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December 2009

Urbana ’09 Day Three

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Listen to Fouad Masri interview here Fouad Masri Interviews at Urbana '09

USA (MNN) — “The increase in Jihad is a good thing.” That was the word from the President of the Crescent Project, Fouad Masri in a session during InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s Urbana ’09 Convention. Masri says in Islam at the end of your life God weighs the good works with the bad and that’s how its determined if you go to heaven.

Fouad Masri speaking to students at Urbana '09.

Fouad Masri speaking to students at Urbana '09.

However, Masri says there’s only one way to escape that. “The only way to escape the system is to die in Jihad — in a war — trying to establish the rule of Islam. So the sign that more and more people want to join Jihad is a sign that people are thirsty for salvation, or thirsty for assurance.”

Masri says Muslims are what Jesus describes as sheep without a shepherd. “What you’re seeing is people who are spiritually are like sheep. And, spiritually have no shepherd telling them that, ‘yes they can have assurance, yes they can have forgiveness, yes they don’t need to kill themselves and kill others.”

However, Masri says Christians in the west simply avoid Muslims altogether. They try to argue with them about their faith. Some simply call them enemies and ignore them.

In his session Masri says there are three things Christians can do to win Muslims to Christ. You can love them. Develop friendships with them. That will allow you to bridge divide allowing you to share your faith.

Hundreds of students participated in Masri’s sessions this week. He says because many Christians are unaware of the issues facing Muslims around the world, nothing happens. “As they get exposed to the spiritual, social and injustices of Muslim woman [or instance], now they’re saying, ‘let’s do something.'”

Yale is a student from Chicago. He says God has convicted him that he needs to be more loving in Muslim outreach. “They’re people like you and me — people who want to be loved.”

Aaron is a Cornerstone University Student and says, “Over the last three years God’s really put it on my heart to work with Muslim people. So, that’s why I’ve come. I don’t have much experience with them personally, but I came to find out more. I graduating soon and I’m planning to do my student teaching in Turkey.”

Crescent Project has a number of resources to help you get the information you need to reach out to Muslims. Go to for information.

Gospel For Asia at Urbana '09

Gospel For Asia at Urbana '09

I was also able to walk through the convention center, or the Global Connections center where more than 200 mission organizations and agencies are displaying this week.

Mission Aviation Fellowship is just one organization. MAF Recruiter Brian Behal says this Urbana isn’t as busy as it was three years ago. “The attendance is down. I think the economy has affected it a bit, but the quality of the folks who are here are every bit as high quality as they’ve been in years past.”

Behal says while ‘social justice’ is this year’s Urbana ‘buzz word’ MAF is involved indirectly. “We don’t have any specific social justice outreaches, but we’re working in countries where after we’re done with our day jobs — which is ministry for us — we can get involved in those kinds of things.”

President of Africa Inland Mission Ted Barnett says they need more people in Africa. He says a recent trip to Africa, “every place I went they said we are in desperate need of teachers and trainers. Most of the missionaries have left because of all the strife and conflict that is going on.”

Wycliffe Bible TranslatorsLarella Rouster with Every Child MinistriesStudents learning more about ministry at Urbana '09.Teen Missions International

Pictures of Urbana ’09 are available at

Urbana 09 – Why are you here?

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Day two at Urbana ’09 started out with a focus on invading people’s privacy. MNN’s Greg Yoder is in St. Louis, Missouri covering it, Greg.

Yesterday, Atallah used the text of John 1 to challenge students to use Jesus’ model of evangelism. In this particular story, Jesus calls Philip to follow Him. Philip in turn brings Nathanael to the ministry, despite Nathanael’s skeptical attitude. Atallah says the picture we get from this is clear.

“We need to all seek the willing, whether they be seekers or skeptics,” says Atallah. “We need to seek anybody who’s willing to listen. There are many people like Nathanael around us who God may be preparing.”

But is it too high a call to ask students to reach out to people who may not believe anything they hear about Scripture? Student Ryan Calin from Minnesota says he and his friends are prepared to spread the Gospel even to Nathanael-like skeptics.

Urbana ’09 – Why are you Here story

You can hear the Tuesday Mission Network News report, here.

Mission Network News report for Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Urbana ’09 – Day One

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December 27, 2009 is a day many missions minded individuals have been looking forward to for a long time. It only happens every three years. I’m talking about InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s Urbana ’09 Student Missions Conference. It’s been the largest student missions convention in North America for decades. This year [for the second time] it’s being held in St. Louis, Missouri.

The conference got started just like ever other Urbana I’ve been to — with praise and worship and an incredible challenge to set the ton for the week. This year’s conference is called, THE WORD BECAME FLESH, taken from John 1. Listen to this audio story here in mp3.

Urbana ’09 Opening Session Story

In the mean time, enjoy the photos, too.

A young man worships God during first session at Urbana '09

Young man at Urbana '09 worships during opening session.

The Urbana '09 Worship Team leads the 16,000 people in worship.

The Urbana '09 Worship Teams leads the crow of 16,000 in worship.

The stage at Urbana '09 in St. Louis, MO

The stage at Urbana '09.

MNN headed to Urbana ’09

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Every three years thousands of students head to the largest mission event in North America — Urbana ’09 — held for the second time in St. Louis, Missouri. Urbana ’09 begins Sunday, December 27 and will continue through December 31st.

Mission Network News will be there once again, covering the event. This year staff writer Elisa Whiteman and I will be there to provide just in time coverage of the event. We’ll provide you audio, pictures and new this year — video of the conference. So, you’ll not only be able to LISTEN to the sounds of Urbana, but SEE it.

In the mean time, pray that Urbana attendees will have open hearts as they head to the event.