Church growth in Vietnam: Pray for the growth of the Church in Vietnam. Many Vietnamese became Catholics under French rule. More recently, some have turned to Protestantism, especially among a few of the mountain tribes of central and southern Vietnam. Unregistered churches have multiplied and grown significantly all over the country. Praise God that a growing, witnessing Church is emerging despite ongoing persecution in Vietnam.
Church growth in Thailand: In Thailand, the Church is growing but not without resistance. The complex web of traditional culture, Buddhism, spirit appeasement and occult practices holds the population in a social cohesiveness out of which few have dared emerge. We thank God that, though church growth has been modest, a large proportion of ethnic Thai Church members are first generation believers. Prayer is needed for the contextualisation of the message for the Buddhist culture. Thai music, art forms, worship patterns, styles of leadership and Bible study must be developed under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Church growth in Cambodia: Buddhism has been the Cambodian national religion since the 15th century. Cambodians were scarcely reached by the Gospel until just before Pol Pot’s infamous regime in the 70s, during which the majority of Buddhist monks and most Christians perished. Deep psychological wounds need healing and true restoration by the Holy Spirit. Recently, four new churches have been planted in Cambodia, and one of these churches has sent out three workers into world mission and is preparing three more. Praise God for these new churches and pray that they would be beacons of hope and truth within their communities.
Prayer for the North Caucasus: Lying at the southernmost point of the Russian Federation, the North Caucasus are some of the poorest republics in Russia. There are five million people in this region, who live in more than 40 ethnic groups, many of whom do not have access to the message of Jesus (Source: Joshua Project). Because of adherence to Islam, this is hard soil for the Gospel to take root, and committed, faithful prayer is crucial. Pray for God’s love to break through in this region and that His church will grow.
Reaching the people of Dagestan is a real challenge. Over 90% are Muslim and they belong to diverse ethnic groups. The republic is also the poorest of the entire Russian Federation (source: Joshua Project). Pray for the people of Dagestan.
The 1.7 million Chechens are almost all Muslims (source: Joshua Project). Historical conflict with Christians makes ministry extremely sensitive work. Pray for softened hearts and Holy-Spirit-prepared circumstances.
Ingushetia is one of Russia’s smallest and poorest republics. It is dogged by corruption and deteriorating human rights. The people of Ingushetia need to know Jesus. Only a few of the scattered handful of Ingush believers actually live in Ingushetia.
North Ossetia is the only majority Christian republic in the region. Most people are Orthodox Christians. Since 2010, they have a complete new Bible translation. Pray for a deep impact as the Scriptures are read.
Kabardino-Balkaria has just two Muslim ethnic groups and a population of 600,000. Ask for the 100 or so scattered Jesus followers to shine as lights and for the New Testament published in 2011 to circulate widely.
There are a few known Jesus followers amongst the people living in the republic of Karachay-Cherkessia but, as yet, very little ministry to the Muslim population. The New Testament and Psalms were completed in the local language in the 1990s. Pray that more individuals would have access to the local translation of God’s Word and that they’re eyes will be opened to His truth.
The Kalmyks, like many other Russian ethnicities, suffered enormously under Stalin and the Soviet system that followed. They experienced deportation, relocation and the impoverishment of their land. The Kalmyks make up half of the population of Kalmykia, and many are Tibetan Buddhists.
Reaching Yemen: Yemen is one of the poorest countries in the Arab world. It is also a country least reached by the Gospel. War and desperate hunger stalk the land. Pray for salvation, especially in the northern tribes and for women whose situations can be harsh and limited.
Floods in El Salvador: Many have been gravely affected by the storms and floods that took place in El Salvador last year. Pray for local organisations and churches who are working to provide help to those who suffered losses in the disasters. Salvadorians have also been suffering from hunger during the Covid-19 lockdown. Pray that organisations and local believers will be able to bring vital resources and comfort to those who are suffering. Pray for the unstable political situation and for those who have lost their jobs due to the country’s economic struggles caused by the quarantine. May God be glorified, even in the midst of the most difficult struggles.
Pray for returning Christians in France: France may not be considered an unreached country, given its history. Originally Catholic, the number of French citizens calling themselves ‘Christian’ is in constant decline, although still a ‘nominal majority’. Only about 2% of French people identify as Evangelical Christians and although most of them know of Jesus and the Bible, very few would actually know the message of the good news and salvation in Christ; even less would have ever opened the Bible. Islam is increasing very fast and atheism is considered France’s ‘second religion’. Pray that Christians would return to the true message of the Bible and pray for born-again believers to become active in planting churches and reflecting their Lord and Saviour.
Pray for believers on Christmas Island: Christmas Island is an Australian external territory in the Indian Ocean. Most of its 2,000 inhabitants are Buddhists, and just over 2% are Evangelical Christians. Half of the island is considered to be unreached by the Good News of Jesus. There are very few Christians spreading the name of Jesus Christ and encouraging local believers. Pray that God will call believers to serve Him on Christmas Island and make His name known there.
Breakthrough in Lebanon: Lebanon is a beautiful, diverse and complicated country with a very rich history. Often referred to in the Bible and known as the ‘Christian country of the Middle East,’ it has developed a greater number of adherents to Islam. Most people living in Lebanon will have heard the name of Jesus Christ and have access to the Bible, although changing faiths could prove to be highly problematic. Almost a third of Lebanese people would still identify as being Christian, but less than 1% are Evangelical Christians. Pray that local Christians will find a renewed passion for Christ and that more Lebanese people will seek His face.
Seizing every opportunity: Logos Hope’s technical crew knows maintenance is a ministry. One the one hand, they are on board using their skills to keep the ship functioning. On the other, they’re also alert to the unique opportunities this work provides them to share the Gospel.
The Logos Hope team had built a good rapport with local contractors in Buenos Aires. On their final day, on the ship’s outer deck, an ‘asado’ barbecue was grilled up for around 20 of the Argentinian welders and fitters who helped with steel repairs to the vessel. As they tucked into various meats cooked in the traditional way – a feast crewmembers have particularly enjoyed as part of their exposure to Argentine culture – the ship’s plumber, Carlos Alarcon (Argentina), shared a message from the Bible.
“I spoke about Jesus telling us that He is the vine and we are the branches,” says Carlos, who also comes from near to the capital city. “I explained that we operate in His strength and He is the only source of true life and growth – apart from Him we can do nothing.”
The local workmen were presented with gifts from Logos Hope, including a Bible and keychain each. One welder told the team he had recently been able to buy a car, which he considered a great blessing from God. He said he would hang his car key on the new keychain, as a daily reminder of God’s ship, that he had worked on.
“They really liked our ship,” says Harald Smit (Netherlands), OM Ships’ technical manager. “These people work on different vessels in port all the time, but they told us this was different: our crew was friendly and welcoming; nobody barked orders at them in a pressured way, as can happen on commercial vessels.”
The days they spent repairing Logos Hope gave the workmen an insight into the ship’s mission. They noticed thousands of people queuing to visit and were appreciated by the crew since their input was enabling the vessel to continue as a tool for God.
“It’s all part of what we do; reaching out to whomever we encounter,” says Harald. “Sometimes volunteers in our marine operations roles may not think they have as many opportunities to connect with the public visiting Logos Hope, but here we saw again that the Lord brings people on board who need to hear about Him and we minister right where we are, in whatever we are doing.”