Czech Republic

16 10 2017

Capital: Prague.

Bordered by Germany, Poland, Slovakia, and Austria.

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Economy: One of the most developed economies in central Europe. A stfrong tradition of industry and manufacturing.

Politics:  “The bloodless ‘velvet revolution’ against Communist rule in 1989 was followed by rapid democratization and the ‘velvet divorce’ from Slovakia in 1993. Multiparty presidential democracy and EU member since 2004” (Operation World, p. 298).

Religion:  “A long turbulent religious history. Believers suffered, especially under the Communist regime. Subsequent freedom sees a significant falling and fading  of religious influence in Czech society – although it has not been a particularly religious society for hundreds of years.” (O.W.)

Non-religious 71%, Christian 26%

Prayer:

That the moral vacuum may be replaced with the wise and gracious plan of Christ for people and his world. “Freedom for Czechs has too often translated into a ‘free-for-all’.

That the dynamic church planting will continue to bear fruit. We give thanks that this nation has churches, that actually send missionaries to several European nations, and across the world.

For New expressions of Christian faith to emerge. For leadership – ‘a key to growth’.

 

 

 

 

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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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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.





Comoros

15 07 2014

‘The Union of the Comoros’, Africa.

Three volcanic islands between Madagascar and Mozambique.

Comoros

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Population: 700, 000

Capital: Moroni (49, 800)

Peoples: Comorian 97.6% (Mixed Arab, African and Malagsy ancestry, part of the Swahili-Bantu people cluster)

Literacy: 56%

Languages: Arabic, French, Comorian

Economy: Underdeveloped, poor, overpopulated. Major Exports: perfumes, spices (vanilla, cloves). Most work in agriculture, but the nation still depends on food aid and rice imports. Many Comorians work abroad and send money home.

Political instability from over 20 coups.

Religion: Muslim 98.84%, Christian 0.93% Hindu 0.9%

Almost completely unevangelised before 1973.

Prayer Points:

Operation World says: “Islamic fundamentalism is on the rise. However, most are involved in occult practices through witchcraft, curses and spirit possession. Many young people – disillusioned with life in this society that offers so little hope – attempt to find solace in drugs, sex or the opportunity to leave the islands. Pray that they might have opportunities to hear the gospel of life that offers hope to all. Evangelism is forbidden, and those who convert to Christianity can expect severe reprisals from the community and from their own family. Harassment and persecution have risen in frequency and intensity in recent years. Pray for courage for those choosing to follow Jesus, and wisdom for all who must work out their faith in this hostile atmosphere”.

Signs of Hope: The number of believers (6, 410) is gradually increasing. The quiet witness of medical and veterinary workers, who are believers, living there, has won credit and honour to the name of Jesus Christ.

O Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the Creator and Redeemer of the nations of the world, may your Word of Life and hope come in the Spirit’s power to many more living in Comoros. We pray for the experience of freedom – of mind and heart and conscience – and the joy it brings to a person, to inspire the courage needed to live against the tide of unbelief, superstition, and darkness. For the Christians there today, may the Spirit uplift their hopes, knowing that it is not an impossible situation for real change. In the name of Jesus, the most positive and realistic person who ever lived—and who lives as Lord now! Amen.

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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.

 








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