Roundup 297

Pray with us

1. We continue to pray for an end to the war in Ukraine. Most of the analysis I read suggests we should prepare ourselves for something that will last far longer than we would like. Russia seems to not be pulling back, and the US is backing Ukraine, and many nations are getting tired even of civilized Ukrainian refugees.

2. Several countries in the ‘unreached’ world lead very fragile lives. Heat waves, droughts, and rising prices sparked by the Ukraine war are combining into a perfect storm pushing millions into poverty, hunger, and out of their homes. Over 60 million have been displaced; over 140 million are suffering acute hunger. Pray for Christians, churches, and ministries to be a blessing in this time.

3. The mutation of Covid into a somewhat less deadly variant, and the wide proliferation of at-home tests, means many surges of Covid will be far less visible: people will test and manage the disease at home, largely out of sight of the nightly news or the mainstream press. Nevertheless many cross-cultural workers will continue to face Covid in contexts with far fewer medical options and governments eager to either suppress or unable to cope. Pray for those who have to make health decisions with very little regular information, some with few medical options, as well as for those who are finding ministry contexts difficult.

New Events

North Africa + West Asia = Middle East (570m)

Chadian national committee on food security on looming food crisis. HumAngle
Dubai airport’s passenger traffic reaches pre-pandemic levels. Al-Monitor
Iraq’s prized rice crop threatened by drought. Hurriyet
… after 3 years of drought, declining rainfall, amber rice production ‘symbolic’ in 2022.
… Iraq engulfed in 8th sandstorm in weeks: hospitalizations, flights grounded. BBC
Sudan: January-March timeline of political turmoil, lawlessness. Dabanga
… “as attempts to revive democratic transition collapse” …
… Darfur displacement soars as peace deal falters. AllAfrica
Turkey’s tourism sector to grow 2x rate of national economy. Hurriyet
Is a water crisis brewing between Turkey and Iran? Al-Monitor
Yemen: first commercial flight in 6 years leaves rebel-held Sanaa. Middle East Eye

East Africa (520m)

US redeploys troops (~700) to Somalia. BBC
Worst drought in decade ravages East Africa. Hiraan Online
… “1 person dying every 48 seconds… reminiscent of 2011 famine w/260k dead”
… “16.7m wake up hungry, not knowing where next meal will come from”
… “Nothing in 3 years… starting to believe starvation was meant for us… SomTribune
Somalia elects next president, but terrorists hold true power. Hiraan Online
… “after 16 years, al-Shabab has a firm grip on much of Somalia”

West + Middle Africa (600m)

Mali arrests suspects after foiled coup attempt. AP
Nigeria: Female student beaten, burned to death for ‘blasphemous’ text messages. Reuters
… school in Sokoto state immediately closed following the attack …

South + Central Asia (2b)

Afghanistan face veil decree: “feels like being a woman is a crime.” BBC
To survive, some Afghans sift through deadly remnants of old wars. NYT $
… searching for discarded metal, many killed by unexploded munitions …
Hostilities between Taliban and Tajikistan over border closure, seizures. RFE

Why an Indian couple is suing their son over grandchildren. BBC
… goes a bit more into the societal pressures …
Op/Ed: as violence & threats grow, India’s Muslims fear the worst. WaPo $
… “has warned India could be on the cusp of a genocide against Muslim citizens”
India’s power grid still creaking under hybrid work model, heat wave. CNA
… coal inventories drawn down, understocked ahead of hottest part of the year
… asks importers for more coal to tackle heat wave. Straits Times
Poor workers, generally working outdoors, bear the brunt of India’s heat wave. CNA
0.5m Indians flee floods in northeast brought by rain. CNN

Iran: Triggered by rising food prices, protests spread to 6 provinces. NYT $
Khamenei warns Iranians of danger in declining birth rate. Al-Monitor
… current birth rates are below replacement level: fertility rate of 1.7 per woman …

Pakistan: Baloch women fear crackdown after Karachi suicide attack. Guardian
… first female suicide bomber in Pak. killed 3 Chinese teachers; Chinese leave Pak.
Heat wave in Sindh, Pakistan hits 50 deg C. Straits Times

Sri Lanka says it has secured foreign exchange to ease fuel shortage. CNA
… economic crisis likely to get more violent: ‘descending into full blown crisis’. CNA

Tajikistan: Gorno-Badakhshan deadly toll from unrest, protest repression. RFE

Eastern Asia (1.6b)

Where are the churches in China? Why? Geographical patterns of church development: June webinar with Dr. Fenggang Yang looks interesting. ChinaSource

China’s Covid lockdowns drive middle-class citizens to go abroad. WSJ $
… Well: many “want to emigrate” but many “face hurdles… passports and paperwork”
… Analysis: is the era of free movement for Chinese citizens coming to an end? Quartz
OTOH: Is studying overseas losing its allure for Chinese students? Sixth Tone
… 18% decline in Chinese student applications to US universities in 2022 vs 2021
… 25% decline in Chinese student population in Canada
Shanghai moves to ease lockdown. CNA
… “no new infections outside quarantined areas for fifth day in a row”
China removes Covid-19 test rules for US, UK, others. Straits Times
… no PCR test 7 days before flying, still need 2 tests within 24-48 hours of flights
… Beijing quarantine period reduced from 14 days to 10

Japan allowing small “test tourism” group tours. CNN

North Korea Covid cases climb to 1.97 million (7.6% of population). Korea Herald
… analysis: “may be trapped between famine and plague.” Foreign Policy $
S Korea to increase international flights to meet travel demand. Korea Herald

Southeast Asia (700m)

More than 5,600 civilians killed in Myanmar since the coup. RFA
Indonesia drops Covid-19 test requirement for vaccinated foreign visitors. CNA
Thailand: tourist arrivals to triple to 1 million monthly from October. Straits Times
… “rolls back most of the pandemic-era travel curbs”


Southern Baptists report 19% attendance drop after Covid-19. Link
… OTOH: +31k baptism over 2020, +$300m giving, +$100m mission giving

Russia’s ‘special military operation’
Those returning to Kyiv suburb face new hardship: homelessness. NBC
… Ukraine has worked hard to replace/repair damaged infrastructure (roads etc)
… rebuilding destroyed houses, apartment buildings “a much thornier task”

New Data

Leisure and business flights surpass 2019 levels for first time since pandemic. Link
… Mastercard Economic Inst annual travel report: “Travel 2022: Trends & Transitions”
Global Report on Internal Displacement 2022: near 60 million IDPs worldwide. Link
Most of the 140 million suffering acute hunger are in these 10 countries. UN
… Afgh., DRC, Ethiopia, Haiti, Nigeria, Pakistan, S Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Yemen …
… 44 million in 38 countries are at “emergency levels of hunger” – 1 step from famine

Covid global case data

5/20: 524.0m cases, 6.27m deaths (trackers: Johns HopkinsNYT)

Longer Articles

The export bans driving up food prices around the world. Quartz

I haven’t read the whole thing (I don’t have an Economist subscription, and I’ve used up my monthly articles) but this month’s cover and analysis is all about “The coming food catastrophe,” and it looks like a good explainer. Economist $

Why do we include articles about sandstorms? Because: Dust is a growing threat to lives in the Middle East. “Life came to a halt amid a swirl of dust–such scenes have occurred almost weekly in Iraq since April. In past decades, 2 or 3 big sandstorms a year; this spring, Iraq has already logged eight… The UN puts the direct economic cost at $13 billion per year.” Droughts = more dust = more standstills, more costs, more challenges. Economist

Book Notes

The books I’ve read in 2022. Also, the books I read in 2021.

Tech & Futures

What studying thousands of Christian WeChat accounts reveal about Chinese Internet evangelism: rampant commercialism & plagiarism were probably more harmful than government censorship. CT

Al-Monitor noticed Sorani+Kurmanji Kurdish now in Google Translate. Al-Monitor
Holographic technology allows pastor to be in nine locations at once.
California greenhouse run by robots. Impact Lab
Ingenious underwater drone can transition to flight in less than a second. Gizmodo
Apple testing live captions to transcribe audio content on its devices. Verge
Implantable payment chips: the future, or cyberpunk pipe dream? Digital Trends
… will this be the most clicked article for this issue?


“Every congregation is a congregation of sinners. As if that weren’t bad enough, they all have sinners for pastors. ” ~Eugene Peterson

“Community is messy and sometimes frustrating. But there’s no way that we can grow the way that God intended without it.” ~Darryl Dash

“If you really want to learn how something works, try to change it.” ~Matt Mazur

“If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” ~Frank A. Clark

“If your agency can handle your mission alone then your vision is too small and your strategy is too cowardly.” ~Dick Brogde

“There is no commentary that opens up the Bible so much as sickness and sorrow.” ~J. C. Ryle

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