“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside.” Job 23:10-11 (NIV)
Europe, Middle East and North Africa
Britain: An exciting event this Saturday
An exciting event organised by a local CMS group is happening this Saturday (5 March), a day of encouragement and challenge to live out the Kingdom of God within our communities.
It's entitled “Community in Action or Community Inaction?” and is being held at Stricklandgate Methodist Church (Windermere Rd, Kendal LA9 4QJ), 10am-4pm.
The speakers include mission partners Anna and Chris Hembury, and it's a bring and share finger food lunch. Drinks are provided.
Egypt: Three more Christians killed, over 100 Christian families flee al-Arish
On 20 February, four Christians were killed in the North Sinai town of al-Arish in three weeks. Three more Christians were killed in the following days. Saeed al-Hakim and his son Medhat were killed on 23 February and the following day armed militants forced their way into the house of Kamal Youssef and shot him in front of his wife and children.
Previously militants had killed Wa’el Youssef (31 January), Bahgat William and Adel Shawqi (12 February) and Gamal Tawfiq (16 February). Three days after Gamal Tawfiq’s murder, militants from Daesh published a video in which they threatened to kill more Christians.
After the most recent killing on 24 February, Christian families started to flee from al-Arish. Many stated that militants had threatened that Christians would be killed if they did not leave. More than 118 Christian families have now left al-Arish, out of a total of 160 Christian families who were living in the city. Most have fled to the towns of Ismailiyyah and Suez, where local churches are looking after them.
Islamic militants also regularly attack security personnel in the North Sinai region and abduct or kill civilians suspected of working with the security forces. Last November in al-Arish they killed Suleiman Abu Haraz, a highly respected 100-year-old Sufi Muslim leader. Shortly afterwards they issued a threat against Sufi Muslims in Egypt, saying they must renounce their ways or be killed.
Last weekend, militants also stopped female teachers travelling to their workplaces and threatened them with severe mistreatment if they do not wear Islamic dress or travel with male relatives.
Christians in Egypt request prayer for:
- The Lord’s comfort for all those whose loved ones were killed by Daesh in North Sinai
- For provision for the physical and emotional needs of all those forced to flee al-Arish
- For protection for Christians and others threatened by militants, and for an end to the threat posed by militants in the North Sinai region
- That those responsible for the killings will be touched by God’s love and will repent.
Source: Middle East Concern
Lebanon: The SKILD (Special kids with learning differences) centre
Mission partners in Lebanon, Audrey and Colin Gibson, write from Beirut in Lebanon.
“Give thanks that Hiba, the director at the SKILD (Special kids with learning differences) centre has agreed to have two short weekly prayer times in support of the children, parents, employees and the work at SKILD. This is really encouraging!
“Please pray that Hiba would have wisdom in knowing how to promote the use of the sensory sessions for children in the community and that all resources would be used in the best way.”
South-East Asia: Mission partners preparing to return
Please pray for two mission partners and their two children as they prepare to return to South-East Asia. They write:
“We would greatly value your prayers for a smooth journey and our first days in our new location. The house we have rented is completely empty with only a sink in the kitchen! We will spend our first week buying what we need while looking after no doubt two tired little children!
“Please also continue to pray for peace and reconciliation and for an end to violence against various ethnic minorities. Pray for boldness for the nation’s leaders and for them to deal with others with integrity and fairness.”
South-East Asia: Prayer for two mission partners
Two mission partners working in South-East Asia request prayer for the following:
- “Please pray for our hospital ministry team and that new Indonesian and Chinese speakers can be found as some team members have had to return home. Pray for the patients as they struggle in difficult conditions.
- “Pray that the course we are running will be effective at meeting the student’s needs and that they will keep attending class.
- “Pray for the situations at our children’s school. Pray that good teachers can be found and that the good standard of education in the primary school can be maintained in the secondary school.
“Pray for our family over the next couple of months as T has a couple of trips away. Pray for quality time as a family.”
Brazil: Jess and Mark Simpson
Pray for Jess and Mark Simpson as their first baby is due this month. The heat in Rio is quite intense so pray for comfort and a safe delivery.
Guatemala: Mark and Rosalie Balfour
Mission partners Mark and Rosalie Balfour have started their language study course in Guatemala. Please pray for them.
Brazil: Sarah Quinn
Give thanks that short-term mission partner Sarah Quinn has settled well into life in Rio and Christ Church. Now that Carnaval is over, pray for her language learning and pattern of ministry in the church and community.
Peru: Paul and Sarah Tester
Mission partners Paul and Sarah Tester together with their children have recently returned to Lima, Peru, for Sophia’s new term at school. Pray for the adjustment back to life away from family and friends in England.
Bolivia: Prayers for the continuing visit from the Bishop of Birmingham
Please continue to pray for the visit of the team from the Diocese of Birmingham. The Bishop of Birmingham, The Rt Revd David Urquhart, is accompanied by, amongst others, Bishop Maurice Sinclair. Also please pray for the diocesan bishop of Bolivia, Bishop Raphael Samuel, and the clergy and people of the Diocese of Bolivia.
Latin America: Schools are back…
Many schools and churches are back in action after the long summer break in most South American countries. Pray for new church programmes and for the preparations for Easter.
Tanzania: Prayer for two people
Heather Johnstone, a mission partner in Tanzania, writes: “I have a couple of big prayer requests this week. Please pray for Bishop George Okoth as he leads his first synod in the Diocese of Mara this week. It is a really important meeting for the future direction of our diocese.
“I also have an urgent prayer request for my friend Amy Vink who started the Rehema Project in Musoma. She and her family returned to Australia in June last year. Sadly, Amy’s spine has multiple lesions and she has bone metastasis. They want to start five days of radiotherapy to try and stop the lesion doing permanent nerve damage. Please pray for her, her husband Jono and their children Lili, Isaac, Brie and Abe as the whole family are deep in shock. Amy writes: ‘Please pray for us to keep our eyes on Jesus; even praying is hard right now and so we just bring our buckets of tears and lay them at his feet.'”
Uganda: Helen Burningham
Helen Burningham, a mission partner based in Uganda, writes asking for prayer for:
- “Creative Learning Centre (CLC) teachers in rural settings and that they will continue teaching educative dance workshops when I am not present.
- “A girl called Rose and that her health will stabilise and in time she will receive love and extra training at Set Her Free, a safe house.”
South Sudan and Sudan: An update
Please continue to hold South Sudan and Sudan in your prayers. Church Mission Society trustee, Jane Shaw, writes with an update:
“Headline prayer and thanks: Give thanks that some donors have reacted swiftly to pledge funds for emergency aid – Switzerland has pledged $15 million, and the EU €82 million. The UK government has announced £100 million, but it turns out to be money already budgeted and committed. The United States has expressed 'grave concern' [about the situation] and hopes that donors will respond positively. The Pope has appealed for food, and prayed for those affected and for the aid agencies. Presidents Kiir [South Sudan] and Bashir [Sudan] have both pledged unimpeded access for humanitarian aid to all areas (but NGOs in Yei River County are concerned that they cannot move freely outside the towns). The UN has stated that for South Sudan, Nigeria, Yemen and Somalia it needs $4.4 billion by the end of March, and has received just $90 million so far.
“IOM [International Organisation for Migration] and other agencies are providing shelter, healthcare and other non-food necessities in Unity State, Central Equatoria and elsewhere. Pray for all who are now dependent on food aid, and for the agencies trying to meet such an overwhelming need.
“Maridi: No news from Maridi is probably good news, but there must be continuing hardship – pray that it may continue to be peaceful, that Bishop Justin and the diocese continue to guide and support the people, and this week pray for Haddow Secondary School. Haddow is the only church secondary school in the diocese. Pray for the head teacher and staff, and especially for the current efforts to encourage girls to complete their schooling (with sponsorship if necessary).
“Other parts of the country: Fighting continues, and fresh clashes have been reported from Yuai, Kuek, and various other parts of the Upper Nile including Kodok, Fashoda and Wau Shilluk. Armed soldiers attacked and tried to abduct a group of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) near the POC camp in Bentiu, but the (Mongolian) UN peacekeepers rescued them. Nine Catholic bishops have issued a letter condemning the authorities for atrocities amounting to war crimes. Pray for an end to the violence and for the churches’ voice of peace and reconciliation to be heeded.
“Signs of hope: Last Thursday, President Kiir signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Ethiopian government for the construction of two roads, one from Gambella to Paluoch via Pagak, one from Dima to Bor via Raad and Boma, to be financed by Ethiopia; they will enable a link with a new oil refinery (financed by Swiss and US companies) to be built near the largest oilfields in South Sudan, to process up to 100,000 barrels a day, much of it for export to Ethiopia. Other agreements signed include supply of electricity to South Sudan, and a committee on cross-border co-operation. Pray that these projects will come to fruition and that the income generated will be wisely applied.
“And give thanks that a new referral centre for malnourished children has opened in Yei town, funded by ACROSS and Unicef; it includes inpatient beds. One hundred and nine severely malnourished children have been received in the last month.
“Sudan: In Sudan, government troops have conducted a brief offensive against rebel positions near Kadugli (in breach of their own declared ceasefire); this has now ceased, but artillery is still shelling rebel positions. Pray for civilians caught in the ongoing fighting.
"Give thanks that the Sudan government has freed the Czech film-maker who had been sentenced to life imprisonment for spying, after the intervention of the Czech foreign minister. Pray for a positive response to the SPLA’s [Sudan People's Liberation Army] calls for the two pastors, sentenced to 12 years for 'colluding' with him, to be released too.”