Since the Arab Spring, Tunisia’s young people live in a country where the trajectory of their nation's future is dramatically different than it was in their childhood. Many young people have a hopeless perspective on their future. Because of the economic conditions, the most diligent and intelligent often set their hopes on leaving Tunisia for seemingly greener pastures. However it is increasingly difficult for them to get even short-term visas for other places and there is a feeling of being stuck. We know that there is hope in the name of Jesus. Pray that the students and youth would be empowered as the next generation of leaders and that the Father would impart to them His heart for justice and hope.
Below what one worker recently wrote is a good reminder that, in a fast changing world, we need to make the most of every opportunity while it’s there. “There has always been some element of never knowing how long we’ll be allowed to stay in the country. However, in the last year that uncertainty has increased. A number of workers have been deported, and at least one now has a lifetime ban from the country. Pray for us, as a worker community, that we would have peace, knowing that God is sovereign and our times are in his hands, and pray too that we would make the most of every opportunity, while its there.”
Many countries in the Middle East and North Africa currently find themselves trying to balance greater political and economic freedom with the pressure to monitor, restrain, and contain Islamic extremism. Alternatively, they are seeking to promote greater openness without either alienating the conservative majority or empowering religious extremists. The region continues to be in the throes of change, which brings insecurity but also offers new opportunities for ministry and justice. Pray for believers in the region who suffer in silence, cut off from family, and isolated from Christian fellowship, that God would meet with them today.
How would you like to die? Surrounded by family as you peacefully drift away or inching slowly to the end of your life in unspeakable pain? Sadly, this last option is what lies ahead for many with terminal illnesses in Tunisia. By sharing her knowledge in palliative care, BMS teacher and nurse Mary and her team of trainers are helping terminally ill Tunisians to die with dignity and free from pain. As well as providing training for a range of medical professionals, the team also holds awareness days, where members of the community can learn more about terminal illness and how things like diet, pain and sleep can be managed. Pray for this ongoing ministry.
There is an African proverb which says, “When elephants fight it’s the grass that suffers the most”. Where there is conflict it is always the most vulnerable, defenceless and innocent who suffer - often that means children. The on-going conflict in the Middle East and North Africa may no longer be taking centre stage in our news, but from Tunisia to Bahrain uprisings and political unrest continue to severely affect people’s everyday lives. In many of these countries, children were already struggling to get access to food, healthcare and education. The unrest is turning many children’s daily lives into a fight for their very survival. Pray that God would move powerfully to bring about peaceful resolutions to these conflicts and for Christians in the affected countries, and throughout the world, to speak out on behalf of the children who are suffering.
A recently aired Tunisian documentary investigated the state of Christianity in the country. Many national believers shared openly about their faith when interviewed. This was a landmark programme. It opened many viewers’ eyes to the reality that it is possible to be both Tunisian and Christian. Other Tunisians are being exposed to the truth of the gospel as they interact with believers on social media sites, like Facebook, and search Christian websites. Pray for continued protection and empowering as Christians boldly witness for Christ.
A young man in Tunisia emailed SAT-7 recently to say, “I would like to share with you what God is doing in Tunisia. He is revealing Himself day after day. Many are returning to Him and coming to know Jesus as their personal saviour. I read the Bible on a daily basis and I am hungry and thirsty for the Word of God. I watch your channel daily. God has been touching my heart since I was a child. I heard about Jesus and felt that He is a special person. Day after day, reading the Bible and watching Christian channels as well as searching for Him on the internet, I got more attached to Jesus. Now God is my life and He is the source of joy and hope. Please pray for me, my family and Tunisia.”
Following the revolution of 14th January 2011, Tunisia is still in the process of transition from dictatorship, corruption and censorship, to a new era of democracy, freedom of speech and fair opportunity. Old habits die hard and those keen to exercise their new freedom are having to learn to move at a slower pace. Pray for President Moncef Marzouki, the government, and the Constitutional Council as they lead the country and draft its new constitution. Pray for the Church, which is growing and for the many who are seeking. Pray for good follow-up, discipleship, leadership, dealing with division and seeking to be light.
Islam is experiencing a revival among Tunisians. “People are becoming aware of their identity and mosques are full,” says the leader of one NGO. “Before the revolution this was not the case.” The growing influence of radical Islam is also being felt by Tunisian converts. A church leader from Tunis comments: “A lot of young believers are facing much more pressure from their family. Before, family members would not dare to do anything, but now they feel much freer to threaten their family members, when they want to leave Islam.” Pray for God to build his church in Tunisia and for courage and strength for Tunisian believers.
Population: 10,982,754 (2014)
Official languages: Arabic
GDP (PPP) per capita: $12,065 (2017 est.)
Life expectancy: 75%
Religions: 99% Muslim, 1% other religions