Read the Weekly Roundup: February 16

By Justin D. Long, ed.

Perspective, Insight, Context, Analysis

Don’t Miss

Beyond’s new video, “CPM Steps: 5. Discipleship
… a 3:52 look at the Discovery Bible Study process.
GMI books available for free download for limited time
… “Calling of the Knowledge Steward” and “Beyond Time, Talent and Treasure” ebooks
Know someone who’s thinking about long-term missions, unreached, movements?
… our Candidate Consultants can help them figure out what agency is best for them

New events

North-West Africa
General strike in public services paralyzes Algeria (WPost)
… ‘economy, stability deteriorating in recent months…’
Tunisia tourism: is it safe for UK holiday makers? (BBC)
… Western governments have been quietly woking with Tunisia in counter-terrorism
The female Quran experts fighting radical Islam in Morocco
… “The women scholars here are even more important than men”
… who’s reaching out to women scholars… Women2Women outreaches are important.
Morocco leads foreign funding for French mosques
… allocated Eur 6 million to help finance mosques in France

North Africa / Warring States
Libya mired in chaos 7 years since Qaddafi fall
… ‘no end in sight to the North African nation’s chaotic transition to democracy’
… UN experts: ‘political settlement in Libya out of reach
… expect continued anarchy, warfare, fighting for the immediate future
Libya: Coptic Orthodox Church to dedicate church to New Martyrs of Libya
… to the 21 martyrs of Libya beheaded by IS in 2015.
Sudan: ‘Without meaningful change, Sudan will descend into chaos
… ‘collapsing economy, armed conflicts in Darfur, S Kordofan, Blue Nile’,
… endemic corruption, power struggles, popular protests
Sudan’s White Nile State hosts 150,000 South Sudanese refugees
… ‘new flows of refugees require establishment of additional camps’
Sudanese government demolishes church two hours after worship service
… told building bulldozed because worship ‘created public disturbances’

Western Africa / Lake Chad
A dangerous immigration crackdown in West Africa
… ‘Europe wants to slow migration from Niger, could destabilize region in process’
… helpful look at the immigration flows and impacts on Agadez region
… Agadez is a hub for lots of peoples flowing through West Africa.
OECD Report: The economy of illicit trade in West Africa
… ‘$50bln leaves Africa each year in illicit financial flows’

Reporter’s Notebook: a journey to kidnapping central
… ‘as kidnappings increase, Christians are often targeted’

Ethiopia / Horn / East Africa
PM resigns amid deadly anti-government protests in Oromoia and Amhara
… ‘vital in bid to carry out reforms that would lead to sustainable peace…’
… ‘nation at a crossroads’ (Amazing photos of protests)
Worsening drought threatens to end nomadic lifestyle
… if predictions correct, will soon face its fourth consecutive year of drought
… Somali region has been badly affected by drought in recent years
… Fighting between Somalis and Oromos killed hundreds, left a million homeless
Al Jazeera Video: What is behind the rising number of child soldiers?
… ‘10s of 1000s of children involved in conflicts in 20 countries’

Middle Africa / Lakes
Congo’s mega-crisis at deadly tipping point
… 13 million needing emergency assistance, rising violence by 100s of armed groups
… 4.5 million internally displaced people have ‘fled for their lives’
… also center-piece article in Economist: ‘Congo is sliding back into bloodshed

Southern Africa
What’s actually behind Cape Town’s water crisis (Atlantic)
… ‘austerity-obsessed technocrats, irresponsible development, willful ignorance’
… and, Big-city life on very little water: here’s how they’re coping.

Central Asia / Caucasus
Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan border impasse: Water Stress
… ‘tensions surge during growing season as many canals, irrigation systems in bad shape’
Kazakhstan steps up campaign against ultra-orthodox Islam
… ‘to be a [Muslim] believer has become dangerous in Kazakhstan…’
A portrait of Tajikistan’s distant, unloved highlands
… the government ignores Murghab but is anxious about the prospect of discontent there
Tajikistan: teacher fired for not listening to the president’s televised address
… ‘Tajik media usually showers Soviet-style praise on Pres. Rahmon’
Uzbekistan: progress on child and forced labor in cotton fields reported
… ‘large majority of 2.6 million pickers engaged voluntarily in the annual harvest’

Saudi / Israel / Lebanon / Syria / Gulf
Syria: ‘Civilians killed on horrific scale’: over 1,000 in first week of February alone
… UN envoy: ‘worst he has seen since taking the job four years ago’
… ‘Majority of Damascus uninhabitable, 80% of the city destroyed’
… and, escalation: Israeli air strikes against Syria ‘biggest since 1982’
Syria’s war has never been more international: next phase of 7-year war has begun
… ‘the coming defeat of ISIS and rebel forces in Syria has not brought an end to the war’
… confrontations: America v Russia, America v Turkey, Israel v Iran
Syria’s war is fueling three more conflicts: the grim post-ISIS future

New Book: “The Lost Land of the Bible: Prayer Pilgrimages through Turkey
… eight prayer pilgrimages (travel journeys) through 7 official regions, 81 provinces
… in-depth on the Bible backgrounds and early Christianity of Turkey.
The entirely rational basis for Turkey’s move into Syria
… Turkey’s history, its distrust of America, and its obsession with defeating the Kurds
Fear, silence weigh on Turkey’s Armenians after failed coup
… “Staying has always been a form of resistance.”

Iranian women show their deep discontent and willingness to act
… growing number removing hijabs as part of street demonstrations
Outraged by the attacks on Yazidis? Now is the time to help
… the personal story of Nadia Murad, powerfully moving
Millions spent on Islamic propaganda to target Iran’s Christian converts
… so says Elam Ministries to Mohabat News

Afghanistan / Pakistan / Pashto
Kashmir: amid unrest, girls’ sports are more than a game
… ‘source of both empowerment and escape’

Supreme Court: Violence in name of religion cannot be justified
… quashing a Bombay High Court ruling
WhatsApp’s entry into payment arena could change Indian banking forever
… rolled out payments, providing boost to India’s digital payments ecosystem
Cow vigilantism
… often just an excuse to stoke tensions between religious communities
Garo Hills marks 150 years of Christianity: formerly animistic tribe

Maldives / Sri Lanka
Maldives tries to fight off travel alerts as tourists stay away
… ‘cancelling hundreds of hotel bookings daily since imposition of state of emergency’
… Chinese New Year: ‘big worry is travelers will stop bookings’
… in recent years over 300,000 Chinese have visited yearly: big part of GNP
… and, Trouble in Maldives could become a global threat (NYT)

Bengali / Bangladesh
Rohingya camps in danger of flooding
… with impending cyclone, monsoon seasons: floods, spread of disease

Gong Xi Fa Cai! Chinese New Year starts February 16.
China’s new religious regulations
… ‘suffering in the shadow of the cross’
Catholic controversy/openness in China:
China Source survey of articles and insights
10 million Catholics face storm they can’t control (NYT)
warn of schism if Vatican makes deal with China (W Post)
… ‘a messaging problem in China’: “determined to beat Protestants for souls”
Nearly invisible oil spill threatens some of Asia’s richest fisheries
… impacts 5 million tons of seafood off China, could impact Japanese fisheries
Chinese tourists are traveling overseas as never before
… ‘it’s an unprecedented opportunity…’
China’s dystopian tech could be contagious
… ‘social credit’ scheme could have consequences for life in cities everywhere

Where are Japan’s remaining unchurched areas?
… 47 prefectural, 9 regional and various national maps, color-coded

Who brought the Gospel to Korea? (CT)
… Koreans did, actually.
Despite Olympics diplomacy, N Korea relentless in persecution of Christians (Crux)
… just a recap of what we all know…

Southeast Asia
Cambodia passes controversial lese majeste law
… makes it a crime to insult the country’s monarchy
… also, new restrictions on freedom of assembly
Sword attack at church in Indonesia injures four, including German priest
… In Yogyakarta, attacker entered during Mass

Notable Europe / Americas
Venezuela’s misery fuels migration on an epic scale
… Nearly 3 million (10% of pop) have left the country over the past 2 decades
… Most recently, 100s of 1000s pouring across borders, esp. into Colombia
Economy so bad parents are leaving their children at orphanages
Facts about live and marriage in USA (affects candidate demographics)
… number of marrieds down 9 percentage points. Men staying single longer
… cohabiting up by a third from 2007 but still only 7% of US adults
… 60% of all married couples have only been married once.
… 20% have one of the partners remarried after divorce or widowed
… (so, in all, 30% of marrieds are 2nd-time, and 70% are 1st-time)
… 15% met on a dating site
Updated frequently requested stats on immigration to the US
Plane crashes are a recurring nightmare in Russia

New global data

IEA: Surge in global oil supply may overtake demand in 2018
… led by USA production, could see prices fall, affect travel, etc
The 11 cities most likely to run out of drinking water, like Cape Town
… Sao Paulo, Bangalore, Beijing, Cairo, Jakarta, Moscow, Istanbul, Mexico City…
Labor 2030: the collision of demographics, automation and inequality
… robots and middle-income workers, could affect agency fundraising
ReliefWeb: 1 in 6 children globally living in areas impacted by conflict
… 357 million globally, increase of 75% since 1990s
6 African nations among the worst to be young in a war zone

Longer reads & Resources

CT: Biography: Cyril and Methods, apostles to the Slavs
QZ: The Jesus we’ve inherited from centuries of Christian art is a lie
… fascinating look at the kinds of clothing Jesus war and its social status
The road to ending poverty runs through these 31 countries
… least likely to achieve the end of extreme poverty by 2030
… all in West/Middle/Southern Africa, plus Afghanistan, N Kor, Papua

Lifehacking, Tactics, Skills, Rules

How to make the biggest decisions of your life: some good thoughts
… 1) calm down, most decisions no matter how major won’t kill you
… 2) seek information, advice: most people terrible advice-givers
… advice-givers are biased. seek info to translate into advice
Avoiding analysis paralysis
… ‘refining your idea too much in early stages is a trap…
… uncertainty, risk at maximum when starting. Can’t reduce with analytical thinking
… Don’t waste time perfecting: get out there, try it, test it, refine

Startups, Strategy, Books

The Storytelling Edge: how to transform your business, stop screaming into the void, and make people love you. I purchased this book on the strength of a number of reviews. It’s written in a fairly popular style. I’m skimming through it, and so far it’s got a lot of good bits that are more reminders in easy frameworks: Ch 2, “The elements of great storytelling” (reliability, novelty, tension, fluency); Ch 3, “Honing your storytelling chops” (storytelling frameworks, learning through iteration); etc. I think there’s some good bits in here for social media, advocacy, etc., but not sure it’s worth the hardcover price? Either get the cheaper Kindle version (I did) or look for a cheaper sale after it’s been out for a while.

Next book I’m looking at: “Thinking in bets: making smarter decisions when you don’t have all the facts” (Annie Duke). Books like this always grab my attention, because missions lives in a context of extreme uncertainty. This looks better than Storytelling Edge, right now, judging from the table of contents. It calls to mind books like “Little Bets” by Peter Sims, which for me was a great book about taking low-risk actions to discover and test ideas.

UPG Profiles, Travelogues, Stories

Kyrgyz in America: orgs in New York, Chicago strive to make community feel welcomed
Will the Rohingya ever return home?
By light of a blood moon, life returns to a bombed-out Syrian landscape: Kobani
The war on Valentine’s Day in India
… ‘right-wing Hindu nationalists keep cracking down on sexually-liberated women’
… Hindu nationalism vs ‘Western-style permissive values’


Top FBI, CIA, NSA officials agree: stay away from Huawei phones
… ‘ample reason to suspect Huawei of cyber espionage’
… ‘widely understood to have extraordinary ties to the Chinese government’
Bullet trains are transforming the world’s biggest migration
… ‘millions of Chinese cram onto trains to make the annual pilgrimage home…’
… what facilitates pilgrimage can facilitate Gospel transfer…
Internet of Things: Cow Facial Recognition (Cargill, Cainthus)
… gives farmers a clearer picture of animal health and well being
Drones that doge obstacles without guidance can pursue you like paparazzi
… ‘visually imprinting on a person and then following him or her around’
Google explains how its new ad blocker in Chrome will work
… will affect websites that use advertising
A secure web is here to stay: Chrome will begin marking http as ‘not secure’
SSL encrypted pages are actually faster
… plus, SSL encrypted pages secure the subdomains parts of the URL
… all mission agency websites should force SSL for all pages by default
The house that spied on me
… author connected as much as possible to see if the house ‘would betray me’
Cotton harvesting (in the West anyhow) dominated by robots


“If you don’t make dust, you eat dust.” ~Jack Macallister

“People take the limits of their own field of vision for the limits of the world.” ~Schopenhauer

“Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you’re scared.” ~Eddie Rickenbacker

“You have to risk going too far to discover just how far you can really go.” ~T.S. Elliot

“Faith is pushing forward when you can’t see the end. Fortitude is pushing forward when it’s most difficult.” ~Overheard quote on Olympics

“I found out the hard way that if we don’t disciple people, the culture sure will.”  Alan Hirsch

A one legged school teacher came to Hudson Taylor to go with him to China. Taylor asked, “With only one leg, why do you think of going as a missionary”? The teacher, whose name was George Scott, replied, “I do not see those with two  legs going.” He was accepted. ~@DarrenMCarlson

“Anyone who holds a true opinion without understanding is like a blind man on the right road.” ~Socrates

“It’s more important to do things than to brood over them.” ~Hiroshi Arakawa

“He who does not serve God where he is would not serve God anywhere else.” ~Attributed to Spurgeon

Justin Long, a missionary researcher serving with Beyond (a Missio Nexus member) provides the Weekly Roundup. Sign up to get it every week or visit his daily blog: Member organizations can provide content to the Missio Nexus website. See how by clicking here.

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