Roundup 296

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. Heat waves, droughts, rising prices from the Ukraine war–throughout the Horn of Africa and much of Asia, these are combining into a perfect storm that will likely push millions into poverty, hunger, and possibly even famine and political revolution. It’s hard to read this seemingly unremitting litany of bad data points strung out in an ever worsening trend line. I don’t think the end is near, and I’m not thankful for disasters, but I am praying for the church to be a blessing in the midst of these situations.

3. I was stunned–literally almost to tears–by two items in the tech world this week. One was the list of new languages Google Translate will make possible (including some like Bhojpuri and Oromo), and the other was a new ocular device from Google that would “subtitle the world.” (Scroll to tech, the last link, and consider what this could do.)

4. I was mildly amused by an article about Indian parents suing their son for not providing a grandchild, but then an analysis by friends who work in South Asia made me look anew at how radical the prayer, “…as we forgive others…” could really be. Read the article in Long Reads and pray with us for the communities of believers who would love to see God bring major transformation to the region.

New Events

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

Experts warn of bleak long-term outlook for drought hit Iraq. National News
… water scarcity, increased drought, dust storms, heat waves, loss of forest cover …
Between searing drought & Ukraine war, Iraq watchful over wheat. Al-Monitor
… “the drought is unbelievable… even well water can’t be used, it’s salt water”
Yazidis displaced anew by north Iraq violence. Al-Monitor

East Africa (520m)

Somaliland: herders say they die with their herds in droughts. SomTribune
… three consecutive failed rainy seasons, slow start to 4th, push Horn to brink of famine
“People are dying”: Ethiopians escape war only to face hunger in Somaliland. Guardian
… 2 refugee camps in Borama, where est. 2,000 families reside …
Interfaith tensions simmer in Ethiopia after attack in Gondar. AllAfrica
… some 150 people injured, unknown number dead after week of violence.
Somalia: 400k+ children at risk of dropping out of school due to drought. Link

West + Middle Africa (600m)

8 soldiers killed in Togo, raising spectre of expansion of violence. Reuters
… “so far spared the violence… but…”
Sierra Leone: where every pregnancy is a deadly gamble. WaPo
… 1 in 20 women in Sierra Leone die as a result of pregnancy or childbirth
… “every 90 seconds a pregnant woman dies”
… “practically every death preventable, but civil war + Ebola devastated health system”
… Ebola killed 7% of medical workers
Nigerian domestic airlines stop operations until further notice over rising fuel $. Reuters
Conflict in Burkina Faso aggravates ongoing food crisis. ReliefWeb

South + Central Asia (2b)

Eid under the Taliban shows a changed Afghanistan. NYT $
… “thousands piled into buses and set out to see family they had not seen in years”
The Taliban have made the burqa mandatory again. Foreign Policy
Taliban divisions deepen as Afghan women defy veil edict. AP
… “until now pragmatists and hardliners have avoided open confrontation”
Afghan refugees still adjusting to US move. AP video
… more than 76,000 have been admitted to the US, hard to find jobs, pay bills …
As the world looks away, violence on the rise again in Afghanistan. Diplomat
… marked increase in violence against women, journalists and educators

“Perpetual violence”: India’s dangerous new pattern of communal tensions. NYT $
… “nationwide provocations spreading through social media inspire local groups…”
India’s huge landfills go up in flames amid record-breaking temperatures. Straits Times
… birds fall from the sky in Gujarat as heatwave scorches India. Straits Times
India in quandry over wheat exports as heat dampens production forecasts. Straits Times
… export to address global shortage, or keep wheat home to keep domestic prices stable?
Contextualization: How fast food giants like McDonald’s found their Indian soul. BBC
Total fertility rate in India down across the board. Times of India

Video: Pakistan bridge crumbles after heatwave triggers floods. BBC
Pakistan bans sugar exports in a bid to stabilize the price. Ariana

Sri Lanka issues shoot-on-sight orders to quell Sri Lankan riots. AFP
… “any involved in looting/odamaging… a day after mobs targeted ruling politicians”
Worst violence in weeks of protest: Thousands of troops deployed, curfew set. Link
… Prime minister resigns. AP
Many flee Colombo as elders meet to seek solution to crisis. CNA

Eastern Asia (1.6b)

The Great Awakening in China. Yang Fenggang, ChinaSource
… “has lasted more than 4 decades, with millions turning to religion yearly”
Eventually, China’s borders will reopen. Will foreigners return? Sixth Tone
… “number of foreigners in China has halved, could halve again this summer”
… “foreign arrivals and departures dropped to 4.6% of 2019 level”
… “big reduction in number of foreign students”
… “international schools have lost 40% of their staff”
“I’m very anxious”: China’s lockdowns leave millions out of work. NYT $
… 280 million migrant workers, 11 million recent college graduates hit hardest …
China’s singles agree: age matters. Sixth Tone
… age discrimination issues abound …
Thorough read: Beijing’s desire for births is up against a more feminist nation. Quartz
… plan for extended mandatory maternity leave read as forcing women out of workplace
… women in 20s and 30s fear expanded maternity benefits make employers leery of hiring
China restricts citizens from ‘non-essential’ foreign travel. Sixth Tone
Shanghai imposes tightest restrictions yet. BBC
… “leave a key to your house in the door so we can come in and disinfect the space”
At mercy of zealous residential committees, the locked-down vent frustration. CNA
… “what they are allowed to do depends on the latitude of the juweihui”

N Korea reports first Covid-19 outbreak, orders lockdown in “grave emergency.” Ariana

SKor: over half of 20-somethings do not plan to have children after marriage. Korea Herald

Southeast Asia (700m)

Long queues for petrol stations as fuel crisis hits Laos. CNA
… importers with drop in currency value, low foreign exchange reserves, soaring price of oil
Laos to drop Covid-19 entry curbs for vaccinated tourists. Straits Times
Myanmar to resume issuing tourist e-visas on Sunday. Straits Times
… activists are hoping tourists stay away, fear tourist $ will end up in junta treasury. CNA
Thailand cuts long-term ‘high potential’ resident visa fee in half to 50k baht. Link
… “high-income individuals, foreign pensioners, workers, specialists”
… “encourage foreign investment… 1 million foreigners entering/staying in 5 years”

Americas+Europe+Pacific

New Zealand drops most of its Covid border restrictions. NBC

Russia’s ‘special military operation’
What life is like for Ukrainian refugees living on a Cold War era gunboat. TIME
Putin, Ukraine committed, dug in for long-lasting war. NBC
… “US essentially poses as a senior patron of Ukraine, determined not to let it lose”

New Data

Tourism recovering, but not back to pre-pandemic levels. Al-Monitor
Passenger traffic at Abu Dhabi tripled over 2021, aided by flights from India. Al-Monitor
US Evangelicals choose to give to secular charities over Christian orgs. Link

Covid global case data

5/13: 520.0m cases, 6.2m deaths (trackers: Johns HopkinsNYT)

Longer Articles

Prayer Journey for the Haredim: praying for the Jews, an unreached people group. Link

The 37% rule for making decisions. Inc
… also known as the stopping algorithm: spend 37% of the time gathering information,
… then choose the next best option that comes along that’s better than anything you’ve seen

The secret science behind the power of small talk. Fast Company
… “social lubricator” that builds trust and relationships across cultures

Give us a grandchild or pay back $900,000, say Indian couple who are suing son. Link
… I asked a Beyond field leader about this, wondering whether to include it or not, and got a wonderfully insightful analysis back. In part:
1. The community think process is, I give to you, and then one day you give back to me.
2. When a kid is 18, it’s not what are you going to do with your life–you have your duty.
3. It’s not done out of love, but out of obligation. Hard to go above and beyond.
4. Even children’s names can be determined by the grandparents, not the parents.
5. You wait until you’re old enough to be in charge and make others do their duty by you. It perpetuates from one generation to another.
6. In this environment, the Lord’s prayer is a radical idea: I pray you forgive me what I owe you, and I release others from anything I think they owe me.

Book Notes

I finished Futureshock last week, and though written in the 1970s, I was pretty amazed at how well it predicted the trendline we are on, and how applicable it still was. I hadn’t read it before, but I’ve ordered the other two in the trilogy: The Third Wave and Powershift.

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

Tech & Futures

Sudan’s electric rickshaws. AFP Video
Apple to discontinue the iPod after 21 years. BBC
… arguably, a device that changed the world …
Turkey, Kazakhstan sign agreement to jointly produce drones. Al-Monitor
Killer Robots are here–and we need to regulate them. Foreign Policy
China is 3D printing a 590-foot hydroelectric dam with zero human labor. Futurism
A portable wind turbine that fits in your backpack. Fast Company

Google announces a host of new functions planned for Voice, Assistant, Maps, more. Link
… multisearch: snap a picture of a bookshelf, get info on all the books on it
… Google Assistant better able to understand conversation w/o “Hey, Google”
… fusing billions of images to provide immersive views in Google Street View
… attempting to use AI to fix your poor webcam meeting experience. Link
Google Translate now supports 133 languages spoken by 300 million worldwide
… incl Assamese, Bhojpuri, Oromo, Kurdish, Tigrinya, several more… Link
… and a mind-blowing look at the possibly near future of Translate: subtitles for the world

Quotable

“If all of your prayers were answered this week, would it change the lives of others, or just yours?” ~Todd Adkins

“Conversion to Christ does not produce a bland universal citizenship: it produces distinctive discipleships, as diverse and variegated as human life itself.” ~Andrew Walls

“People in any organization are always attached to the obsolete–the things that should have worked, but did not, the things that once were productive and no longer are.” ~Peter Drucker

“Just because a church is large doesn’t mean it’s healthy. It could just mean it’s swollen.” ~Charles Spurgeon

“We live in a culture that has cultivated the idea that the skeptical person is always smarter than one who believes. You can almost be as stupid as cabbage so long as you doubt.” ~Dallas Willard 

“We can know the right words yet never be changed. This is the difference between information and transformation.” ~A.W. Tozer

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” ~attributed to Picasso

“The courageous have fears that cowards never know.” ~Stanley Hauerwas

“If the frying pan is not heated up, the corns cannot pop.” ~Yoruba

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Roundup 295

Pray with us

1. We continue to pray for an end to the war in Ukraine. The war has again appeared to be largely stalled, with many concerned about the potential for explosive escalation in an effort to achieve war aims. Some articles suggest certain events (attacks inside Russia, and other border countries) are small examples of this escalation. Poland and others are being stressed by hosting Ukrainian refugees.

2. Many countries are feeling the sting of hunger and economic disaster. This is amplified by the Russian-Ukrainian war, as well as climate issues (heat waves, droughts, etc). We pray for the church to find ways to help those who are starving, many of whom are among the least-reached of the unreached.

3. We are thankful for the rapid multiplication of followers of Jesus in spite of the wars, rumors of wars, disasters, plagues, and the like that are spreading over the Earth. Movements now contain over 114 million believers–headed toward 2% of the world.

New Events

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

No place for converts: Iran’s persecuted Christians struggle to keep their faith. RFE
Sudan: 115k displaced by West Darfur violence. AllAfrica
Landmines, other war hazards killing people in Libya. HRW
… the leftover detritus of war …
Inflation in Turkey soars to eye-popping 70% in April. NBC
… “eat away at earnings, put even basic necessities out of reach of many households”
… Russian invasion = surge in gas, oil, grain $ = challenge for import-reliant Turkey
Turkey’s plan to draw refugees back to Syria: build homes for 1 million. NYT $
… building schools, hospitals, homes, more in northern Syria …
Abu Dhabi removes Covid capacity restrictions, masks remain. Al-Monitor
Thousands sick as latest severe sandstorm sweeps Iraq. Al-Monitor
In Yemen’s Taiz, hope & disappointment one month into ceasefire. NewHum

East Africa (520m)

UNICEF: Ethiopian drought -> “dramatic” increase in child marriage. Hiiraan Online
Oromia region reports 1.3m cattle deaths in 8 drought-stricken zones. AllAfrica
Tigray’s health system “total collapsed,” say health workers. AllAfrica
… “acute shortages, 10s of 1000s w/chronic haven’t been treated in months”

4th consecutive failed rainy season dragging Somalia into starvation. Hiiraan Online
… 11 years ago, famine killed 250k people, half children …
… “famine” = 20% of households with complete lack of food. Not quite there yet…

West + Middle Africa (600m)

Since 2016, prices of basic necessities in Nigeria have skyrocketed. Al Jazeera
“As hunger in central Sahel reaches record levels…” ReliefWeb
Ethnic clashes in Cameroon aren’t about religion. Foreign Policy
… long read on the conflict in the northwest, which has simmered a century

South + Central Asia (2b)

Afghan refugees face hardship in Iran. AP
97% of Afghan population now facing food shortages. Ariana News
With spate of attacks, Islamic State begins bloody new chapter in Afgh. Straits Times
The drug trade now flourishing in Afghanistan: Meth. WaPo $

A visit to conservative Kashan unveils Iran’s gradual social change. FT $
… “not long ago, most women in the desert city would have worn black chador.”
… “not any more… change is everywhere…”

India: 46-deg. heatwave making power crisis worse. Straits Times
… hours long blackouts, street protests, outages in half of states …
… “the whole summer will be a test”
… 2 out of 3 Indian homes face power outages amid heat waves. Quartz
“We are living in hell”: Pakistan & India suffer extreme spring heatwaves. Guardian
… temperatures in Balochistan hit almost 50C (122F)
… heat causing northern glaciers to melt, thousands at risk of flood bursts
Heat wave threatens India’s wheat output, export plans. CNA
Heatwave is “testing the limits of human survivability.” CNN
… How hot is too hot for the human body? MIT
How can India cope with the heat waves? Economist $
India has begun deporting Rohingyas to Myanmar. Foreign Policy

Analysis: Pakistan’s food security dilemma. Straits Times
Balochistan: rising violence by separatists adds to Pakistan’s lethal instability. NYT $
Sri Lankan tea exports drop to lowest level in 23 years. CNA
… biggest export commodity, bungled ban on fertiliser imports to save foreign $
In depth: Sri Lankan tea pickers’ dreams shattered by economic crisis. Straits Times

Eastern Asia (1.6b)

China’s doomed fight against demographic decline. Foreign Affairs $
… last week: Amid low birth rate worries, China increases pressure on women. Diplomat $

China’s southern megacity Guangzhou rushes to quell outbreak. Straits Times
Dongxing: “small border city grapples with post-lockdown survival.” Sixth Tone
… “persistent lockdown-like situations disrupting daily life, livelihood”
More than 12m in Shanghai can leave home as Covid-19 risk ebbs. CNA
… “number in sealed, controlled zones has fallen”
Under lockdown in China. NYT Interactive
Beijing sees more Covid closures as anger grows in Shanghai. Japan Times
… “nothing makes sense here”
Flying into Beijing is tougher than ever as China ramps up Covid measures. CNN
… “foreigners can enter only under very limited circumstances”
… “very difficult for American journalists to get a visa due to deteriorating relations”
Fearful of getting cut off (as Russia has been), China pushes for self-reliance. WSJ $

Japan to allow tourist groups as early as this month. Straits Times

NKor halts rail crossings with China, where Covid is on the rise. CNA
… “worsened economic problems, threatened food supplies to millions”
Foreign residents in S Korea to rise to 4.3% of population by 2040. Korea Herald

Southeast Asia (700m)

Southeast Asia travel catching up at last as Covid curbs ease. Straits Times
… “high oil prices could make tickets more expensive”
… “limited number of flights as airlines haven’t restored all services”
After 2 year ban, Indonesian mudik mass migration in full swing. CNA
… “first time in years to spend Idul Fitri with her family”
… huge traffic jams as 10s of millions travel. Straits Times
… expect all holidays over next year or two to have big spikes in travel (CNY?)
Analysis: violence in the south of Thailand is not going to change soon. Link
Cambodia’s strongman, Hun Sen, plans his succession. Economist $

Americas+Europe+Pacific

New Zealand drops most of its Covid border restrictions. NBC

Russia’s ‘special military operation’
Blasts, bombs, drones: shadow war on the Russian side of the border. RFE
… “largely unheralded by Kyiv, downplayed by Russia [perhaps embarrassed]”
Russia committed 65% of ground forces, 25% are now combat ineffective. @JackDetsch
Death in Ukraine’s Kharkiv is everywhere, rarely explained. AP
… “the outskirts of Kharkiv have the feel of an open-air morgue”
Meet the Afghan refugees fighting with Ukraine against Russia. Middle East Eye
“Rumors are swirling of generals preparing for a coup in Moscow.” CityAM

New Data

Covid global case data

4/29: 512.2m cases, 6.2m deaths (trackers: Johns HopkinsNYT)
World Health Organization: Nearly 15 million deaths associated with Covid. NBC
… most of the fatalities were in Southeast Asia, Europe, and the USA …

Other data

FSIN Report: Global Food Crises 2022. PDF

Longer Articles

Kevin Kelly: “103 bits of advice I wish I had known.” Several nuggets in here. kk.org

Book Notes

The books I’ve read in 2022 (updated this week). Also, the books I read in 2021.

Tech & Futures

#EverythingCanBeAutomated (nearly):
Robot chef learns to ‘taste as you go’, build taste maps of dishes, adjust. Science Daily
Autonomous robot performs laparoscopic surgery with minimal surgeon assist. Link
How Amazon trained its robots to sort packages. Impact Lab
John Deere is slowly becoming one of the most import AI companies. ImpactLab
… “not just farmer assistance. The farmer can leave the cab and operate from an app.”
OTOH: “Robot vacuums still haven’t floored me.” Wired

Drone systems to safely land flights of medical supplies. Drone Life
… emergency medical shipments & other medical uses is a big use case for drones
Turkish-made Bayraktar drones used by Ukraine “destroy” Russian patrol boats. Link
… war, of course, being another big use case: drones distracted ship, missiles hit it
Small drones are giving Ukraine an unprecedented edge. Wired
Ukraine using commercial spy satellites to hunt Russian tanks. WSJ
… “access to intelligence once the domain of only a few governments”
New tech lets drones fly autonomously through unstructured environments. Link
… think of swarms of drones flying autonomously through forests …

Launcher demo’d full thrust on a 3D-printed rocket engine. TechCrunch
… “aiming for small, efficient, low-cost to orbit and quick turnaround”

“This portable device can turn saltwater into drinking water.” Fast Company
… developed by MIT researchers, prototype can process 1 liter per hour …

Apple+Google+Microsoft working on password-free logins using smartphones. Link

Prototype floating cities: Busan, S Korea chosen to host one. Link
… interconnected platforms accommodate community of 12,000, potential for 100k …

Quotable

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” ~Tara Velis

“You can’t declare a 500 piece puzzle a 100 piece hurt because you want to.” ~Neill Mims on complexity

“In church today we are diligently praying for an infusion of cash when we desperately need and infilling of the Spirit.” ~Mac Brunson

“God is under no compulsion to make your dreams come true, but He will spare no expense to see that His will is accomplished in your life.” ~Richard Blackaby

“Quit praying for revival in the nation when you won’t even befriend your unchurched neighbor next door.” ~Ed Stetzer

“Assumptions limit the way we look at problems and they’re disastrous to the creative process.” ~Todd Henry

“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered. The point is to discover them.” ~Galileo

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Roundup 294

Pray with us

1. We continue to pray for an end to the war in Ukraine. Pray especially for the more than 8 million Ukrainian refugees in surrounding countries–more than 1 in 8 Ukrainians are now refugees. Pray for churches and believers to be a blessing to these displaced.

2. Ramadan is winding down. Let’s continue to pray for Muslims to encounter Jesus. There are a number of prayer campaigns being launched around this time, including two strands of 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World (here and here). Also, Frontiers has “Hidden Treasures of the Muslim World,” a 30 day prayer guide available via daily emails. Also note the Global Day of Prayer for Turkey below.

3. The ripple effects of the Russian-Ukrainian war are being felt especially amongst the poor, with rapidly increasing prices leading to widespread hunger. One analysis suggested that every percentage point increase in global food prices equals 10 million hungry. Pray for believers to find specific, practical ways to help the hurting near them.

New Events

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

Egyptian Christians alarmed by murder of Alexandria priest. Al-Monitor
Egypt’s gig economy workers face rough ride. Al-Monitor
… economic pressures push educated, urban youth into work-on-demand model
… “they bleed you dry left and right… taking advantage of vulnerability…”

Jordan, once fertile, is pushing back as desert encroaches. CSM
… “efforts to restore damaged but once fertile land is sprouting hope”

Saudi royals are selling homes, yachts, art as Crown Prince cuts income. WSJ
… more than $600 million worth has been sold … data point on the oil boom?

West Darfur violence leaves 200+ dead: hospitals, markets closed. Radio Dabanga
… “several days of violence, attributed to attacks by militas”
… Analysis: Why are Sudan’s Janjaweed on the attack again? BBC

East Africa (520m)

“I lost everything”: Somaliland fire upturns life, economy. Hiiraan Online
… market employed more than 12,000 …
UNHCR says 500,000 displaced by drought in Somalia in 3 months. Hiiraan Online
… projects 1.4 million could be displaced within six months …
Horn of Africa historic drought is the product of cascading failure. Quartz
… “Somalia sees 45% increase wheat prices, previously sourced from Russia, Ukraine”
Six people killed in blast at restaurant in Somali capital. Reuters
… “targeting security officers and politicians”
Children are being killed, maimed by discarded explosives in Ethiopia. Reuters
… “danger makes them fearful of fetching water, resuming farming”

West + Middle Africa (600m)

Attacks in Mali, Burkina Faso kill 21, wound dozens. Reuters

South + Central Asia (2b)

Ariana Afghan Airline launches new weekly Kabul to Moscow route. Ariana News
Iran-Afghan border reopens in Herat province. Khaama Press.
In Pakistan, Afghan refugees face hardship, frosty reception. Japan Times
Deportation threat in Turkey dashes Afghans’ hope for safety, new life. Middle East Eye

India’s scorching heat:
… hottest March on record, scorching temperatures rising past 104 F (40 C)
… temperatures forecasted to max out at 118 F in the coming days. Gizmodo
… surging power demand (aircon) = power cuts to factories. Reuters
… threatens crucial wheat harvest, intended to make up for lost Ukrainian exports. NBC
Modi may replace religion-based marriage & inheritance laws w/civil code. Straits Times
… ahead of national elections in 2024, “risks alienating broad spectrum of voters”

Life for Kyrgyzstan’s Christian converts is getting worse. Open Doors
… threats, poisoned pets, nowhere to bury your dead

Visitors trickle back, but trekking mecca Nepal seeks more. Straits Times
… adding new tourism infrastructure, investment in hotels, new sports …

Longread: Inside Sri Lanka’s unprecedented mass protests. Foreign Policy

Eastern Asia (1.6b)

The Chinese government is hunting Uighurs around the world. NBC
… and receiving help from some “surprising” countries
… has more tools than ever to target Uyghurs abroad. RFE
Covid cases in Beijing are stirring fears of a Shanghai-style lockdown. Reuters
… to test 20 million for Covid-19, racing to stamp out outbreak. CNA
… all Beijing schools closed Friday in bid to fight the spread. CBC
Other places testing too:
… many smaller cities are also under lockdown, though less noticed in press. RFA
… Guangzhou mass tests, cancels flights after suspected case. CNA
China’s pursuit of zero Covid-19 is driving expats away. Straits Times
… “also, tight entry controls have made it difficult to enter”
“Companies are beginning to panic.” Fortune
… “China’s lockdowns will make supply chain issues, inflation even worse”x
China says imports are causing outbreaks of Covid-19. Economist
… ding-ding-ding, blame you wins hands down.
Amid low birth rate worries, China increases pressure on women. Diplomat

Southeast Asia (700m)

Malaysia: no more arrival tests for fully vaccinated. CNA
… traveler’s insurance no longer required to enter
… “unvaccinated must still undergo tests, 5-day quarantine”

Indonesia bans exports of palm oil around domestic price rises. Diplomat
… Ukraine war choked sunflower oil exports > price rises for Indonesians
… will press up cooking oil prices in other parts of the world

Soaring unemployment in Myanmar follows junta rollback of labor rights. RFA
… “nearly 3% of Myanmar lost their jobs last year due to Covid, political upheaval”
Internet blackouts are hiding an ongoing human rights catastrophe. Rest of World
… “the level of atrocities that have gone unspoken… have been quite shocking.”

Americas+Europe+Pacific

USA colleges are trying to make campus life more Ramadan-friendly. NPR

Russia’s ‘special military operation’
What is Transnistria (Moldova), and why does it matter to Russia? Economist $
… disturbing possibility of an expansion of the war …
Europe decries ‘blackmail’ as Russia cuts gas to Poland, Bulgaria. Reuters
… “for refusing to pay in roubles”
How the Russia-Ukraine war is impacting Vietnam’s economy. Diplomat
… ripple effects: Russian exclusion from SWIFT = worries about collecting $
As diplomacy hopes dim, US marshals allies to furnish long-term aid. NYT $
… Germany shifts policy, says it will send armored antiaircraft vehicles
UNHCR estimates refugees in neighboring countries will top 8 million. Link
Ukraine refugee crisis ‘woke up’ networks of Roma evangelicals. CT
Staggering refugee burden evokes haunting history in Polish capital. LAT
… “how long Polish hospitality lasts before there’s a backlash”

New Data

Covid global case data

4/22: 507.8m cases, 6.2m deaths (trackers: Johns HopkinsNYT)

Other data

The state of relationships, marriages, divorces, and living alone in America. Link
How the American middle class has changed in the past five decades. Pew
… lots of data on middle class income, has impacted church/mission finances …

Longer Articles

Air travel is back, but airlines struggle to handle the surge. WSJ

Book Notes

The books I’ve read in 2022 (updated this week). Also, the books I read in 2021.

Tech & Futures

On biometric IDs, India is a “laboratory for the rest of the world.” CSM
… “may offer lessons about balancing efficiency, privacy and personal freedom.”
Drones have come of age in Russia-Ukraine war. Foreign Policy
… “A child can operate these drones.”
… Effective, cheap drones should (will?) force tank evolution. NextBigFuture
These fast, cheap tests could help us coexist with Covid. MIT

“The world is running out of sand, scientists lament.” Futurism
… “second most used resource worldwide after water” – glass, concretee

Quotable

“Discipleship is personal. Jesus preached to thousands, but he discipled a few. You may preach to thousands, but if you’re not discipling a few your Ministry isn’t like Jesus.” ~Rick Dugan

“Christians, especially ministers, so often think they must always contribute something when they are in the company of others, that this is the one service they have to render. They forget that listening can be a greater service than speaking.” ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“Anything that is mentionable is manageable. It is the things we won’t talk about that destroy us.” ~Charles Siburt

“It is not your business to succeed but to do what is right. When you have done so, the rest is up to God.” ~C.S. Lewis

“The sure conviction that we could if we wanted to is the reason so many good minds are idle.” ~Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (German physicist and satirist)

“The number one difference between a Nobel Prize winner and others is not an IQ or work ethic, but that they ask bigger questions.” ~Peter Drucker

“We judge others by their doings, but ourselves by our intentions.” ~Edward Wigglesworth

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Roundup 293

Pray with us

1. We continue to pray for an end to the war in Ukraine. News reports are full of hundreds of military strikes, widespread devastation, a brutal turn in the east, and possible war crimes by the Russian forces.

2. Ramadan is under way. There are a number of prayer campaigns being launched around this time, including two strands of 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World (here and here). Also, Frontiers has “Hidden Treasures of the Muslim World,” a 30 day prayer guide available via daily emails. Also note the Global Day of Prayer for Turkey below.

3. We are thankful for what appears to be a holding peace in Yemen. We have heard of many refugees who want to return home to their people, and bring the Gospel with them.

New Events

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

Sudan faces significant increase in food insecurity. UN
… and many neighborhoods have a severe drinking water crisis. Dabanga
Yemen’s new leaders: “Our first option is peace, but we are ready for war.” Al-Monitor
Reeling from Friday’s clashes, Israel braces for more violence in Jerusalem. Al-Monitor
… clashes broke out on the Temple Mount between Muslims and Israeli police
… as tens of thousands gathered for Ramadan prayers at the mosque
Child population in Turkey continues to shrink. Hurriyet
… despite some ‘population scare’ videos, many Muslim countries are seeing pop. declines

East Africa (520m)

20 million risk starvation as Horn of Africa drought worsens. Hiraan Online
33,000 in NE Tigray facing extreme food insecurity. AllAfrica
… negotiations over relief convoys into the region are troubled. AllAfrica
Renewed clashes in Abyei border region between Sudan, S Sudan. AllAfrica

West + Middle Africa (600m)

Attacks on villages in Plateau State, Nigeria: 154+ killed. Al Jazeera

South + Central Asia (2b)

On former front line in long Afghan war, an appreciation for peace. CSM
… “for many war-weary Afghans, like those in Wardak, the end of the conflict has proved more important than who is in charge.”

India: Religious clashes spark fears of further violence. WaPo $
… “…that set off a massive street fight that was subdued only when riot police…”
Madhya Pradesh: why an Indian state is demolishing Muslim homes. BBC
… in the aftermath of communal violence that broke out on 10 April
… government claims its destroying illegal constructions to teach rioters a lesson
Violence in Delhi followed by anti-encroachment drive: houses razed. BBC
Delhi’s old illegal construction gives divisive politics new fangs. Quartz
… “If Delhi’s civic authorities genuinely decide to pull down illegal structures,…
… a vast majority of the city’s residents could turn homeless overnight.”
“Modi’s India has no space for Muslims.” The Diplomat
… and, one wonders, if no space for Muslims, then who else has it no space for?
Eight-hour blackouts hit India after hottest March since 1901. Straits Times
… sparked by the scarcity of coal, accounting for 70% of India’s electricity
… “threatens to hobble economy that’s looking to fire up post-pandemic”
Mumbai heatwave leaves fewer fish in the sea for female sellers. Japan Times
Dung power: India taps new energy cash cow. Straits Times
… “one half will run Indore buses, the other half sold to industrial clients”
Mask mandates return to Delhi as Covid-19 cases rise. Straits Times
A year on, we still don’t know the real impact of India’s second Covid wave. Quartz
… WHO estimates 4 million. Official toll 0.5 million.
… during 2nd wave, many couldn’t schedule tests, simply died at home waiting for oxygen.
… only officially tested by the government were officially designated as Covid deaths.
… reality is, many families are mourning losses

Sri Lanka at a crossroads: food, fuel shortages, mass protests, debt default. Straits Times

Tajikistan builds a temporary camp near Dushanbe for Afghan refugees. Khaama Press

Eastern Asia (1.6b)

How private Chinese companies are winning in Africa. SupChina
… Private companies are making a unique impact on the continent’s transformation …

Shanghai lockdown:
… 4/20 a total of 12 million (out of 25 mill) allowed to go out doors. NBC
… Anger mount, restrictions strain nerves, livelihoods. WSJ $
… inside a Shanghai mass quarantine center: no showers, lights 24/7. WSJ $
… How the lockdown is remaking Shanghai neighborhoods. Sixth Tone
… Shanghai Lockdown 2022: The Neighbors. Sinosplice
Chinese police order residents to hand over passports ‘until after the pandemic.’ RFA
… amid a massive surge in people looking for ways to leave China
… “said the measure is being rolled out nationwide”
Hong Kong to reopen to non-residents. HKFP

China exports to North Korea surge with oil, wheat flour as trade resumes. CNA
“The poor live in penthouses rather than the rich,” said a NKorea defector. Link
… “lifts are often not working properly, and cannot pump up water due to low pressure”
… “selling and buying houses is illegal; residents are assigned housing”

Southeast Asia (700m)

Thailand cuts on-arrival test + quarantine for vaccinated. CNA
… unvaccinated will require pre-flight PCR test.
Covid: Cambodia cuts quarantine for unvaccinated visitors to 7 days. CNA
… fully vaccinated travelers: no quarantine, no on-arrival test
Malaysia “fully reopens”; thousands return home from Singapore. USNews
1 in 100 displaced by conflict since Myanmar coup, UN says. RFA
Prophecies, rituals and resistance in Myanmar. Diplomat $
… “the popular Burmese expectation of a ‘min laung‘ or messiah king who will right all wrongs, vanquish evil, and rule justly”

Americas+Europe+Pacific

New Zealand expects to take years to recover from Covid-19 shutdown. Straits Times

Russia’s ‘special military operation’
Russia begins assault in the east after raining missiles nationwide. NYT $
How Ukraine won the battle for Kyiv. Rolling Stone
… medium long read article from deep within the Kyiv battlefield
Putin is deploying mercenaries in Ukraine that terrorized Libyans. Time
Ukrainian refugees who have fled the country top 5 million. NPR
Parsing Pacifism: Ukr’s Mennonite heritage shapes Evangelical responses to Russia. CT

New Data

Covid global case data

4/22: 507.8m cases, 6.2m deaths (trackers: Johns HopkinsNYT)
70% of England have had Covid at least once. Telegraph
99% of people on Java have Covid antibodies. Reuters

Other data

A [very brief] look at Americans’ prayer habits. Pew
… “extraordinary prayer = ordinary + a little more on top”
… ordinary: 45% pray daily, down from 58% in 2007.
… 79% of self-described evangelical Protestants pray daily
Also, 26 million Americans stopped reading the Bible regularly during Covid-19. CT
… 2021, 50% of Americans read the Bible “at least 3 or 4 times per year.”
… 2022, 39% say they read the Bible multiple times per year
… Only 10% of Americans report daily Bible reading (14% before pandemic)
… “thinks dramatic change = how closely Bible reading connected to church attendance”

Longer Articles

Wes Watkins: “A Movemental Turn in Missions: Thoughts on New Eras and New Wineskins.” Arab Baptist Theological Seminary. Link

“The Cross: That’s how they get you.” Link
… I thought this was an interesting look inside the mind of a Westerner who had abandoned his faith–also quite sad. The last paragraph shows someone who has “lost the plot” – in fact, there is only one way to take the idea, and if you reject that, nothing else makes sense.

Contrast this with Alistair Begg on the power of the cross – Youtube
… I’m not huge on sermons, especially on Youtube, but the 2 to 4 minutes starting at 31:48 is compelling.

Book Notes

The books I’ve read in 2022. The books I read in 2021.

Tech & Futures

Netflix just lost subscribers for the first time in over a decade. The Verge
… blames it on price increases, but never expected to tally many new subscribers this Q
… my own idle speculation: how much of the loss is due to post-pandemic out-and-about?
Drones have transformed blood delivery in Rwanda. Wired
… more idle curiosity: any mission groups (e.g. MAF, etc) using drones for deliveries/work?
The end of astronauts–and the rise of robots. Wired
… “can outperform astronauts at a far lower cost, and without risk to human life”
Ford has a robot that can autonomously operate 3D Carbon printers. Impact Lab
Robots to help Muslim pilgrims at holy sites in Saudi Arabia. Al-Monitor
Online shopping in Turkey took off in 2021: mostly on cell phone apps. Al-Monitor
NoTraffic: using AI and hardware in traffic lights to optimize road traffic. Fast Company
… instead of rigid timing plans, system keeps traffic flowing …
Censors in China are having a hard time silencing all the rage right now. Futurism
China will complete its in-orbit space station in six more missions. Ariana
Advances in renewable energy technologies in America (could be deployed elsewhere). Link
… offshore wind farms, cheaper roof solar, mass-market electric vehicles …

Quotable

“There is no one who is insignificant in the purpose of God.” ~Alistair Begg

“Everyone wants to be clothed with power but no one wants to be stripped of self.” ~Leonard Ravenhill

“We can know the right words yet never be changed. This is the difference between information and transformation.” ~A.W. Tozer

“Biblical orthodoxy without compassion is surely the ugliest thing in the world.” ~Francis Schaeffer

“When the culture collides with scripture, let the culture collapse.” ~Pastor Dan Cadavos

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Roundup 292

Pray with us

1. We continue to pray for an end to the war in Ukraine. Several analysts have expressed a concern that the war may be getting ready to take a somewhat more limited, concentrated, and brutal turn as Russia concentrates its efforts in the east.

2. Numerous articles in this issue continue to highlight the spread of hunger and poverty, especially amongst the poor. This has been accelerated by a ‘perfect storm’ of local instability, climate-change influenced droughts, and the economic and resource ripples from the war in Ukraine. Pray for the church to be a wise blessing in the midst of this.

3. Ramadan is under way. There are a number of prayer campaigns being launched around this time, including two strands of 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World (hereand here). Also, Frontiers has “Hidden Treasures of the Muslim World,” a 30 day prayer guide available via daily emails. Also note the Global Day of Prayer for Turkey below.

New Events

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

“I didn’t have a childhood”: the emotional scars of Iran’s child brides. RFE
… “32% increase in girls marrying between ages of 10-14 in Q1 2021 vs 2020”
April 18th is the Global Day of Prayer for Turkey. PrayForTurkey.com
… on anniversary of 2007 Malatya martyrs …
Turkey’s top court rules compulsory religion courses violate rights. Al-Monitor
… but will the government heed the ruling? …
Jerusalem’s Christian churches resist Israeli settlers. Al-Monitor
… “settling in the Christian quarter, threatening fragile religious balance”
Cautious optimism that truce will hold in Yemen. Jerusalem Post
… Saudi Crown Prince meets with council, pledges aid. Al-Arabiya
Morocco’s autonomy plan for Western Sahara. Al-Monitor
… offers limited self-government, but with Rabat keeping sovereignty.

East Africa (520m)

UN: Somalia faces pockets of famine amid soaring food prices. Reuters
… warns 350k children could die due to starvation without food aid … Hiraan
East, Horn prep for worst drought in more than 40 years. NBC
… “rains will likely fail for 4th consecutive year, severe risk for 29 million in region”

West + Middle Africa (600m)

Attacks on villages in Plateau State, Nigeria: 154+ killed. Al Jazeera

South + Central Asia (2b)

Is the Taliban’s halt of poppy production too good to be true? Diplomat
… move will likely ruin the small farmers who grow and harvest much of the crop
… “could cost the government $1.8 to $2.7 billion in income”
… “30% of Tajik economy dependent on the Afghan drug trade”
… Afghan farmers fear for their livelihoods. RFE
Outlook for Afghan economy ‘dire’ as household incomes shrink. Ariana

India records its hottest March since 1901, average max hitting 33 C. Straits Times
Hindu-Muslim clashes in Gujarat prompt police to ban gatherings. Reuters
Muslims see wave of attacks, hate speech during Ram Navmi celebrations. Al Jazeera
The unstoppable rise of Hindu nationalism. Foreign Affairs
… Worthwhile long read on the history of the RSS & BJP …
… “it seems likely the RSS will succeed in imposing its vision on dissenters…”
… “the result will be oppression on an enormous scale…”
Why people get away with hate speech in India. BBC
… “India has enough laws in place to check hate speech, but they have to be enforced”
… “Most of the time, they don’t want to act…”

Kazakhstan will temporarily restrict exports of wheat, wheat flour. RFE
… bad news for other Central Asian countries, who rely on K for 90% of their wheat …

In Pakistan’s coastal city of Karachi, with 20 million, the graves are full. CNA
Former PM Khan attempts to mobilize supporters, force new election. Straits Times

Sri Lanka: drugs running out, surgeries cancelled, health system buckles. CNA

Eastern Asia (1.6b)

Longread: Generation Snitch. Foreign Policy
… “haven’t heard of Google, Youtube, Facebook… no interest in learning about platforms”
… “given tools to bypass the Great Firewall, nearly half didn’t bother to use them”
… “Not just censors doing the censoring: netizens taken to reporting on each other”
… “students keeping record of professors’ ideological views, flagging perceived disloyalty”
… “China’s GenZ grew up relatively rich… national pride, patriotism…
… “no need to hear a different narrative…”
… (implications for spread of Christianity, the church?)

Churches in Shanghai step up during the latest lockdowns. CT
Shanghai begins to ease 2-week shutdown. Diplomat
… about 6.6 million can go outdoors, but must stay in their own neighborhoods …
But Covid-19 cases hit another high, and Xi reiterates need for curbs. CNA
People “living like livestock” in Shanghai’s Covid centers. Quartz
14 of the most widely-shared and credible videos of the lockdown. CDT

3 North Koreans provide a glimpse of NKor’s worsening economic situation. Diplomat
… “reports people are starving to death even within the major cities”
To prevent escapes, NKorea confiscates passports of officials sent abroad. RFA
… “legions of workers sent to factors, construction sites to earn foreign cash for the state”
… “workers give lion’s share of salaries to NKorean handlers”
… “most workers have passports confiscated; now even handlers do”

Southeast Asia (700m)

Malaysia looks to hire 180,000 migrant workers over next 6 weeks. Straits Times
Myanmar: troops burn 100+ villages in heartland, seek to crush resistance. CNA
Singapore introduces Vaccinated Travel Framework. The Hindu
… vaccinated + pre-departure test = no on-arrival tests or quarantine
Southeast Asia tourism industry begins uneven recovery. Straits Times
… Singapore & Philippines doing well; Thailand at 24% of pre-pandemic levels
Thailand to scrap Covid-19 PCR test for visitors in bid to boost tourism. Straits Times
… appears to be for vaccinated travelers, and replaced with antigen test …
Indonesia up for largest ever Hair Raya – 85m returning to home towns. Straits Times

Americas+Europe+Pacific

USA: The great church property flip. Guardian
… churches are trying to figure out what to do with their property as they lose members.
… the “death tsunami of the church” as the death rate of the Boomers increases.

Russia’s ‘special military operation’
Russia’s looming offensive in eastern Ukraine might be different & decisive. NBC
… residents are counting the dead, clearing mines around Kyiv
… Mariupol’s dead estimated at 5,000. Al-Arabiya
… war looks to enter a potentially more brutal, focused phase in the east, around Donbas
In photos (AFP): 50 days of Russia’s war in Ukraine. Moscow Times
War in Ukraine threatens to devastate many poor countries. RFE
… “supercharging a crisis of food, energy, and finance in poorer countries”

New Data

Covid global case data

4/15: 496.3m cases, 6.1m deaths (trackers: Johns HopkinsNYT)
No plans for US to change rule of testing negative within a day of flying to USA. WaPo
… but travelers & industry groups are eager to shake the rule as other countries drop theirs.

Other data

The 10 largest refugee crises since the 1960s: by population and % of pop. Pew

Longer Articles

Don’t expect instant gratification from your ‘quiet time.’ CT
… “being able to wait is distinctly Christian.” An attitude of “have a quiet time, have a good day” can form in us the attribute of judging our quiet time by ‘instant gratification’ results. “Spending time in the Word can become transactional instead of formational.”

On April 14, Jains will celebrate the founding of their faith. A short RNS article on Jainism.

Book Notes

The books I’ve read in 2022. The books I read in 2021.

Tech & Futures

How mobile phones are changing war in Ukraine. Digital Trends
… geolocation, targeting, unencrypted chats, mobile phone video footage, more …
Deep-learning algorithm could detect earthquakes by filtering out city noise. MIT
Amazon aims to deliver 1 million packages by drones in 2025. Khaama
It’s not just you–SMS spam is a nightmare right now. Digital Trends
… over 16 billion spam text messages were sent during March …
Tiny satellites change the way we explore our planet and beyond. Impact Lab
… for about $200k you can launch your own satellite …

Quotable

“Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call ‘humble’ now a days: Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him.” ~C.S. Lewis

“Stories are as important as numbers, because stories tell us what the numbers mean.” ~Jim Haney

“You can work without praying, but it is a bad plan; but you cannot pray in earnest without working. Do not be so busy with work for Christ that you have no strength left for praying.” –Hudson Taylor

“If you have a God powerful enough to be mad at because of evil, then you have a God great enough to have reasons that you can’t fully get.” ~Tim Keller

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Roundup 291

Sparks to watch

1. We continue to pray for an end to the war in Ukraine. In the past two weeks, might the war have turned in favor of the Ukrainians? Over a quarter of the Ukrainian population are displaced, with millions living as refugees in Europe.

2. Numerous articles in this issue highlight the continued spread of hunger around the world, as many countries suffer drought and the Ukraine war has disrupted wheat shipments. Pray that churches will find a way to be a blessing in the midst of suffering.

3. We are thankful for the re-opening of borders and the possibility of entering many countries which have been closed for the past two years–but the lockdown in Shanghai reminds us that Covid is still a clear and very present challenge in many places, particularly unreached ones. Pray for local believers & cross-cultural workers to be persistent in seeking to be present and innovative in seeking to be a blessing.

4. Ramadan is under way. There are a number of prayer campaigns being launched around this time, including two strands of 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World (hereand here). Also, Frontiers has “Hidden Treasures of the Muslim World,” a 30 day prayer guide available via daily emails. Finally, Beyond’s own night of prayer is noted above.

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

Christian witness after war: a first hand assessment of Armenia, Azerb. CT
… a long look at the role of Christians in the countries and reconciliation
Azerbaijan’s churches explain their evangelism. CT
… “I want to see 96% of Azerbaijanis confess their faith in Christ.”
Iraq: In a ‘dangerous’ land: tourists trickle back. Hurriyet
… camera-toting adventure travelers return after Iraq started granting visas a year ago
Iran lifts Covid-related travel bans for vaccinated+PCR-negative. Al-Monitor
Despite drop in deportations, Turkey still troubles Christians. CT
… last year, no physical attacks, no violations of freedoms, sharp reduction in deportations
But just two weeks ago, expulsions shook Turkey’s tiny Protestant community. Al-Monitor
… “dozens of foreign missionaries forced to leave based on secret intelligence reports”
What can we learn from Istanbul’s 3,000 mosques? NatGeo $
War-torn Yemen holds breath as breakthrough truce begins. Al-Monitor
… Yemen president cedes powers to council as Saudi Arabia pushes to end war. Reuters
… What the new leadership means for Yemen. Al-Monitor

East Africa (520m)

East Africa faces worst hunger crisis in decades. Hiiraan Online
First food aid for 100 days enters Tigray under ‘humanitarian truce.’ Guardian
“There is not enough food. The situation is dire.” Somalia’s drought crisis. Guardian
… 100s of 1000s have left their homes in search of food & water …
Hargeisa, Somaliland stunned after massive inferno destroys central market. Link
… “with it the livelihoods of thousands”
Rising hunger looms on Sudan, with little aid in sight. Reuters

West + Middle Africa (600m)

God at work among the Fulani & Tuareg tribes. MNN (h/t Mission Catalyst).
West Africa faces worst hunger crisis in decade amid aid cuts. HumAngle
“We took our children and ran”: thousands displaced in Senegal. Guardian
… Casamance region fighting spills over into Gambia …

South + Central Asia (2b)

Afghanistan six months on from the Taliban takeover, in photos. Guardian
WFP: 14.8m Afghans to be provided food items in 2022. Khaama Press
… UN chief tells donor community 1mln Afghan children on verge of death. Ariana News
… US announces nearly $204 million in aid for Afghanistan. Khaama Press
The new geopolitics of the Taliban’s Opium economy. FP
Afghan’s [2 million] widows struggle to survive amid humanitarian disaster. RFE
… “95% of people in Afghanistan are hungry. 100% of households headed by women.”

India: Muslim hawkers attacked at Hindu temple fairs. Link
… yet another data point in the ongoing Hindu v Muslim tensions in India.
Pursuing an aggressive Hindutva in Karnataka. The Hindu
… “right-wing fringe groups constantly scout for issues which polarize voters”
Why India’s corporate leaders rarely speak out against Hindu nationalism. Quartz
Poverty-hit mothers sell infants in Andhra Pradesh. The Hindu
India’s educated emigrants are proof of its brain-drain problem. Quartz
6 nuns came to India to start a hospital, ended up changing the country. NYT $
… an op/ed story of the impact of Nazareth Hospital …
Haryana: the story of 3 child brides who dream of studying & working against all odds. BBC
Can India clean up the Ganges river? NatGeo $

Pakistan: PM Khan faces no confidence vote.
To avoid it, he dissolved parliament. The Supreme Court blocked that move.
PM claims vote compromised, says he won’t accept the result.
“Critical blow came last year, when he lost the backing of the military.” (NYT $)

Sri Lanka is in economic crisis. Here’s what it’s like on the ground. CNN
… “There is brewing fury inside Sri Lanka… likely to get worse before it gets better”
Crisis-hit Sri Lanka declared a 36 nationwide lockdown. CNA
… nationwide curfew, troops deployed, state of emergency to quell protests
… declared after night of violence, protesters tried to storm president’s home. CNA
… “defying a curfew imposed by the government… citizens took to the streets…” The Hindu
Sri Lanka opposition rejected proposed unity government. Diplomat
… all 26 cabinet ministers resigned, thousands defied nationwide curfew to protest
Air India scales down flights to Sri Lanka. The Hindu

Eastern Asia (1.6b)

China: Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam won’t seek second term. BBC
Marriage registrations hit historic low in China. RADII

China reminds us Covid is still prevalent and affecting other parts of the world.
Shanghai extends lockdown amid “extremely grim” Covid outbreak. Diplomat
… home to the world’s largest shipping port, port volumes down 40%. CNBC
… military, doctors sent to Shanghai to test 26 million residents. NBC
… “Shanghai households are running out of food.” FP
… “patients sick with non-Covid related illnesses kept away from hospitals”. Guardian
… unsung heroes: thousands of delivery workers a lifeline to keep city running. Sixth Tone
… drone footage shows deserted Shanghai as city remains in lockdown. Guardian
Farmers in breadbaskets desert crops to comply with Covid restrictions. Vision Times
“Hong Kong ceased as int’l aviation hub as it curbs inbound flights.” Straits Times

Indian community in China feels pinch as travel ban nears two years. The Hindu
… has strained Indian businesses, some families separated for whole time
Japan to lift Covid entry ban for 106 countries, including USA. Reuters
Taiwan says new Covid cases won’t affect reopening plans. Straits Times
South Korea looks to end social distancing once and for all. Korea Herald
… all pandemic restrictions except indoor mask mandate will be lifted …
Sister ‘enraged’ by Seoul Defense Minister preemptive strike comments. NBC
… some form of retaliation may happen …

A Japanese ‘killing stone,’ said to contain an evil spirit, has split in two. CNN
… ‘an evil fox spirit is on the loose’

Southeast Asia (700m)

Smuggled sketches offer glimpses into harsh Myanmar prison. Reuters
… Myanmar’s political prisoners since coup now number 10,000. Straits Times
… Myanmar coup leader pledges to ‘annihilate’ those opposing his govt. Diplomat
… Blackouts and fuel price surges bite in post-coup Myanmar. Diplomat
… Myanmar’s displaced pushed to nearly 900,000. RFA
… Over 100 religious buildings destroyed by Burmese military (incl 35 chs). ICC
Travelers to Malaysia fuming about paying for antigen test at KL. Straits Times
… “even when they already had a pre-departure PCR test”
… test costs ~500RM, no indication about how long it takes to return results
Indonesia greets Ramadan with mass prayer as Covid-19 curbs ease. CNA
… “Thousands gathered after dusk at Istiqlal mosque…”
As it happened: the Singapore-Malaysia land border reopening. CNA
Singapore announces significant relaxation of Covid-19 protocols. Diplomat

Americas+Europe+Pacific

The growing role of Muslim chaplains in the United States. RNS

Russia’s ‘special military operation’–what a difference a week of PTO makes
Russian missile strike on train station full of evacuees kills 39. Reuters
… many general details re war in article, incl Russia lamenting the tragedy of their losses
Russia’s failure to take down Kyiv was a defeat for the ages (lots of photos). AP
Russia’s economy beginning to crack as economists forecast sharp contractions. CNBC
Putin targets enemies at home as his missiles strike Ukraine. Reuters
US stops Russian bond payments, raising risk of default. Reuters
What an exodus of 11.4 million people looks like. NBC
… over a quarter of Ukraine’s population forced to flee their homes; over 4 million abroad
As Russia retreats from Kyiv, signs of war crimes in Bucha. CSM
Russia suspended from UN Human Rights Council. WaPo $
Tech workers are fleeing Russia, and the impact will last for years. RFE
War in Ukraine exacerbating food crisis in the Horn of Africa. Hiiraan Online
Russian invasion caused short-term food price spike, but… Nature
… could prompt a long-term shift toward sustainability.

New Data

Covid global case data

4/8: 496.3m cases, 6.1m deaths (trackers: Johns HopkinsNYT)
Omicron XE variant (mutation of BA1, BA2) 10% more transmissible. Straits Times
… “no indication variant is causing severe infections like the Delta variant”
How a Zambian morgue is exposing the real Covid toll in Africa. MIT
… How was Africa spared much of the Covid death toll? Turns out, it wasn’t.
… “Most of the dead died at home without seeking treatment…”

Other Data

How Swahili became Africa’s most spoken language. Quartz
Food prices hit record high in March, UN agency says. Reuters

Longer Articles

How to build habits when you’re already truly exhausted. HBR
… start with sleep, nutrition, exercise–and then pick just one new habit at a time.

Muslims face frugal Ramadan as Ukraine war drives up food prices. Hurriyet
… “now struggling to secure even the most basic staples”
Surging food prices take a toll on poor economies. Economist

An emotional comeback: Muslims in 1st Ramadan after Covid restrictions lift. Hiiraan

The Missionary Kids are not alright. CT
… a long read on the experiences and challenges of MKs …

Tourism prospects fly high as skies open up for International travel. The Hindu
… another data point: Incheon Airport readies for returning travelers. Korea Herald

Book Notes

The books I’ve read in 2022. The books I read in 2021.

Tech & Futures

Meet DALL-E, the AI that draws anything at your command. NYT
Europe is building a huge international facial recognition system. Wired
Google Meet looks to match Zoom with end-to-end encryption. VentureBeat
Online criminals stole nearly $7 billion from people in 2021. Digital Trends

Quotable

“We need the witness of Christians of other cultures to correct our culturally conditioned understanding of Scripture.” ~Lesslie Newbigin

“For too many the opposite of fear is not courage, but conformity.” ~Alvin Reid

“You can do with 12 disciples what you cannot do with 12,000 consumers.” ~Alan Hirsch

“‘That church has good suffering. Let’s join.’ Who would ever say that? Paul would.” ~Bradley Bell

“The newsfeed in heaven is very different than the newsfeed on earth.” ~@SamAllberry

“The cost of discipleship is great. The cost of non-discipleship is far greater.” ~David Platt

“The solution to sin is not to impose and even stricter code of behaviour. It is to know God.” ~Philip Yancey

“We are often exponentially more disgusted with the sin in other peoples lives than we are with the sin in our own.” ~Eric Geiger

“It is easier to be orthodox than it is to be loving.” ~Jeff Robinson

“Much of our praying is only our giving God advice.” ~Leonard Ravenhill

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More doubling

If one out of every ten groups in a movement plant a new group each year, the number of groups (and adherents, roughly) will double every 10 years.

If one out of every three groups in a movement plant a new group each year, then doubling will occur about once every three years.

If one out of every two, then every other year.

The reason a lot of traditional churches don’t see movement style growth is simply that they don’t do the things necessary to plant, reproduce (and they don’t see multiplication because they don’t teach others to do those same things). They do actions that are geared toward church growth – that is, the growth of the individual church. (Invitation, attraction, etc. to a central location.) So they are often very good (or perhaps middling, or very bad) at growing in numbers up to a local maximum–but never surpass the local maximum because they don’t do the sorts of (messy) things (outreach, dealing with messy people, planting new churches) that would allow them to massively surpass the local maximum.

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Roundup 290

Sparks to watch

1. We continue to pray for an end to the war in Ukraine. Many analysts say it has largely ground to a halt, but many of the towns are being pounded into ruins. We are thankful for the many nations who are taking in the millions of refugees; we should encourage our churches and ministries to be involved with this work to the extent they can.
… join the 30 days of 24/7 Prayer for Ukraine, beginning in 3 days. Link

2. Ramadan will start soon. There are a number of prayer campaigns being launched around this time, including two strands of 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World (hereand here). Also, Frontiers has “Hidden Treasures of the Muslim World,” a 30 day prayer guide available via daily emails. Finally, Beyond’s own night of prayer is noted above.

New Events

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

The Middle East is on the brink again: the risks of an unstable authoritarian order. FA $
Egypt caps bread prices: “We are nearing Ramadan & worried about price increases.” CNN
… “There is an increase in most food prices, especially cooking oil.” [XREF Indonesia]
Feeding the 72 million: Egypt’s grand wheat plan splits the industry. Middle East Eye
… “Farmers who don’t deliver wheat quota threatened with jail
… as price spike jeopardizes 270 million daily loaves”
Egypt deepens military ties with Sudan as Ethiopia moves forward with Nile dam. Al-Mon
… “held high level military talks recently…”
Kuwait mulls limiting expat’s stay to 5 years. GulfNews
… Foreign owners of properties and investors in Kuwait to be granted a 15 year maximum.
Libya tensions simmer in shadow of Ukraine war. France24
… UN mediators try to avoid a political crisis degenerating into new violence
Morocco fears severe water shortages amid worst drought in 40 years. Times of Israel
Sudan: The US dollar could soon cost 1,000 Sudanese pounds. Dabanga
… “simple industries might stop if depreciation = impossible to buy raw materials abroad”
… Number of people facing extreme hunger in Sudan predicted to 2x by Sep. Guardian
Wave of expulsions shakes Turkey’s tiny Protestant community. Al-Monitor
… “dozens of foreign missionaries forced to leave based on secret intelligence reports”
In Yemen’s civil war, decaying hospital on life support. Al-Monitor
… price of bread up 35% due to Ukraine war, says Oxfam. Middle East Monitor

East Africa (520m)

US focused on delivery of humanitarian aid to Ethiopia’s Tigray. Link
… Ethiopian government declares Tigray truce to let aid in. Guardian
… Tigray state says it is also committed to independent cessation of hostilities. AllAfrica
A drowning world: Kenya’s quiet slide underwater. Guardian
… Kenya’s great lakes are flooding, in a disaster that is displacing hundreds of thousands
Food price hikes in Kenya: adverse weather, rising input costs, more. Conversation
… big driver is global disruption stemming from Covid; further disrupted by Ukraine
Sporadic fighting in South Sudan threatens 2018 peace agreement. Africa News
Somalia at brink of famine, facing most severe drought in three decades. All Africa

West + Middle Africa (600m)

7k refugees cross from BurkinaF to Ivory Coast qs violence spreads. Video. VOA
How language plunged Cameroon into deadly conflict, with no end in sight. Conversation
… Conflicted rooted in colonization & two languages, French and English.
Nearly 600 civilians were killed in anti-jihadist fight in Mali in 2021. France24
… “impoverished nation of 21 million people, wracked by insurgency over the past decade”
7,000 Boko Haram & ISWAP fighters surrendered in NE Nigeria last week. Al Jazeera
… “onslaught targeting ISWAP, Boko Haram has continued to record significant success”
In Nigeria, Africa’s richest man opens huge fertilizer plant as food crisis looms. CNN
… “People are begging us to sell [fertilizer].”

South + Central Asia (2b)

The Smugglers’ Paradise of Afghanistan. NYT $
The pit stop store on the side of the road, beside the massive bomb crater. NYT $
Afgh’s last finance minister, now a DC Uber driver, ponders what went wrong. WaPo $
While the world watches Ukraine, Afghanistan goes full Taliban. FP $
… using detentions, repression, censorship and killings to tighten their grip on power.
How the war in Ukraine is affecting Afghanistan’s growing famine. NPR
… “the war … is ‘potentially apocalyptic’ for Afg. growing famine and collapsing economy”
Is Afghanistan a Republic of NGOs? “The one who feeds, commands.” VOA
… UN Afghani budget of $4.4bln is multiples of government’s total budget.
The world’s unhappiest country, even before the Taliban. Al Jazeera
How Afghanistan’s militant groups are evolving under Taliban rule. VOA
… “despite promises to sever ties with … groups … there is scant evidence of progress”

ISIS claims bombing of Peshawar, Pakistan mosque: 50+ dead, 100+ wounded. NYT $
… “one of the worst terrorist attacks in Pakistan in years”

Sri Lanka economic crisis: troops sent to fuel stations. Link
… foreign exchange crisis, currency devaluation

Eastern Asia (1.6b)

NKorea launches first ICBM test since 2017. CNN

Southeast Asia (700m)

As global palm oil rises, cooking oil stock runs low in Indonesia. CNA
Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temple enjoys spiritual comeback as tourism recovers. Link
… prior to Covid-19, over 3 million people visited the temples yearly.

Americas+Europe+Pacific

Russia’s ‘special military operation’
As Mariupol is bombed and besieged, those trapped fight to survive. NYT $
Russian shelling has reduced Mariupol to ‘ashes of a dead land,’ Ukraine says. Guardian
As Russia stalls in Ukraine, dissent brews over Putin’s leadership. NYT $
As Russian troop deaths climb, morale becomes an issue, officials say. NYT $
… The US lost 7,000 marines in 36 days at Iwo Jima. Russia has lost more in Ukraine.
… Some estimates I’ve seen are of 40k Russian dead and wounded.

Escalation
Russia refuses to rule out use of nuclear weapons if faced with ‘existential threat.’ CNN
Is Russia getting ready to use chemical weapons in Ukraine? New Scientist
Russia says Polish plan to send peacekeepers to Ukr could lead to clash w/NATO. Reuters

Refugees
Europe struggles to meet mounting needs of fleeing millions: now 3.5 million. Reuters
UN says 6.5 million people are displaced *inside* Ukraine. Axios
US to welcome up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees. NBC

International implications
Romania fears whatever happens to Ukraine, it will end up more vulnerable. Economist
War in Ukraine disrupts medical education in India. Inside Higher Ed
… interesting examination of Indian students going to Europe to study medicine

Hunger
How Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will worsen global hunger. NewHum
Ukraine war threatens to cause a global food crisis. NYT $
… crucial portion of the world’s wheat, corn, barley trapped in Russia, Ukraine by war
… wheat prices up 21%, barley up 33%, fertilizers up 40%
War in Ukraine could lead to food riots in poor countries, warns WTO. Guardian
Cameroon blames war for wheat shortage: 40% increase in price of bread. VOA

New Data

Covid global case data

3/25: 477.3m cases, 6.1m deaths (trackers: Johns HopkinsNYT)
Various UK airlines are removing the requirement for face masks on certain flights. CNN
Cambodia drops Covid testing requirements for visitors. Reuters
Kenya lifts remaining Covid restrictions. Reuters
Malaysia reopens borders, lift remaining Covid restrictions on businesses as of April 1. Link
Saudi Arabia resumes visa-on-arrival for US, UK, Schengen visa holders. Al Arabiya
Singapore drops all quarantine requirements for vaccinated travelers. Reuters
S Korea drops quarantine for vaccinated; SE Asia tourist hubs drop restrictions. SCMP
… at the same time, SKor’s total cases top 10 million, or 20% of its population. Reuters

Other Data

Forbes: airfares are soaring this summer. Link
WFP: 44 million people in 38 countries are teetering on the edge of famine. WFP

Longer Articles

The Lindy Effect, with possible impact on movements. For certain non-perishable things, the expected lifespan increases according to the length of its current age. Or, “However far you are, you can probably double it to reach the destination.” Implication: if you’ve gotten 100 customers, you can probably get another 100 in the same way–but you likely can’t get to 2,000 doing what got you to 100. 2x is plausible, but 20x (or 10x) requires innovation (or time and luck). The actions that got you to your current level aren’t sufficient for the next order of magnitude. And for some, of course, 10X is impossible, due to market saturation. A Smart Bear

The deadly cyclone that changed the course of the Cold War: a 1970 storm killed half a million, became a flashpoint for political upheaval in Pakistan, and ultimately brought America and Russia to the brink of war. Wired

Book Notes

The books I’ve read in 2022. The books I read in 2021.

Tech & Futures

It’s a big universe: astronomers have charted 5,000 exoplanets. Link

Chip industry under threat with neon production set to fall in wake of Ukraine war. CNBC

Quotable

“Men fall in private long before they fall in public.” ~J. C. Ryle

“It would be a shame for God to want to do more and for you to settle for less.” ~@stevenfurtick

“I’m not suffering from anything that a good resurrection can’t fix.” ~D. A. Carson

“If you have men who will only come if they know there is a good road, I don’t want them. I want men who will come if there is no road at all.” ~David Livingstone

“Idols are slave-traders disguised as abolitionists.” ~John Starke

“Don’t judge a man by where he is, because you don’t know how far he has come.” ~C. S. Lewis

“One of the most destructive forces to our faith is procrastination.” ~@thalbig

“The things that we love tell us what we are.” ~Thomas Aquinas

“Safety is an idol that neuters our witness and contradicts kingdom.” ~Jon Huckins

“Hope itself is like a star—not to be seen in the sunshine of prosperity, and only to be discovered in the night of adversity.” ~Charles Spurgeon

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Roundup 289

Sparks to watch

1. We continue to pray for an end to the war in Ukraine. Most analyses do not seem to see an immediate end to the crisis. Cities on the borders of Ukraine and Russia are under heavy attack. Stories of tragedy and heroism have emerged. Pray for the believers both outside the country (e.g. Moldova, Warsaw) who help refugees, and those inside Ukraine who are laboring to assist the hurting and hungry.

2. We pray for the increasingly hungry around the world. Some countries in the Middle East (Algeria, Egypt, Iraq) are taking extraordinary steps for pending bread crises, because they can no longer import wheat from Ukraine. The war will have more extraordinary effects than simple supply line delays on consumer eleectronics.

3. We pray for those caught in the new Covid surge. Countries from Europe to South Korea have seen an upswing in the BA2 variant, which could once more disrupt plans, travel, economics, borders. We are thankful, however, that in many places borders are opening once more (Japan, India-Bangladesh, SE Asia).

4. We remember the many hurting as a result of the less visible wars and “rumors of wars” that continue in the background–Ethiopia, Mozambique, the Sahel (esp. Burkina Faso), Syria, the Kurds, Myanmar, and others.

New Events

North Africa + West Asia = NAME (570m)

Algeria bans export of food. Africa News
… although the article doesn’t say it, following Egypt’s footsteps vs Russia-Ukraine
Egyptian President affirms church building in every city. Persecution.org
… “where there is a mosque, there must be a church… so no one has to meet in homes.”
Inside Egypt’s plan to tackle the wheat crisis. Middle East Eye
A life in limbo for the wives and children of ISIS fighters. NPR
… her voice is just a few decibles short of a yell. “Nobody wants us.”
Iraq food protests against spiraling prices echo early stages of Arab Spring. Conversation
New direct flight between Israel, Egypt. JNS
Five things to know about Israel’s Christian population. JPost
… #1: 90% of Arab Christians are Greek Catholic or Greek Orthodox …

East Africa (520m) 

 2022-03-16 WHO: World’s worst health crisis is in Tigray, Ethiopia. ABC
… “isolated 500 days, no food aid since mid-December, 3/4 of health facilities destroyed”

West + Middle Africa (600m)

How Burkina Faso became the epicenter of the Sahel conflict. Al Jazeera
… Casualties in BF are eclipsing its neighbor Mali, where the conflict originated.
Customer characters in uncustomary places: the case of Burkina Faso’s Est region. PDF.
… USAID + Clengendale Institute + ICCT Hague.
Sustainable agriculture making inroads in Central African Republic. Africa News
… “Despite abundant water resources+millions of hectares of arable land, CAR is hungry.”
Cameroon says it will rebuild hospitals destroyed by Boko Haram. VOA
Mali to suspend French broadcasters for ‘false allegations of army abuses.’ Reuters
Nigeria: Over 1,700 killed, 1,000 kidnapped in 2 months of insecurity. HumAng

South + Central Asia (2b)

Mapping Afghanistan’s untapped natural resources. Al Jazeera
2021-09-01 World Bank in Afghanistan, report – World Bank
… 40% of GDP from international aid, now frozen. 44% of workforce in agricultural sectors.
… 90% live on under US$2/day.
A few interesting maps about Afghanistan. Visual Capitalist

After 2 years, train service between India and Bangladesh to restart. News18
Burning train is a symbol of India’s out-of-work youth. NPR
Explained: India’s urban unemployment rate at 12%. Indian Express

India’s Muslim-Hindu row continues to expand:
Hijab bans deepen Muslim-Hindu fault lines in Karnataka. AP
In today’s India, clothing choices signal a deepening religious divide. CNN
India’s court in Karnataka upholds the ban. Guardian
… and, fearing unrest, state govt bans large gatherings after court ruling
… and, Hindu groups want ban on hijab in more states after verdict. Al Jazeera
RSS alleges ‘growing religious fanaticism in the name of religious freedom.’ Indian Express
… called for “all out efforts with organized strength” to defeat the menace.

Kazakh, Kyrgyz trade with China back to pre-pandemic levels. Link
… you’ll have to use Google Translate to read this, probably

Eastern Asia (1.6b)

China’s ‘she economy’ booms. SCMP
… “as young, financially independent women spend for themselves”
… “find happiness and self-fulfillment on their own terms…”
… China’s women 3rd largest economy in world
Bibles for the 1 million Wa people. Asia Harvest
The triumph and terror of Wang Huning is a fascinating read. Link
… it reminds us that there are people “behind the throne” in all of these countries
… if someone fell from power, doesn’t mean the political system would fall – others remain
China’s Covid lockdowns set to further disrupt global supply chains. NYT $

7.3 magnitude earthquake in Japan: 1 dead, dozens injured, power outage. WPost $
Japan eases Covid-19 restrictions further. Diplomat
… “relaxing restrictions on foreign students, technical interns, short-term biz travelers”
… “400k foreign students waiting to enter Japan will likely be able to by May”
… will remove more curbs as infections ebb. Reuters
People are leaving Tokyo, population is falling. Guardian

Southeast Asia (700m)

Laos: I’m not sure what to think of this Laotian movie. I’ve not seen the movie itself, but the trailer seems… wierd. Interesting. Strange. Some spiritism, some time travel, some euthanasia? Here’s the review. NYT

Vietnam drops quarantine and all other restrictions for travelers. ABC
Cambodia drops Covid-19 testing for arrivals. Reuters
Thailand dropping 72-hour-pre-test requirement. Bangkok Post
… will classify as “endemic disease” (deaths < 1:1k infections) from 7/1. Link

UN: Military violence in Myanmar may be a crime against humanity. Link
Meet the new generation driving Myanmar’s resistance. NPR

Americas+Europe+Pacific


Russia’s ‘special military operation’

Events, markers
The war in Ukraine is just beginning. Atlantic $
It could last a decade. [Like Syria.] Politico
‘No off-ramps’: US and EU officials don’t see a clear endgame. WPost $
Russia getting ‘bogged down’ in Ukraine, Western nations say. Reuters
90% of Mariupol in ruins. Link

Economic ripples, measures
Algeria, Libya unlikely to plug EU’s Russian energy gap. Conversation
India to buy discounted Russian crude oil in midst of war. WSJ $
… have to imagine some powers won’t be happy with that.
The war in Ukraine could destroy Russia’s civil aviation industry. RFE
Ukraine and the food crisis in South Asia. Diplomat
The war in Ukraine is threatening the breadbasket of Europe. Wired $

Helping inside Ukraine
Hungry Ukrainians trapped by attacks get food from drivers risking their lives. Link
… this is a secular company. Lots of Christian ministries also on the ground …

Aid & Refugees
Warsaw overwhelmed as it becomes a key refugee destination. AP
Young refugees draw their experience of fleeing from the war. WPost $

New Data

Covid global case data

… 3/16: 465.3m (+11.2m/wk) cases, 6.09m deaths
… 3/11: 454.0m (+11.1m/wk) cases, 6.04m deaths
… 3/04: 442.2m (+10.9m/wk) cases, 5.98m deaths
… 2/26: 431.3m (+11.7m/wk) cases, 5.92m deaths
… 2/18: 419.6m (+13.7m/wk) cases, 5.86m deaths
Trackers: Johns HopkinsNYT

WHO: Global rise in Covid cases the ‘tip of the iceberg.’ Link
… while Omicron is subsiding in some places, it is spiking elsewhere due to BA2 variant.
… while many Covid levels in these countries may seem small by comparison to, say, US figures over the past two years, they may still be enough to trigger additional measures, including passport controls and quarantines.

South Korea sees record Covid levels. Link
Europe (Germany, Austria, others) hit by Covid-19 resurgence. SCMP

Other Data

Infographic: Global Bible Translation. MissioNexus

Longer Articles

Amid cascade of coups, African Christians debate civic duty. CT

The myth of exponential growth: most fast growing things are ‘quadratic growth.’ Link
… it’s still rapid, just not necessarily always doubling, doubling, doubling. Lots of math.
… also, why it’s important for movements to constantly try to launch new movements.

The Socratic Method: teaching by asking instead of telling. Link
… a practical example that’s quite intriguing. But it takes a lot of work to set this up.

Atomic Habits of Desire: a conversation between James Clear (Atomic Habits) and Luke Burgis (Wanting: the power of Memetic Desire in every day life). This is a fascinating read that is mostly on the Memetic side (Luke is the one writing), but with insights from Clear on various questions. It’s mostly about the kinds of people who influence us (the Close, the Many, the Powerful) and specific steps to take to counter that in good ways. Link

We need a standard unit of measurement for risk. Link
… this suggests the ‘micromort’, or a 1-in-a-million chance of dying.
… (scuba diving, 5 micromorts per dive; 2-hour car drive, 1 micromort).

10 Biblical terms I wish I had in English. Christianity Today
… the old Greek and Hebrew words sometimes translate better into other languages?

Book Notes

The books I’ve read in 2022. The books I read in 2021.

Tech & Futures

Are your passwords in the green? Link
… easy to use infographic tells you how quickly your password could be broken given existing technical abilities of most hackers. For me: minimum of 12 chars, Upper/lower, with a symbol thrown in.

Faith comes from Watching: 25 years of SAT-7 TV. CT

As a result of the war, Russia has been blocked from large portions of the Internet. A ‘splinternet’ may be emerging, now. One possible future is that this is the reality of the Internet going forward. Wired

Quotable

“If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.” GK Chesterton (h/t Shane Bennett, check out his interviews with Greg Livingstone)

“Live in the future, then build what’s missing.” ~Paul Graham

“If service is below you, leading is beyond you.” ~Tanmay Vora

“Some men die by shrapnel. Some by flames. Some die inch by inch and play at little games.” Winston Churchill 

“If you’re not ready to face opposition for your obedience to God, you’re not ready to be used by God.” ~@Craiggroeschel

“You’re not called and commissioned to attend a service once a week. You’re called to make disciples.” ~@ToddAdkins

“It is not good enough to do God’s work; it must be done in His way and for His credit.” ~Erwin Lutzer

“It is the cause, not the death, that makes the martyr.” ~Napoleon

“There is nothing wrong with men possessing riches. The wrong comes when riches possess men.” ~Billy Graham

“God loves each of us as if there were only one of us” ~St. Augustine

“Those who grow deep without growing wide are probably not as deep as they think.” ~J. D. Greear

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Your List of 10 People

While teaching Perspectives this season, one of the things I’ve been focusing on emphasizing is a Piper concept. I don’t always agree with Piper – in fact, I often don’t – but this is one where I do tend (yes, there’s nuance) to agree with him: “You’re either a goer, a sender, or disobedient.”

So here’s the suggestion I’ve been making at Perspectives:

  1. Get out a sheet of paper. Write the numbers 1 to 10 down the left hand side of the sheet.
  2. Put the sheet before God in prayer. Ask him to put names on the page: if you are a goer, they are the people you should approach about supporting you in prayer and encouragement (and some of them, obviously, finances). But less thought of: if you are a sender, these are the people you think you should be encouraging.

You could do worse than simply putting those names down on a piece of paper and praying for them daily, and asking God to reveal how you can encourage them. Then, just listen for conversations where people have a heart for the world, for the people “out there,” for the unreached. Offer to take them to coffee and hear their story. Unpack what might be a calling on their life. Encourage them and pray for them. Circle around and follow up.

Over time, your list of 10 will no doubt change. It might grow or it might shrink. That’s okay. Just keep laying that list before the Father and praying for them, and asking for opportunities to encourage people in a calling to the nations. Even 1 person could be used by God to start a movement that reaches 1,000, 100,000 or even millions of people.

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