“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Romans 12:20 (NIV)
Europe, Middle East and North Africa
Britain: Call the Midwife and FGM
Mission partner Ann-Marie Wilson writes about FGM and the TV programme Call the Midwife:
“Call the Midwife is a very popular BBC programme, at the heart of which is the Christian Community of Nonnatus House. In the next episode, the storyline follows a pregnant Somali woman who had undergone FGM. Whilst I haven’t seen the programme, I am encouraged by the bravery of the writers in tackling such a difficult topic within a mainstream TV programme. I am heartened by the fact that this will highlight the issue of FGM and bring it to the attention of many people who would not otherwise have heard about it.
“Please join me in praying that this will help FGM survivors to speak out and for others to be more sensitive in how to approach this difficult issue.”
Malta: Give thanks for prayers being answered…
Mission partners Doug and Jacqui Marshall, based in Malta, write with a lovely story of hope through prayer:
“I asked recently for prayer for a Somali man who I disciple, as he was coming to his wits end over his work situation. His employer had continually under-paid him and over-worked him, something which the company is known for and yet never seems to face justice for. We prayed two weeks ago for new employment, and that it would be imminent. A few days later, a former colleague called him and asked if he wanted the same type of job, in a different firm. He accepted. This is the second time we have prayed for his employment situation to change immediately, and it has. So let’s praise God for his ways and timings, his faithfulness to us, even when we are unfaithful.”
Britain: Year-end audit
Charlie Walker, CMS’s finance and corporate services director, writes asking for prayer: “Please pray for the finance team and year-end process to go really smoothly as we prepare for the audit at the end of March.”
Pakistan: Recent terror attacks
A mission partner, F, based in Pakistan writes with an urgent prayer request:
“Please pray for Pakistan which has faced a wave of terror attacks across the country recently, leaving over 100 dead. Pray for an effective response to terrorism and safety for ordinary people going about their business. Please also pray for me as I travel to another city to teach at a theological college for two weeks, and try to write a Theological Education by Extension (TEE) course on the same subject, as well as preparing for two course writers’ training workshops coming up next month. There is still much to do in preparation so please pray.”
Malaysia: A visit from Philip Mounstephen and Charles Clayton
As we mentioned last week, CMS’s executive leader, Philip Mounstephen, and Charles Clayton, CMS’s chair of trustees, flew to Kuala Lumpur yesterday (23 February) to meet their counterparts Kang-San Tan and Francis Tsui of Asia-CMS and other board members. They are there to discuss how our relationship can be developed and deepened between the period 2018-23.
Please pray for constructive and fruitful conversations that serve to advance the mission of God.
Brazil: Alexandre Teixeira
Please pray for Alexandre Teixeira who is a CMS local partner working with the church in Nova Friburgo and with the children in Magé, a municipality located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
He has developed “crystals in his kidneys” and has been on medication, but sadly it hasn’t improved. He was planning to come for an Alpha conference in London in May but it now looks increasingly unlikely that he will be well enough to come. Please pray for a full, speedy recovery.
Peru: Paul and Sarah Tester
Mission partners Paul and Sarah Tester, based in Peru, write asking for prayer:
“We would appreciate prayer for safe travels back to Peru on Sunday (26 February) and for the girls’ adjustment back to life there. Sophia starts school and Emily starts nursery within a week of arriving so please pray for us all in these transitions.”
South Sudan: A statement from Archbishop Justin Welby
The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby has just published a statement on his Facebook page that reads:
“We are acutely aware of the dire situation facing millions of South Sudanese people. Today, the UN and the government estimate that 100,000 people face starvation, with more than a million on the brink of famine. Millions have been displaced from their homes and communities as a result of the ongoing violence. In the last three weeks alone more than 50,000 people have fled from Kajo-Keji to northern Uganda as fighting intensifies. The UN Refugee Agency says 1.5 million South Sudanese refugees have now fled the country, making it Africa’s largest refugee crisis and the third largest in the world.
“We stand prayerfully alongside the South Sudanese people and their leaders – particularly those in the Church who are providing emotional, physical and spiritual support. We pray for those on the ground who are delivering humanitarian assistance, that there will be an opening up of humanitarian corridors for the aid that is so desperately needed.
“We pray for those who are trying to coordinate efforts to the regions that are most badly affected – particularly through the South Sudan Council of Churches and the Episcopal Church in South Sudan. We applaud the ecumenical efforts of the churches working together to ensure that aid reaches the right people.
“This week I’m travelling around the neighbouring countries to South Sudan. I’ve seen first-hand the consequences of the volume of refugees attempting to cross the borders to find safety, and the crisis facing those neighbouring countries as well as those in South Sudan. I’ve also been speaking with Anglican and other church leaders about the urgent need for a ceasefire in South Sudan. Please join me in praying for peace, for security, for relief, and for the Holy Spirit to comfort those who need it most.”
CMS’s regional manager for Africa, Steve Burgess, adds: “On Tuesday morning at 6am I was part of a conference call with the Head of the Sudanese Development and Relief Agency (SUDRA) in Juba, South Sudan, the Anglican Alliance, people from USA and Australia discussing the situation there and the relief work which SUDRA has been involved in. The statement above by the archbishop reflects the reality and brings a regional perspective. There is famine in Unity state in South Sudan and other areas will also suffer famine, due to the drought, the economy which has collapsed and the ongoing conflict.
“There are moves for a National Dialogue for Peace, with the Sudan Council of churches taking a lead role. But real peace will only come if all the parties can get together and talk. Riak Machar (leader of the opposition) is currently not in the country and does not feel safe to return in the current climate.”
DR Congo: Rev Bisoke Balikenga
Please pray for CMS local partner Rev Bisoke Balikenga working in DRC and specifically that he will be granted a UK visa. He has been invited to attend a conference/dialogue in April organised by the Anglican Communion Office on discipleship and whilst in the UK he will also visit the CMS office. Please pray.
Northern Uganda: Cathie and John Rutter
As we mentioned last week, please pray for Cathie and John Rutter who are short term people in mission. They write:
“We fly next Tuesday to Entebbe in Uganda, and after a few days resting and travelling hope to reach Moyo, near the northern border of Uganda, on about 28 February. And that’s where we’ll be stopping. The original plan, after we were accepted by CMS for two years short-term service, was to go to Kajo Keji Christian College in South Sudan. However, violence broke out there on 22 January, so the college was closed and it’s no longer safe to go. The situation for all of South Sudan, and Kajo Keji in particular, is terrible at the moment – with rebel and government soldiers creating a culture of fear. And it’s the civilian population which is suffering, as is often the case.
“Moyo is in fact only 27kms to the south of Kajo Keji – although it’s in a different diocese and country – and many, many thousands of South Sudanese refugees have fled there. However, we ARE still going to be working in Kajo Keji Christian College – as it’s moved, or rather is in the process of moving, to Moyo. Temporary accommodation has been found and the hope is that the semester will start on 6 March. We’ll both be teaching in the college – John a lot, Cathie a bit (a module called “stewardship and admin”), and she hopes to be helping with admin in both the college and the diocese. And now a further dimension has been added to the work of the college – as it’s hoped that students and staff will also work on the refugee camp there, although we’ve no idea what that will involve. It’s hard to feel anything but utterly helpless and inadequate when facing the huge needs.”
South Sudan: An urgent prayer for Maridi
Please pray for the local hospital, located within the town of Maridi near the international border between South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Mission partner Lynn Treneary, who is based in Maridi, wrote us an email earlier this week that read:
“There’s a vomiting and diarrhoea bug in the children’s ward and it’s spreading outside and many have already died. Pray for wisdom for the hospital staff to know what to do. However, Médecins Sans Frontières (also known as Doctors Without Borders) came on Wednesday, and visited the hospital which is great news.”
Uganda and South Sudan: Garry Ion writes with an update…
Mission partner Garry Ion, working in Uganda and South Sudan to support local church communities to undertake building projects, writes with thanks and prayer requests:
“I give thanks for safe travels and meetings with church communities in Northern Uganda last week and South West Uganda this week. Projects in the north are struggling because of a lack of rain and land is becoming arid. Over the border in South Sudan, the situation is made worse because of insecurity. Please pray that these conditions won’t turn into a famine.
“Pray also for the Diocese of Kajo Keji, South Sudan, and for the new bishop, Rt Rev Emmanuel Murye, as he supports both church communities which remain at home and others in refugee camps in Uganda. Please also pray for the dean of the Cathedral, the Very Rev Samuel Pianile Alibee, whose brother Wojo was recently robbed and killed. He leaves behind a wife and four children."