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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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 wet coat 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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China (Republic of): Taiwan

20 02 2014

Taiwan (formerly ‘Formosa’, a name used by the Portugese) is a mountainous island, situated 160km east of mainland China. Taiwan includes the Penghu archipelago and the islands of Kinmen and Matsu. With a population of 24 million people it is one of the world’s most densely populated places.

Capital City: Taipae 2.6million       Life Expectancy: 78.5 years.

Economy:  High Tech goods.

Brief History: Taiwanese Aboriginal inhabitants owned the land. The Dutch and Spanish (1626-1642) established colonies there in the 17th century. Next, the Qing Dynasty of China (1683-1895) took over. Then it was under Japanese Rule from 1895—1945.  Again, Chinese rule prevailed under the Nationalist Government. When mainland China became subject to Communist Rule in the Mao Zedong power-grab of 1949, Taiwan became a refuge for the Nationalists, under Chiang Kai-shek. It remains independent, (uneasily) today, from mainland China.

Religion: It is a secular State with freedom of religion. It is a stronghold of both Buddhism and a ‘ubiquitous’ Taiwanese folk religion, with Confucianism, Daoism also quite prominent. Operation World (p. 260) says that Taiwan is still the only major Han Chinese population in the world where, from a Christian perspective, a significant spiritual breakthrough has never occurred.

Chinese Religion 60.74%;  Buddhist 28.8%; Christian 5.82%; Non-religious 2.31%; Other 2% +  (O.W.)

Prayer:  We pray for wisdom for Taiwan’s leaders, to continue to negotiate peaceful relationships with mainland China. We pray for corruption to decrease and a love of honesty, and of the truth to arise. We pray for the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and of God’s love for the people of Taiwan to be made known, through the ministry of the Christian churches. In particular we pray that the Christian people would become known as trustworthy, and a new open-ness to listen to the good news of Jesus would occur. We pray for the training of more Pastors to occur, and for the 33 seminaries and Bible schools to have a renewed energy, vision and enabling by the Spirit of God, in this matter. We pray for the Christian youth and university students to be given a deep desire to take up this call. We pray for missionaries to hear the call to this place, as the doors are wide open for full time work to take place here.  We give thanks for the joyful hope that Christ has already brought to Taiwanese people, and ask that it may occur more and more.

 





Bolivia

11 12 2012

Bolivia is a land-locked Latin American country. And what a history it has. Prior to European Colonization the Andean region of Bolivia was a part of the Inca Empire.  The conquistadors took control of the region in the 16th century. During the Spanish colonial period it was known as ‘Upper Peru’.

(Peru is to the West, then the sea… while Chile is southwest, and Brazil to the north. Paraguay and Argentina are to the south).

Bolivia

Independence from Spain came in 1825. But. Over 200 successful coups or revolutions have retarded genuine progress.

“Once South America’s richest area, but corrupt, unstable governments, the fall in silver, tin and cotton prices on international markets and a poor infrastructure render it the continent’s poorest nation”.

Population: 10 million. Of these, 9.1 million identify as Christian (7.7 million Catholic).

The Roman Catholic Church remains the official State religion—and that is a problem, in so far as the other groups experience discrimination.

“Pray that the millions of nominal and Christo-pagan Catholics might come to a living faith in Christ”. (OW)

Leadership Training is a desperate need. Evangelical Christians are praying the nation may grow to consist of 30% Christian.

CapitalLa Paz (administrative) 1,673,401; Sucre (legal) 288,000, Other major city: Santa Cruz 1.7 million.

 





Barbados

25 09 2012

It seems hard to believe, but this Island has had a Parliamentary government since 1647. It has been independent from Britain since 1966. It has continued as a stable democracy since then.

Tourism, sugar, light industry and off-shore banking, are at the heart of economic life in Barbados.

Barbados is 94.94% Christian, of a total of 273,000 people, in this prosperous and successful island state in the Caribbean.

Prayer points:

1. The legacy of slavery. Scars remain from when Anglicanism endorsed and prospered from slavery.

2. Genuine responsiveness to the present Lordship of Jesus Christ, is an ongoing issue.

3. The Churches are dealing with denominational mistrust.

4. External mission forces:  The community are increasingly involved with the occult, and are under constant ‘missional’ activity from Muslims and Mormons.

5. Young people: are subject to high degrees of sexual immorality, births outside of marriage, cohabitation and disregard for marriage. Children and youth need more helpful programs.

um, …Britain politicians like holidays there





Angola

13 08 2012

19 million people. Capital, Luanda. Life expectancy 46.5 years.Very high infant mortality rate and chronic malnutrition.

“Widespread poverty despite having some of the world’s richest natural resources.Enormous untapped potential — huge oil reserves, diamonds, minerals and good agricultural land… but…little trickle-down benefit to the millions of destitute.” (Operation World).

A Portugese colony for 450 years (official language: Portugese). The history Includes Marxism’s inherent failure to win hearts to this doomed ideology, Cuban military assistance propped it up for a while, civil war has been cruel (almost constant war for 40 years, from 1962-2002), ‘Separatist agitation persists’.

‘The first President, a Marxist, vowed to eradicate Christianity with 20 years (and obviously failed)’. Wow. For still, the population is 94% Christian, 4% Ethno-religious, 1.1% Muslim.

For every 350 people, 1 is victim of land mines! 70-90% of the population live in poverty.

Ascended Lord Jesus, we look to you, and we pray for reconciliation to flow from the cross of Calvary, where the Father made you, to BE sin and judged it all, so that in you we might be forgiven, and made new. We pray for the healing of the many deep, and painful wounds among this unique part of your amazing and wonderful, yet deeply suffering humanity. We pray for the strengthening of Christian leadership, and in particular for a new start ‘in Christ’, for the children. 





Albania

7 08 2012

In the mountainous Balkan republic which is Albania, there are 3.1 million people: About 2/3 are Muslim, 1/3 Christian, some non-religious, with quite strong tensions between the Muslim, Catholic, and Orthodox. From 1944-1991 Communism was imposed on the country. The new religious freedom, has since seen a significant growth in the work of the small numbers evangelicals. As we might expect, a lot of cults and ‘cowboys’ rushed in. I see the evangelicals are at work amid ‘The Bektashi’, a Sufi dervish movement, deemed heretical by Sunni Muslims because of the influence of folk religion and the occult. Looks like a good time for the locals, who know Jesus Christ well, to see their own, authentic work advance. I am thinking of a book I have recently ordered, ‘Signs Amid the Rubble’ (Newbigin).

The capital city is Tirana. There are a good few ‘gypsies’ there. And over half of all Albanians live outside Albania – many in what is now the independent, largely Muslim country of Kosovo.








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