Cyprus

3 01 2017

Wow. I knew the country of Cyprus was divided, and that the Muslim influence was quite problematic. But I until I read the notes in ‘Operation World’, I did not realise to what extent the nation has been divided. The Religion of Pieces, at it again.

“The country is divided as a result of Turkey’s 1974 invasion and occupation of the north. The Greek and Turk populations are separated: the north calling itself the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and the south claiming the whole island as the Repubic of Cyprus (ROC). The ROC is internationally recognized as the legal government of the whole island; only Turkey recognizes the TRNC.” (Operation World, Jason Mandryk (Ed.), p. 295)

Population: 900,000

Capital: Lefkosia (Nicosia) 243,000

Official Language: Greek

Public Debt: 49% of GDP

Religion: The Christians are almost all in ROC and Muslims in TRNC.

Christian 71%, Muslim 24%, Non-Religious 3%, Hindu, Buddhist, Chinese, Sikh, Jewish…

Largest Christian Denomination: Orthodox (by a country mile!), Catholic, Apostolic…

Problem: The ethnic-cultural-politcal traditions cloud a fresh encounter with the gospel.

Prayer: Living God, who loves the human race, and redeems them in the ministry of Jesus Christ, may this year bring a new movement of the Holy Spirit, to open doors for the hearing and response to the gospel in new and enduring ways. We pray for the evangelical Christians, who, though small in number, are equipped with the power of your Word. May the foreign workers, British military, Logos Bookstore, Growing numbers of ethnic evangelicals and YWAM, Interserve and others, combine to be a witness to Christ’s Lordship in new and stirring ways. Amen. 





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/

 





Côte d’Ivoire

7 06 2016

 

Known until 1985 as ‘Ivory Coast’ (English), Côte d’Ivoire is an extremely beautiful place.

It is an African west coast nation situated between Ghana and Liberia. It has rainforest to the south and savannah and highlands in the north.

Capital: Yamoussoukro (895,000 approx.) Abidjan is the economic, cultural captial.

Population:  24 million approx.

Operation World says: it is “One of the world’s largest producers of cocoa, coffee and palm oil” (p. 284).

They obtained independence from France in 1960.  But political coups, failed peace agreements, and political tensions have dogged the nation. As with many other African nation, there is a Muslim north and a non-Muslim (Christian and animist) south.

Religions: Muslim 41%, Christian 33%, Ethnoreligious 24%

Money: They use the West African Franc. As does Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo.

It is good to ponder the very existence, life, uniqueness and glory of every nation. For just as the nations enter the arena of the Olympic Games in a unique, noble, glorious manner, so too from Côte d’Ivoire, “people will bring into [the Holy City , the future community] the glory and honour of this nation” (Revelation 21:26).

Prayer Points:

  1. For political leaders who are visionary, non-partisan and free of corruption.
  2. For ways to handle million of immigrants from neighbouring countries.
  3. For the ongoing growth of the Evangelical churches, sharing God’s Word.
  4. For believers in Christ to resist the temptation to return to animist ways.
  5. For the demographic sectors of society needing the gospel.
  6. For the nearly 1 million people who have contracted AIDS in the country.
  7. For the ministries of many young people who have recently become Christians, to flourish.

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Costa Rica

9 06 2015

Capital: San José

Costa Rica became independent of Spain in 1821, and has had a very long record of stable government, democratically elected.

Religion: The dominant religion is Roman Catholic (73%), and the Protestant Evangelical Churches (12%) have also made a big impact. Within Catholicism, there has been a large Pentecostal/Charismatic movement, which has brought life and vitality to the churches,

Agriculture and Eco-tourism are an important part of the local economy.

Prayer Point: for the response of young people to the gospel – 2/3 of Costa Ricans are under 30 years of age; also pray for the ongoing blessing of Latin American neighbours with the gospel – Panama and  Nicaragua.

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Cook Islands

9 05 2015

“The Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau and Pitcairn are all officially, or unofficially in the case of the last, related to New Zealand. None are independent. All have seen a large part of their population move to New Zealand or Australia” (Operation World, Jason Mandryk, p. 278)

Over 100 coral atolls and volcanic islands 3,500 km northeast of NZ. Only 15 are inhabited.

Capital: Avura

Polynesian 89.2%

Language: English, and Cook Island Maori.

Self governing parliamentary democracy in free association with NZ.

Religion: Christian: 96%  wow!    Non-religious: 3%   Baha’i:  0.8%

On Pitcairn Islands all are Seventh Day Adventists. Famous for its settlement in 1790 by mutineers from the British ship, the Bounty.

Economy:  Fishing, Agriculture, Tourism, Offshore banking.

Prayer: May the Lord Jesus, living, and ascended continue to bless, guide, correct and renew in faith the peoples of this beautiful place in God’s world. We pray that the Scripture now in the local heart language may impact each person’s walk with God. We pray that – as people move away – those who remain will not be tempted to despair, but rather, trust the Living God for a good and rewarding future.





Congo (DRC)

7 04 2015

Congo was formerly called Zaire.

Capital: Kinshasa

Official Language: French

Religion: 92% Christian

Notable Geographical details: The Congo river system and massive rainforest areas.

Details from “Operation World”:

1. Both (i) Arabs and (ii) Belgium’s King Leopold II enslaved and looted the country during the 19th Century.

King Leopold’s private empire was notorious, and virtually halved the population. Some 10 million people died over a 30 year period.  

2. The Belgian government took over in 1908. Since then, the Belgian colonial rule and international mining companies have exploited the Congo’s resources. The local people have been treated badly. However, the Protestant and Catholic churches have made a huge positive input to the nation. 

3. The West’s propping up of Mobutu’s corrupt government is the primary reason for the present chaos.

4. Operation world says: “Inter-ethnic hostility during the 1990s led to warfare, killings and many fleeing for their lives in Shaba in the south and the Great Lakes in the east and northeast. Hutu and Tutsi ethnic militias, of both Congolese and foreign origin, still roam the Great Lakes region, terrorizing the populace and perpetuating violence, destruction and terror.
The evils of the past need to be admitted, repented of and put right for the Congo to have a viable future. Some Christian groups in Belgium have offered identificational repentance for the predations of their country, a positive development.

The wars of the 1990s and following embroiled the military forces of seven nations and provoked the rise of local inter-ethnic conflicts and warlords. None of these forces and factions had Congo’s best interests at heart. Most foreign forces have withdrawn, although Rwandan troops often cross the border to pursue rebels. Many militias are still at large, and the ravages of war must still be repaired”.

Points for Prayer:

1. Lord of the Nations, we pray that Hostilities may cease and peace take hold.

“Now, only the eastern Kivu and northeastern areas remain unstable with regular violence, a patchwork of rebel forces and militias. Pray for international bodies, regional governments and the woefully inadequate DRC army and police to act with justice, decisiveness, wisdom and authority in making and keeping peace. The UN peacekeeping force (MONUSCO) is large but impossibly overstretched in its new remit to help rebuild Congo”.

2. May Illegal forces be disarmed and disbanded.

“Most militias have devolved into little more than personal armies of dangerous warlords, wreaking terror upon an innocent and helpless populace far from the safety of government or international forces. Included among these are the Lord’s Resistance Army (from Uganda) and countless groups in the provinces of Kivu, Maniema and Orientale, including PARECO, CNDP, FDLR, FNI, Simba, Mai-Mai Simba, Mai-Ami Kapopo, Mai-Mai Yakutumba, others. Providing jobs and even basic needs as incentives for these desperate men to lay down their arms is a great challenge”.

O Lord, we pray for these men to be convicted and disillusioned with this life and for those continuing to perpetrate such violence to be stopped. We pray that the past and present warlords and war criminals may be stopped and brought to justice.

3. We pray for the return of the 1.7 million displaced people to their homes. Around 1.3 million people in the east of the country alone have been uprooted. Life in refugee camps is miserable and uncertain. Those interned are vulnerable to militia attacks, disease and sexual predation, and they live with little or no resources for anything beyond mere survival.

4.  The cessation of war crimes and exploitation of the conflict. Untold horrors have been committed against many thousands of innocents. Rape is routinely used as a weapon of fear, as are mutilation and torture. Stealing cattle – the portable wealth of many tribes – is a normal activity for militias, as is illicit mining of diamonds and other resources to be sold to unscrupulous foreign buyers.

O Risen Lord Jesus, King of all Nations, we pray for an end to these evils, and the furthering of your reign of peace and hope.








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