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Prayer News 24 March 2017

“Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” Romans 14:19 (NIV)

Europe, Middle East and North Africa

Britain: Terrorist attack in Westminster, London

Following the terrible terrorist attack on Wednesday at the Palace of Westminster that left four dead and approximately 40 people injured, the Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, both issued a statement.

Nichols wrote on his Twitter page: “We pray tonight for the victims, their families, for all affected by this terrible attack and those who responded so bravely.” Welby tweeted: “Praying tonight for those grieving loved ones – and those injured and traumatised – after the brutal and senseless attack in Westminster.”

Please pray for all those affected by this attack and especially the families of PC Keith Palmer, stabbed to death as he tried to stop the attacker in a courtyard outside the Houses of Parliament, Aysha Frade run over and killed on Westminster Bridge and Kurt W. Cochran, also killed on the bridge. Pray also for those seriously injured by this attack, including Melissa Cochran, Kurt's wife, and for the security and emergency services doing extraordinary work in very trying conditions. Finally, please pray for peace in this land, for tolerance and for greater understanding, especially between different faiths, and for the Lord to comfort those currently in pain.

Ukraine: Four-day visit by CMS staff

Please pray for God’s purposes to be fully fulfilled through the four-day visit to Ukraine by CMS international mission director, Paul Thaxter, and regional manager for Europe and the Middle East, Tanas Al Qassis. They are meeting with mission partner Alison Giblett and together will be travelling around the country visiting rehab centres and churches and meeting with strategic partners.

Lebanon: Nabil and Sarah Shehadi

Please pray for mission partners Nabil and Sarah Shehadi, working in Lebanon. They write:

“Over the last six months we have noticed more clearly the effect of Brexit on our finances. The Lebanese Pound is linked to the dollar and so our regular financial support has lost almost 20 per cent of its value because of the weaker Sterling. We are thankful for so many of you who support us faithfully and we want to continue doing our part in using the funds wisely. Please join us in prayer as we consider various options to downscale and/or move home. Amazingly we have found a smaller house with a garden just down the road and have to make a decision quickly. If we go ahead with it, the house needs some work done before we move into it at the end of June. Please pray for confirmation in the next few days. We will update you shortly.”


South-East Asia: A and L

Please pray for two mission partners heading out to South-East Asia later this year. They write asking for prayer for the following:

  • “For the political situation in our host country. The government is increasing ways to limit their opposition, especially before local and national elections. 
  • “That we can return home soon, but in the meantime that we can ‘wait well’, and seek to flourish in our waiting. 
  • “That the rest of our church visits can be productive, and that we can forge strong partnerships with each church and their congregation. 
  • “For family wellness: emotionally, spiritually and physically. UK germs have definitely been circulating! 
  • “For good relationships both here and abroad, especially with our family in the UK and friends we have left behind in our host country.”

Latin America

Peru: A national emergency – prayers still needed

Mission partners Paul and Sarah Tester write with an update on the situation in Peru, which is rather desperate:

“As some of you will already be aware, Peru is passing through some difficult times at the moment. El Niño [a climate cycle in the Pacific Ocean with a global impact on weather patterns] has brought heavy rains to much of the country which has led to flooding and landslides around the country. Some of the main cities in the north of the country have been flooded, bridges washed away, roads blocked and some areas have been cut off. Around 75 people have already died as a direct result and thousands have been flooded out of their homes, or indeed seen them washed away. The BBC has some coverage of what is happening in its Latin America and the Caribbean news section.

“These effects have also been seen in Lima, the capital, where we live although the impact on us has been limited – we are all well. The city had the water supply turned off for a couple of days as the treatment plant couldn’t cope with all the mud and materials in the supplying river but it is now back on. However, many still don’t have a full water supply and we have, like others, done a couple of water deliveries to those we know who still don’t have running water after nearly a week.

“The church has been responding practically by collecting donations of food, water, clothing etc. and is looking to try to do something more substantial to help those affected. We also continue to pray for all those affected and for the rains to stop soon. Please join us in prayer for the nation and people of Peru. With thanks and prayers, Paul, Sarah, Sophia, Emily and Annabelle.”

Brazil: Jess and Mark Simpson

Please give thanks as mission partners Jess and Mark Simpson, living and working in Rio, have had a baby boy!

Mark writes: “River Philip Housman Simpson is born! After a very long push he was born yesterday in Rio de Janeiro, weighing 3.3kg [7.27 lb]. We are so grateful to God for his safe arrival and for your love and prayers. Lots of love, Mark and Jess.”


Madagascar: Famine catastrophe looms

Please pray for Madagascar and especially the southern parts as it’s currently experiencing a severe three-year drought affecting over 1.3 million people, specifically in the southern area of the Diocese of Toliara which has persistently resulted in no harvest. People are dying and rice prices have doubled.

The Guardian newspaper writes: “Three successive years of failed rains have left the island nation wrestling with crop failure and a chronic lack of food and clean drinking water. Farmers talk of the earth changing, of failed rains and crops and barren land. Elke Wisch, country representative for Unicef Madagascar, says ‘people are living under extreme conditions. We are dealing with a development crisis that has lasted for decades now, worsened by El Niño. For many, it is day-to-day survival’.”

Please pray for the nation at this time and especially for proper rain to come to water the land; pray also for the aid agencies to be able to supply food and other supplies to those suffering, for church leaders to lead with conviction and truth, and for politicians for wisdom, favour and discernment.

Kenya: Matt Roberts-Davies

Please pray for our mission associate Matt Roberts-Davies, based in Kenya. He writes:

“This is a call to prayer for thanksgiving and wisdom. Yesterday I was offered a one-year contract at Musoni Kenya for the position of project manager. This is great news and I’m thankful for the offer being made.

I have until today (Friday) to make a decision and, because it includes a costly work permit, it becomes hard to shorten that contract. However, I have been exploring other options in the area of alternative finance for SMEs [micro, small and medium sized enterprises] in emerging markets such as crowdfunding and also have an opportunity with the Aga Khan MFI in Cairo, Egypt. I haven’t received a concrete offer yet, but I have been having several meetings with potential employers.

“Without knowing which options may present themselves, I pray for wisdom in making the right choice and ask you to join me in that prayer. Let me know if you have any thoughts in this area.”

Ethiopia: Chris and Suzy Wilson

Mission partners Chris and Suzy Wilson who are based in Gambella, Ethiopia, write with requests for prayer for:

  • “The Gambella Region. There was a large Murle raid in the south of the region that left 28 people dead and 43 children kidnapped. At present, we are not sure if any of our students and churches have been personally affected. Please pray for all those affected by this, and that these raids would stop.  
  • “South Sudan and for an end to ethnic violence, and for the millions of people there who are facing food shortages this year.  
  • “Us, that we’d make progress as we plan lectures and study Anuak, as we stay with friends in Zimbabwe. Please pray for wisdom on when to return to Gambella: if we delay unnecessarily we will miss a great chance to make progress learning Anuak; if we go too soon, there’s a good chance that the children won’t cope with the heat, and that local people will think we’re terrible parents (they’ve repeatedly made it clear that our kids shouldn’t be around in the hot season).”

Kenya: Ian and Merle Halliday

Please pray for Ian and Merle Halliday, CMS people in mission in Kenya working with the Lawyers Christian Fellowship. They write asking for prayer for:

  • “Our colleagues – Joyce, the director, Ken, Ricky, Elizabeth and other interns as we seek to befriend them and assist them in their work.  
  • “For those whom the charity seeks to support – in prison, on remand and through legal education.
  • “For Kenya at a time of crisis – with drought in many parts of the country and anxiety regarding the forthcoming elections.”