Colombia

13 03 2014

Colombia is a Spanish speaking republic in Latin America, situated in the northwestern corner of South America. It is rich in resources, such as oil and coal, and its main employer is Agriculture. It produces 90% of the US’s cocaine. And so the armies of drug lords swarm the nation. It became independent of Spain in 1819, and a separate state in 1891. It is good to learn that the murder and kidnapping and crime rates are decreasing of late, and that progress is being made by government crackdowns.

Capital: Santa Fé de Bogotá (8.5 million)       Total Population: 47 million

Spanish Speaking.

The nation identifies as largely Christian, and the population has largely been Roman Catholic. In recent years (since 1991) the other denominations have been given greater freedom to proclaim the Word and to serve the community. Evangelicals now constitute about  7.5% of the population, and Charismatics some 18%. So the church seems to be on the move, in the face of threats and opposition from drug cartels.

The story of the transformation of the worst Prison – BellaVista Prison – where there were 2 murders per day, is a huge encouragement to the nation.  Hardened criminals have come to know Christ Jesus as Lord, and this has changed them amazingly – and the story never grows old.

http://www.pfi.org/media-and-news/films/pf-colombia

Prayer Points (from Operation World, p. 264):

1. Colombia remains violent and dangerous. Pray the government will continue to remain strong.

2. Three million people have been displaced due to poverty and danger. Pray for hope for orphans and widows.

3. The lawlessness is Satanic. Pray that it will be broken.

4. Pray for renewal amongst the nominal Roman Catholics of the nation.

5. Pray for the protection of evangelical Christian workers, subject to violence, and needing bold leadership.

6. Missionaries are targets for the enemies of the gospel, pray for courage and faithfulness, ‘unto death’.

7. Pray for the Vision of hope to grow, and for unreached people groups to be ministered to – especially street ‘urchins’.

8. Pray for the student and youth work to grow, amid the marxist ideology that persists. Also for Muslims to hear of Jesus, truly.

9. Pray for the Amerindians, often poor and victims of discrimination, to be uplifted by the gospel.

10. Pray for Christian literature, Christian radio broadcasts and audio and video resources to be more and more available.

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Cameroon

18 04 2013

Capital: Yaounde 1.8 million.  Total Population in Cameroon 20 million.

Geography: On the continental ‘hinge’ between West and Central Africa. Semi-arid in the north, grasslands in the centre, rainforest in the south.

Cameroon

286 “Peoples” – 52% Bantu: “One of Africa’s most ethnically and linguistically complex countries” (Operation World, p. 189)

Economy: Agriculture, oil exports. Lots of rain and minerals. High unemployment, high debt level, high corruption. Even so, they have a high literacy rate for an African country.

Politics: A German colony from 1884—1919, then divided between Britain and France. Independence 1960.

Religion: Secular state that guarantees religious freedom. Islam is strong in the north, especially among the Fulbe, and interfaith tensions have increased over recent decades, especially with the increased profile of more radical Islam.

Christian 53.8%     Muslim 26%     Ethnoreligionist  19%

Prayer Points:

1. ANSWERS – give thanks for

(i) the growth of evangelicals since 2000 despite the decrease in high-profile campaigns [or because of that decrease, perhaps?   …just sayin’];

(ii) many significant leaders – professional, military, police and political – have been converted to Christ, giving hope for changing a society infamous for corruption – even regular prayer meetings are taking place when parliament is in session.

(iii) Media use for evangelism has increased, building upon the legalisation in 2000 of Christian private radio and TV broadcasting (according to OW, p. 190)

2. That Cameroon internal forces may be overcome: (i) Corruption is deeply entrenched and widespread; (ii) has deep division of language, politics and faith [religion] – a recipe for trouble, but something the gospel and its message of The Reconciler, is perfectly “designed” to overcome; (iii) integrity in leadership – pray for examples, a few more and a few more people to speak up and act truly in righteousness, rather than perpetuating the ‘status quo’.

3. The Spiritual Poverty of the Churches is a great tragedy. Nominal Christianity is a bigger problem in Cameroon than in most of Africa.  

Dear Lord Jesus, may your Presence stir afresh an awareness of the power of your Lordship to bring lasting light and helping hope and practical peace wherever your love is made known, and lived in, and prayed for – to spread.

4. Pray For more co-operation between the many African and Western Evangelicals and Pentecostal Groups.

5. For Quality Leadership and Discipleship Training among the shallowness of many churches.

6. Pray For a Growing Sense of the Church’s Mission

7. Young People are frustrated by the unchanging political status quo, high unemployment, cheating and bribery and favouritism. We pray that in this climate the young people will have the strength and vision of Christ and REFUSE to turn to crime, prostitution and violence as their way ahead. We pray for the Student Ministry movements to be effective and for schools and universities to lay a foundation thereby, for a fruitful future.

8. Pray for Less Reached People Groups: Muslims are a majority in 59 people groups. Also the many peoples among the Mandara Mountains need to hear the Word, as some breakthroughs are occurring. The Baka/Pygmies in the southeastern forests – are being reached at last, pray for a hearing amidst their animist ways. The northern plans people are being pressured by Islam – pray for inroads of freedom in the gospel to be a truly appealing contrast.

9. A missionary growth of interest and of contributors to the great task of Bible Translation and mobilisation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





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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