the Yangtze River), but it’s fast becoming a class issue. – Link

North Korean Christians keep faith underground amid crackdowns: The North’s treatment of Christians could become a bigger issue if the second US-NKor summit produces significant progress. – Link

#South Asia

China funding improvements to Pak-Afgh border crossings: Reception centers, drinking water, cold storage facilities. I wonder if surveillance systems and AI will follow? – Link

The hopes and fears of Afghanistan’s Gen Z: “For villagers in rural Afghanistan, … life may not change much … for the young in Kabul and other cities, there is much to lose, in particular the freedoms restored after the Taliban were ousted …” – Link

The Afghan government is missing from the peace process: Two sets of negotiations with the Taliban are under way; neither includes the country’s administration. – Link

Afghanistan: life in squatter camps highlights challenges of peace: the village of Pul-e Shina highlights the tough realities ahead if the country is to re-build after years of war – Link

Shall I feed my daughter or educate her?: Barriers to Girls’ education in Pakistan. – Link

Pakistan says Asia Bibi can leave … but also, she can’t. It’s all very confusing. – Link

India: looming election = politics in the Kumbh Mela: 150 million participants. Government spending $600 million on the event, 3x the last event in 2013. The BJP’s coalition in Uttar Pradesh is fragile, and politics is invading the religious festival. – Link

Car bomb kills 30 Indian soldiers in Kashmir: One of the deadliest such bombings in the disputed region’s history; over 70,000 have been killed in the uprising and Indian crackdown since 1989. Retaliation for this bombing is almost certain. – Link

#Southeast Asia

Indonesia’s next election is in April: Opinion: “The Islamists have already won.” – Link

Scale of displacement across Myanmar ‘hard to gauge’: There is continued concern over escalating violence in Chin and Rakhine states. Little is known because there is little access. – Link

In Malaysia, Lunar New year keeps ethnic Chinese in touch with ancient customs: Some familiar sights from Penang in this article. – Link

Thailand’s Green Rush: With the legalization of marijuana, the nation hopes to carve out a stake in the global cannabis industry. – Link


Church and State in Ukraine and the power politics of Orthodox Christianity: – Link

Protestants now less than a third of Germans: Once a majority, their share of Germany has decreased at a faster rate than Catholics: 43% Catholic, 28% Protestant, 24% unaffiliated. – Link


“On the move in Yemen’s war zone”: mixed migration flows to and through Yemen and the Horn of Africa – Link

2019’s top 50 US schools for international students 2019: In these schools, 11% of the undergraduates are internationals. Most are Chinese and Indian. Top 3: Princeton, Yale, MIT. – Link

Infographic: The world’s megacities in 2030 – Link

Worldwide Threat Assessment 2019: PDF: from the US intelligence community. – Link

Notable Reads

David Broodryk: the interplay of strategist, catalyst and activists in starting a movement: – Link

Related: Startups don’t need visionary leaders: this is another way of looking at the role of catalysts and activists. – Link

Poverty in Iran: an introduction: A long read analysis: more than half of the population lives in absolute poverty. – Link

Test the hypotheses that matter most: “Startups are experimentation machines… but with a discrete envelope of time and money in which to produce positive results, experimentation selection is one of the most critical factors in startup success.” – Link

Siberia: The dormant breadbasket of Asia: With worldwide food demand expected to rise anywhere from 59% to 98% by 2050, Siberia’s 13.1 million square kilometers and its promise as an agricultural producer is growing in importance. – Link

Why some young Muslim women are leaning into arranged marriages: For some, it’s a matter of faith; for others, it’s just practical. – Link

Future, Tech

Kevin Kelly on the next big tech platform: AR and the Mirrorworld: “I’ve never been to Malaysia… I opened up Google Earth and over several evenings I ‘drove’ along highway AH18 in Street View.” This is a crude version of what is coming. – Link

Smartphone ownership growing rapidly, not equally: in emerging economies, tech use still much more common among young people and the well-educated. – Link

Drones of Mass Destruction: swarms and the future of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. – Link

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