Displaying items by tag: Religion

Thursday, 17 February 2022 21:29

Romania: prayer needs

A legacy of brokenness endures from the days of Ceausescu’s regime. Every kind of social evil came to fill the moral space left after Communism ended. People struggle with substance abuse, prostitution, human trafficking, and abuse of children. Deep corruption led to economic instability and widespread unemployment. Membership in the EU has helped push Romania further along the path of economic progress and stability. Pray for leadership that has wisdom to follow the right path, and integrity to establish right policies. Romania is one of the world’s most Christian nations by percentage, but it is difficult to see this in society. Communism’s atheistic worldview persists. Weak faith, hypocrisy, and slandering other denominations cause problems for all Christian groups. Christ is not glorified and the Church is not built up. Church members and clergy mix faith with folk religious practices or the occult. Churches neglect poor people.

Published in Europe
Thursday, 17 February 2022 21:26

Message from Help the Persecuted

A missionary’s message: ‘There is much happening right now. Persecution and hardships abound, yet our Mighty Lord reigns over it all! One member of our team and his young family have been receiving threatening messages due to their ministry work, and we have had to relocate them to a new city. Pray with us that they will remain safe and be able to continue their work for the Lord. Another team member was arrested crossing a border between Jordan and Lebanon. Pray with us for favour before the judge and for a quick resolution to the false charges. Despite these hardships, our team has also reported many praises of how God has been at work. A sewing workshop will take place this week to train persecuted women, providing skills to help sustain them and their families. We praise God for this opportunity to serve these women and offer training, hope and a way forward with dignity.’

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 10 February 2022 21:15

BBC religion editor

A petition has been raised by Voice for Justice UK (VfJUK) regarding the appointment of BBC’s religion editor. Aleem Maqbool, a Muslim journalist of some note, will focus ‘on telling stories associated with faith and ethics’. He replaces Martin Bashir, who stepped down in questionable circumstances. Bashir replaced Aaqil Ahmed, another Muslim who was removed for having a clear bias to the detriment of Christianity. Our society and culture are founded on Christian values. We are a Christian country. Though there has been a decline in religious adherence in recent years, it seems the BBC would promote minorities over the majority of society. VfJUK asks on what grounds can the BBC justify appointing a British Asian as religion editor on the last three occasions. Were there no suitably qualified Christian candidates for the job?

Published in British Isles
Thursday, 10 February 2022 20:52

China: Christian persecution

Gao Zhisheng is a Christian human rights attorney in China who has dedicated his career toward those being persecuted by the government. While not always a Christian, Gao was a former member of the People’s Liberation Army and later of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). However, he tossed that identity aside and took up the fight for victims of persecution as China looked to rebrand its cruel identity. This made him a clear target for the CCP throughout his career, leading to many cycles of being abducted, tortured, and released. Today, his whereabouts are unknown to anyone but his most recent captors, who made Gao disappear in 2017. As Beijing cheers for the athletes fighting for glory, let us pray for those like Gao who have the courage to challenge the regime and fight for Beijing’s victims. Pray for an end to the ongoing human rights disaster in China.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 10 February 2022 20:49

Cuba: communism’s atheistic ideology

Despite 2018’s change in leadership, Cuban churches face unrelenting pressure from a government that views churches as a threat to the revolution that began in the 1950s. Cubans are poor, and the government seeks to control every aspect of their lives. In April 2021, Miguel Diaz-Canel was announced as first secretary of the Communist Party, the first leader since the revolution who is not a Castro. Three months later Cubans protested over deteriorating living conditions and called for an end to dictatorship. Most Cubans are atheists and many engage in superstitious and spiritist practices, including Afro-Cuban Santeria. 11% are evangelical Christians. The government persecutes them and seizes churches. Believers meet in illegal house churches which are growing through active evangelism. Many Cubans have never owned a Bible. Many are closely watched and effectively under house arrest. Many are denied jobs. Pray for those distributing Bibles and supporting discipleship and evangelism.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 10 February 2022 20:45

Libya: dangers of being a Christian

Libya is overwhelming Muslim: only 0.5% of the population is Christian. It is effectively a lawless land where to be a Christian is to live a secret life of faith. Those who leave Islam to follow Jesus face immense pressure to renounce their faith. Their community ostracises them, and they can be left homeless, jobless and alone. Telling others about Jesus can lead to arrest and even violent punishment. Believers are further exposed to danger since Libya has no central government, so laws are not enforced uniformly. Targeted kidnappings and executions are always a possibility for believers. Women generally live secluded lives under strict family control, making it extremely difficult for women who convert from Islam to Christianity. If discovered, they can face house arrest, sexual assault, forced marriage and even so-called ‘honour-killing’. A Libyan man becoming a Christian can lose his job (men are the family providers), be mentally abused and excommunicated from the family.

Published in Worldwide

The Government wants to ban what it calls 'conversion therapy', putting it on a collision course with the freedom to give and access appropriate support for unwanted same-sex feelings and gender confusion. The official consultation ended on 4 February, but the battle does not end. Civil servants will summarise the responses to the consultation and start drafting legislation. Unless the Government drops its plans, MPs and then the Lords will examine the proposed laws - some opposing them, but others might make the ban even more overbearing. At every stage, we need strong, principled Christian leadership working with parliamentarians and in the media to stop this ban - or to make sure it strictly applies only to genuinely harmful practices (these are already illegal and/or not happening in the UK anyway). 30 MPs are concerned about the proposals, and even the Equality and Human Rights Commission has criticised the plans.

Published in British Isles
Thursday, 03 February 2022 20:27

China: watch and pray through the Olympics

China has been preparing for months to ensure that it puts on its best face for the Winter Olympic Games. Our TV screens will present beautiful images, majestic music, and inspiring athletic performances. They don’t want people to look behind the scenes at the totalitarian government oppressing and abusing its people, including our Christian brothers and sisters. Olympic coverage won’t include images of destroyed church buildings or interviews with imprisoned Christians. However, from 4 February the games can act as a daily reminder to pray for Christians in China. We can pray for pastors and church leaders to stand firmly for biblical truth in spite of government pressure to compromise. Pray for God's protection over Christians in prison, for their health and nutrition, and that they will have opportunities to witness for Christ to guards and fellow prisoners. China is also the biggest incarcerator of journalists; pray for protection over honest journalism.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 27 January 2022 20:39

South Asia: planting churches among unreached

Before Jesus ascended to heaven, he gave us the command to make disciples among all nations. Two thousand years later, there are still hundreds of unengaged, unreached people groups throughout the world. The South Asia project trains and supports pastors living closest to those unreached groups in South Asia - pastors who have committed to go and reach them with the Gospel. These indigenous pastors also receive small business training, so they will not become dependent on the North American church. In restricted countries, operating a small business is one way to open doors for the Gospel.

Published in Praise Reports
Thursday, 27 January 2022 20:19

Ukraine: spiritual climate

Opportunities for Christians to engage with unchurched people abound in Ukraine. More than a million people from 30+ unreached people groups call Ukraine home, and some parts of the country remain less than 1% evangelical. Ukraine grows more multicultural every day, as students and immigrants arrive looking for education and opportunity. The country is a fascinating mix of ancient and modern, urban and rural, scientific and intuitive. Lately, long-held passions for political freedom and stability characterise many modern Ukrainians. The evangelical church is developing a vision for reaching unfamiliar communities. SEND Ukraine is the answer to a decade-long vision to send missionaries to work in the harvest field. Believers who have been reached and discipled are now partnering with SEND Ukraine and local churches to share the gospel with the hundreds of unreached people groups which live in diaspora communities within the country.

Published in Europe