Cambodia

9 04 2013

A fertile forest-covered Asian nation of 16 million people, on the Mekong River – and bordered by Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam.

Sadly, whenever Cambodia is mentioned, many immediately recall images of the brutal leader, Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge and ‘The Killing Fields’.

However, this – like all nations – is an amazing place, with a history of survival from deep suffering, poverty, corruption and difficulty.

Cambodia

Cambodia

  Capital: Phnom Penh – 2 million people

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Cambodia 2

Operation World says: “One of the world’s poorest countries and heavily dependent on foreign aid. Years of war and genocide followed by venal and corrupt governments have hindered development and kept most of the population poor; 38% live below the poverty line. Significant progress is being made in economic development, but the rural poor are being left behind. Agriculture, garments and tourism are the biggest earners, with offshore oil/gas deposits promising future income. Illegal logging and the sex trade enriches a small number of wickd men, but causes suffering to many.”   [* Public debt is 63% of GDP]

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Religion:

Buddhist 83.34%   (12.5 million)

Ethnoreligionist 4.8%

Christian 3.13%   (471, 162)

Chinese 2.85%

Muslim 2.3%

Other 0.26%

Hindu 0.22%

“Buddhism has been the national religion since the 15th Century.  The Khmer Rouge sought to eradicate all religions; 90% of Buddhist monks and most Christians perished. Since 1979 there have been periods of more tolerance, and since 1990 Christians have been allowed to worship openly, but a few limitations on mission activity have been legislated as well” (OM. p. 185)

Christian Churches: (interesting the great strength of the Pentecostal/Charismatic brands)

Foursquare Gospel Church (“the biggest!” at 62,000 and 135,000 affiliates – wow);

Others, include Catholic Church, River of Life, Assemblies of God, Methodist, Baptist, Khmer Evangelical church,Seventh Day Adventist, Harvest-time Ministries, New Life Fellowship, Cambodia for Christ.

Prayer Points:

1. Give thanks for the unprecedented – and unexpected – church growth over the last 20 years.

2. Pray for healing of hearts and lives:

“the scars of the terrible genocide of 1975-1979 remain evident.  Nearly two million were killed over 60,000 lost life or limb to landmines and most of the population over age 30 need deep healing from the trauma of their losses and suffering”.

Pray for Justice to be seen to be done; International tribunals are having difficulty in bringing government and judiciary on board with the justice process, and the culture of corruption and impunity holds sway. The Khmer Rouge trials should assist greatly.

3. Spiritual Darkness persists – ubiquitous ‘spirit-shrines, Buddhist opposition to any ideological rival, moral collapse, structural-sin, pray for light. Jesus said: “I am the Light of the World”.

4. Pray for a break in structural-sin seen in bad patterns of (i) Land Grabbing, (ii) Child labour, sex trade victims (100,000) – 20% of tourists exploit this trade, homeless children and orphans, HIV, (iii) drug trafficking and drug abuse has increased greatly – not good for any future in any nation, but especially here.

5. Give thanks for the triumph of Christ and His Church in Cambodia. It has ‘survived against all odds’. As Jesus said, ‘I will build  my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it’. CMA missionary workers laboured for 47 years, from 1923 until they saw a breakthrough. Then the Church was nearly extinguished through the slaughter of the 1970’s. During the 1990’s however, churches spread well to all 19 provinces. And so we pray for continued freedom of religion, freedom from the past’s terrible sin and hatred, for children and young people to be discipled to follow Jesus and know the power of his love to heal and re-establish a nation, for a great vision to be realised where the 11,000 villages without a church may have one established.

6. For Mature Leadership for the churches – this is the greatest challenge. For Bible schools, existing Pastors, Unity among churches, foreign Christian workers t come and help.

7. Christian ministry to physical needs is a major concern. Murder of the educated and those with skills, makes expatriate input essential. ‘Rehabilitation, orphanages, reconstruction, health care, projects for agriculture, fisheries, water management, education are all areas that can benefit. But not merely making ‘rice Christians’ with handouts! This is resented by the Buddhists. 

8. Prayer for the less-reached peoples, among the Buddhist majority, the Cham – almost entirely Muslim, Fojihed Muslims – with magic and superstition, the tribal peoples – 18 major southeast Asian people groups remain ignorant of hearing the gospel, ask for new witnesses to go.

9. Literature, the JESUS film, Audio, Video and radio resources all are appreciated – pray for their success in reaching Cambodians, with the living Word of the Living Christ Jesus. Praise the Lord for what we see happening in this nation, and pray for a greater awakening.





Burundi

3 04 2013

Situated south of its ‘twin’ Rwanda, it is a mountainous, fertile country on the northeast shore of Lake Tanganyika.

Burundi-Map

Capital: Bujumbura has 480,000 people, and is the major city, in this African nation.  Burundi has the second highest population density in Africa.

Life expectancy is 50.1 years and some 38% of the population are under 15 years of age.

Language: They are a Kirundi-speaking people (98%), with the split like this: Hutu 83.6% and Tutsi 13.6%, and the Twa Pygmies 1% are neglected by the other groups. Also some others, small percentages: Congolese, Lingala, Arab, French (an official language); also English usage is widespread.

Freedom of Religion.

Christian                         90.46%

Muslim                                5.5%

Ethnoreligionist               3.8 %

Baha’i                                  0.08%

Economy:   ‘Landlocked and overcoming decades of conflict’ (OM, p. 181), Burundi is in a lot of debt and as such, is heavily dependent on outside aid.

Exports: Tea and Coffee, Mineral Resources – largely unexplored. Soil erosion is a major problem, due to over-crowding. A very poor nation.

Recent History:  For 400 years the minority Tutsi’s had Lordship over the majority Hutu people. Independence from Belgium cam in 1962, and the Tutsi constitutional monarchy was replaced by a military Tutsi regime.  Burundi has had an appalling human rights record, but peaceful democratic elections in recent years (2005, 2010) have helped to establish better community relationships.

Prayer Points:

1. The socio-political situation is one of cautious hope, amid a fragile peace.  A violent eruption claimed 300,000 lives in the 1990’s.

2. The President is a former leader of a rebel Hutu group. He is a Christian man. Pray for him to give wise leadership.

3. There is a surplus of firearms – leading to crimes of armed robbery.

4. There is a lot of corruption. Pray for the gospel to bring lasting change in hearts and activities.

5. The Church had experienced great revival in the 1950’s, and is recognised as the crucial institution for reconciliation.

6. Leadership in the churches is in short supply. Pray for the Bible schools and Christian universities, and Modular training programmes.

7. The Twa Pygmies are socially marginalized, and their health and educational prospects are grim; but there are Christians among them. Pray for their future.

8. The Burundian Refugee population. “Over 12% of all Burundians were displaced by genocide, many for more than 5 years (Tanzania). For restoration.

9. Most Christians have no idea how to minister to the rapidly growing Islamic population. Pray for new outreach to Muslim peoples.

10. Children. Over half a million children have lost at least one parent. Malaria and AIDS are also problematic. Violence is common. School is needed for all. Pray for ministries to children by the NGO’s and other groups to be established and growing.

11. There is a genuine need for expatriate Christian workers to return, after all were expelled from the nation.

12. Christian media. There is a great shortfall of bibles and Christian literature. Illiteracy is 58% among adults.

Dear Lord Jesus, Risen from the grave, please draw people to yourself in Burundi, and give the Churches fresh leadership and renewed vision for the deep work of reconciliation. May this take place not merely politically, but in the heart of this people. We pray for reconciliation in the Cross of Christ, to be understood to be unto their One Heavenly Father, One Lord, One Spirit, One Faith, One Hope, One Future –  and may they all be baptised into a new unity in sharing life and building up the nation. Help them Lord to tap into their mineral wealth, and not to be exploited. We pray for forgiveness to be known between Hutu and Tutsi people, and love to grow for the Twa Pygmies. 








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