#192—21 February 2020
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March 5, 2020: "Finding God Prepared People--How miracles and prayer open communities."
http://www.beyond.org/events

From day one movements have testified that God opens communities through signs and wonders, miracles and prayer. We often see in the book of Acts that people come to faith in Christ after seeing prayers answered and miracles performed. How willing are we, especially in the U.S., to believe that God could open up communities to receive the Gospel through miracles and healings? In this Nugget Training, we’ll look at Scripture and hear stories of how God is using miracles and prayer to help his Church find God prepared people. Entire communities can become open to the Gospel as we listen to the Spirit and follow his lead. This is a key aspect of disciple making movements built on the foundation of extraordinary prayer. Praying big prayers and trusting God to move is a great first step in entering communities, and this training will demonstrate why and how miracles and prayer can open the door to sharing the Gospel.

March 12-14, 2020: The DMM Summit in Wheaton, IL is a conference where you can learn more about movements and key principles you can apply in your own ministry context. Several field practitioners will be present. Check it out at www.dmmsummit.org!

New Events

Coronavirus

Cases in China decline, allegedly - China Daily
... data from outside of China gives me evidence to not discount this report

Johns Hopkins dashboard confirms slowdown in increase - Link
... 2k deaths, but 16.8k recovered. The increase in cases is notably slowing.

To tame the coronavirus, Mao-style social control blankets China - NYT
... "flooded cities and villages with battalions of neighborhood busybodies, uniformed volunteers and Communist Party representatives to carry out one of the biggest social control campaigns in history. The goal: to keep hundreds of millions of people away from everyone but their closest kin."
... 10% of the world's population have their movements restricted because of the virus
... 150 million people can't leave their homes because of the virus

4th largest city in South Korea "deserted" after coronavirus church "super-spreader" - Reuters
... 90 people who "worshipped at a church" showed symptoms of infection
... More nuance: South Korean "cult" at center of local COVID outbreak - Time
... Shincheonji sect, founded 1984 as the "one true version of Christianity"

As most everyone knows, the elderly are most at risk from the coronavirus - Statista

"We are not seeing effective community transmission outside of China" ~WHO - Reuters

Coronavirus won't bring down the Chinese government - Atlantic
... "For a cottage industry of Western experts, the fall of the Chinese Communist Party is always just one crisis away."

North Africa / Warring States

Inside Hifter's Libya: a Police State with an Islamist Twist - NYT
... a chilling look at what life in Libya would be like if Hifter wins. No democracy, this.

EU will try to mountain a naval/air mission to stop flow of weapons into Libya - NYT
... Libya's factions dig in for a long conflict - Reuters
... they don't seem to think much of the effort to stop the war ...

Niger: 3 million people (>50% children) are in need of humanitarian aid - UN
... due to rising Sahel conflict.

Egypt / Sudan

Hunger threatens half of the population in South Sudan - ReliefWeb
... due to the impacts of devastating floods and low levels of food production ...
... mainly Jonglei, Upper Nile, Warrap, N Bar el-Ghazal ...

South Sudan hit by locust plague migrating from Uganda - Al Jazeera
... East Africa has been hit hard by this, and could ill afford it ...

Western Africa / Lake Chad

Cameroon village attack kills 22 - New Humanitarian
... mark of rising violence in English-speaking regions ... 

Attack on Burkina Faso church kills 24 - Reuters
... part of a pattern of attacks and assassinations of pastors ...

Gold panning in Mali may benefit extremists - AP

Saudi / Israel / Lebanon / Syria / Gulf

Rapid deterioration in NW Syria, 900k displaced since December - UN
... Clashes shift from Idlib to Aleppo - AL-Monitor
... This is what 800,000 fleeing Syrians looks like: great presentation - NYT
... Idlib's long-simmering catastrophe: the battle is still not over - New Humanitarian
... Aid efforts "overwhelmed" by humanitarian catastrophe - New Humanitarian

West Asia / Turkey

Despite a murder and visa denials, Christians persevere in Turkey ($) - CT

Iran/Iraq

A reporter's diary of a trip to Iraq, on Iraqi displacement - New Humanitarian
... and a visit to a desert camp home to 50,000 ...

Iran's elections set to be dominated by hardliners - CNN
... many conservatives, few reformists/moderates (who have been banned) ...
... evidence of moving away from modernizing agenda, rallying around conservatives ...

Afghanistan / Pakistan / Pashto

5 months later, Ghani declared victor in Afghani elections - Stratfor
... (saw a piece where the other guy declared victory, too, so not completely settled yet.)

In "mini-Kabul" (Peshawar), refugees mark 40 years in Pakistan - Gulf Times
... short little ethnography piece ...

India

Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalism gives rise to vigilante attacks on Christians - Telegraph
... yet more data points in ongoing trend ...

How Hindu supremacists are tearing India apart - Guardian
... incisive long read on the history of the RSS, BJP and the rise of Hindu radicalism ...

"There is no fish in the ocean" - Quartz
... the future has arrived for this Indian fishing village [in southern Karnataka]

Bengali / Bangladesh

Conservative Islamic views gaining ground, curtailing freedom of expression - The Conversation

China

Lonely hearts: >50% of China's singles live in its four major first-tier cities - Asia Times

A distorted sex ratio is playing havoc with marriage in China - Economist
... rising bride prices, importing brides, localized unmarried male populations ...

New Hong Kong chief a hardliner known for crusade against Christian churches - Guardian
... notorious for the demolition of thousands of Christian crosses on churches ...

Coronavirus is devastating Chinese tourism - Atlantic
... countries close borders, airlines slash flights, hotels see drop-offs ...

Koreas

South Korean population may have "already peaked" - Diplomat
... some concern that it may have entered a downward "fertility trap" ...

Southeast Asia

Brunei: Spoiled Subjects of the Sultan - Diplomat
... Life in one of the world's last absolute monarchies

Thailand strongly impacted bv Coronavirus-caused drop in China visitors - Diplomat

Myanmar: Spike in civilian casualties in NW after Internet shutdown - UN

The growing emergency on Myanmar's newest battleground - New Humanitarian

New Data

The world as 100 Christians: new graph from WCE - CSGC

The 100 most spoken languages in the world - Visual Capitalist

Longer reads

Developing a "probabilistic" approach to managing uncertainty - HBR
... stop trying to be "right" and instead try to be "less wrong" over time

Five years ago, ISIS executed 21 Christians on a beach in Libya - CT
... Christianity Today podcast on how the Coptic Church responded to the episode ...

See also my weekly "Things I Learned" newsletter.

Futuristics/Technology

McDs, Starbucks developing trackable, recoverable, reusable plastic coffee cups - Bloomberg

New system for power generation from humidity in air - Nature

USA 2019 Internet Crime report = $3.5 billion in losses - FBI

Signal is building out features that will help it go mainstream - Wired

AI can automatically rewrite text in outdated Wikipedia articles - Engadget

How Saudi Arabia infiltrated Twitter - Buzzfeed
... although the leak was found, it does give one pause ...

The Last Five

#191 - February 14
#190 - February 7
#189 - January 24
#188 - January 10
#187 - December 20