I call upon you, O God, for you will answer me; incline your ear to me, and listen to my words. Show me your marvellous loving-kindness, O Saviour of those who take refuge at your right hand from those who rise up against them. Psalm 17: 6-7
DR Congo – prayer needed
From Bishop Desire of Goma in DRC: “Pray for the mission in the new diocese of Goma, and that may God provide Bishop Desire wisdom in carrying out episcopal responsibilities in his leadership for the whole diocese. Pray for getting good and right people for the diocesan staff members and to carrying out church tasks and provide what is needed for his Kingdom. Pray for the upcoming first diocesan synod of Goma due to prepare everything for such as diocesan strategic plan, constitution, structures, etc. Pray for peace in the DR Congo and the December presidential election process end this year 2017.”
Hi from Gambella
From Chris and Suzy Wilson at St Frumentius Theological College, Gambella, Ethiopia: “We have lots to be thankful for here at the moment. The last month has been very calm: there have been no reprisals between Nuer and Anuak for several weeks and things are beginning to feel a little less tense. On Sunday, we visited a lady from our church and her family at their home. Please keep praying that we’d develop meaningful friendships with local people. We are all exhausted and struggling to cope with the heat (it’s now about 45 degrees each day). Please pray that despite this, we’ll enjoy the last week of term, and that we would manage to rest in February and March while the college is closed.”
Theological School in the CAR, for French speaking Africa, exists 40 years!
From Berdine van den Toren-Lekkerkerker: “We thank God for his faithfulness to the community of the Faculté de Théologie Evangelique de Bangui, in the CAR. Forty years ago it started as a small and fragile initiative, to form and raise up well educated leaders for the Church in French speaking Africa. Life at the school has regularly been far from easy, because of the fragile political and security situation in the CAR. Some students lost their lives because of war. The school campus has been a place for refuge for victims of the violence. But all those years, the school has never been a target of the violence. She has been recognised as a place of peace, where all are welcome!"
South Sudan: Yei diocese celebrates 100 years of mission
This coming week the Diocese of Yei celebrates the centenary of the arrival of the gospel with the first CMS missionaries there. Pray for God’s blessing on their celebrations even as they are surrounded by violence.
As an effect of the conflict, the government schools in Yei state are to be merged, to take account of a loss of teachers and of many children’s migration to Uganda: there will now be four primary schools and three secondary schools across the county, in more urban areas; the rural schools are all closed. Before 2016, there were 130 government and private primary schools and 32 secondary schools.
Headline prayer – for an end to the fighting in South Sudan, especially in and around Malakal in Upper Nile, and Kajo-keji in Eastern Equatoria. There has been heavy and sustained fighting in the Malakal area for about five days – the town is now deserted, though UNMISS are patrolling. The last week has seen several attacks in different places around Kajo-keji, some of which was reported last week, but this week two police officers were shot in their station; there have also been clashes in Magwi County and villages on the Magwi-Pajok road; fighting in Nasir State, Upper Nile; and the shooting of a member of the ceasefire monitoring team in Wau. The United Nations, IGAD, the African Union and the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Committee have all called for an immediate cessation of all hostilities. Pray that this call may be heeded by both sides and that all armed forces will halt fighting.
Pray for Cathie and John Rutter, who were due to go out to Kajo-keji to serve at the theological school but now need to make other plans.
In Maridi, the state Ministry of Agriculture has warned of severe hunger this year, because stocks of food are very low.
Signs of hope? The conflict is not universal: MSF have closed their emergency health centre in Melut, Upper Nile State, as the area is now much more peaceful and the population’s health needs “are best met by local medical personnel”. South Sudan is planning to double its oil production this year – oil still accounts for 90% of government revenues – and UNDP is providing training and advice on financial management to the government, as it hopes to diversify revenue sources.
Sudan: Czech workers on trial
In Sudan, the trial of the Czech aid worker and two pastors has ended, with the judge sentencing the Czech to life in prison, for espionage and “spreading false news about the country”. He has also been fined 100,000 Sudanese pounds (about £12,400). He had video and written material about the persecution of Christians and the bombardment of civilians in the Nuba Mountains.The Czech foreign ministry has rejected the ruling and is sending a minister to negotiate his release The other two defendants, Sudanese nationals, were each sentenced to 12 years prison for “rendering criminal assistance”. Pray for all three, and for their families, in their distress.
Busy weeks in Kenya
Pray for Caroline and Dick Seed who have had busy weeks, including a government inspection of the university where Caroline works. Please pray for all there during this tense time.
FGM meetings in Rome
Mission partner Ann-Marie Wilson has been in Rome this week for high level UN Africa meetings re ending FGM. She also hoped to meet the Pope to advocate about ending FGM. Pray for the lasting fruit of these meetings and that her health would be protected after the rigours of the trip.
Pray for AsiaCMS
From Kang-San Tan, executive director of AsiaCMS: “Loun and I thank God for your faithful prayers. God’s deeper work in people’s lives are often accomplished through prayers. Through our journeys, we hope you will be our companions in the Spirit especially for believers in difficult environments of Hinduism in India and Nepal; of Buddhism in Cambodia, Mongolia, Sri Lanka and Bhutan, and Islam in Pakistan and Bangladesh. AsiaCMS focuses on reaching the hearts of Asian religions through indigenous missional leadership.” Pray for Kang-San and Loun this coming week as they lead a retreat for people reaching out in Buddhist contexts.
Nepali women gain training and business skills
From Ram Prasad Shrestha: “The National Mission Commission of Nepal has started a Tailoring Training for ladies who are living in slums and marginalised communities. At this moment we have five ladies, who are undergoing three months Tailoring Training which started in December, 2016. We hope that they will be able to learn the skills and will be able to start their tailoring shop where they can make their living and live proudly. We are praying, God willing, we hope to contribute in giving them a tailoring machine to start their business.”
Asia: New people in mission needed
Please continue to pray for people to step forward into the many mission opportunities we have in Asia. See the website for details of all these opportunities.
Europe, Middle East and North Africa
Church growth consultation
Please pray for Nigel Rooms, CMS’s Partnership for Missional Church Leader, as he attends a national Church Growth Strategy Consultation from 6-8 Feb at Swanwick. A large majority of English dioceses will be represented as well as some outside the UK. Nigel will present the Partnership for Missional Church process as an option alongside other approaches that are available. Pray for clarity of communication and openness among participants to receive a different way of framing the conversation about the future of the Church which PMC represents.
Trustees meet today (Friday)
The trustees of Church Mission Society meet on Friday 3 February. Please pray for wisdom in their discussions and decision making. The forMission training fortnight and our People in Mission conference also end on Friday. Please pray for all those either returning to their locations soon or going for the first time.
Partnership for Missional Church – Oxford diocese
Please pray for the cluster of churches gathering this Friday and Saturday to reflect on their journey with Partnership for Missional Church – they are nearing the halfway point of the three year process of deep cultural change for their congregations. Pray too for the facilitators, including Debbie James of Church Mission Society.
Christian refugee suffers abuse
From Doug Marshall in Malta: A refugee who is also a Christian whom Doug is discipling is facing abuse and severe pressure from his national community. He is currently only leaving the house to go to work and his employer is also not giving him his full dues, and threatens him with a strong legal rebuttal should he take it further. He also had to leave his former apartment due to pressure from 14 other compatriots living there. In all this, there is another person from the same community who has accepted faith in Jesus, as well as another who is showing interest. Pray for protection, boldness and peace in these times.
Diabetes education in Bolivia
From Andrew and Lisa Peart in Santa Cruz: “This weekend was, we hope, the start of something that will really start to change lives. As we ran the first of our talks on diabetes. Diabetes here in Bolivia is the number one medical issue in the country. The sugar intake here is vast and and that comes in the form of both normal sugar but also in carbohydrates. With most meals here you will be served three forms of starch, probably potatoes, rice and bread or yuca. The talks were simply aimed at explaining the types of diabetes, the causes and the ways in which diets can be changed to assist in tackling the problem.” Pray for the ongoing programme.
Peru: new ministry
Bishop Alejandro Mesco (with his wife Doris) is a former Latin partner, now a mission associate, in Peru. They live in Arequipa but he has been given charge of the archdeaconry in the north of Peru, centred on the cities of Cajamarca and Chiclayo. Please for the small communities there, especially the new mission of Christ the Saviour in Cajamarca and the clergy of the area: Wilmar, Isidro, Tomas, Nestor and Manuel. Pray for Alejandro and his ministry there and in Cusco, particularly for safety in long bus journeys; and for his son, Alejandro (junior), who has just started three years of study in the seminary in Santiago, Chile. Alejandro also asks for continued prayer for the diocesan bishop, Jorge Aguilar, for wisdom and courage as he leads the diocese in this new stage of its life.
Discipleship team in Peru
Pray for Anna Sims, along with Paul Tester a member of Peru diocese’s Christian Life and Formation team. They have made presentations to the bishop – sharing the reality of our church, provoking reactions to encourage evaluation and change. They meet together with Bishop Jorge this month to discuss the next steps in this.