What strikes me about the Christmas story (according to Mathew’s account) is that the first Christmas was not a quiet and nice story at all. On the contrary, from the very beginning, on that first Christmas, the good news of salvation for humankind was jeopardized by hatred and violence.read more
Consisting of eight nations (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka), South Asia represents nearly a quarter of the world’s population. Christians form a small minority in this region, which is home to approximately one billion Hindus, 600 million Muslims, and only 35 million Christians. ScholarLeaders has supported Christian leaders from three South Asian nations (Pakistan, India, and Sri Lanka). Through the Vital SustainAbility Initiative, ScholarLeaders works with the South Asia Institute of Advanced Christian Studies (SAIACS) in India and with Colombo Theological Seminary (CTS) in Sri Lanka. The Centre for South Asia Research at SAIACS (India) is a collaborative ministry of SAIACS, the Theological Book Network, and ScholarLeaders International.
Pakistan is the only nation established in the name of Islam. Constitutionally, all laws must conform to the Quran. The country has a large economy and a rising middle class, but also faces challenges related to illiteracy, corruption, and terrorism. Of the nation’s 213 million people, more than 96% are Muslims. Christians represent a very small minority, but the Church continues to persevere and grow, despite persecution. Learn about the Church’s historical relationship with the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the strongest barriers to missions, and Muslims’ most common objections to Christianity in this 2016 feature on Gloria Calib’s prophetic leadership in Pakistan. For a Christian response to religious extremism, read Maqsood Kamil’s 2016 Insights Perspective.
Sharing its northwestern border with Pakistan, India is home to over 1.3 billion people, 80% of whom are Hindus. As one of the world’s fastest growing economies, India has seen tremendous change over the last 30 years. Although the percentage of people living below the global poverty line has decreased, economic inequality has increased. Internal migration and urban growth have strained infrastructure, and have challenged traditions and identities. Since 2014, the political ascension of Hindu nationalism has increased pressure on religious minorities. Islam is the second largest religion in India. With around 180 million Muslims, India has the third largest Muslim population in the world (behind Indonesia and Pakistan). Although only 2 to 3% of Indians are Christians, the Church is still 26 to 35 million-strong and growing. The Church needs leaders who can shepherd new believers and help address the unique contextual needs of the subcontinent. Learn about Manohar James’ distinctive response to Hindu nationalist persecution and rising “re-conversions” to Hinduism here.
A large island just southeast of India, Sri Lanka has the longest continuous history of Buddhism in the world. 70% of its 22 million people practice Buddhism; the rest are Hindus (13%), Muslims (10%), and Christians (7%). The teardrop-shaped island nation has seen plenty of tears in recent years: ethnic riots, the 2004 tsunami, and 26 years of civil war. Lal Senanayake’s 2019 InSights Perspective offers reflections on understanding suffering in light of God’s character. Presently, political stability has led to increased economic growth and development. Although nearly 85% of Sri Lankans remain in rural areas, the country has a remarkably high literacy rate of 92%. Most of Sri Lanka’s 1.5 million Christians are Roman Catholic. Although Evangelicals comprise only 2% of the population, they have continued to grow at twice the rate of the general population.
We ask for your intercession on behalf of Beni. Our town has been brutally attacked twice in six days. The armed group that has been killing civilians in the Beni territory since 2014 has made incursions into the town of Beni and into our neighboring town of Oicha, killing over 75 of the most vulnerable inhabitants over the last three weeks. On November 24, one of the members of our contractor’s construction crew, the son of one of our campus guards, was killed in his neighborhood near our main campus.read more
Pray for Malawi and the aftermath of the general elections we had in May. Some political parties have not accepted the election results and the case is in court. There have been protests, at times violent, calling for the chairperson of the Malawi Electoral Commission to resign. Pray that justice will prevail and that there will be peace in our country.read more
What is very crucial about Liberia is the number of young people in the nation. Liberia has a very youthful population, and Esther and I have had the opportunity of discipling and preaching the gospel to youths. Please pray that the young people in Liberia will come to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ and have a transformative relationship with God.read more
My service has been in the area of missions and transformation, as well as missions in pluralistic religious contexts (Christianity, Islam, and traditional religions). In my 16 years of missions experience in Ghana, I have observed a phenomenal response to the gospel, as is common in some other sub-Saharan African countries. Operation World reports that “from 1900 to 2010, [African] Christian numbers grew from 9.1% of the population to 48.8%, and from 7.5 million to 504 million.”read more
For me, pray for God’s wisdom in my new role as Bishop of the Mwanza Diocese, good health, and networking with different people worldwide to enhance the ministry in the Mwanza Diocese. I need partners for working together on church leadership empowerment, evangelism and outreach ministries, youth ministry, women’s and children’s ministries, retired pastors’ ministry, etc. Even though my diocese has 550 churches, only 200 pastors have been fully trained in Bible schools. Over 300 pastors have not received training due to the inability to pay school fees.read more
The Evangelical Theological College (ETC) is preparing to launch its MA program in Christian-Muslim Relations in August 2020. This will be the first and only graduate program, in the Horn of Africa, that focuses on Islamic Studies. Please pray for the provision of necessary resources, and wisdom for us during the student recruitment process and as we identify adjunct lecturers for the program.read more
My studies on spirit possession among Borana Muslims have been an eye-opener to many Christians in northern Kenya. Some have requested more knowledge about the phenomenon and I am planning to hold a training where I will not only share about spirit possession, but also share about deliverance and inner healing.read more