Faeroe Islands

1 06 2020

Also called Faroe Islands.

It is an Archipelago of 18 rugged islands between Iceland and Scotland, 16 of which are inhabited. Total area, a mere 1,399 square km. Situated between the North Atlantic Ocean and the Norwegian Sea.

Capital: Torshavn      20,300 people

Map of Faroe Islands

People: Faeroese 97%, Danish 2.6%, Other 0.4%

Official Languages:  (1) Faeroese, which is if the Scandinavian family; (2)Danish. Both have Bibles.

‘The fishing industry (along with fish farming) accounts for 50% of the GDP and for almost all exports. There remains hope, although dwindling, or exploitabke oil reserves, which would help diversify the economy’. (Operation World, p. 331).

Life Expectancy: 79.3 years

Politics: A self governing region of Denmark. The parliamentary democracy is usually represented by coalition governments, and since it is not part of the EU, all trade is governed by special treaties.

Religion: Completely free. Although the Lutheran Church is recognized as the national church, and is supported by a state-levied tax.

Christian 90.50%.    Non-religious  9.28%.     Other.   0.08%.   Baha’i.  0.05%

Prayer Points:

  1. We pray for wisdom in Government, to oversee their increasing autonomy from the Denmark government.  For courage to make strong decisions regarding the shrinking fishing industry, and the oil industry speculative discussions.
  2. We pray for the ongoing fresh movement of the Holy Spirit among the people.
  3. We pray for the 29% of the population who are evangelicals to be built up in the faith, alive to, and alert, and aware of the big issues at work in the world, and able so to be a blessing to the wider community.  For the robust, Christ centred theology needed, to continue to receive the Scriptures as the written Word of God, (that bears witness to Jesus – the incarnate Word of God) and to be able to receive the scientific insights of modern study, in a way that enhances biblical faith.
  4. We pray for the good aspects of the Christian radio and TV resources, to be fruitful in assisting the churches, in the making of disciples of Jesus Christ.

We give thanks O Lord for this unique group of people, in this uncommon environment. May they be a blessing in your world, Father, as they make their unique contribution.

 





Ethiopia

19 05 2020

Capital: Addis Ababa

Population:  10.8 million

African Nationborders with Kenya, Somalia, Eritrea and Sudan.

Life Expectancy:  54.7 years

People:

  • Semitic/Ethiopian: 14.5%  Amhara, Tigrinya, Gurage, Silti
  • Cushite: 41.6%
    • Oromo. Hararghe, Tulama, Wallega, Macha, Selale, Arsi
    • Somali
    • Afar
  • Omotic
  • Nilotic
  • Other

Language: 35.9% Literacy.  Official: Amharic, English, Regional languages.  Total 88.

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Economy: Agriculture. Coffee, cattle, corn. (Decades of under-development and war).

History: An ancient, long, written history. Orthodox Christianity expressed in a State Church, from 1270—1974.

The revolution of 1974 overthrew the Emperor Haile Selassie and imposed Marxism on the country, from 1974—1991. Some 17 years of suppression of freedoms, religions, and political opponents.  Brutal Murders. Mass Graves. Now there is a Red Museum, recalling the horror of Marxism, saying: ‘NEVER AGAIN’.

The costly 1998-2000 war with Eritrea financially drained the nation, but unified it too.

Religion: Today, it is perhaps: 1/3 Orthodox, 1/3 Evangelicals, and 1/3 Muslim.

Points of Praise:

  1. Sustained remarkable growth of evangelical members of churches.
  2. Unity among believers
  3. Bible is increasingly distributed and read
  4. Increased political stability.

Prayer Points:

  1. For uniting in the nation, and for peace with neighbouring nations; especially for a decrease in hostilities with neighbours Somalia, and Eritrea.
  2. Poverty to be overcome. Better use of aid.
  3. For the Orthodox Church to grow, to mature in faith, be transformed in active members who know the gospel well. As a landlocked nation, with no access to a shipping Port, it has been ‘a Christian island in a sea of Islam’ (Operation World, p.329).
  4. Giving Thanks for Massive growth in Protestant and Independent Churches, praying for wisdom, and good fruit in Evangelism and Mission, and in planting of many more churches in Africa and South Asia.
  5. For leadership training. Bless the Lutherans and Pentecostals and Nordic Missions
  6. For wisdom in facing the challenge of Islam’s growing influence on the nation.
  7. For hospital care to battle with HIV/AIDS. For Orphans to be loved and cared for.
  8. For Foreign Mission workers to hear God’s Call and be a blessing.
  9. For the many children and young people on the Addis Ababa Rubbish Dump, needing help and encouragement, and the ability to learn and be nourished.
  10. For the Bingham Academy, in Addis Ababa, where so many children of missionary workers are educated. May the school community, from Reception to Year 12 prosper and grow. Praise God for their work. May the Spirit of Christ Jesus guide, move, bless and awaken this land further to the Father’s love for them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





Estonia

11 05 2020

North of Latvia, and squished in between Russia and the Baltic Sea. The Gulf of Finland to the north, separates it from Finland.

Capital: Tallinn  (pop. 400,000), in a nation of 1.3 million.

People: 70% Estonian, 29% Slavic

Politics: “Long dominated by surrounding nations” (Operation world, p. 326).

Background for faith: Soviet Occupation 1940—1988. Severe persecution.

Churches: Lutheran, Estonian Orthodox, Evangelical-Baptist, Pentecostal.

Freedom of Religion since Independence, but sects and error has also arrived.  ‘Estonian Evangelical Alliance’ seeks to foster unity in diversity among many denominations, through prayer and fellowship events.

Prayer Points:

Living God, who desires that all should be saved, through your dear Son Jesus, may we be inspired by the Holy Spirit, as we pray:

  1. For the reducing of poverty in the nation.
  2. For Jesus Christ’s light and truth amidst ‘many religious options‘.
  3. For genuine faith in Jesus to be established, in fresh re-evangelism.
  4. For the witness of unity amid the faithful, alive churches.
  5. For Christian education to advance among Christians.
  6. For the Tatar Muslims and Jews to hear the gospel.
  7. For outreach to the 50,000 University Students.
  8. For God’s blessing on the work of the Christian Media.
  9. For the Spirit to bless the teaching of God’s Fatherhood, through Jesus Christ, as shared by [my friend] Graham Taylor, in various places.
  10. For the fruitful preaching, teaching and pastoral care, given by local Pastors.

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Good Article by Oliver Smith, 2018, here:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/estonia/articles/amazing-facts-about-estonia/

“To mark Estonian Independence Day (February 24), here are a few things you didn’t know about the Baltic state.

1. It’s mostly female

The country has distinctly more women than men. For every 100 females in Estonia, there are 84 men – only the Northern Mariana Islands, a US territory in the Pacific, with a population of around 50,000, has a smaller percentage of males. Estonian women live 10 years longer, on average, which goes some way to explaining it. Incidentally, the UAE is the country with the highest male-to-female ratio, a remarkable 2.19:1.

2. They are good at the Olympics

When it comes to winning Olympic medals, Estonia really punches above its weight. Not including the 2016 Games in Rio, it has picked up a total of 25.5 medals per million residents. Only seven countries have a greater strike rate. Estonia is also one of 51 countries that receive more tourists each year than its total population.

3. They love wife carrying

Estonians are also adept at the non-Olympic sport of wife carrying. Though it originated in Finland, Estonian couples won the Wife Carrying World Championships for 11 consecutive years between 1998 and 2008, and the most popular carrying technique, shown below, is even referred to as the “Estonian Carry”.

4. And swinging

They take swinging very seriously in Estonia, so much so that in the Nineties a man named Ado Kosk invented a new sport called kiiking, in which participants attach themselves to giant steel swings that rotate a full 360 degrees. It is also yet to be included in the Olympics.

5. There’s space

Estonia is one of Europe’s least crowded countries, with a population density of 28.4 people per square kilometre. Only Finland, Sweden, Norway and Russia can beat it. It is also one of the the least populous of all the EU member states (1.3 million).

6. And lots of islands

Estonia has 2,222 islands and islets in the Baltic. That’s a lot, but far fewer than the country which claims to have the most – Finland, with 179,000 (we’re not sure who counted them). Britain has 6,289.

7. It has a tragic modern history

An estimated 7.3 per cent of Estonia’s population was killed during the Second World War – a higher percentage than most other European countries; Poland, Lithuania and Latvia are the exceptions – along with various Soviet Republics (Belarus suffered the most, with 25.3 per cent of its people perishing). A further 10 per cent of Estonia’s population were subsequently deported to Soviet labour camps.

8. Getting around is free of charge

Public transport is entirely free for residents of the Estonian capital, Tallinn.

9. It’s pretty flat

The highest point in the country is Suur Munamägi (which translates at “Big Egg Mountain”), just 318 metres (1,043ft) above sea level.

10. They love singing

The events that led to the restoration of Estonian independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 are commonly referred to as the Singing Revolution. The term was coined following a series of mass demonstrations during which Estonians sang national songs and patriotic hymns that were strictly forbidden.

11. And Skyping

A group of Estonians were fundamental in the invention of Skype, the online video call service, and 44 per cent of its employees are based in Tallinn and Tartu. Tallinn is sometime dubbed the Silicon Valley of Europe and has the continent’s highest number of startups per head of population.

12. It’s got a World Heritage site you’ve never heard of

Estonia has two Unesco World Heritage sites. The historic old town of Tallinn is well known for its wonderfully preserved medieval architecture; more obscure is the Struve Geodetic Arc, which Estonia shares with Belarus, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Moldova, Russia, Sweden and Ukraine. It is a chain of survey triangulations stretching from Hammerfest in Norway to the Black Sea, which yielded the first accurate measurement of a meridian (now you know).

13. A very high literacy rate

Estonia has one of the highest adult literacy rates in the world – 99.8 per cent, according to Unesco. Only Latvia’s and – rather surprisingly/dubiously – North Korea’s is higher.

14. And a plummeting population

Its population has fallen sharply in recent. It was 1,565,662 in 1989; now it’s estimated at 1,318,705 – that’s a 15 per cent drop. It did rise slightly last year, however.

15. They vote online

Estonia was the first country in the world to adopt online voting – way back in 2005.

16. Its currency was the kroon

One for pub quiz fans: the Estonian currency prior to adopting the euro was the kroon.

17. They don’t go to church

According to a Gallup Poll, Estonia is the world’s least religious country. Just 16 per cent of respondents said religion was an important part of their life, compared to 27 per cent of Britons, 65 per cent of Americans and 100 per cent of Bangladeshis and Indonesians.

18. But have a very old wooden one

Nevertheless, the Ruhnu stave church, built in 1644, is the oldest surviving wooden building in the country.

19. And another very tall one

According to some sources, Tallinn’s St Olaf’s Church was the world’s tallest building from 1549 to 1625, with a height of 159m (it is currently 123.7m).

20. They love their chess players

One of the greatest Estonians of all was Paul Keres, a chess grandmaster from the 1930s until the mid 1960s. A staggering 100,000 mourners attended his funeral in 1975, almost 10 per cent of the population.

21. It’s green

52 per cent of the country is forest, making it one of Europe’s greenest countries – and that figure is rising.

22. And popular with cruise passengers

Around 1.5 million people visit Tallinn each year, including more than half a million cruise passengers.

23. It’s wild – and has wolves

Other attractions including Soomaa National Park, one of 12 protected wilderness areas in Europe. Visitors might try their hand at bogshoeing, to help them traverse the marshy ground – but watch out for wolves.

24. There are few big cities

Only three cities – Tallinn, Tartu and Narva – have a population greater than 50,000.

25. And their heroes talk to hedgehogs

Kalevipoeg is the country’s national epic. It tells the story of a giant hero who throws stones and talks to hedgehogs.”  (all 25 points, by Oliver Smith.)





Eritrea

28 04 2020

Eritrea is in Africa. And it is surely a nation that needs our prayers.

In 1993, Eritrea espoused a Marxist ideology (which Ethiopia broke free of—and the Addis Ababa ‘Never Again’ Red Terror Museum tells the brutal story of ‘why’), and it placed severe restriction upon people’s freedom.

Capital: Asmara. A beautiful city.  It looks more European, than most African cities. Why? The Italian’s colonised Eritrea from 1890-1941.

Eritrea is bordered by the Red Sea. In terms of its people, they really belong together with their inland neighbour, Ethiopia. Many natural inter-related families. However, power-politics, increased poverty, suppression of genuine faith and religion, interference and war have produced a nation that has many troubles. Lord have mercy! May the help of God, in Christ, continue to flow to the people of Eritrea.

  • “Eritrea’s Capital Is Lovely. But Scratch the Surface and You’ll Find a Terrifying Reality. People are jailed in cellars of houses, a network of informers has destroyed trust between people and hundreds of thousands have fled. A rare visit to the ‘North Korea of Africa’. “
  • In Asmara, “The streets in the city center are spotless. There’s very little traffic, people walk in the center of the road, no one honks. Asmara, the capital of Eritrea, appears to be one of the loveliest and most pleasant cities in Africa. Orderly and quiet, the place seems like a sort of souvenir from the 20th century. As in Cuba, the cars are mostly old, from the 1960s and ‘70s. The many VW Beetles stand out. Italian architectural gems evoke the pre-World War II colonial period”.

  • “A stranger visiting the city won’t sense that anything is amiss. Outwardly, nothing suggests that this is one of the most insular dictatorships in the world, the North Korea of Africa. President Isaias Afwerki has ruled the country with an iron hand for 25 years. In Afwerki’s Eritrea, men serve in the army from age 17 until as late as age 50. Until recently, soldiers deployed along the borders were under orders to shoot anyone trying to flee to one of the neighboring countries. And throughout Eritrea, citizens are entangled in an extensive government-run network of informers: Students betray friends who have deserted the army; housewives inform on neighbors who criticize the regime and so on.” (Magazine, source, below).

  • See: https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/.premium.MAGAZINE-eritrea-s-capital-is-lovely-but-under-the-surface-is-a-terrifying-reality-1.7088041
  • See: https://www.wsj.com/articles/eritreans-flee-conscription-and-poverty-adding-to-the-migrant-crisis-in-europe-1445391364

Religions: (1) Sunni Islam (2) Orthodox (3) Roman Catholic (4) Lutheran.

Population: 6.7 million.    87% Semitic African, Afar, Saho, others.  7.8% Arab.

Language: Tigrinya, Tigre, Arabic, English.

Answers to prayer:

  1. The Growth of the Church in Eritrea is strong. Persecution and the closure of denominations produced a flowering house church movement. Many in prison have received the Gospel. (Operation World, p. 323)
  2. Jesus Christ has come into the world, for such a people as this. And he is establishing his people in places where many would imagine it to be impossible. The Ascended Christ is Lord over all governments, times and places.

Prayer Points:

  1. For peace with neighbouring Ethiopia.
  2. For religious freedom.
  3. For protection from severe persecution of Christians.
  4. For wisdom and courage for Christian leaders.
  5. For expelled missionaries and foreign workers who have a heart for the people.
  6. For the success of the radio and TV ministry.
  7. For the Living Lord to draw Eritreans to hope in him.

 

 

 





Equatorial Guinea

24 10 2019

The Republic of Equatorial Guinea is situated on the East Coast of Africa, bordered by the nation of Cameroon and Gabon. Nestled in the ‘Gulf of Guinea, it includes several islands, Bioko and Pegalu being two main ones.

Capital: Malabo (131,000 people) The capital is situated on the Isla de Bioko, where Spanish is spoken.  Other languages on the mainland include Bantu (77.3%) and French, and various other African languages among many tribes and groups.

New Capital:  Oyola (by 2020 – on the mainland)

https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/why-is-equatorial-guinea-changing-its-capital.html

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Corruption is a Major Problem:

Discovery of massive offshore petroleum deposits in 1995 transformed the economy. Oil revenues are a State secret. Large is the divide, between the filthy rich, and the struggling poor.

Here is how The Guardian newspaper viewed the Corruption of the nation. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/oct/23/equatorial-guinea-africa-corruption-kleptocracy

Points for prayer from Operation World:

“Training leaders and discipling believers are strategic and growing ministries. Three training institutions exist (Reformed, WEC, AoG) along with TEE programmes. YWAM runs short-term Discipleship Training Schools.

  • Pray that graduates may be used of the Spirit to evangelise the nation and disciple believers.
  • Pray for greater opportunities for laity to grow in their faith; the move from a nominal Catholic/animist worldview to a biblical one is a significant transition.

Missionaries have increased in number, including growing numbers from West and Central Africa, but they need wisdom in the convoluted socio-political situation. Several delicate and difficult situations in relating to indigenous leadership have occurred in recent years. Pray for grace and humility on the part of both expats and nationals. The main agencies are: EqGuiMsn, YWAM, AoG, WEC.” 

http://www.operationworld.org/country/equa/owtext.html

Prayer: Gracious Father, in such a rich and diverse nation, we can but pray for your Spirit to awaken hearts and minds to the knowledge of Jesus Christ as the Risen Lord over all of the affairs of humanity.  May the people know Jesus as Victor over death. May they know his power over all evil spirit, and evil leaders. Amidst the enormous amount of corruption and injustice (in the not-sharing of the economic benefits of petroleum), we pray that your humble love, will proceed into the hearts and lives of the many tribes and communities within this nation. We give thanks for those who know Christ in all his grace and power, and ask that in the weakness they feel, humanly speaking, they may communicate to glorious truth of the gospel in fresh compelling ways. In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 





El Salvador

22 05 2019

Location in Central America, (near Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala). Some say ‘Latin America’.

Population: 6.6 million people, mostly Hispanic, speaking Spanish.

Religion:  Christian 94% .   Non-religious 5%

History:  Independent from Spain since 1821. A separate nation in 1838.

Centuries of exploitation of the majority by powerful, wealthy plantation owners.  A long series of corrupt dictatorships. Gross inequality. Provoked an armed leftist uprising in 1981.  There were 12 years of Civil War. Over 75,000 people were killed.

While the Roman Catholic Church is the ‘official religion’, the Constitution recognises other faiths.  There is a growing number of Evangelicals. Many (3.3 million) Salvadoreans live abroad, and send money home; many are working illegally. Among the youth there are many gangs of young people, orphaned and fatherless.

Prayer: O Father, we pray that the Word of Christ, the way of freedom, and the gracious Spirit of renewal – may visit this land with life-giving power, stirring people to faith in God, and enabling the seeking out of true economic justice in the land. May the evangelical church be given wisdom to know how best to proceed and make headway, through literature, preaching and use of the media. In Jesus name we pray.

 

Location of El Salvador

 

 

 





Egypt

6 05 2019

Geography: Mostly desert. Only 3% is arable land. This is along the banks of the delta of the Nile River, and around the Western Desert oases.

Population: 98 million.

People: 92% Arab.

Produce: Agriculture, natural gas, oil, textiles, tourism, (& Suez Canal dues!).

Politics: Relative stability under President Mubarak. In 2006 the Muslim Brotherhood gained 20% of the elected parliament seats. They ran as independents, since religious parties were banned from running. …Many Egyptians are disillusioned with the political process.

Religion: “Islam is the State Religion; until recently the large Christian minority were left in relative peace. The last – 20 years (2020) – however, have seen higher levels of communal  violence. The rise of Islamism caused Islamist violence” (Operation World).

Christians 12.8% .     Muslim 86.67% .       Non religious 0.5%

History in Review: It is sobering to recall that for over 1,000 years Egypt was a majority-Christian country, even after the Arab Muslim conquest in AD640. Egypt gave to the world some of its greatest theologians and the monastic movement.

                         

Prayer Points:  

  1. For the recognition of the Church’s history in Egypt over the past 2000 years.
  2. That the Scriptures will be read, as so many have been strategically distributed by the Bible Society.
  3. For innovative us of the Media to proclaim the Gospel
  4. For the great prayer movement of recent years to expand and prove to be a huge blessing for the nation.
  5. For God’s blessing upon the Coptic Church, by far the largest body of Christians in the middle east, and a key for the proclamation of the gospel in this nation.
  6. For the steadfastness of the Christian community. In the last 20 years persecution of Christians has steadily increased. Operation World report that: “Harassment, discrimination on individual and communal levels and financial incentives for Christians to adopt Islam are all used to break the morale of Christians. Some areas, such as Upper Egypt, face more intense pressure than others. In most cases, the attacks that occur are carried out by vigilante Islamists groups – but often with the tacit acceptance of local security forces. Identity cards stating religion can be a huge challenge for believers from Muslim backgrounds, who tend to be on the receiving end of persecution more frequently than Copts. O Lord we pray for Christians who waver, that they may find new courage to hold fast to Christ; and we pray for the Egyptian government to respond to unfairness and attacks and violence, with genuine resolve for the wellbeing of all people – and for them to legislate and act with “an even hand. We give thanks for the many Muslim-background people who are being found by Christ Jesus – that they may work out how best to respond to Jesus, and to love their family, community and nation.
  7. May the people of Egypt come once again, into the great hope of forgiveness, joy and salvation, through knowing the Father, through his Son Jesus Christ, in the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit.




Ecuador

6 05 2018

The Republic of Ecuador is situated in Latin America. Between Columbia to the north, and Peru in the south.

The Capital city: Quito. They generally speak Spanish (of the 25 languages spoken).

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Of the population of almost 14 million people, some 94% are Christian.

Famous Ecuadorians include:

  1. Pauline Aguirre – an Ecuadorian singer/songwriter. She is a Christian, and her first solo album was “Mujer de Fe” (Woman of Faith).
  2. Victor M. Medina is an actor, film art director and a production designer.
  3. Gerado is a Latin rapper and a singer.
  4. María Capovilla lived for 116 years and 347 days (Guinness World Record, at the time).
  5. Edison Mendez, football (soccer), scored 5 goals in the qualification phase of the 2006 World Cup.
  6. Antonia Valencia, football (soccer), [Manchester United] forward and midfielder.
  7. Pedro Vicente Maldonado (1704-1748) was a scientist physicist, mathematician, astronomer, topographer and geographer. He was part of a Mission measuring the roundness of the earth, and

Interestingly the Galapagos Islands are part of the nation’s responsibilities.  Interesting comment from Operation World:

The 28,000 people living on the distant and barren Galapagos Islands now have a growing ministry in their midst through MVI. The islands host many eco-tourists who, through Darwin’s legacy, are often hostile to biblical Christianity”.

Thanks to God: We do give thanks for the genuine Christian faith that has taken root in this nation. We lament the presence of all powerless, lethargic, nominal ‘religion’, and pray for fresh movements of the Holy Spirit, awakening faith, hope and love for Jesus Christ, his saving Cross, and His Living Word.

Prayer Points:

  1. Pray for the poor, especially the slum dwellers, of Quito and Guayaquil.
  2. Pray for the wealthy. Many of the upper and middle classes are largely unresponsive to the gospel. There is little vision to reach them with the gospel.
  3. Pray for the Afro-Ecuadorian people. There is much spiritism among them, and with this they delve into an engagement with the occult and powers of darkness. Only a small percentage, just 0.03% are evangelical.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





Dominican Republic

21 02 2018

Located in the Caribbean, to the east of the same island as Haiti.

Population: a surprising 11 million people (of which 10% are poor, undocumented French Creole speaking, illegal migrant labourers).

Brief Recent History: “Columbus declared affection for this island and subsequent European colonisation have yielded 500 years of turmoil. Foreign disease and the Spanish destroyed the one million indigenous Arawak Taino people. Sugar can crops soon became massive plantations, which then required the importation of slaves. Both European colonial powers and Dominican governments have ruthlessly exploited the land and the people – this can be seen in the massive gap between a small wealthy elite and the poor majority. Pray for justice – economic and political – something missing from most of the Dominican Republic’s history” (Operation World, p. 308).

Capital: Santo Domingo

Religion: 94% Christian. (82% Catholic, 12% Other denominations).

The large Haitian underclass is a scapegoat, and a challenge.

Churches need to change from a receive-only attitude, to a lively participation.

Prayer:  O Lord of Life, we pray for religious liberty and freedom for those proclaiming the gospel. We pray for the development of biblical ethics to witness to the power and presence of Jesus Christ, as a clear contrast to the alarmingly wide sway of ‘corruption, violent crime and promiscuity’.  We pray for groups such as the 2 Chinese congregations to see more established evangelical outreach among their people. Especially we pray for the youth (37 universities and colleges, with more than 200,000 students) to find purpose in life, and incentive to study. For the AFES and CCCI who only have a total of 1,000 members, for their staff and leaders to be empowered by the Holy Spirit as they proclaim the Lordship of Christ.

 





Dominica

18 10 2017

A 750 square km Island in the Caribbean. African Caribbean people descended from slaves brought by the French and English.  Ruled by France until 1759. Then English. Independent in 1978. English is the official language but 80% speak French Creole.

Population:  66,600

Capital: Roseau.

Dominica

Religion: 91% Christian, but high very nominal Catholicism.

Prayer: That the Spirit of God will move anew bringing the good news of Jesus Christ, – crucified and risen, and reigning now – to the people of this isolated island, with power. May the Pastors, who often suffer ‘burn-out’, find suitable work to sustain them in their important preaching and teaching roles.  May the evangelical churches in nearby nations find ways to offer support and encouragement.

 





Djibouti

16 10 2017

Capital: Djibouti   … (imagine that!)

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Population: 1 million. About 61% are Somali people, also Afar (28%), Arab (8%).

Official Language: French and Arabic.

A hot dry enclave between Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia, with possibly the hottest average temperatures of any county on earth.

Religion: Muslim 97% (and the State religion). Religious freedom for foreigners.

Prayer:  Living Lord, ascended Jesus, who loves this nation of people, may your Word be preached here with power.  In this strange nation, so calm and stable, yet with huge problems of unemployment and famine, may the miracle of coming to know Jesus Christ as the Saviour and hope of the world, occur among significant people, that the joy of the true God’s plan and purpose, as Father and Redeemer may be revealed for many people. Come Holy Spirit and bring a quenching of human thirst, in a dry and weary land. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 





Denmark

16 10 2017

Capital: Copenhagen.

Population: 5.5 million

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Christian 85%, Non-religious 10%, Muslim 4%

Over 80% of the population remain members of the Lutheran Church.

However church attendance is around 2%. And ‘much of the Lutheran Church is experienced by ordinary Danes as ritualistic and dead and the fresh winds of the Holy Spirit must blow through this institution.‘ (OW, p. 303). There is a shortfall of pastors. Islamic relationships – due to riots in 2006 are tense.

Prayer:  Living Lord, may the Lutheran church across the world, see the needs here, and respond in earnest prayer and genuine missionary support.

 





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’.

 

 

 

 





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

Comoros

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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Colombia

13 03 2014

Colombia is a Spanish speaking republic in Latin America, situated in the northwestern corner of South America. It is rich in resources, such as oil and coal, and its main employer is Agriculture. It produces 90% of the US’s cocaine. And so the armies of drug lords swarm the nation. It became independent of Spain in 1819, and a separate state in 1891. It is good to learn that the murder and kidnapping and crime rates are decreasing of late, and that progress is being made by government crackdowns.

Capital: Santa Fé de Bogotá (8.5 million)       Total Population: 47 million

Spanish Speaking.

The nation identifies as largely Christian, and the population has largely been Roman Catholic. In recent years (since 1991) the other denominations have been given greater freedom to proclaim the Word and to serve the community. Evangelicals now constitute about  7.5% of the population, and Charismatics some 18%. So the church seems to be on the move, in the face of threats and opposition from drug cartels.

The story of the transformation of the worst Prison – BellaVista Prison – where there were 2 murders per day, is a huge encouragement to the nation.  Hardened criminals have come to know Christ Jesus as Lord, and this has changed them amazingly – and the story never grows old.

http://www.pfi.org/media-and-news/films/pf-colombia

Prayer Points (from Operation World, p. 264):

1. Colombia remains violent and dangerous. Pray the government will continue to remain strong.

2. Three million people have been displaced due to poverty and danger. Pray for hope for orphans and widows.

3. The lawlessness is Satanic. Pray that it will be broken.

4. Pray for renewal amongst the nominal Roman Catholics of the nation.

5. Pray for the protection of evangelical Christian workers, subject to violence, and needing bold leadership.

6. Missionaries are targets for the enemies of the gospel, pray for courage and faithfulness, ‘unto death’.

7. Pray for the Vision of hope to grow, and for unreached people groups to be ministered to – especially street ‘urchins’.

8. Pray for the student and youth work to grow, amid the marxist ideology that persists. Also for Muslims to hear of Jesus, truly.

9. Pray for the Amerindians, often poor and victims of discrimination, to be uplifted by the gospel.

10. Pray for Christian literature, Christian radio broadcasts and audio and video resources to be more and more available.

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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.

 





China: Macau

12 08 2013

29.2 sq. km  A tiny peninsula and two islands 64km west of Hong Kong on the coast of Guangdong Province of China.

Population: 550,000

Politics: “Rented by the Portuguese in 1557. Became a Portuguese Colony in 1887; considered a Chinese Territory under Portuguese administration since 1974. Macau reverted to Chinese rule as a Special Administrative Region in 1999, with a high degree of economic and political autonomy. It was both Europe’s first and last colonial possession in Asia” (Operation World, p. 256)

 

to be CONTINUED as the China POSTS are all updated together….





China: Hong Kong

12 08 2013

A mountainous peninsula and 230 islands on the coast of Guangdong Province.

Population: 7.1 million people

to be continued… in progress

 





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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Chile

31 07 2013

Geography:

A long skinny piece of land – 4,200km in fact, bordering the pacific ocean and running back up to the mountains of the Andes, with only an average width of 150km. It includes Easter Island/Rapa Nui on the Central Pacific. Extremes temperatures – hot in the Atcama Desert, and very cold in the Antarctic tundra area.  ( * most details from ‘Operation World’ by Jason Mandryk) 

Chile

Peoples: Hispanic 95.9%   Amerindian 3.2%          

Population: 17.2 million   

Capital: Santiago   (6 million)

Official Language: Spanish

Economy: Mining – copper. Agriculture.

Politics:

Independent from Spain in 1810. In more recent times, there was a social government elected in 1970, but in 1973, that government was overthrown by a military coup. Bloodshed was followed by an imposed regime, human rights abuses and a 17 year dictatorship under General Augusto Pinochet (1915-2006). While this era endured until 1990—when a democratically elected President came into power—the painful effects of it upon the nation continue to influence the Chilean people.

Religion:  Freedom of Religion is in place, and adhered to in practice.

The Catholic Church dominates the scene, having been the official religion until 1925.  The percentages of ‘religions’ are:

Christian              87%

Non-religious     10.5%

Others:  Ethnoreligionist, Jewish [here, an unevangelized people group], Bahai, Muslim and Buddhist – each of them are under 1%.

Prayer Points

1. We give thanks for dynamic the growth of evangelical churches, and for the influence of a Methodist, indigenous Pentecostal movement – with a heart for the poor.

2. We pray that a deeper knowledge of forgiveness, and a growth in hope, love and faith, will enable people to move ahead – leaving behind the sadness of the terrors of the past, during Pinochet’s rule.

3. We pray for good, fruitful social change, better education opportunities, and for human freedom to grow. As people disassociate themselves from traditional structures, may they find new life in following Jesus Christ to recover a sense of genuine family.  We pray that Catholics may learn to adapt well to a new era.

Note: “One out of seven Chilean women is a mother by the age of 14. Crime, drug abuse and materialism are all on the rise” (Operation World, p. 211)

4. We pray for the evangelical church to continue to challenge and, by the Spirit, bring renewal to

(i) ‘formal and nominal Pentecostalism’ (strangely enough),

Chilie has “… the most divisive Pentecostal movement in the world”  – 1,200 separate groups

(ii) leadership, ‘lazy’ theology, legalism, isolationism,

(iii) the upper strata of society

(iv) the massive gap between rich and poor

(v) vision, which is so necessary for the church’s mission

(vi) the less reached people groups, The Mapuche indigenous people, Rapa Nui  (Polynesian), Others

(vii) student witness in the 54 universities (500,000 students)





Chad

18 07 2013

11.7 million people

African: ‘desert in the north, dry grassland in the centre, thick bush in the south’.

Capital: N’djamena

People: Complex mixture of 150 or more ‘peoples’.

Official Languages: French (for the elite), Arabic, and 133 Other languages

Economy: 80% in subsistence farming. 80% below poverty line. Corruption is rife.

Politics: Independent from France in 1960. Since then, violence, insurgencies and coups. Conflict in neighbouring Darfur saw 400,000 refugees spill across the border. One tribe, the Zaghawa, dominates the government. Much spent on military hardware.

Religion: Muslim 52.84%   Christian 38.46%  Ethnoreligionist 7.7%  Other 1%

Freedom of religion. So far. This is unusual, but a truly secular approach functions.

Notes:  The number of Muslims seeking to know more of Christ continues to grow. Many unreached peoples are being reached for the first time with the gospel. Those disillusioned with Islam, especially from Darfur, are particularly open to news of the God of hope, in Jesus Christ. Many appreciate the loving, welcoming ministry of Christians.

Prayer Point: The need for a stable and just government is great – Lord have mercy. As Islam grows in ascendency, then the problem with viewing Christians as inferior, is a growing reality. We pray for Christians to have wise leadership, and a fair hearing from government. We pray that the old traditional religions with all their spiritual fears, may be overcome by the work of the Holy Spirit and good news of a Sovereign, true Lord. We pray that tribalism will not cripple congregations of faith, hope and love. We also pray for the training of leaders, to take place amidst such poverty that so many experience.

Also: “There are more unreached peoples in Chad than in any other African country” (Operation World, p. 208)

May the missionary work continue to bring blessing and growth in the gospel, particularly to young people. May the Chad missionaries have good success in their Bible translation work.

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flag of Chad





Central African Republic

15 07 2013

République Centrafricaine

‘A landlocked state in Africa’s geographical centre. Variation from tropical forest in the southwest to semi-desert in the northeast’ (Operation World, p. 201   NOTE: …much of this article is indeed taken direct from the Operation World book).

Capital: Bangui

Population: 4.6 million

Peoples: About 80 ethnic groups – and complexity.

(1) Adamawa-Ubangi 78.7% with about 35 ethnic groupings. Largest Gbaya 27.8%, Banda 21.9%, Mandja 9.5%, Mboum 6.0%, Yakoma 5.5%, Bokoto 3.6%

(2) Sudanic 6.2% 12 groups on the northern border. Zande 3.0%, Banda-Dukpu 2.7%

(3) Bantu 3.0%, 10 groups in southwest.

(4) Fulbe 3.6% Bagirme Fulbe 2.4%, Mbororo 1.0%

(5) Sara-Bagirmi 4.9%, Kaba 2.0%, 10 other groups.

(6) Arab 2.8% Nomadic Shuwa Arabs 2.2%

(7) Pygmy 0.3% Five groups mainly in the southwest forests.

(8) Other 0.5% Caucasians and groups dispersed from neighbouring countries.

Literacy 48.6%  Official language French and Sango (trade language used by most of the population).

All Languages 82   Indigenous languages 71     Languages with Scriptures 5Bi 8NT 10por 9w.i.p.

Economy: Rich in natural and mineral resources, but underdeveloped infrastructure and landlocked status limit income. Diamonds account for 55% of exportsConflict in neighbouring countries and within Central Africa Republic (CAR) has undermined any potential to exploit the nation’s resources. Farmers account for most of the working population. Health facilities are limited. There is a massive economic gulf between the richer capital and the poorer hinterlands.

Public Debt 96% of GDP.  Income/person $459 per annum (1% of USA)

Politics: Independent in 1960, the nation has thus far not utilized her freedom.  Periods of democracy have been interspersed with military regimes and Bokassa’s “Empire”, 1976-1979. The current president came to power through a coup in 2003 and was then fairly elected in 2005.  Constant rebellions and military coups slow progress.  Already-poor infrastructure is further damaged by frequent conflict; rebel groups constantly appear and upheavals in surrounding countries make the rebuilding task a difficult one for a government already beset by the traditional challenges of tribalism, nepotism and corruption. The many rebel factions in the north are being monitored through the UN presence but the east is unstable due to the presence of the LRA which has spilled over from Uganda and Sudan.

Religion: Freedom.

Christian 76.37%  Muslim  13.8%  Ethnoreligionist 8.6%  Non-religious 0.92%  Baha’i  0.31%

Points of Thanksgiving:

1. Solid Foundations are laid for developing a national-level strategy for mission and evangelism that spans denominational and organizational lines. The potential for massive church growth and consolidation exists; there is a growing interest among the churches for evangelism to unreached people groups.

2. Praise God that the national Church is emerging as a vehicle for witness and service.  National missionaries and agencies are on the increase, and indigenous-led ministries are springing up.  Bible translation work in mother tongues and literacy in the churches are progressing as well.

Prayer Points:

1. The physical human needs are immense. Pray for

(i) peace and stability, (ii) the economy to grow due to wise use of resources, (iii) unemployed people who desperately need work, ask the Lord, for opportunities to emerge through business people who can help transform the nation,  (iv) health improvement in relation to HIV/AIDS, diseases from malnourishment, clean water availability, hygiene and poverty.

2. Widespread Evangelism was not followed up with discipleship, and this lead to nominalism and syncretism,  and denominational rifts, and wrong priorities, such as lack of honestly and and moral integrity.

3. The unity of the church. Need to incorporate the new and independent churches into the acceptable category.

4. Leadership Development: 15 Bible Schools need staff and students and funds. Womens’ Ministry need further encouragement.

5. Young People and Children: Almost half the population are under 15, but too few churches are discipling the next generations.

6. Bible Translation. Only two indigenous languages have a fully translated Bible: Sango and Zande.

7. The Less reached: pray for people in the dangerous northern lobe, for Muslims, for people in the forest areas.

8. Mission Agencies: Pray for greater partnerships, joint vision, and new church planting movement initiatives.

9. Christian media and help ministries: Pray for proper coordination of radio, literature, the Jesus film, recordings and the work of the Haggai Institute, Operatiion Africa, and others reaching out to the business community and academic elite.

C.A.R. (Africa)

C.A.R. (Africa)

images Central African Republic





Cayman Islands

6 07 2013

Cayman Islands – in the Caribbean. Consisting of 3 coral islands south of Cuba.

Capital: George Town.

Banks: Over 600 banks! “Money, money, money – it’s a rich man’s world.”  Yes, this place is “the most affluent Caribbean economy by a safe margin. The wealth is derived from offshore banking, tourism, insurance and indirect taxation – it is a tax haven” (O.W.) The assets rest at over $600 billion with some 70,000 companies registered here. The prayer is that the wealth of the islands may be used in the action of God’s kingdom.

Politics: A British dependent territory with representative government.

Population:  58, 000 people of which: 77% are Christian, 13% Ethnoreligionist, 6.8% Non-religious, and 1.7% Jewish. Baha’i, Hindu and Muslim are small in number.

Churches: There are over 90 churches, 1 for every 500 people.  Many are evangelical. Interestingly the nations flag bears part of Psalm 24 “He hath founded it upon the seas”. The new constitution bears recognition of the Christian heritage.

Problems: Money laundering.

Tourism: Annually, well over 1 million tourists visit the islands.

Prayer:  Gracious Father, who gives us all things richly to enjoy—Creator of such a beautiful world—we pray that many people may be confronted—while in the Cayman Islands—by the Living Christ, even as they are in the midst of pursuing pleasure as an end in itself. Speak to hearts here of the great eternities, of your cross and other person-centred, holiness confessing, serving death, as the judgment place of this world. May the fleeting pleasures of sin, ever be contrasted with the extraordinary truth of the redemption of all creation, and the need to be a friend of God to participate in the age to come. Help us all consider our days, and the true place of wealth in the scheme of things.  Thanks Lord Jesus for the story, or parable of the man who just built bigger and bigger barms to store his grain, and then, suddenly he was called to give account of his life, and was seen to be a ‘fool’. He had refused to participate in this life in what God was doing, and so, had really made no preparation for the real future, before us all. May we not neglect the good news, but seek  to share in this hope, in your redemptive plan, for the suffering. May we receive the forgiveness of sins, and turn anew to you dear God, filled with your Spirit, and your heart for all the nations.





Cape Verde Islands

11 06 2013

Fifteen dry barren islands 600km off the west coast of Africa.

Capital: Praia 128,000 people…  Total: 520,000 people.

Literacy: 81.2%

Economy: ‘Arid land means 80% of food must be imported. Heavily dependent on aid and remittances from migrants. Unexploited tourist and fishing potential‘. (OW)

Politics: ‘Independent of Portugal in 1975 as a one-party socialist republic. A revised constitution in 1990 led to multiparty elections and a peaceful change of government’. (OW)

Religion: A secular state with freedom of religion (The privileged position of the Catholic Church ended in 1975).

Christian: 94.56%  Muslim: 3.1%  Other: 2.34%

Prayer Points:  (from ‘Operation World’, p. 199)

1. Economic and ecological issues. Scant resources, poorly managed. Pray for leaders to make wise decisions to develop a genuine future.

2. Most Caboverdians are Catholic in name, but in practice are more influenced by superstitions and African fetishism. Christian literature is lacking in Creole, and most people have only a rudimentary grasp of Portugese.

3. Newer religious groups are growing rapidly. This includes evangelicals, but also marginal groups. The Nazarenes have the longest Protestant presence. More recent arrivals feature Pentecostals from Brazil and the USA. Pray that more indigenous leaders and pastors may be trained for these growing groups.  Pray that believers might mature and increase despite poverty and geographic isolation.

4. ‘There are 490,000 Caboverdians living in migrant communities; the largest are in New England, USA (266,000), Portugal (80,000), Angola (46,000), Senegal and France. Their remittances are vital to those living in Cape Verde’ (OW). We pray that many in these communities may become true disciples of Jesus and be spiritual and economic blessings to their homeland.





Canada

29 05 2013

Canada – a mixed blessing!  

1. An abundance of beauty, (the world’s second largest country), a variety of people groups – 34 million, rich in natural resources, clean and largely the recipients of a grand native, and significant Christian heritage.

2. And yet—while 72% claim Christian faith—publicly the government policy-making and negative attitudes towards biblical, evangelical values, follows a secular, pluralistic mood, and the pattern in Canada is, a decline of genuine Christianity.

Two contrasting examples:

(1) The United Church of Canada (some similarities to the Uniting Church in Australia) has been swamped for a long time, by secular humanistic, unbiblical thinking.  The centrality of Christ’s substitutionary atonement on the cross, and the clarion call for faith in Jesus, and repentance of ways and thoughts, and a receiving of God’s judgement, forgiveness and grace in Christ – is being replaced by non-Trinitarian language, thought and practise. The slide from good theology to bad, has been accompanied by a corresponding decline in membership. Universalism and the GLBT agenda has, sadly, been a high priority for so many.

(2) Regent College, Vancouver, Canada has been an excellent college for theological and ministerial training, with some great global leaders. Biblical, conservative scholar and theologian, J. I. Packer has made a huge excellent global contribution to the life of the Church, and so to gospel proclamation among the nations. He has been part of the Anglican Church in Canada.  His stance is that the church is in crisis over the attempts to include same sex unions into the legitimate, normalised way of life for Christian people. He says that to ignore the warnings of the New Testament is fatal, for people, and for the church’s message.

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2008/03/11/j-i-packer-to-be-suspended-from/

Other big Regent College names include Eugene Peterson and Gordon D. Fee.

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Capital: Ottawa 1.18 million, Toronto 5.5 million, Montreal 3.3 million, Vancouver 2.2 million.

Life expectancy: 80.6 yrs.

Languages:  English, French (Quebec), Indigenous (86 languages), Asian, Other

A strong legacy or democracy, Christian at base, has shaped the nation.

Canada

Canada !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prayer Points:

Catholicism, by far the largest makeup of believers in the country has seen vibrant, charismatic renewal. Pray that the influence of earnest believers will continue to grow and affect the nation for good.

Protestants and Anglicans: have seen a decline from 45% in 1950 to only 11% today. The liberalisation has served to sharpen the true believers to contend for the faith, and to trim the ‘dead wood’ too, but it has also brought confusion and strife into the whole body of Christ.

Evangelical Churches: Not doing so well recently either. From 25% of the population in 1900 to 8% today.

Charismatic Movement: The ‘Toronto Blessing’ was known for a rediscovery of the power of the Holy Spirit in human living today. However the tendency to excess and the intrusion of strange or questionable phenomenon, also brought some confusion, and quenching of the Spirit’s awakening power, and of Christ’s Word from, and of, and unto the Father.

Many First nation peoples have been neglected, historically. Like Australia, attempts have been made to restore injustices and reconcile, where failures and tragic Europeanisation have been so detrimental. Pray for the love of Christ to bring healing and a new appreciation for the genuine gospel, of grace, mercy and peace in the Cross.

Immigration has been deliberately pursued as part of the nation agenda to help refugees and to grow a multi-cultural, plural nation of many cultures. Chinese (1.4 million), South Asians (1.05 million) including many Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims have settled in Canada.

We Pray that this blessed nation may discover, and rediscover the greatness of Jesus Christ, Lord of creation, Saviour of the Nations, and Redeemer of Humanity. We pray that the freedom may be preserved to publicly proclaim Christ. It is getting more difficult as secular ideas and ideals, try to dominate public life.





Cameroon

18 04 2013

Capital: Yaounde 1.8 million.  Total Population in Cameroon 20 million.

Geography: On the continental ‘hinge’ between West and Central Africa. Semi-arid in the north, grasslands in the centre, rainforest in the south.

Cameroon

286 “Peoples” – 52% Bantu: “One of Africa’s most ethnically and linguistically complex countries” (Operation World, p. 189)

Economy: Agriculture, oil exports. Lots of rain and minerals. High unemployment, high debt level, high corruption. Even so, they have a high literacy rate for an African country.

Politics: A German colony from 1884—1919, then divided between Britain and France. Independence 1960.

Religion: Secular state that guarantees religious freedom. Islam is strong in the north, especially among the Fulbe, and interfaith tensions have increased over recent decades, especially with the increased profile of more radical Islam.

Christian 53.8%     Muslim 26%     Ethnoreligionist  19%

Prayer Points:

1. ANSWERS – give thanks for

(i) the growth of evangelicals since 2000 despite the decrease in high-profile campaigns [or because of that decrease, perhaps?   …just sayin’];

(ii) many significant leaders – professional, military, police and political – have been converted to Christ, giving hope for changing a society infamous for corruption – even regular prayer meetings are taking place when parliament is in session.

(iii) Media use for evangelism has increased, building upon the legalisation in 2000 of Christian private radio and TV broadcasting (according to OW, p. 190)

2. That Cameroon internal forces may be overcome: (i) Corruption is deeply entrenched and widespread; (ii) has deep division of language, politics and faith [religion] – a recipe for trouble, but something the gospel and its message of The Reconciler, is perfectly “designed” to overcome; (iii) integrity in leadership – pray for examples, a few more and a few more people to speak up and act truly in righteousness, rather than perpetuating the ‘status quo’.

3. The Spiritual Poverty of the Churches is a great tragedy. Nominal Christianity is a bigger problem in Cameroon than in most of Africa.  

Dear Lord Jesus, may your Presence stir afresh an awareness of the power of your Lordship to bring lasting light and helping hope and practical peace wherever your love is made known, and lived in, and prayed for – to spread.

4. Pray For more co-operation between the many African and Western Evangelicals and Pentecostal Groups.

5. For Quality Leadership and Discipleship Training among the shallowness of many churches.

6. Pray For a Growing Sense of the Church’s Mission

7. Young People are frustrated by the unchanging political status quo, high unemployment, cheating and bribery and favouritism. We pray that in this climate the young people will have the strength and vision of Christ and REFUSE to turn to crime, prostitution and violence as their way ahead. We pray for the Student Ministry movements to be effective and for schools and universities to lay a foundation thereby, for a fruitful future.

8. Pray for Less Reached People Groups: Muslims are a majority in 59 people groups. Also the many peoples among the Mandara Mountains need to hear the Word, as some breakthroughs are occurring. The Baka/Pygmies in the southeastern forests – are being reached at last, pray for a hearing amidst their animist ways. The northern plans people are being pressured by Islam – pray for inroads of freedom in the gospel to be a truly appealing contrast.

9. A missionary growth of interest and of contributors to the great task of Bible Translation and mobilisation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





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.





Burundi

3 04 2013

Situated south of its ‘twin’ Rwanda, it is a mountainous, fertile country on the northeast shore of Lake Tanganyika.

Burundi-Map

Capital: Bujumbura has 480,000 people, and is the major city, in this African nation.  Burundi has the second highest population density in Africa.

Life expectancy is 50.1 years and some 38% of the population are under 15 years of age.

Language: They are a Kirundi-speaking people (98%), with the split like this: Hutu 83.6% and Tutsi 13.6%, and the Twa Pygmies 1% are neglected by the other groups. Also some others, small percentages: Congolese, Lingala, Arab, French (an official language); also English usage is widespread.

Freedom of Religion.

Christian                         90.46%

Muslim                                5.5%

Ethnoreligionist               3.8 %

Baha’i                                  0.08%

Economy:   ‘Landlocked and overcoming decades of conflict’ (OM, p. 181), Burundi is in a lot of debt and as such, is heavily dependent on outside aid.

Exports: Tea and Coffee, Mineral Resources – largely unexplored. Soil erosion is a major problem, due to over-crowding. A very poor nation.

Recent History:  For 400 years the minority Tutsi’s had Lordship over the majority Hutu people. Independence from Belgium cam in 1962, and the Tutsi constitutional monarchy was replaced by a military Tutsi regime.  Burundi has had an appalling human rights record, but peaceful democratic elections in recent years (2005, 2010) have helped to establish better community relationships.

Prayer Points:

1. The socio-political situation is one of cautious hope, amid a fragile peace.  A violent eruption claimed 300,000 lives in the 1990’s.

2. The President is a former leader of a rebel Hutu group. He is a Christian man. Pray for him to give wise leadership.

3. There is a surplus of firearms – leading to crimes of armed robbery.

4. There is a lot of corruption. Pray for the gospel to bring lasting change in hearts and activities.

5. The Church had experienced great revival in the 1950’s, and is recognised as the crucial institution for reconciliation.

6. Leadership in the churches is in short supply. Pray for the Bible schools and Christian universities, and Modular training programmes.

7. The Twa Pygmies are socially marginalized, and their health and educational prospects are grim; but there are Christians among them. Pray for their future.

8. The Burundian Refugee population. “Over 12% of all Burundians were displaced by genocide, many for more than 5 years (Tanzania). For restoration.

9. Most Christians have no idea how to minister to the rapidly growing Islamic population. Pray for new outreach to Muslim peoples.

10. Children. Over half a million children have lost at least one parent. Malaria and AIDS are also problematic. Violence is common. School is needed for all. Pray for ministries to children by the NGO’s and other groups to be established and growing.

11. There is a genuine need for expatriate Christian workers to return, after all were expelled from the nation.

12. Christian media. There is a great shortfall of bibles and Christian literature. Illiteracy is 58% among adults.

Dear Lord Jesus, Risen from the grave, please draw people to yourself in Burundi, and give the Churches fresh leadership and renewed vision for the deep work of reconciliation. May this take place not merely politically, but in the heart of this people. We pray for reconciliation in the Cross of Christ, to be understood to be unto their One Heavenly Father, One Lord, One Spirit, One Faith, One Hope, One Future –  and may they all be baptised into a new unity in sharing life and building up the nation. Help them Lord to tap into their mineral wealth, and not to be exploited. We pray for forgiveness to be known between Hutu and Tutsi people, and love to grow for the Twa Pygmies. 





Burkina Faso

26 03 2013

A land-locked African country of 17 million people. One of the world’s poorest countries.

Capital: Ouagadougou 1.9 million.

Water-carryingsBurkina Faso

Cotton is the main cash crop. About 90% of the population rely on subsistence agriculture, which is vulnerable to drought. Can you imagine?

Gold and other mineral resources are in the land, and signal possibilities of increased wealth.

High national debt and low levels of education make progress difficult.

Political History, Briefly: Independent of France in 1960, but with 6 coups since 1966, with ‘the military’ in power often; multiparty democracy has been introduced.

Religion: Muslim 52.2%;  Ethnoreligious 26.44%;  Christian 20.69%;  Non-religious 0.65%;  Baha’i 0.02%

Churches:

  • Roman Catholic                                1.08 million;
  • Assemblies Of God                           611,732
  • CMA                                                      28,200
  • Evangelical Church Association  25,926
  • Reformed                                              10,825
  • Apostolic Church                               12,500
  • Baptist … and others…. less

The increase of Christianity, particularly evangelicals over recent decades has been very promising.  The AoG have a strong missionary vision, and many have been converts from Muslim backgrounds.

Prayer Points:

1. Poverty: pray for Aid, development and micro-finance and micro-enterprise that will actually life the people out of poverty rather than create further dependence. Pray against corruption in the government and the aid industry that siphons resources away from the people most in need of it; pray for creative solutions to this longstanding problem.

2. The many Burkinabe’ – (information from OW) “…who emerge for work. An estimated three million Burkinabe’ worked in Cote d’Ivoire before violence broke out there in 2002. Large numbers fled back to Burkina Faso, but are now returning to Cote d’Ivoire. As many as 70% of these emigre’s convert to Islam while away from home. Burkina churches are taking up the challenge by sending pastors and missionaries to reach these Burkinabe abroad, especially AoG, CMA and WEC, but more are needed.

3. Rapid Urbanisation continues as subsistence agriculture and traditional rural life proves inadequate to support families or to keep young people occupied.

4. The spirit world is very real in Burkina Faso, where as the saying goes: ‘the population is 50% Muslim, 20% Christian and 100% animist’. The power of the occult needs to be decisively challenged and broken, to see that Jesus Christ is Lord. “Few countries in West Africa are more dominated by idolatry, fetishism and secret societies. Even in churches, occult power is wielded, hampering and polluting the message of Christ” (OM).

5. The evangelical churches need leadership and unity.

6. The unreached include 27 people groups (nations). 17 of these are Muslim. The challenges are huge … (see page 179 Operation World). 

7. Missionaries and a strong Mission Vision.

8. Christian Aid and Relief – adds credibility to the message of Christ, in significant ways here.

9. Young People: Street kids are increasingly common. Student ministry, and educational ministry, is crucial to reach many too.

10. Bible Translation: help!

11. Media Ministries. Pray for the fruitfulness of the Radio broadcasting of the gospel into remote areas.

12. Preaching of the Cross: pray for a clear proclamation and revelation of Christ crucified, Christ risen as the Holy Spirit awakens many to the truth.





Bulgaria

20 03 2013

A Balkan state adjoining Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia and Romania.

Bulgaria: 7.5 million people. Capital: Sofia  1.2 million people.

Features: Corruption!!! Organised Crime Syndicates. Poverty. Divorce rampant. Abortion: more than live births.

History and Politics:  Operation World says: “A nation since the 5th Century, but rarely independent; Ruled by the Ottoman Empire 1396-1878; severe Communist rule 1947-1989. multiparty democracy instituted in 1990. Entry into the EU — finalised in 2007 — drove the liberalisation of the nation’s politics and economy”.

Economy: Rapid industrialisation under communist rule; minerals and manufacturing are important. Essential economic reforms begun in 1997 stabilised the economy. Mass privatisation and foreign investment in real estate, tourism, IT and communication changed the Bulgarian economy and labour market. High unemployment in rural areas led to over 200,000 emigrating to seek jobs. Reforms in education, healthcare and regional development are the greatest challenges. Poor public administration, corruption and strong organised crime networks obstruct progress. (O.W. Prayer Guide)

Prayer Points: 

We give thanks for the transformation from a harsh spiritual repressiveness, in the 1980’s to a relatively open country, even to some extent, for evangelical Christians, today. In the 1990’s the number of evangelical and charismatic believers grew significantly. And so we pray:

1. For gospel transformation to bring forgiveness for a troubled past, and new possibilities – even to overcome crime and corruption. May light shine amidst the darkness and expel it.

2.  For the Orthodox Church to experience genuine waves of renewal, and reconciliation of rifts, due to political alliances with the Communist regime, that caused deep fragmentation.

3. For the Evangelical Alliance (BEA) to assist in encouraging and developing a common voice, crucial for wider growth.

4. For a real impact to be made by The Bulgarian body of Christ wherever racial tensions abound.

5. For Sofia, the only large city to have more new churches planted and established.  And for the 2,500 villages without any evangelical churches, to be the objects of the Spirit’s work in prayer and work.

6. For the consolidation of church growth: Leadership, discernment of error (there are many cults and heretical groups), for support for new indigenous agencies, for country-wide vision among leaders and planners.

7. For Cross-cultural missions to Turkey, India, and Zimbabwe to be fruitful learning experiences for the local church in Bulgaria.

8. For Bulgaria’s 900,000 Muslims. Islam’s legacy is significant, with many teachers and propagation continuing.

9. For Ethnic minorities, who have suffered severely at times: Trouble has been generated for centuries among Balkan, Slavic and Turkish peoples.

Pray for (a) the Rumelian Turks in the east who deeply resented Communist attempts to Bulgarize them in the 1980s, (b) the Millet, a gypsy minority, (c) the Romani – despised as those at the bottom of the social order – very illiterate, many involved in the occult, crime and gambling. More than 20,000 have turned to the Lord, mainly through the Pentecostals, Baptists and Church of God, (d) Bulgarian-speaking Muslims in the south, rejected by both Bulgarians (religion) and Turks (language) – only a handful of congregations exist among them.

10. For Foreign Missionaries , who often find it a “tricky place”, but are still needed in the field, finances needed too.

11. For Ministry to Young People.

12. Christian Media Ministries.

13. For lasting fruit, from LiteratureBible Translation, Christian Radio and TV, and Other media.

 

 





Brunei

4 03 2013

State of Brunei Darussalam, Asia.

Two small enclaves on the island of Borneo, separated by the East Malaysian state of Sarawak [details from Operation World].

Tropical. 70% Forest, with heavy rainfall.

People: Malay – 69.6%  Chinese – 15.6%  Other – 14.8%

Economy: One of the richest states in Asia, with free education and health care, no income tax for most and heavily subsidised housing, fuel and staple food.  Hydrocarbons account for 90% of exports, but proven deposits could be exhausted as early as 2020. Recent disasters in investment and a need for economic diversification have spurred eco-tourism and a push for self-sufficiency in rice growing.

Politics: Refused to join the Malaysian Federation in 1963. A Protectorate of Britain until full independence in 1983.

The Sultan of Brunei: Hassanal Bolkiah is the current Sultan, and he rules as an Absolute Monarch, maintaining the tradition of a Muslim monarchy that dates back to the 15th century. A legislative council is appointed by the Sultan.  Wikipedia says:

“The Sultan has one of the world’s largest and most expensive car collections, numbering in the thousands. Some brands, including Ferrari and Rolls-Royce, make new cars exclusively for the Sultan that are not sold or advertised to the public. The Sultan’s involvement in the sports includes playing Pologolfbadminton. He also enjoys race car driving, piloting helicopters and aircraft. He is also very fond of gold as he has a Rolls-Royce coated with 24k gold.”

Religion: Islam is the State Religion. Constitutional guarantees for the free practice of other religions are not always adhered to.

Muslim      65.31%

Christian   11.39%

Buddhist    8.9%

Ethnoreligionist 6.6%

Chinese      5.3%

Non religious  1.5%

Hindu        0.73%

Baha’i        0.24%

Other          0.03%

Prayer Points:

1. “Islam dominates life in Brunei, with a brand that is conservative, but not radical.  Islamization by financial and career inducements as well as by general pressure to convert or conform has yielded a slow but steady trickle of converts from among the tribal and Chinese minorities.  Despite constitutional guaranteed religious freedom, it is illegal to proselytize and illegal for a Muslim to convert to another religion. Other religions are often infiltrated by government agents for monitoring purposes. Pray for an atmosphere of religious freedom and spiritual openness and for the observance of the constitutional right for other religions to be practiced. ”

2. The Sultan is alleged to be the world’s second wealthiest royal. The Sultan is reluctant to diversify the economy and liberalise the government structures, believing that the external influences might destabilise the country. Yet, he has established a world class university and is working toward a smooth handover to the crown prince.  Pray for conversions to Christ in the large royal family; the Sultan has shown evidence of becoming increasingly spiritual. Pray also that in following him, the Sultan’s subjects might seek after spiritual truth and in doing so find Jesus.

3. The Christian Church exists under very difficult conditions. Evangelism is illegal, and although the number of Christians grows, no new registrations for churches are forthcoming. No foreign Christian workers are permitted – visiting ministers must arrive unannounced and in secret.  Importing Bibles and Christian literature is illegal for ministry purposes, but not for personal purposes.  Religious instruction in all schools, including the six Christian schools, is on Islam alone.

Pray for (a) Perseverance, boldness and unity among local Christians, (b) Christian leadership: all are ‘lay’ leaders, most with little training, (c)  Numerical growth to continue, despite restrictions.

4. Mission groups are praying for an opening for the work of the Kingdom of God. Pray for creative ‘means’ to be given.

5. The unreached: The Malay majority, the Chinese, Tribal peoples, and the expatriate workforce who ‘will inevitably grow’. Pray that this potential inroad may prove fruitful and the Word of Christ Jesus, and his freedom, may come to the people of Brunei.

Brunei 1 Brunei 2

 

Royals - The Sultan Spectacular Buiding





British Virgin Islands

15 02 2013

A most beautiful place in the Caribbean. And a tax haven. Temperatures of 32 degree maximum in summer, and 29 degrees in winter, with this tropical climate moderated by the Trade Winds. With a 45.3 inch annual rainfall, there is also a hurricane season.

There are 15 inhabited islands, amidst an archipelago totalling 60 coralline and volcanic islands. They are the most northeastern of the Leeward Islands.

People: A high percentage were foreign born, 88.8% African Caribbean, 6.9% Euro-American, 3.1% East Indian, and English is the official language.

Economy: Tourism and offshore finance dominate the economy. Over 550,000 companies are registered here, with all the consequent implications of being a tax haven.

Population:   27, 000

Capital:       Road Town  9,600 people.

File:Roadtown,_Tortola

Road Town is situated on by far the largest island, Tortola (20km x 5km).

History: In 1672 the English captured Tortola  Island from the Dutch.

Religion: There is freedom.

Christian            84.94%

Other                    7.29

Non-Religion        5.3%

Muslim               0.88%

Largest Christian Church: Methodist – 2,865 members [5,500 Affiliates]

Other Churches: Anglican, Seventh Day Adventist, Church of the Nazarene, Catholic, Baptist, Others…

Motto: “Where there is no vision, the people will perish”.

In this ‘Paradise’ [as in all of them in this world], there is corruption, and there is crime. Interestingly most of the population profess to be Christian, and church attendance is high. However, apparently ‘the fruit of faith is not evident‘ (OW, p. 171).

Prayer: That Christian lifestyles would be consistent with the confession of faith, that a move of the Holy Spirit may awaken people to give thanks and praise to God for such a blessed home, and for the gift of eternal life, and hope of redemption for all creation, and to pray for the mercy of God’s love in Jesus Christ to reach a needy world.

 





British Indian Ocean Territory

6 02 2013

This is mainly the Chagos Archipelago in the central Indian Ocean. It refers however, to 55 islands across 54,000 sq km of ocean.

Population: 2, 000

(At present approximately 4,000 US and UK military personnel as well as civilian private contractors (mostly from Mauritius and Philippines).

Politics:

“The original islanders were removed to Mauritius to make way for opening the island of Diego Garcia as a strategic US/UK military base. Financial compensation was paid to both Mauritius and the Chagossians. Resettlement back to Diego Garcia is complicated due to the US’s exclusive military lease of the island from the UK government, which administers the territory. Although the UK High Court granted the islanders the right of return in 2006 in 2008 the UK government appealed this decision and the UK House of Lords upheld the appeal Islanders still cannot return to their traditional homelands.”  * Operation World, [Ed.] Jason Mandryk, p. 169  (See under Mauritius).

It would appear that a large injustice is being perpetuated here in the Indian Ocean, but the UK Government.

Recent Headline: “Britain must end its sordid treatment of the Chagossian people now” (Geoffrey Robertson).

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jun/08/britain-end-sordid-treatment-chagossian-people

Prayer: Gracious Father, Lord of all Nations, we pray for the original people of Chagos Island, that they may have their homeland restored to them, and that, by the Spirit’s influence upon them, the British parliament will act justly and fairly towards them. May the power of the Risen Christ be at work in their midst. Amen.

File:Diego_garcian

A Chagossian and his final coconut harvest, photographed at the time of the first United States encampment (1971).

The following is taken from Wikipedia:

People:

The Chagossian people’s ancestry is mostly of African heritage, particularly coming fromMadagascarMozambique and other African nations including Mauritius. There is also a significant proportion of Indian and Malay ancestry.[1][full citation needed] The French brought some to the Chagos islands as slaves from Mauritius in 1786. Others arrived as fishermen, farmers, and coconut plantation workers during the 19th century.

The Chagossians speak Chagossian Creole, a mix of Indigenous languages and French-based creole language and part of the Bourbonnais Creole family. Chagossian Creole is still spoken by some of their descendants in Mauritius and the Seychelles. Chagossian people living in the UK speak English.

The Archipelago later passed to the control of the United Kingdom and came to form part of theColony of Mauritius.

 





Brazil

5 02 2013

 

 

 

Rio - Brazil

 

This statue of “Christ the Redeemer” overlooks the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, in South America.

Capital: Brasilia 3.9 million.

Other Huge Cities: Sao Paulo 20.3 million; Rio de Janeiro 12m, Belo Horizonte 5. 9m, Porto Alegre 4.1m, Salvador 3.9m

Brazil (to my surprise) is the world’s 5th largest country in both area and population. We do not hear much of Brazil in Australia. Perhaps that is because the official Language is Portugese, and we are just quite unfamiliar with it.

The Operation World Prayer Guide says: “Brazil is a melting pot of nations, with much intermarriage and blending of the many immigrant ethnicities. Most Brazilians have at least some mixed ethnic heritage”.

Peoples:

1. European 50.2% including world’s largest diaspora of Portugese, Italian and Spanish people. 2nd largest German dispersion.

2. Mixed Race 38% Mestizo and Mulatto.

3. African 6.4%

4. Asian 5.6%

5. Amerindian 0.41%  275 indigenous tribal groups speaking 185 different languages. Wow!

Economy

Vast natural resources and a huge labour force combine to produce an emerging superpower, especially in agriculture.  A major challenge will be to increase agricultural space without wrecking the precious Amazon and Pantanal ecosystems. 

Religion: Freedom. Large Catholic bias. Christian 91.4%. Ethno-religionist 5.4%. Non-religious 2.24%. Muslim 0.29%. Other…

Answer to Prayer: The sustained increase of evangelicos (from 2 million in 1960 to 512 million in 2010). Wow!  Brazil is one of the largest evangelical populations in the world, with a massive missionary Movement. They have large scale events celebrating Jesus!

Challenges to Prayer: Corruption, Poverty, Crime Racial problems, Catholicism in crisis – a desperate shortage of Priests.

Liberation Theology, Prosperity Theology, Theological Disagreement, 4,000 distinct Evangelical Groups:

The problems and prayer-points and diversity of fruitfulness, need and mixture of all sorts of dynamics make this place most difficult to assess. Except to say that the Christian faith is alive and well, and the church is making a significant impact on the society.

Interesting note: “Brazil’s most widely sold books are about magic, the occult and psycho-graphed (dictated by the dead) books. Evangelicals are not avid consumers of Christian books, despite there being many Christian publishing houses. Pray for more Christian books that will resonate with the Brazilian mentality to both disciple Christians and challenge non-Christians” (OW, p. 168-169).

Internet: “This is an increasingly vital part of effective young people’s ministry in particular.”

Happy Days Brazil. I would love to visit!

Ah South America!

Ah South America!

 

 

 





Botswana

4 02 2013

Capital: Gaborone, with a population of 201,000.

The Kalahari Desert covers 80% of the total area of this African Country. Understandably it is very dry and prone to severe droughts.  Life expectancy is a mere 53.4 years.

People: 95.4% are Bantu. Others: San (Bushmen) – 2.8%, Zimbabwean, South African, Asian, British.

Language: English, and Setswana.

Politics: A stable democracy (very rare in Africa), independence from Britain in 1966.

Economy: Diamonds, copper, nickel, gold, beef, and tourism are good exports and industries.

Religion: Complete Freedom.  Christian 65.56% with Ethno-religionist 32.6% [note: tiny make-up of Muslim 0.45%]

imgres-2hippo-yawn-5

Baobab Trees, Meerkats, Rhinos, Giraffes, Lions – lots of enjoyment among the creation in this part of Africa.

Prayer Points:

1. Praise first: Economic Growth is steady, corruption rare, freedom of religion and a multiparty democracy is the norm. Biblical influence: Wow.

2. ‘The Tswana people were the first Bantu people in Africa to respond to the gospel. several tribes turned to God in the 19th Century through the LMS from England. Other ministries followed. Today, the majority of Tswana are Christian in name. Sadly, there is widespread immorality, drunkenness and a breakdown of the traditional family structure, including a high proportion of illegitimate children. Other less numerous groups resent the Tswana’s socio-political influence in Botswana.  Pray for a reversal of the moral decline and for renewal among the Tswana.

3. AIDS has devastated the country. Botswana has the world’s second-highest prevalence of AIDS after Swaziland – spread by sexual promiscuity. 28 yrs loss of life expectancy. Over 100,000 AIDS orphans exist in the country. Staggering.

4. Pray for Ministry to the Less-reached peoples:

a. The Kalanga – under cultural domination from the Tswana.

b. The Yeyi (20,000 in the Okavango Delta)

c. The Nambya (15,000 in the northeast)

d. The San – have suffered almost complete destruction of their desert-adapted way of life, due to ranching, mining and tourism. No longer nomadic at all, but resettled in towns and villages. ‘Response is slow but several thousand San may now be Christian in about 20 congregations through the efforts of a dozen agencies. Pray the Lord will help them adapt to the changing world.

e. The Mbukushu and Herero peoples fled the Okavngo Delta due to civil war, and violence spilling out of Angola. Pray for their congregations to flourish.

5. Pray for Ministry to Young People, given the lowered life expectancy and high teen pregnancy, and the impact of AIDS. Pray for AIDS prevention through good discipleship.





Bosnia

23 01 2013

Bosnia and Herzegovina, is a mountainous Balkan state situated amidst the nations of Serbia, Montenegro and Croatia.

Capital: Sarajevo. Population: 3,750,000. Language: Bosnian

The shameful war in the early 1990’s shattered this beautiful country, and devastated the once effective agrarian infrastructure.

Politics: It is helpful to hear the story: “Bosnia separated from Serbia in AD 960 and, during the 500-year Turkish occupation, many Bosnians became Muslim.  WW2 saw hundreds of thousands of Serbs exterminated by Croat and Bosniak Nazi collaborators. The breakup of Yugoslavia led to a Croat-Muslim alliance in support of independence in March 1992, which was swiftly and militarily contested by the Serb minority.  The three-sided war among Serbians, Croatians and Bosnians caused immense damage, loss of life, displacement of millions and wartime atrocities (most notably by Serbs upon Bosniaks). The war ended in 1995 with no winner and the nation partitioned between the Serb Republic and the Croat-Muslim Federation.  Real power lies with NATO and international agencies, trying to orchestrate a transition to a feasible post-war arrangement.” (Operation World)

And one more point: “Ethno-nationalistic religious confessions replaced communism as the prevailing ideology”.

Communist Background: April 7, 1963, the new Yugoslav constitution proclaimed Tito to be the president “for life” of the newly named Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Tito’s dictatorial leadership swiftly suppressed opponents.Image

Points for Prayer:

1. VIOLENCE: Forgiveness alone, can address the deep-seated anger over so much violence. Justice must flow, with reconciliation, for war-crimes so horrendous they are difficult to comprehend.

2. POVERTY: Economic transformation needed to address poverty, which is endemic.

3. ENTRENCHED RELIGION: Freedom in Christ is the only hope of liberating entrenched ‘religious communities’. 

4. GOOD NEWS: Creative means for sharing: The Alpha Course has helped to share Christ’s love. New means are needed continually. Broadcasts, Jesus film, etc.

5. Expatriate Christian input: is needed for believers in Bosnia, in order to bring the good news to their nation.  Pray for effective networking for the gospel’s sake.

6. The unreached are many.

(1) Bosniak Muslims.

(2) Orthodox Serbs: Islamic Rule for 500 years has made them bitter, and angry.

(3) The largely Muslim Romani (Gypsy) and the wholly Muslim Turks.

(4) The students. Note: “Among 30,000 tertiary students (the majority in Sarajevo), there are fewer than 40 believers.  Young people are very pessimistic – “more than 60% want to leave the country”. Pray that youth and ‘brains’ will come to know Christ, and remain in the nations to serve, with hope, for the future.





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.

 





Bhutan

20 11 2012

The Kingdom of BhutanDruk Yul (is the land of the Dragon).

Population:  708, 484  Capital: Thimpu

It is a landlocked nation in Asia, and is situated in the eastern Himalaya Mountains, with China to the north, India to the south, and India also to the south west – with Bangladesh and Nepal, not far away. The country is governed by an autocratic and benign Buddhist monarchy, with a kind-of docile parliament, increasingly open to democratic principles.

A little fact: ‘Around 23% live in poverty, but Bhutan is rated one of the world’s happiest countries’

However,

‘the state religion is Vajrayana Buddhism — Lamaistic Buddhism influenced by Bon (pre-Buddhist animism). Other religions are barely tolerated foreign intrusions. Proselytism and incitement to convert are illegal. Church buildings are not allowed, and Christians are not privy to many of the state benefits available to Buddhists, such as free education.’ (Operation World, p. 151)

“Bhutan is one of the world’s least evangelised nations” (Operation World).

Most of the few hundred Christians among the Tibetan/Himalayan peoples are scattered and in small fellowships, and have faced ‘varying degrees of persecution and social ostracism’. Among the 5 largest peoples (Dzongkha, Tshangla, Lepcha, Kheng and Gurung), only the Lepcha have a significant number of Christians among them.

Prayer in focus:

Dear Lord, we pray for the gospel to come to each of these ethnic groups in a vital and dynamic way. We also pray for the Nepali population—who have suffered what amounts to ethnic cleansing since 1990, by the Buddhist Bhutanese majority. We pray for mercy and a future, for the 150,000 who huddle in a UN refugee camp in south east-Nepal, having been expelled from Bhutan.  As the number of believers grow, may their circumstances improve for freedom and re-settlement. We pray that the Christians in Bhutan may make a wise, gracious,fruitful contribution to their nation, and that the Church may find acceptance among the nation, for good.  We pray for the sensitive contribution of ministries as they seek to bring a knowledge of the love and grace of God, in Christ jesus, to the people.  May the activity of the Indian believers in distributing literature and the Word continue to become a great blessing. We pray for the raising up of translators willing to work in the translation of the Bible into indigenous languages. We pray for the work of the gospel at ‘the borders’ to become a helpful way for people to hear the gospel. May the JESUS film continue to be a means of sharing the story of Jesus, the Saviour of the world.





Bermuda

3 11 2012

Area: a mere 54 square kilometres. About 200 islands in the North Atlantic.

Capital: Hamilton 11,600.

“Its superb climate and geographical position make it a tourist paradise and a lucrative tax haven for many offshore companies”.

Public Debt: 2.2% of GDP.

Income/person: $90,015 (197% of USA).        […Yep, they are extremely wealthy in Bermuda]

Politics: A dependent territory of the UK. A stable self-governing parliamentary democracy, but the largest government apparatus per citizen in the world.

Religion: Freedom of religion.

Population: 65,000

Religions:  Christian 90.54%, Non-religious 6.7%, Ethnoreligious 2.1%, Baha’i 0.60%, Buddhist 0.04%, Jewish .02%

Prayer Points:

1. ‘The world’s wealthiest Black majority territory still faces challenges. The disparity of wealth and the ageing population will test the practical righteousness of the churches as will the influx of immigrants from poorer Caribbean nations. Gang-related violence has rapidly escalated in recent years. Pray for a godly response to these issues’.

2. ‘Bermuda is an earthly paradise, and Christianity is a strong part of its heritage. Sadly, the appearance of religion takes priority over genuine spirituality. Pray for revival that brings lifestyle in line with biblical knowledge’.

3. ‘The Church’s impact is blunted by a failure to work together… Pray for genuine unity and collaboration for effective ministry in Bermuda and beyond’.

* All quotes taken from Operation World, p. 150-151

Quirky bit… ah of course, ‘The Bermuda Triangle’.

“The real mystery of the Bermuda Triangle is why so many debunked theories were accepted as fact.”  haha

 





Benin

31 10 2012
  • Witch doctors.
  • Voodoo.
  • Animism.
  • People-smuggling.
  • Black market.
  • Corruption.
  • Syncretism.

Consider Benin. A republic in Africa of only 9.3 million people, situated between Togo and Nigeria. It is a nation with complete freedom of religion. It became Independent from France in 1960. “After seven coups and one Marxist regime, a democracy was formed in 1991. The government has since remained stable and witnessed a smooth transition via elections from the previous president to its current one.

This is one of the world’s poorest countries. Agriculture is key to the economy, but the movement is towards rapid urbanisation. It trades heavily with neighbour Nigeria. Cotton accounts for half of the GDP. Income per person is $828.

Christians with a heart for mission and language translation, please note: this is probably the least evangelised non-Muslim country in Africa, with many unreached peoples. Pray for ministry of the knowledge of Jesus Christ and his resurrection power at work in the world, to reach:

1. The Fon – voodoo still permeates their lives.

2. The Gbe – includes 19 southern peoples from the Kwa/Guinean grouping.

3. The Ede Nago – located on the southern border with Nigeria – no Scripture in their tongue.

4. Muslim peoples – in the far northern prt of the nation,

5. The Fulbe (Fula) – several thousand came to Christ through Western (SIM, AoG) and indigenous ministries.

6. The 1.3 million urbanites of the cities of Porto-Novo (Capital), Cotonou and Parakou.

So, much to consider, hey?

  • Responsiveness to the gospel is high in many places.
  • More workers are absolutely vital.
  • Bible Translation remains a pressing need: Nearly half of Benin’s languages are without a Bible or even a NT.
  • Media opportunities abound: Radio, TV, the JESUS film, audio recordings on CD and MP3.

The country is a long narrow piece of land. The official language is French.

Religious make-up:

  • Christian                   40%
  • Ethno-religionist    36%
  • Muslim                      23%
  • Other                            1%





Belize

30 10 2012

Belize, is a Latin American country bordered by Mexico, Guatemala and the Caribbean Sea. It has the world’s second-largest coral barrier reef.

ImageImageImageImage

Belize has a population of 314,000 and, although made up of people of very mixed descent, it is nevertheless 83% Christian, even if a syncretist thrust exists (It was formerly British Honduras). It has a large public debt, mostly laboring jobs, and a high cost of living. Ecotourism is the main income stream, but as the reef slowly dies, what will be of the economy? Desire to tap the oil reserves in the pristine jungle will come under huge pressure in the approaching years.

Problems, calling forth prayer:

1. Syncretism and Legalism. Mayan paganism and Garifuna black magic go into “the mix”.

2. HIV/AIDS is a serious threat, with infections rising at a disturbing rate.

3. Belize is an ‘over evangelised nation’. Unity is an uphill battle. Endless visits from ‘Christian Mission-trippers’ has unfortunately, often not helped.

4.Most Pastors work bi-vocationally, but have need of renewal in training.

Dear Christ Jesus, Lord of the Church, and redeemer of creation, by your Spirit renew the minds and hearts of the the Belize Christians, that they may see clearly the mission before them, of proclaiming a true and gracious Word to the community in which they live. Give them a fresh dynamism in the faith which is theirs, and strengthen them to be people of hope with good things to say and do. May the churches see anew that there is one God and Father of us all, one Lord, one faith, one baptism and one great gospel given to the human race. Help the leaders to shake off all dabbling in the old occult-driven ways. May the ministries of mercy to those in poverty, issue in renewed vigour to the life of the local church. Amen.





Belgium

20 10 2012

Two facts I knew about Belgium:

(1) They like horse meat. Living at Peterborough, South Australia, we were aware of the local abattoir being the destination for horses that had no future ‘use’ (remember that you slow ‘Melbourne Cup nags’). I asked where the horse meat was being exported to… ‘Belgium’ came the answer. They eat it.

(2) “Belgians in the Congo”. Billy Joel sang it in ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’! In 2002 the Belgium Government apologised for their 1961 assassination of the Congo’s first Prime Minister, and made way for repairing the abuse of colonial power with— reconciliation.

Now for some other insights. 62.7% of the Belgian population are listed as Christian. 32% non-religious, 4% Muslim and some others. There are only 10.5 million people here at ‘The Crossroads of Western Europe’.  Feature: politics is at a bit of a deadlock, but, with ‘Liberal social policies consistently pursued to a degree only matched by the Netherlands’. Interpret this as, ‘kind-of-on the downward slide’ in lots of ways.

There are genuine enthusiastic believers among the populace, many of whom are recent immigrants. Catholicism is in rapid decline.

It is a deeply divided nation, with (1) Latin/Romance and (2) Germanic worlds, with further (3) immigrant cultural world-views.  Walloons-Flemish rivalry and resentments colour the use of language, the economy, politics, religious life and viewpoints of the world about them.

We pray that the church may become a profound example of unity to the wider society. 

  • “The Bible has been reintroduced to Belgian society after many years of being discouraged, even banned by the Catholic Church before 1960.”
  • “Spiritually, Belgium isone of the most needy countries in Europe, with great spiritual apathy and faith largely banished from the public sphere”.
  • “Brussels is a strategic city” (The Capital). 32% Foreigners. 8% Evangelical. 13% Muslim. Over 45 nationalities of 1,000 or more.
  • Pray for the student work among 250,000 students over 17 different Universities.




Belarus

29 09 2012

Minsk is the capital city of Belarus, with a population of 1.8 million people. The country has 9.58 million and people numbers are falling! 

Belarus is a land-locked nation, still deeply influenced by the by autocratic Communist ways—having been dominated by Russia for centuries. It is often called ‘Europe’s last dictatorship’. It is surrounded by Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.

Belarus was deeply affected by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster with 20% of the nation’s land being affected  and 2 million people uprooted and thousands died of radiation-induced cancer. Sadly, many children became of have become orphans, as the terrible nuclear health issues continue to affect this portion of God’s world. Pray for the mercies of the Lord, healing and help, to reach the most needy children and orphans.

The gospel is affecting this nation in spite of oppressive government ways, which show favour, and give precedence towards the established Orthodox and Catholic slavic churches—and make it difficult to even invite in speakers and Christian teachers  and evangelists from other nations.

“The state steadfastly maintains laws that forbid meeting in homes for worship, forming congregations of less than 20 people, opening religious schools, ministering outside of the home city, and importing and distributing non-state-approved literature. All religious activity must receive state permission” (Operation World, p. 140).

We pray for the Lord to raise up local Belarus Christian leaders, alive to the Spirit’s leading and able to stir anew the hope of their own people through the spoken Word. For renewal and reformation within the ancient confessing Christian communities. For the continued fruitful work of the Bible Society. With their successful completion in 2009 of a Belarusian Bible not only is the word going forth in the Russian language, but also in BelarusianWe also pray for increasing freedom from old political pressures, and a growing sense of national identity. 

As with many struggling European nations there is a beauty in the creation, which is stunning:





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





Argentina

13 08 2012

The Capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires City, has some 13 million people.

The nation is over 40 million, and the Latin American republic is primarily made up of Hispanic people – 79.1%.

And can you believe, there are as many as 1 million illegal immigrants living there from other Latin American countries.

The official language is Spanish, with 25 other Indigenous Languages spoken too. These are a highly educated people, with great agricultural production in beef, soybeans, wheat and corn.

  • “Inept governments took the nation from one of the world’s richest in 1900 to almost total economic meltdown” (OM). A strong recovery has occurred since 2001, but a high rate of poverty and unemployment among the poor, continues.
  • 89% Christian, primarily Catholic. But evangelicals enjoy respect and freedom.
  • Renewal of Christian faith and large scale evangelism has deeply affected the nation since 1983. Revival has occurred in Olmos High security prison, with half of the 3,000 inmates, now Christian.  It has spread, as one might imagine.
  • There is a 200,000-strong Jewish community – one of the world’s largest: highly secularized and prosperous.
  • The sophisticated upper class are hard to reach with the gospel.
  • There are up to 500,000 slum dwellers.
  • The missionary vision of the nation Church is growing and maturing, and it possess great potential to make Argentina a great sending nation.
  • One of their great, well know Liberation theologians was Dr. José Miguez Bonino.

http://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/general-secretary/tributes/jose-miguez-bonino.html








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