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 Most foreign forces have withdrawn, although Rwandan troops often cross the border to pursue rebels.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.





Bangladesh

15 09 2012

Several weeks ago, I met two doctors in Australia, from Bangladesh. They have moved here for their safety, their future, and for the sake of their young son. While they wait to upgrade their qualifications, they have applied for and accepted very menial tasks in a factory here. In a most enlightening conversation, I learned that they are Hindu people. I also learned that they had been subjected to severe pressure, and aggressive behaviour from members of the Muslim community in Bangladesh. Since they are now in the minority, they find themselves bullied for money and favours. They said, that life would be far worse for them, if they were not a general and a specialist doctor (medical practitioners)respectively. Being doctors, they were privileged to live well, in the upper echelon of society. However, for Hindu people in lesser jobs and place in society, life is most difficult amidst the now strongly Muslim nation. Although they come from a family of medical doctors, they feared for the future of their son in Bangladesh. Unless he too, qualified as a doctor, life ahead looked to be very difficult indeed for him. It was unsafe. People were aggressively dishonest. Law and order was breaking down badly. A car left on the road would simply be stolen. Unlike in Australia, where cars are left there unattended overnight all the time. Few, by comparison, are ever stolen. This shift to Australia, was very difficult—away from the people, and the land they loved. But alas, pressure, pressure, pressure. By contrast, they said that the only pressure in Australia, was for money to live and pay expenses. The couple said that they did not know any Christians back in Bangladesh—perhaps one they thought, on recollection.

Of the 165 million people, 14.6 million live in the capital, Dhaka.

89% are Muslim, 9% Hindu, and Christiansen: a mere 0.66% off the population. Even less were Buddhist or other faiths.

Prominent in our minds in Australia, are the bodies of the weak, starving masses shown on our TV’s some years ago, during times of great hunger and war. We give thanks to the Lord, that there has been some progress in recent years in the fight against poverty. May it continue.

Micro-credit has helped many people to begin to re-establish a fruitful, useful life once again.

Religion: “Bangladesh was a secular state from 1971-1988. However, in 1988 Islam became the official state religion. Officially there is religious freedom, but this is being steadily eroded by Islamist pressure and a legal system lacking safeguards for ethnic or religious minorities. Islamists are a strong and growing minority.”

Bangladesh was part of Pakistan for 24 years. Independence came in 1971 after a bitter civil war; there has been political instability thereafter, with assassinations, 18 military coups and a nine-year military dictatorship which ended in 1991. One of the Islamic world’s only democracies is rendered ineffective by unrest and personal animosity between two women, who have led the two main political parties. Military and Islamist groups remain influential and ready to pick up the pieces should the state fail. Often rated among the world’s most corrupt nations. Many have been the floods and cyclones.

Among the world’s poorest nations… Nearly half the population lives on less that $1 per day.

A solid social foundation for progress is lacking. Education levels are low. There is very little in the way of infrastructure. There are very few natural resources. Most people work in agriculture or textiles for “scandalously low wages”. Overpopulation creates many problems. There is a frightening vulnerability to changes in climate and economy. Floods, swollen rivers, rising food prices, monsoons, and so much money needing to be spent on food, makes improvement and security issues, seem a long way off.

Prayer points. Please pray:

  • For the preaching of the gospel to bring many to know Jesus Christ.
  • For honesty (corruption is endemic and deeply rooted). in government.
  • For more than political lip service to democracy, showing Christ to those caught up in favour of Sharia Law.
  • For a deep change so that Islamists will not merely dominate people’s lives.
  • For the churches, that have been “growing faster than the population rate“. Wow.
  • For the people-movement tribal churches among the Santal, Munda, Khasi, Garo, Maramei, Ralte, Mizo, Poi.
  • For the churches among the lower caste Hindu section of the community, who love the good news of Jesus!
  • For the Outreach to new people continue to succeed.
  • For means by which believers and churches may be self-sustaining.
  • For leadership for the churches.
  • For the Key Interdenominational residential schools (College of Christian Theology Bangladesh, and the Christian Discipleship Centre).
  • For the Denominational Bible Schools and Seminaries—AoG, GFA, ABWE, Free Baptist, Anglican, Adventist, Lutheran and Church of Bangladesh.
  • For Indigenous Bible Schools offering training in local community outreach, tailored to the needs of culturally Muslim followers of Jesus.
  • For the NGO’s – over 20,000 registered which almost seem like a “second government”.
  • For the Bengali people—by far the largest unreached people in the world, numbering around 240 million globally. Of these, 140 million are in Bangladesh alone, and are often bound to ‘folk Islam’ a blend of Sufi and Hindu.
  • For Hindu Bengali people, where there are 228 Hindu people groups/ or castes of which 204 are classified as least-reached/unreached. “Only among 14 groups has there been any significant response. The upper castes have remained resistant to the gospel.”
  • For the tribal peoples who’s very existence is threatened as the population explodes and pushes further into their lands.
  • For the Bihari Muslims (Urdu speaking) who are unwanted by Pakistan and stigmatized as traitors in Bangladesh for their role in the 1971 war. Most still live in dozens of former refugee camps.
  • For the Rohingya Muslims. As many as 250,000 of them have fled persecution from the Buddhist Myanmar government, and are huddled in refugee camps facing starvation—they have never been given the gospel.
  • For more evangelism and church planting.
  • For at risk people—the poor children. So many hundreds of thousands pushed into being child labourers, and millions of them forced into being sex workers—a living hell.
  • For Christian business investors seeking to show mercy—they are welcomed by this country.
  • For Scripture to reach those who want it. It is in huge demand. Pray for those working on the production of literature, and in media outreach.
  • For those millions who are illiterate to hear the Word through others, who tell the stories of Jesus, and the work of His Cross, for the nations of the World in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Risen, reigning Lord Jesus, we pray for the people of Bangladesh to hear of your presence now, and your resurrection victory over poverty, death, evil, cruelty, and godlessness, and may they receive with joy your Holy Spirit, and be assured of salvation amidst the terribly difficult problems they endure. O Holy God, Father of orphans, humble friend to the oppressed, may your grace flow out upon this nation, that they may grow and live to your glory, your future, your plan and your joy—even now. O Lord, we groan as we ponder such a large mess amidst such a mass of humanity, where every person matters to you. O Father! Amen.





Bahrain

15 09 2012

So you’ve heard the name, but not sure of where it is actually located…or much else?

Bahrain is situated in the Arabian Gulf between the Qatar Peninsula and Saudi Arabia.

It is a group of one larger and 32 smaller barren islands, and is linked to the Saudi Arabia Peninsula by a causeway. The King Fahad Causeway was opened in November 1986, and has since been used by millions of passengers and vehicles.

Wow!

The make-up of the population is most interesting: Arab 50%, Iranian 15%, Bahraini Farsi 10%, South Asian 15% (Indian, Malayi, Tamil, Telugu, Pakastani), East Asian 7% (Chinese, Korean, Filipino), European 1.5%, Other 1.5%.

What about faith? Muslim 83% and 9.8% Christian, Hindu 6%. Proselytizing Muslims is illegal. Expatriate Christians are very free to worship together in churches; practitioners of other faiths are free to do the same. With limited compounds though, dozens of congregations mus share the same building.

“Bahrain enjoys greater freedom than almost all Gulf countries and therefore is spiritually strategic. With greater freedoms, the accompanying vices are becoming problems. Many Saudis and Kuwaitis visit here to enjoy the more relaxed environment. Pray for them to meet Christians and encounter the gospel. Pray for the king as he leads the nation forward”  (Operation World, p. 130).

Christian Ministry: For over a century the American Mission Hospital has been well known and highly regarded. Pray that this may continue and that there may be fruit from the tactful witness of believers.

Local Believers: Praise God fo them, and pray that their testimony to fellow Arabs will flourish.

Among the large expatriate community: pray for courage and wisdom to share their knowledge of the Risen Jesus, and his Lordship over death, hell sin and evil, for all humanity—the New Humanity in him! Education there opens many opportunities. Pray for the teachers, and their testimony to the Living Christ.

The labour force is 59% foreign, drawn from more than 50 nations. Wow! They are however, often treated poorly, and there are great expectations from their family at home in poor circumstances.  Pray that within these groups, many will be drawn into contact with Jesus Christ.

Media ministries: High speed internet gives access to Christians across the globe, through chat, and all kinds of Christian resources.  Christian literature is available in Manama. The Bible Society works to make Scripture available in Arabic, and other languages. Christian TV and radio is accessible via satellite broadcast; so inquiry about Jesus can be made anonymously. What a fascinating place.

May the Living, Risen, Ascended Jesus, Lord of all, Son of Man, Son of God, friend of sinners, and crucified Saviour of the World, speak and minister to many hearts in Bahrain, of the hope, grace, mercy, peace and joy, that lies in knowing him.  Come Spirit of God, the Holy One. Come, Spirit of Jesus the Son, Spirit of the Father, and speak to the spirits of those who live and work in Bahrain.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CM9bpL6VkxU





Azerbaijan

6 09 2012

Azerbaijan: 87% Muslim, 2.75% Christian. (Others include Non-religious, Jewish and Baha’i). Population: 9 million people. Unfortunately, Christianity retains an unhealthy association with Russian Imperialism, Armenian enmity and Western neo-colonialism.

Most Azerbaijani towns and villages have never been reached with the gospel at all.

They do not know of the resurrection of Jesus, of hope, and of the purpose of his sufferings and death. “And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim Christ?”…”Faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word—the preaching—of Christ’. (Romans 10:14c, 17). That is, as we go, it is Christ Jesus who himself preaches to a person’s heart and mind and conscience.

The capital, Baku was ‘the world’s original oil-boom city overhj a century ago’. Even so, some 40% of the people live in poverty.

Situated to the west of the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan has Russia and Georgia, to the north. It has Armenia to the west. It has Iran to the south.

A quick overview of the political background helps:

“A long history of subjugation by Arabs, Mongols, Persians, Turks and Russians. Independent in 1991 from the USSR. A difficult first decade was beset by internal coups and war with Armenia over the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in West Azerbaijan. Nearly 1 million Azeris were displaced by this conflict. The President, re-elected in a shady election, is the son of the previous president. They have overseen a political shift away from Russia toward Turkey and the West.” (Operation World, p. 126)

The number of believers in Jesus Christ continues to grow, although most Christians are still foreign ethnicities. the majority of believers are in Baku … where there are many Azeril-led and Azeri-language congregations. However the church faces intensifying opposition even as it grows. Draconian registration laws are making it difficult for Christians, and for all faiths, including Muslims. The Caucasus peoples, and minority groups of peoples, like Talysh, Tat and Kurds, remain largely unreached.

Special Point from a news item: “Azerbaijan faces serious problems with gender mainstreaming and women’s rights protection”.

Christian literature, Bible translation and quiet expatriate ministries are taking place. However there is a need for more radio programmes in Azeri.

In this politically volatile nation, O Lord, grant your peace, so that less military expenditure will be needed. Amidst the nation, may the Word of Christ , the Living One, go forth with power, to tell the joyful news of Christ Jesus—and his gracious, genuine, joyful, secure kingdom over all.

http://www.eng.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/13393/

Good news: Christian music, literature, poetry and other expressions of worship and culture are beginning to flourish.





Armenia 2 (Հայաստան)

13 08 2012

Հայաստանը փոքր, հողային, արգելափակված է, լեռնային երկիր է, որը բաղկացած է 3 միլիոն մարդ, որոնց մեծ մասը (94.43%), զարմանալիորեն քիչ են քրիստոնյաներ.

Հավակնել փառքի: Հայաստանը նաեւ առաջին քրիստոնյա ազգ աշխարհների եւ վայելում մեծ հոգեւոր ժառանգությունը, ավելի քան 1700 տարիների քրիստոնեության հետ (գործառնություն աշխարհի, էջ 114)
Պատմականորեն, երկիրը հանդես է եկել Ա.Ա. տեսակի բուֆերի միջեւ Թուրքիայի, Ռուսաստանի ու պարսկական կայսրությունների. Այն հազվադեպ է եղել, անկախ վերջին 2500 տարիների ընթացքում: Այն գտնվում է արեւմուտքում, Ադրբեջանի, Հյուսիսային Իրանի եւ արեւելյան Թուրքիայի եւ Հարավային Վրաստանի

Ժողովուրդը շատ լավ գիտեն, պատմություն է. 1915-1917 թթ, Թուրքիան չի ճանաչել Հայոց ցեղասպանությունը, որտեղ որոշ 1500000 մահեր տեղի ունեցավ. Հիշելով այս միջոցառումը, եւ մտածում պատմությունը չի կարեւոր է, բռնակալ Ադոլֆ Հիտլերը անգամ իր բանակի հրամանատարների, օգոստոսի 22 – ին, 1939:

«Այսպիսով ժամանակ էլ եմ ուղարկել դեպի Արեւելք, միայն իմ մասին գանգ ստորաբաժանումների հետ պատվերների սպանել առանց խղճահարության, կամ ողորմածության, բոլոր տղամարդիկ, կանայք եւ երեխաներ են լեհական ռասայի կամ լեզվի. Միայն այդ ճանապարհով մենք հաղթելու կենսական տարածք է, որ մենք կարիք. Ով է դեռ այսօր խոսում հայերի մասին »:

With փլուզումից կոմունիզմի, սակայն, գալիս էին կրոնական ազատություն. ‘An ինտիմ կապը կառավարության եւ Հայաստանյայց առաքելական եկեղեցու շարունակվում է, որոշ աննշան խտրականության դեմ կրոնական այլ արտահայտություններով. (Դուք հակված են ստանում, որոնք!)

Դա էլ մեծ գովասանքի եւ շնորհակալագրերով-դեպի Triune Աստծո մենք գիտենք, որ Քրիստոսի համար տոկունություն ու գոյատեւման Հայ Եկեղեցու ամբողջ դարերի միջով դառը ընդդիմություն. Հայերը տանը եւ դրսում են ավելի հետաքրքրված են տեսնում մեծ նորացման հավատքի է հողի

Հիսուսն ասել է. «Երանելի են նրանք, ովքեր հալածվում են արդարության է հանուն, հանուն իրենցն է երկնքի արքայությունը» (Մատթեոս 5:10).

Հավանաբար այնտեղ չէ, որ շատ Bible Reading արել է այս հողում: Աղոթեք, որ այն աճել:

Հարգելի Տեր, մենք սովորում ենք, որ լավ հարաբերությունները հարեւանների հետ, որոնք բանալին Հայաստանի ապագան: Ուստի, մենք աղոթում ենք շարունակական առաջընթաց: Այս առումով, եւ որպես վերսկսելու շարժման Հոգու բացման առեղծվածը ավետարանի դեպի մոտակա ազգերի, քանի որ նրանք խոսել, աշխատել, ապրել եւ խաղալ, միեւնույն է, միասին. Մենք աղոթում ենք, որ ներում է հարեւան հողերի է, որ հաղթելու ուրիշներին կյանքին շնորհը հայտնի է բարձրացված իշխանության հետ խաչված, տառապանք է, բոլոր սիրող Յիսուսի Քրիստոսի, որ Իսրայելի Մեսիայի-ի Աստծո ողորմած թագավորին, բոլոր ազգերին:

Բացի այդ, ձեռքն այս հետաքրքիր հղումը.
http://www.panorama.am/en/politics/2012/08/14/Fatwa-Armenians/








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