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.

 

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China: Provinces &…

12 08 2013

“Nearly all of China’s provinces are large enough in size and population to serve as countries in their own right. If taken individually 11 of them would be among the 25 most populous countries in the world. Specific prayer is warranted.” (Operation World)

China classifies their country into 55 official “nationalities”, but there are really over 500 ethno-linguistic groups.

Provinces & Municipalities:

Anhui Province (Capital: Hefei)

Beijing Municipality

Chongquing Municipality

Fujian Province

Gansu Province

Guangdong Province

Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region

Guizhou Province

Hainan Province

Hebei Province

Heilongjiang Province

Henan Province

Hubei Province

Hunan Province

Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region (Nei Mongol)

Jiangsu Province

Jiangxi Province

Jilin Province (Capital: Chang-chun 3.6million)

Liaoning Province (Capital: Shenyang 5.2 million)

Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region  

Qinghai Province

Shaanxi Province

Shandong Province (Capital: Jinan 3.2 million)

Shanghai Municipality

Shanxi Province (Capital: Taiyuan 3.2 million)

Sichuan Province

Tianjin Municipality (Capital: )

Tibet—Xizang Autonomous Region

Xinjian Uyghur Autonomous Region

Yunnan Province (Capital: Kunming 3.1million)

Zhejiang Province (Capital: Hangzhou 3.9 million)

this post is also a work in progress…..





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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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

images-2

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]

images-3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.





Australia

19 08 2012

Australia!

It is most interesting, even strange, to see your own nation listed objectively, among the nations of the world in terms of both:

(1) Answers to prayer and (2) Challenges For Prayer.

I have already cited the details of Australians and their beliefs from the 2011 census:

Religious Affiliation
  • Christian   61%       (13.15 million)
  • Buddhist    2.5%    (  0.52  million)
  • Islam         2.2%     (  0.47  million)
  • Hinduism   1.3%     (  0.27  million)
  • Judaism    0.5%     (  0.09  million)
  • Other        0.8%     (  0.16  million)

See: https://nwcc.wordpress.com/australians/

The nation is in many ways, envied by so many nations of the world, in terms of space, living conditions, wealth, health and freedom for the gospel to be proclaimed and engaged in at a public level. This is not to say, however, that there is not a daily battle in influencing or wanting to enlarge, the minds and hearts of the Australian public towards the things of Christ. There is a battle.

* One of the figures I like to quote in terms of need for prayer and renewal, is the fact that there are about 10,000 Christian Pastors or Minister-leaders, or Priests/elders, across this nation of 22 million people.  There are another former 10,000 Christian Pastors or leaders, etc. who have been sidelined due to sheer weariness, difficulty, rejection, physical or mental illness, disaffection, loss of faith, boredom or in some case, even unbelief. These people are sort-of casualties of ‘church systems’, or of human church-institutional life generally. Lord of the Church, we pray for a renewal of ‘participation in ministry’, for many of these leaders.

Now we shall turn to the objective list of needs, as cited by Operation World.

1. Australia is undergoing many changes:

(a) Increasing pluralism and aggressive secularisation: (See for example: http://www.billmuehlenberg.com/2012/05/07/it-is-wrong-to-judge/

(b) Sustained immigration has created a multi-cultural country, where fast growing religious and ethnic minorities cause considerable tensions in communities that have taken for granted, and now want to retain Christian and/or Anglo-Saxon heritage.

(c) Australia’s role as a regional peacekeeper and stable democracy is a blessing to many countries, such as Timor, Bougainville, Solomon Islands, and others. However attitudes towards refugees and asylum seekers are strained because of the constant inflow of people.

(d) The precarious ecology is overexploited – in urdan settings as much as in rural ones. Water availability, land-usage, drought, the pressure from mining companies all add to the yearly stress of the nation. Native koalas, and Tasmanian devils, are examples of the local species under threat. Ferral animals abound in outback Australia, doing incredible damage. We pray for wisdom in conservation and stewardship. See also my article Big Concerns.

2. The Church in Australia faces a mighty challenge – “to remain relevant”. [Personally, I would not put it this way. Church will ever be relevant to the nation, as the guardian and voice of the gospel]. While some 61% identify as Christian, only 10% of the nation regularly attend church. Increasingly there are negative attitudes towards the churches. There is an individualised ideology, which works against Christian community! We pray for reformation and revival of the Christian community within society.

3. Evangelicals are a dynamic and diverse entity. The Sydney Anglican diocese is an example of conservative, biblical strength, as is a growing minority in the Melbourne diocese. The greatest growth has been in the Pentecostal/charismatic church groups. Put together, they would constitute about the Third Largest group behind (1) Roman Catholic and (2) Anglican. The other large church, The Uniting Church in Australia since 1977 [formerly Methodists, Presbyterian and Congregational], has been deeply affected by political power-wielding of many with ‘liberal’ theology.

(a) Mainline churches are in varying degrees of polarisation

(b) Christian Holistic ministry – to the homeless, drug addicts, poor and the disabled – is an area of great opportunity.

(c) The Ideological debate with secular materialists: many hot topics such as human origin, human sexuality and the existence of God, are under public scrutiny, attack and debate.

4. The Missions Vision Within Australian churches is mixed: a small minority of churches maintain a once large work as a missionary sending nation. We pray for a renewal of perspective in regard to going, sending and giving to other nations. 

5. Less Reached Peoples Are found in increasing numbers and diversityPray for outreach to continue to:

(a) People in working-class urban areas

(b) Muslims

(c) Chinese

(d) Vietnamese

(e) Diverse people from the Balkans and Eastern Europe

(f) Jews – number over 100,000

(g) Southern Europeans

6. The 550,000 Indigenous Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

(a) Most Aborigines are Christian

(b) Pray for the Aboriginal Evangelical Fellowship

(c) Pray for the nearly 500 missionaries in 26 denominational agencies

(d) Bible Translation is in Progress

7. Student Ministry needs greater attention. 600,000 students in 40 universities are served by small student groups on each campus.

8. Young People and Children: A drastic drop in Sunday school attendances, and weekend sport on Sunday, has proven a challenge to Schools Ministry  Groups to reach the children and give them opportunity to hear the gospel. Government, secular opposition, the considerations of other religions, and an often unhelpful, even hostile mainstream media continue to make this aspect of ministry somewhat difficult.

9. Pray For the Christian Media

Radio, Literature, Visual Media, The Internet, (including Facebook) all provide good opportunities to the Word of Christ to go forth in a deeply beneficial way, to the nation.





Operation World—A Prayer Guide to Every Nation

4 08 2012

I have been genuinely amazed at the content of a book called, ‘Operation World’. It gives an extraordinary insight into the health or otherwise of Christian churches with the nations of the world.  It tells very informative facts, accurate details, problems, and needs of the countries of the world.

Great reading. Inspiring.

It is often a great experience for people to visit other countries and cultures. I like doing this. It is an even more wonderful thing to share the gospel with other people—especially people who are so different in language and culture and background and circumstances. But to find that the same Risen Ascended Jesus—once of Nazareth, and now Living evermore—is speaking and ministering to another person’s heart and life and community, is a thing of strange delight and joy.

It is the mystery of the profound work of the Holy Spirit, in the depths of another person, that we are enabled, in some small, but significant way, to share in, as those who’s own lives, bear witness to Jesus the conqueror of death and sin, and hell, for the human race.

It would be good to reflect upon other countries, for a while, and to pray for the Christians living there, who are seeking to bring hope to the people of their country. Why not sample and then buy, this excellent book:

http://www.operationworld.org/

God has come to the world, in Jesus Christ, and his hope is designed to reach every tribe and nation.





Vishal Mangalwadi

17 05 2012

Seeing the world through Indian eyes. That’s what I have been doing a bit lately. And it is a very stirring, thought-provoking exercise.

I have been reading a book by Vishal Mangalwadi, entitled: The Book That Made Your World. It is a great book!

A great read!

It is subtitled: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization

The subtitle could be misleading. This is not just a ‘three cheers for the Bible’ kind of book. Nor is it going to simply bolster the views of the hard-line fundamentalist, as the title may suggest.  Rather, these are the words of a man who has come into the rich flow of wisdom, and truth.  Indeed, he puts much emphasis upon the importance of “truth”. He has come to see in a very profound way how the wonderful benefits experienced by countries like Australia, America, England, Canada, Germany, France, and Scotland—to name a few, have flowed from a Bible-given understanding of the world, its purpose, of humanity and of its hope, and of God and his character as revealed in Jesus Christ.

This is a book for the benefit not only of individuals, but for musicians, for those who are troubled by the death of rock legends, like Kurt Cobain, or the enduring love of Johann Sebastian Bach.

It is a book for readers of history, ponderers of culture, and leaders of Nations. It is a rewarding read for those interested in why many nations have not succeeded. Why has poverty engulfed so many nations?

Mangalwadi addresses questions like:

  • ‘Rationality: What made the West a Thinking Civilization?’.
  • ‘Technology: Why Did Monks Develop It?’
  • ‘Languages: How Was Intellectual Power Democratized?’
  • ‘Caring: Why Did Caring Become Medical Commitment?’
  • ‘The Future: Must the Sun Set on the West?’

I first heard Vishal Mangalwadi address a modest sized crowd of listeners in Adelaide, in October, 2011. I would like to have heard more from him. I would like more people to have been able to be there to hear him.

There are some You-Tube links:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nHV3j8InRQ

But I suggest you purchase the book, and have a read for yourself.  I certainly have benefited from such an enjoyable read, and from a man who does evidently have a very keen intellect.  And not only that, he does stack of original research – to find out if what he is being told is true. What a good idea.

He also wrote :

  • The World of Gurus
  • In Search of Self: Beyond the New Age
  • Truth and Transformation: A Manifesto For Ailing Nations
  • Legacy of William Carey: A Model for Transforming Culture
  • Missionary Conspiracy: Letters to a Postmodern Hindu
  • India: The Grand Experiment
  • Quest For Freedom and Dignity: Caste, Conversion and Cultural Transformation
  • Astrology

For further resources: http://www.revelationmovement.com/








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