Read the Weekly Roundup: March 16

By Justin D. Long, ed.

Perspective, Insight, Context, Analysis

Don’t Miss

Beyond’s next Discipleship Nugget: “How to start spiritual conversations”
… One of our field workers puts it this way: as believers, we are called to be “obviously His”. In this training you will learn from God’s Word about how to step out in obedience, in simple ways that can open up doors to spiritual conversations
… online webinar, free to attend. Share this video introduction to the Nugget with others!

New events

North-West Africa
Moroccan protestors clash with police in mining town, 200+ injured
… protests since two artisan miners were killed in December
Churches closed in Algeria, symptom of uptick in persecution
… ‘at least 3 churches shut down in last two weeks’
… also, Sentencing of pastor adds to uptick in persecution
Secularization: an unexpected friend to the Gospel in Algeria

North Africa / Warring States
Chad could be removed from the U.S. travel ban list

The Church in the State Series: #1 Coptic Orthodox Church
… and interesting if all-too-brief “first article” in a series

Curfew imposed over herder-farmer violence in Taraba state
at least 25 killed in fresh clashes in central Plateau state
… due to escalation of violence between Fulani and Mambilla ethnic groups
Doctors without Borders extends suspension of operations in Borno state
… ‘we think the entire area is not protected’

Ethiopia / Horn / East Africa
Activists kick off a fuel blockade to cut off petrol supply to much of the country
… but local media says petrol distribution was occurring as usual
Bloomberg: China is turning Ethiopia into a giant fast-fashion factory
… ‘a $10 billion shot in the arm… if there isn’t a civil war first.’

Middle Africa / Lakes
40 killed in fresh ethnic clashes in DR Congo
Tales of terror from Congo’s Ituri province (IRIN)

Central Asia / Caucasus
Kazakh woman on trial for downloading Bible is acquitted
… charged w/‘illegal missionary activity’ when she showed another person how to download the Bible

Saudi / Israel / Lebanon / Syria / Gulf
Qatar: Kidnapped royals become pawns in Iran’s deadly plot (NYT)
… the story of the extreme lengths Qatar went to secure their release
… a ransom deal worth $360 million that has fueled the region’s spiraling wars
Syria: Seven years on: nobody seems willing to stop the bloodshed
… 500k dead, multiples wounded, 50% displaced, refugee crisis.
Thousands flee Ghouta.
The siege & 7 years war in pictures.
Turkish forces completely surround Kurdish city of Afrin, cut off water and bread
… and, ‘establishes security in almost 70% of Syria’s Afrin
Syria’s civil war explained from the beginning: Al Jazeera, timeline, video
… No one is winning the Syrian civil war: Assad only in power because of Russia’s support
… ‘rape used as wide scale weapon of war in Syria: UN report
… a lot of trauma and counseling and healing going to be needed for a generation
More Saudi Reforms:
… A plot twist for Saudi’s female film students (Reuters TV)
… ‘country undergoes biggest cultural shakeup…’
… ‘movie theaters opening around the country… greater freedoms for women…’
Saudi-backed interfaith center boosted by crown prince’s surprising reforms
… opened in Vienna.
Yemen: Building peace from the ground up (FA, $)
… 3 year war, 7 million at risk of famine, thousands dead from cholera
… reportedly, Houthis and Saudis in secret talks to end the war

Wants to keep American pastor Andrew Brunson behind bars for life
… accused of being ‘a member and executive’ of the Gulen movement
… supporters say ‘falsely imprisoned… because of who I am… a Christian pastor’
Why Erdogan called for updating Islam
… condemned misogynist clerics who degrade women, defend wife beating

Is Iran becoming more corrupt?
… ‘most corrupt’ institution, per 84%: municipal governments
… Majority think corruption has increased in recent years
… and, Iran’s poorest citizens still waiting for some semblance of parity after 39 years
Interview with #RevolutionWoman Narges Hosseini
… re her protest, prison sentence, and what she has been through since
… ‘I had estimated beforehand what it was going to cost me’
… ‘my satisfaction outweighs the costs so much that I cannot say I am sorry…’
What started the biggest population boom in history?
… Iran’s explosive expansion

Afghanistan / Pakistan / Pashto
US looks to protect Kabul against Taliban bombings
… ‘securing the Afghan capital is now one of their top priorities’
Taliban briefly capture a district in deteriorating, besieged Farah province
Another view: Why the Taliban isn’t winning in Afghanistan
… ‘two weak for victory, too strong for defeat’
Pakistan: Declaration of faith compulsory before joining civil, armed services, judiciary
… constitutional amendments: ‘all citizens be easily identifiable by their faith’
… ‘mandatory to declare “true faith”; failure to do so = “betraying the State”’
… ‘faith should be mentioned on birth certificates, ID cards, voter lists, passports’

Hindu right intensifies religious battle over a demolished mosque (WPost, $)
India’s Water Crisis: How Christians can be part of the solution (Lausanne Global Analysis)

Maldives / Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka will lift social media ban after a week of blocking access

PDF report: Forbidden Feeds: Government controls on social media in China
President Xi demands inflexible atheism—but has a soft spot for Buddhism
… meanwhile ‘showing great paranoia against Christians’…
Asia Harvest special bulletin: Please pray for Christians in China
… ‘in past 18 months, situation has dramatically worsened’
… persecution, black jails, ‘blanket over the church,’ strictly monitored… more…
How China is challenging American dominance in Asia:
… every Asian country now trades more with China than the United States
… though USA still ahead in arms sales.
… votes to scrap term limits, 2,958 to 2. President Xi For Life.
sets up new immigration bureau to handle growing number of foreigners in China.
… more than 900,000 foreigners in China, up from 10,000 in the 1980s.
Mongolia: Burning coal for survival in the world’s coldest capital
… makes Ulan Bator a very dirty place.

What game theory has to say about NKor-SKor-USA talks
… Few ways for the USA to come out ahead. Best aspect is the excellent survey of scenarios.
The new US SecState is a North Korea hawk (Atlantic)
… and may change the course of nuclear talks …

Southeast Asia
Bali ISPs will switch off mobile Internet for New Year day
… the holiday is a ‘sacred time for reflection’
Myanmar’s deadly [land]mines
… contaminate 9 of the country’s 14 states/regions
Biggest refugee camp braces for rain (NYT, long read, video, photos)
… ‘more than 500k Rohingya face looming disaster from floods, landslides’
PNG quake: an invisible disaster which could change life forever
… ‘small nomadic communities have been thrown together in makeshift camps’
Indonesia makes criticizing national politicians a crime
… the vaguely-worded law will almost certainly be challenged in court.

Notable Europe / Americas
Brazil has over half the world’s murders: nearly 60,000 per year
Will Trump’s new SecState prioritize religious freedom? (CT)
Germany’s refugee detectives: separating those fleeing death from opportunists, pretenders

New global data

Hotter, drier, hungrier: how global warming punishes the world’s poorest (NYT)
… northern Kenya and its neighbors have become measurably drier and hotter …
2017 State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money (GSMA)
… 136m accounts 2012, 690m accounts 2017
Infinite Dial 2018 Report (Slide Share)
… ‘longest running survey of digital media consumer behavior in America’
International migration from subSaharan Africa has grown dramatically since 2010
… trailed only Syria in growth of emigrant populations worldwide
… but most SubSaharan African migrants are going to other SubS Afr countries
Subsaharan Africa will be home to growing shares of the world’s Christians and Muslims
… ‘if demography is destiny, Christianity’s future lies in Africa’ (Pew Research)

Longer reads & Resources

Three elements of an explosive church planting movement (CT, Ed Stetzer)
… 1) permission (no need), 2) training (no seminary required), 3) vocation (bi-vocational)
Is ISIS really Muslim? (CT)
… Christians can learn from Egyptian debate over terrorism and true Islam
Data on the migration of women
… an interview with Marla Asia, Dir of Research at Scalabrini Migration Center

Lifehacking, Tactics, Skills, Rules

Doors and broken handles: discerning where God wants us to go (CT)
… ‘how do we know when a door is really shut? How hard should we pull?’
Are you willing to go if God calls you? (CT, Ed Stetzer)
… thoughts on our mission as we follow Jesus
A new generation redefines what it means to be a missionary
… article in the Atlantic captures some of the nuance of mission in a globalizing world 

UPG Profiles, Travelogues, Stories

“I was sold”: Niger refugee in Tunisia recounts Libya horrors
A monk in Mongolia: the historic journey of Benedict of Poland
… a Franciscan who accompanied the Papal diplomat in 1245


Waymo launches autodrive truck pilot
… automating trucking, highways is easier than automating passenger cars
BP thinks EVs will drive the world to ‘peak oil’ before 2040
… used to think we’d run out of supply of oil, now BP thinks we’ll run out of demand
Nuclear fusion on the brink of being realized, say MIT scientists
… ‘carbon-free fusion power could be on the grid in 15 years’
Youtube, the great radicalizer (Tufekci, NYT)
… ‘what keeps people glued… content more extreme than what they started with’
… also, Reddit and the struggle to detoxify the Internet
False news spreads faster and wider
… and a new study says humans, not bots are to blame
… False Claims 70% more likely than the truth to be shared on Twitter
Distraction is the new censorship
… ‘most effective form of censorship… meddling w/trust, attention, not muzzling speech…’
U of Arizona tracks student ID cards to detect who might drop out (#surveillance)
… card swipes tell where students go, what they buy, etc
… predictions over past three years more than 73% accurate
You can now 3D-print a house in under a day
… Y combinator backed charity works to build houses for people in developing nations
… important when 1.2 billion people (in cities) lack affordable, secure housing
How the Internet is changing life for the world’s poorest people (WSJ, $)
Quartz has a new ‘Obsessive’ article on the sticking power of email
… new Google initiatives around email, plus tons of e-mail stats


“Persistent prayer in the face of initial disappointment can become the instrument of divine nurture.” Bryan Chapell

“If you go out to the mission field and try to accomplish something in your own power, you are going to fail.” ~Dave Woodard, ABWE

“God is in control, but he doesn’t want us to lean on a shovel and pray for a hole.” ~Tommy Nelson

“Everyone says they want community and friendship. But mention accountability or commitment to people, and they run the other way.” ~Tim Keller

“Never ruin an apology with an excuse.” ~Benjamin Franklin (maybe)

“Jesus warns people far more often about greed than about sex, yet almost no one thinks they’re guilty of it.” ~Tim Keller

“Maturity comes from obedience, not necessarily from age.” ~Leonard Ravenhill

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

“Nothing diminishes anxiety faster than action.” ~Walter Anderson

“Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion – it is a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ.” ~Billy Graham

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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