Cuba

11 06 2016

The largest island in the Caribbean. (Near the Bahamas, Haiti and Jamaica)

Population11, 350,000

Capital: Havana (Pun: I’m hav’n’ a good time in Cuba)

People:  Hispanic 98%, Asian 1%, Other 1%

Economy: “Sugar production, along with the rest of the economy, collapsed with the Soviet meltdown as aid and subsidies dried up. The US trade embargo, devastating hurricanes, repressive centralized socialist planning, corruption and poor productivity hamper progress. Lack of many essentials (including food) still affects the country, yet there is a high standard in literacy, education and health. Tourism is becoming more and more economically important.” (Operation World, p. 291).

Politics:  “Independent from Spain in 1898. Fidel Castro’s revolution (he was born in 1926) brought Communism to power in 1959, replacing a corrupt and venal regime” (O.W.)

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Religion: Christian 56%, Non-religious 25%, Ethnoreligious 18%, Hindu 0.14%, Chinsese 0.14%, Other 0.14%, Buddhist 0.14%  (where is Islam?…)

Prayer Points:

  1. For political, economic, demographic and ideological needs.
  2. For the purification of the Catholic church
  3. For recovery of the Evangelical churches, devastated by waves of emigration to USA
  4. For the 500,00 plus people imprisoned for ideological reason under Communism
  5. For renewed leadership in the churches, able to cope with change and growth
  6. For the less reached people groups especially those in the Santeria cult, linked with similar evil spiritual powers to Haitian voodooism.
  7.  For the foreign missionaries, largely restricted access.
  8. For the 1 million Cuban refugees (legal and illegal) living in the USA, and their fruitful influence on their home country.
  9. For the Christian help ministries with Bible distribution, Christian literature, radio and music.

Thank you Lord, our God, for the growth of the Church in Cuba in recent years. Thank you for the refinement of the church at a local level, and the Spirit’s persistent ministry to the church. May the numerical growth continue, and may locals have wise leadership and courage to be a rich, powerful blessing to their nation, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

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Croatia

8 06 2016

Located in Europe, Croatia  is a Crescent-shaped country of 4.5 million people.  It is 91% Christian (primarily Catholic and Orthodox).  It is situated between the Danube River and the Adriatic Sea. It is a part of the Balkan States.

Capital: Zagreb (687,000)

Economy: “Long-term Communist mismanagement and the war with Serbs undermined a previously solid economy. Recovery is still in process, with relatively high unemployment and low wages. A resurgent tourist sector and the privatization of state industries have helped Croatia begin to turn the corner and develop over the last decade” (Operation World, p. 289).

Hatred: Some 1,600 years of rivalry between the Croat and Serb peoples, and their mutual hatred of one another was one of the potent factors in the terrible, horrifying Balkan wars of the 1990’s. “The iron bond shackling ethnicity to religion also hampers progress and stifles spiritual breakthrough” (Operation World). Forgiveness and love are of course keys to reconciliation and renewed trust.

Religion: Christian 91.6%, Non-Religious 6.01%, Muslim 1.9%, Jewish 0.10%, Hindu 0.02%, Buddhist 0.01%

Challenge to Prayer: Of the large Christian population some 87% are Catholic, and while there is a small but active Charismatic movement among them, and some very good Catholic leaders, it is sadly a nation where nominalism and empty rituals abound. According to Operation World, ‘Evangelicals are one of the few groups that straddle the ethnic divide. Many Bosnians, Croats and Serbs have been won to Christ and brought into the fellowship together.

Prayer: Thank you Lord for the gospel of grace spreading amidst a damaged society. Where the young people have little confidence for their future, and amidst high unemployment, may the Spirit of the Risen Lord bring renewed hope, and a desire for development and community, as the plan of God for creation, gives fresh impetus to rebuild the nation.

Part of the Balkan Peninsula:

It is difficult to obtain universal agreement on which nations belong to ‘the Balkans’. Most would include Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro,Romania, Serbia and Slovenia. Parts of Greece and Turkey are sometimes owned as belonging to the mix.

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See details re Bosnia, also: https://nwcc.wordpress.com/2013/01/23/bosnia/

 





China

12 08 2013

Population:  1,350 million (or 1.3 billion people)  

                           [Good News* …..possibly 130,000 Christians]

Capital: Beijing (Peking): 13 million

DSC04500.JPG Trevor@Tiananman*Other huge Cities: Shanghai   16.6 million, Chongqing   9.4 million, Tianjin   7.9 million

Life Expectancy: 72.9 years

Church in China: “God has protected and grown the Church in China on a scale unforeseen by anyone a few decades ago” (Operation World).

A Outline of the Dynasties/Republics:

Ancient Times XDynasty 2100 -1600 BC
Shang Dynasty 1600-1027 BC
Zhou Dynasty Western Zhou 1046-771 BC
Eastern Zhou 771-221 BC
Qin Dynasty 221-206 B.C.
Han Dynasty (Confucianism revived) Western Han [Silk Road opens] 206 BC – AD 25
Eastern Han  [Paper invented] 25-220
Three Kingdoms Wei 220-265
Shu Han 221-263
Wu 222-280
Western Jin Dynasty 265-317
Eastern Jin Dynasty 317-420
Southern Dynasties Song 420-479
Qi 479-502
Liang 502-557
Chen 557-589
Northern Dynasties Northern Wei 386-534
Eastern Wei 534-550
Northern Qi 550-577
Western Wei 535-556
Northern Zhou 557-581
Sui Dynasty 581-618
Tang Dynasty 618-907
“Five Dynasties” Later Liang 907-923
Later Tang 923-936
Later Jin 936-947
Later Han 947-950
Later Zhou 951-960
Song Dynasty Northern Song 960-1127
Southern Song 1127-1279
Liao Dynasty 907-1125
Jin Dynasty 1115-1234
Yuan Dynasty              [1271-1292 Marco Polo’s journey] 1279-1368
Ming Dynasty 1368-1644
Qing Dynasty 1616-1911
RC – Republic of China (Sun-Yat-sen & Chiang Kai-shek) 1911-1949          (CKS fled to Taiwan)
PRC – People’s Republic of China 1949-2013 (today)* [Mao’s Cultural Revolution 1966-1976]

Cultural Revolution (1966 – 1976): Chairman Mao Zedong caused great suffering for the Chinese people, when he implemented his Cultural Revolution. It is estimated that about 20 million lost their lives during that period of harsh and repressive rule. Strict Control over religious groups, by government was instigated under the Communist Regime.

Religious Groups Officially recognised and strictly controlled:

1. Buddhism

2. Daoism

3. Islam

4. Protestant (TSPM – Three Self Patriotic Movement)

5. Catholic (CPA) – Catholic Patriotic Association

However – The unofficial Christian House Church Movement has been amazing.“The state recently recognized that there are over 300 million religious believers and over 50 million Christians in unregistered networks” (OM, p. 215)  The massive growth of the Christian Church here in China is unprecedented in human history.

Prayer Points:

A. Thankfulness for (1) the survival and growth of the church (2) The faith and commitment of Christians (3) Christians are now found in every stratum of Chinese society (4) Christians are engaging in social issues (5) the government has a changing attitude towards the church (6) There have been many welcome changes (7) There’s a growing unity within the Church (8) Local hearts have Missionary vision way beyond China itself (see the ‘Back to Israel’ movement) (9) The Media has wonderful publishing opportunities for Scripture within China.

B. Petitions for (1) Wise use of the window of opportunity for spiritual receptivity (2) China’s rising prominence in the world stage (3) China remains officially atheist, (4) Massive powers and forces at work within Chinese society, some not assisting the gospel, such as restriction of information, corruption and scandal, urbanization, ethnic unrest and political and economic reforms, (5) Challenges in Population Growth(6) Social and health needs (7) A looming environmental crisis.

Pray for the Church in China to grow and flourish and influence the nation for blessing and good, as yeast in flour for baking.

Pray for the links with Chinese Christian students in overseas countries to be part of that leavening effect.

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.” (Mt 13:33 )

Provinces & Municipalities Have had a Varied Response to the Gospel:

Anhui Province:      Capital – Hefei (approximately 9 million house Christians; 16.2% Christian (2nd largest after Henan)

Beijing Municipality: CHINA’S Capital (4.5% Christian)

Chongqing Municipality: Christian 9.8% 

Fujian Province: Capital – Fuzhou

Gansu Province: Capital – Lanzhou

Guangdong Province: Capital Guangzhou (Canton) 8,9 million, Christian 4.5%

Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region: Capital – Nanning

Guizhou Province: Capital – Guiyang

Hainan Province: Capital – Haikou (A tropical island facing Vietnam, the southernmost and smallest province, tourist haven)

Hebei Province: Capital – Shijiazhuang

Heilongjiang Province: Capital – Harbin 4.3m  (China’s most northerly Province)

Henan Province: Capital – Zhengzhou, Christian 18.3%

Hubei Province: Capital – Wuhan (Astride the Yangtze River; Wuhan known for education)

Hunan Province: Capital – Changsha

Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region (Nei Mongol): Capital – Hohhat

Jiangsu ProvinceCapital – Nanjing, Christian 9.2%

Jiangxi Province: Capital – Nanchang

Jilin Province: Capital – Chang-chun

Liaoning Province: Capital – Shenyang

Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region: Muslim 34%, Christian 4.0%

Qinghai Province: Capital – Xining

Shaanxi Province: Capital – Xian (The Ancient Capital)

Shandong Province: Capital – Jinan (3.2 million), Christian 5.1%

Shanghai Municipality: China’s largest and wealthiest city (after Hong Kong), Population19.5 million

Shanxi Province: Capital – Taiyuan

Sichuan Province: Capital – Chengdu   (the Panda Province)

Tianjin Municipality: The Port City of Beijing

Tibet – Xizang Autonomous Region: Capital – Lhasa, Lamaistic Buddhist 80%

Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region:  Muslim 61.4%  Christian 4.1% Lamaistic Buddhist 1.4%

Yunnan Province: Capital – Kunming (3.1 million), in a Province of 46 million, Christian 7.2%

Zhejiang Province: Capital – Hangzhou, Christian 19.5%

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Bulgaria

20 03 2013

A Balkan state adjoining Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia and Romania.

Bulgaria: 7.5 million people. Capital: Sofia  1.2 million people.

Features: Corruption!!! Organised Crime Syndicates. Poverty. Divorce rampant. Abortion: more than live births.

History and Politics:  Operation World says: “A nation since the 5th Century, but rarely independent; Ruled by the Ottoman Empire 1396-1878; severe Communist rule 1947-1989. multiparty democracy instituted in 1990. Entry into the EU — finalised in 2007 — drove the liberalisation of the nation’s politics and economy”.

Economy: Rapid industrialisation under communist rule; minerals and manufacturing are important. Essential economic reforms begun in 1997 stabilised the economy. Mass privatisation and foreign investment in real estate, tourism, IT and communication changed the Bulgarian economy and labour market. High unemployment in rural areas led to over 200,000 emigrating to seek jobs. Reforms in education, healthcare and regional development are the greatest challenges. Poor public administration, corruption and strong organised crime networks obstruct progress. (O.W. Prayer Guide)

Prayer Points: 

We give thanks for the transformation from a harsh spiritual repressiveness, in the 1980’s to a relatively open country, even to some extent, for evangelical Christians, today. In the 1990’s the number of evangelical and charismatic believers grew significantly. And so we pray:

1. For gospel transformation to bring forgiveness for a troubled past, and new possibilities – even to overcome crime and corruption. May light shine amidst the darkness and expel it.

2.  For the Orthodox Church to experience genuine waves of renewal, and reconciliation of rifts, due to political alliances with the Communist regime, that caused deep fragmentation.

3. For the Evangelical Alliance (BEA) to assist in encouraging and developing a common voice, crucial for wider growth.

4. For a real impact to be made by The Bulgarian body of Christ wherever racial tensions abound.

5. For Sofia, the only large city to have more new churches planted and established.  And for the 2,500 villages without any evangelical churches, to be the objects of the Spirit’s work in prayer and work.

6. For the consolidation of church growth: Leadership, discernment of error (there are many cults and heretical groups), for support for new indigenous agencies, for country-wide vision among leaders and planners.

7. For Cross-cultural missions to Turkey, India, and Zimbabwe to be fruitful learning experiences for the local church in Bulgaria.

8. For Bulgaria’s 900,000 Muslims. Islam’s legacy is significant, with many teachers and propagation continuing.

9. For Ethnic minorities, who have suffered severely at times: Trouble has been generated for centuries among Balkan, Slavic and Turkish peoples.

Pray for (a) the Rumelian Turks in the east who deeply resented Communist attempts to Bulgarize them in the 1980s, (b) the Millet, a gypsy minority, (c) the Romani – despised as those at the bottom of the social order – very illiterate, many involved in the occult, crime and gambling. More than 20,000 have turned to the Lord, mainly through the Pentecostals, Baptists and Church of God, (d) Bulgarian-speaking Muslims in the south, rejected by both Bulgarians (religion) and Turks (language) – only a handful of congregations exist among them.

10. For Foreign Missionaries , who often find it a “tricky place”, but are still needed in the field, finances needed too.

11. For Ministry to Young People.

12. Christian Media Ministries.

13. For lasting fruit, from LiteratureBible Translation, Christian Radio and TV, and Other media.

 

 








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