Roundup 154

Don’t Miss

Register for these upcoming Beyond events here –

26 March: How to reach families and groups with the Gospel – Discover key biblical principles which are often overlooked in missions, but are critical to reaching entire communities and societies with the gospel. Instead of simply discipling individuals, in this Nugget you will learn how to empower families to reach other families/groups with the Gospel. This approach avoids pulling individuals away from their families which can alienate and antagonize whole communities against the Gospel. It also leverages the power of groups to rapidly spread the Gospel through existing relationships.

4 April: a new Online Event, “The Unexpected Missionary: Katie’s Story”. One of Beyond’s candidates will telling the story of how God called her into missions. If you know anyone who’s thought about being a missionary but felt they didn’t have the right “gifting,” come hear from this self-professed “shy, fearful, introverted scientist” now headed to the field!

Also: Now in Kindle form! New book by Doug Lucas, published by WIGTake: “More Disciples: a guide to becoming and multiplying followers of Jesus” – Link

New events

North Africa

Egypt further tightens restrictions on media and social networks – Link

UN workers say Libya is at a “critical juncture” – Link
… “A National Conference to be convened inside Libya from 14-16 April, “represents a critical opportunity” to end the eight-year transitional period, Mr. Salamé told Council members.”

West/Middle/South Africa

Bloomberg: Islamist insurgencies feed age-old West African conflicts – Link

East Africa

Over 1,000 feared dead after cyclone slams into Mozambique – Link
… more than 150 definitely dead, and 1.5 million affected – Link
… ‘deadliest storm in generations to strike the impoverished southeast African country’
… tens of thousands across Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe have lost homes – Link
… 90% of Mozambique city of Beira destroyed – Link
… Heavy rains continue to complicate rescue efforts – Link
… mapping the devastation – Link

West Asia

A look at the process for selecting the next Supreme Leader of Iran – Link

Surprising: Kazakh leader Nazarbayev resigns after three decades in power – Link
… oh, wait, not really – Axios, Reuters

OM has a report of new fruit in Central Asia (h/t Missions Catalyst) – Link

Turkey’s fearful election campaign: “In no election before has the government employed religion and religion-based polarization so blatantly.” – Link

Turkey’s unemployment rate at 15%, the highest level in three decades – Link

To try and woo audiences, Iranian state TV is copycatting popular Western shows – Link

South-central Asia

Concerns are growing that Afghanistan’s government will not survive an eventual U.S. withdrawal – Link

A missile exchange between Pakistan, India could have happened over Kashmir – Link
… it probably wouldn’t have been nuclear, but still highlights the dangers

East Asia

China: Left behind children and the rural church – Link

China: The year of living sensitively (sensitive anniversaries) – Link

Critic who exposed China’s Muslim camps is detained in Kazakhstan – Link
After mass detentions, China razes Muslim communities to build a loyal city – Link
Uighur detainees from Xinjiang being transferred to prisons in Shandong Province – Link

“Is this the last Dalai Lama?” – Link
… deep dive into the process of how the Dalai Lama is selected, and the role of Beijing

Southeast Asia

Making Missions Count: how a major database tracked Thailand’s church planting revival – Link

The Economist on Thailand’s election, biased in favor of the generals – Link

How Thailand became the world’s last military dictatorship – Link
… long read analysis: “Thailand has been through so many military coups that they almost have a business-as-usual feel to them”


20 metro areas are home to 60% of unauthorized immigrants in the USA – Link

New Statistics

Only 22% of evangelical Christians in the USA interact with Muslims – Link
… “Surprised at the low number…” I was surprised it was that high.

New Commentary

World is more peaceful than ever, but state violence against citizens on the rise – Link

Uber-for-X = the rise (return, really) of the servant economy – Link

The strongmen strike back – the reemergence of authoritarianism – Link

Thinking about Places and Peoples in the context of unreached
David Platt: “Rethinking unreached peoples” – Link
Matthew Bennett: “How (not) to engage unreached peoples and places” – Link
… For the most part, I’m fully on board with the thinking in both these articles, especially as it relates to places. I am hard at work on a database of Places & Peoples, checking to make sure we are adequately engaging these. The research is obviously very sensitive, but the concept is important, especially in this world of increasing urbanization – but also because Peoples are often stretched out over vast Places, and we need to make sure the people group is fully engaged.

The “Blackwater of Spies”: Surveillance for hire, being hired by smaller countries – Link
… “Today even the smallest countries can buy digital espionage services, enabling them to conduct sophisticated operations like electronic eavesdropping or influence campaigns that were once the preserve of major powers like the United States and Russia. Corporations that want to scrutinize competitors’ secrets, or a wealthy individual with a beef against a rival, can also command intelligence operations for a price, akin to purchasing off-the-shelf elements of the National Security Agency or the Mossad.”

New Technology & Futuristics

Facebook left 100s of millions of passwords unencrypted; how to change yours – Link

How connectivity brings out our worst – a deep dive into “performing” for groups, in-group jokes, polarization, extremifying – Link

“For Africa, Chinese-built Internet is better than no Internet at all” – Link
… “the need for web access has driven Africa to Huawei despite US concerns”

Section 230: the 26 words that guard the open Internet and open-source Intelligence – an interesting look at the origins of a critical part of the US Communication Decency Act, which shapes a lot of legislation worldwide – Link

iPhones will let you set limits on apps to better manage your screen time – Link

Why phone numbers are a bad idea for online proof-of-identity – Link

Pakistan: What it’s like to be thrown in jail for posting on Facebook – Link
… a deep, long read in Wired magazine about the intersection of blasphemy, the Internet, and possibly made up charges.

The nitty-gritty of China’s social credit system: Jackson Wu gets into some details, and provides lots of links – Link

GauGAN – Nvidia’s demo’d AI that can turn bare sketches into photorealistic landscapes in seconds – Link

How India conquered Youtube: with 245 million people watching each month, shaking up the entertainment business – Link ($)

Facial recognition’s dirty little secret: millions of online photos scraped without consent – Link

New Books

The Islamic State in Khorasan: Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the New Central Asian Jihad – Review
… based on two years of research, explores a region that may be the future new ‘home base’ for ISIS. A deal between the Taliban and Afghanistan may send new recruits to Khorasan.


“Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.” ~Jiao Hong (Chinese philosopher and historian of the late Ming dynasty)

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