Read the Weekly Roundup: November 17

By Justin D. Long, ed.

Perspective, Insight, Context, Analysis

New events

NYT: Zimbabwean army detains Pres. Mugabe.
… BBC: In “crunch talks” over his future. Six scenarios.
The fall heard across the continent (maybe).
… Older long read from Atlantic: How to kill a country
Coup or not, this is the end of an era in Zimbabwe
What will happen to Zimbabwe now? better future, or more death
… “Keep the elites happy” is the first rule of autocracies
… the fall of Mugabe is a model for how other autocrats might fall
What is a coup? Quartz explainer: Africa has seen at least 200 since the 1960s.
… short article but features some nice stats on which countries have the most

North Africa

In Africa’s Great Lakes region, the church is growing–and so is climate conflict
… ‘account for large share of … growth of Christianity and Islam over the past century.’
Egypt: Copts decry recent spate of church closings
… a year after law on building/restoring churches, widespread disappointment
… government stalling, closing churches, fueling frustration
Libya: Migrants being auctioned as slaves.
… for as little as $400 each.
Tunisia: More than a million Libyans have visited Tunisia this year
… as many as 250,000 Libyans living in Tunisia
… might be an easier place to access, help, bless

West Africa

Nigeria: Young Nigerians are connecting with Pentecostal ‘churches
… ‘will they return to Catholicism?’ (, Catholic)
… ‘I want to reach out to millions when I become a Pentecostal pastor’
… ‘As a Catholic priest, it would be difficult to reach beyond your parish’
Senegal: 1 million pilgrims to Senegal’s Grand Magal of Touba
to venerate 19th century Sufi religious leader

East Africa/Horn

The future of Kenya’s democracy is hanging in the balance
… crackdowns, police killings, a restive electorate …
Eritrea: Oped: How a rare protest scared the Eritrean regime
Mystery shrouds rare protest in Eritrea (HRW)
… ‘dearth of credible reporting on government response obscures death toll’
Radio Erena: Eritrea’s free voice and refugee hotline
… about 5,000 Eritreans flee the country each month.
Ethiopia: ‘We are everywhere’: how Ethiopia became a land of prying eyes
Somaliland: blocks social media to keep its election free of “fake news”
… UNPO: international observers applaud successful presidential elections
… Economist: Somaliland is east Africa’s strongest democracy
Sudan: Witness for Christ: through the eyes of a persecuted pastor (MNN)
S Sudan: Understanding S Sudan’s Cow Currency key to understanding country’s war

Central Asia

Kazakhstan: Mysterious radioctive cloud traced to Russia or Kazakhstan
Wave of emigration to Russia shows no sign of abating
… ‘outflow of technically qualified and educated people growing steadily…’
Kyrgyzstan: Kyrgyz-Uzbek citizens welcome reopening of borders

West Asia/Gulf

Iraq: Climate change and water woes drove ISIS recruiting
… ‘a few weeks after the rains failed, residents noticed the strange bearded men’
… ‘join us and you’ll never have to worry about feeding your family’
Philanthropist battles to save Iraq’s Christians
… ‘rebuilding communities destroyed by ISIS’
Jordanian and Palestinian Evangelicals united in Amman
… ‘alliance aimed at advocating by local governments for recognition’
… ’13 traditional churches recognized, none of the evangelical churches are’
Saudi Arabia: The Game of Thrones Christians should be watching
… CT: Arab believers assess crown prince’s pledge to modernize SA’s Islam
Syria: In photos: going to school in a war zone
Yemen: Saudi Arabia to reopen air and seaports.
Yemen’s deepening humanitarian crisis: clip from BBC News.
… Opinion: How the war created the cholera epidemic in Yemen (good historical survey)

South Asia

Afghanistan: US looking to cut a deal with the Taliban?
Taliban has ‘elite’ “Red Units,” kill dozens of police
Iran: Earthquake death toll at least 530, 8k injured.
India: More than 90% of Indians approve of PM Modi
… and with current state of economy and direction of country
… less favorable in north, more favorable the further south one gets
Nepal: Tourism on track to hit ‘magic figure’ of 1 million arrivals

East Asia

China: Want to escape poverty? Replace pictures of Jesus with Xi Jinping
… ‘replace religious artifacts w/posters of ldrs to benefit from poverty-relief efforts”
Security clampdown bites in China’s Xinjiang region
… ‘southern Xinjiang has become an open-air prison’
Chinese students still drawn to US universities, but growth rate slowing
… more than 350,000 Chinese enrolled in USA in 2016-17, but…
… and, Returnees and the Church in China: preparing to integrate upon return
… and, Chinese grads return home with degrees and disillusionment
… seems a ministry to impending Chinese grads helping them return might be a blessing
Rural education for girls in China:
… every year, 3+ million children in rural C drop out of school, 2/3rds are girls
The rise of overseas voluntourism in China
… some portion of these are Chinese missionaries, able to go places others can’t
… and, Majority world missions and Chinese missions: a brief note on challenges
Japan: Business group chief calls for more foreign workers
… ‘worsening and intensifying labor shortage’
… indigenous working-age pop to fall below 50m by 2056
Mongolia: Coal: the story behind this days-long traffic jam
N Korea: China’s charm offensive on S Korea starting to work
… ‘making the USA North Korea policy harder to pull off’
China sends special envoy to North Korea: but most cynical

Southeast Asia

Cambodia: Orders ‘provincial standby working groups’ to prevent election unrest
top court dissolves main opposition party
Indonesia: Google, Twitter must block obscene content or be blocked
‘Hidden fire’ of intolerance among Indonesia’s young (Straits-Times OpEd)
Malaysia, Indonesia top two favorite destinations for millennial Muslims
… 3) Japan, 4) Thailand, 5) Australia, 6) Singapore, 7) UAE, 8) UK, 9) USA, 10) India
… Mastercard-Halal Trip Muslim Millennial Report
Myanmar: Rohingya learn that never again doesnt always apply
Vietnam wrestles with Christianity (Diplomat)
… why hundreds of thouands of ethnic Hmong have converted over the past 30 years

New Data

New Resource: Curated index of missionary biographies.
The Muslim overpopulation myth that just won’t die
… ‘reliably powerful anywhere there’s sizable Muslim immigrant/minority population’
2017 Global Terrorism Index (PDF)
… most terrorized: 1) Iraq, 2) Afghanistan, 3) Nigeria, 4) Syria, 5) Pakistan, 6) Yemen
Freedom of the Net 2017 Report (Freedom House)
… China worst abuser, followed by Syria and Ethiopia
Pew: Orthodox Christianity in the 21st Century
… using CSGC data: continues to grow in Ethiopia.
Conflict and climate push 224 million Africans into hunger
… one-quarter of world’s hungry; 18% of Africa’s population
Migrating to Opportunity: Overcoming barriers to labor migration in SE Asia (PDF).
… ASEAN originates 8% of world’s migrants, hosts 4%, regional migration hubs.
Call for action for young refugees in growing education crisis
… 260 million children, adolescents not in school today
… ‘spectre of … millions of young refugees growing up
… w/o needed skills to create a meaningful life’
Good News: child labor plunged over past 16 years

Longer reads

Escobar, Samuel. “Migration & Ethnic Conflict.” Lausanne, 2017.
Jones, Rachel. “I’m not called to keep my kids from danger.” Christianity Today.
… ‘but I can prepare them for a life of faithfulness’

Lifehacking, Tactics, Skills, Rules

Science and historical examples favor a mid-day nap.
… it actually does good things for the brain
Finding the right color palettes for data visualizations.
… me being a chart and data nerd.

Pioneer Mission Startups, Strategy

Retention: the one growth metric that moves acquisition, monetization and virality
… this post is written from a viral start up point of view, but
… the principles impact church growth and movements as well.
… Christianity globally sees +45 million births, +15 million converts p.a. (roughly)
… but loses -12 million to defection (loss of retention).
… This means we are only growing “slightly faster” than global population growth
… Dealing with retention (defection, loss) always impacts growth rates
… This article goes into “why” in depth
These are the 7 deadly sins of product-driven founders
… this is another post with cross-application into missions.
… what is the ‘product’ of our mission efforts?
… Worth reading in comparison with “4 stages of a movement” (Smith, MF, 2015).

UPG Profiles, Travelogues, Stories

Shanghai virtual prayer walk using ArcGIS technology
… see also book review, “Shanghai Faithful,” biography of Lin Family, over 5 generations.
Millions of Shi’ite pilgrims throng Iraq’s Karbala for Arbaeen commemoration
… 14 million (incl 2m Iranian pilgrims), one of the biggest religious festivals
10 religious structures in Africa: mosques, synagogues, churches, basilicas …
Conde Nast Traveler: Finding the heart of the ancient Silk Road in Uzbekistan
… long read, plus photographs
36 hours in Osaka, Japan


Slaughterbots: makes the Terminator look like a Disney film.
… what happens when you combine miniaturization, weapons, and AI.
… ‘not especially gruesome but disturbing and provocative’
… This is a possible and not improbable future that could deeply impact religion.
Sophia: Interviewed.
… ‘conversational artificial intelligence is within our grasp.’
… ok, it’s not great, but it’s a lot further along than ever before.
… implications for religion, faith, evangelization resources, and the like are profound.
Tesla makes an electric big rig that can go 500 miles on a single charge
… disruption of commercial trucking industry first big opportunity of EV, auto drive
BeBop Forte Data Glove (Youtube)
… replaces handheld controllers, has sensors, haptics for tactile sensations.
… this kind of interface important for advance of VR, AR.


“I don’t like walking a mile down the road in someone else’s shoes just to find out they were the wrong size.” ~Paul Dzubinski

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” ~George Eliot

“If you don’t find Christ in the beggar at the church door, neither will you find him in the chalice.” ~John Chrysostom

“Every generation of Christians has this problem of learning how to speak meaningfully to its own age.” ~Francis Shaffer

“Men do not care how nobly they live, but only how long, although it is within the reach of every man to live nobly, but within no man’s power to live long.” ~Seneca

“How you do anything is how you do everything. Your “character” or “nature” just refers to how you handle all the day-to-day things in life, no matter how small” ~Derek Sivers

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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