Displaying items by tag: Europe
Ukraine's nuclear agency Enerhoatom says the Russians are ‘blackmailing the entire world’ with threats to blow up the Zaporizhzhia power plant. In a post on messaging app Telegram, Enerhoatom says Maj Gen Valery Vasiliev - the head of Russia's radiation, chemical and biological defence forces - has said, ‘There will be either Russian land or a scorched desert. We have mined all the important facilities of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.’ UN secretary general António Guterres has called for international inspectors to be given access to the power plant, after Ukraine and Russia accused each other of shelling the site on 7 August. One of Putin's closest allies, former president Medvedev, has been telling the media that Russia will achieve its aims in the conflict in Ukraine on its own terms. He warns the West has a long-term plan to destroy Russia.
Mercenary group Wagner does not officially exist, but billboards in Russia’s cities depicting three men in military uniform next to the words ‘Wagner2022.org’ are inviting fighters to join its ranks in Ukraine. They have transformed from a secretive mercenary organisation to an extension of Russia’s efforts in Ukraine. Wagner was established in 2014 to support pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine and is funded by a businessman linked to Putin. On paper, it doesn’t exist, with no company registration, tax returns, or organisational chart to be found. Russia’s senior leadership, including Vladimir Putin, has repeatedly denied any connections between Wagner and the state. Currently Wagner has lowered recruitment standards, hiring convicts and blacklisted individuals, which impacts military effectiveness. Before the conflict less than 30% of Wagners were professionals. Now this recruitment push threatens to diminish its overall military standards.
Since 2000 there have been 300 churches planted across Sweden by other nations. The Nigerian Redeemed Christian Church of God has 40 Swedish church plants. Their vision is to plant worshipping communities within five minutes' distance from each other. Also from Nigeria there are church plants from Deeper Life Bible, Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries. There are plants from Ghanaian Church of Pentecost where the worship language is English, Ghanaian Swahili and Swedish. Chile’s International Mission Church gathers 1,500 people for Sunday services in Stockholm. For Sweden, this is a very big church. There are also congregations with Ethiopian, Eritrean, Iranian, or Afghan connections that are generally closer to the established Swedish denominations.
Since the USSR broke up, Ukrainians have experienced freedom and democracy, but more importantly they have experienced freedom to preach the good news, resulting in masses of people being saved and many church plants. Ukraine is also a door for the Gospel to other, surrounding nations. Pray for the door to stay open and fulfil the command to ‘go into the world and preach the Gospel’. Pray for the work of Operation Mobilisation in Ukraine as it connects humanitarian aid with those in need. Pray particularly for traumatised displaced children who are receiving small stuffed baby tigers, with a pocket that holds an mp3 player of 38 recordings in Ukrainian for 3- to 11-year-olds. The stories point them to Father God and Jesus, with an emphasis on trauma relief. Please pray for God’s anointing on a team of youth workers in Vinnytsia organising six-day camps for traumatised children during August.
Ten people in Berdyansk, Ukraine, have been taken captive by Russian militia groups. They were kidnapped while helping evacuate residents from the southern port city, which Russia occupies. The captives include several Orphan's Promise (OP) volunteers, a driver, and an elderly couple who are the parents of a pastor who works with OP. Their whereabouts are unknown. These militia groups are known for their cruelty, especially to volunteers helping Ukrainians. Terry Meeuwsen, the founder of OP said, ‘We have no idea where this team is. We don't know if they're alive. We don't know if they're being cared for. We just have no idea. Being treated well has not been the traditional response by the Russians.’
It is not too late to avert the climate crisis from becoming even more deadly – but the window is closing. Across western Europe high temperature records are being obliterated; some had been set during the heatwave in 2003 that left tens of thousands dead. Raging wildfires are displacing thousands of people, one of the many compounding impacts of the climate crisis. This heatwave is another reminder that we have already reached unsafe levels of global heating. As our planet warms, heatwaves will become more frequent and more intense. In fact, we may look back on these years as some of the coolest, compared with what will come if we do not act now. Human life will encounter life-threatening impacts with increasing frequency and mounting consequences. Countless scientific reports have been conveying this reality for decades.
Although over half of the population is defined as Christian, most have never had authentic contact with the Gospel. Only 2% are Evangelical, and 8% regularly attend church. A staggering 50 million have no link to a church, and 80% have never even handled a Bible. Many are suspicious of organised religion. Defined by secularism, the country has separated itself from its only source of healing. The philosophies and post-modern relative truth have left many seeking meaning and purpose. Despair and hopelessness have led to Europe’s highest number of youth suicides. However, this search for meaning has also led some to seek and find Christ. Dozens of churches are now being planted each year. France stands in desperate need of a move of God: only He can bring the healing and hope this nation needs.
While on vacation in Marmaris, 51-year-old GJH was rushed to hospital after falling and hitting his head. He could not be saved. Due to the circumstances of his death and his son's ‘suspicious’ behaviour, the police launched an investigation and reviewed CCTV footage from the area around their hotel. It showed that GJH's 22-year-old son punched his father on the face, causing him to fall. The suspect was taken into custody by the police before being referred to court on 28 July. Please pray for the safety of this tourist. Data shared by two human rights organisations reported that 531 people were subjected to torture and other ill-treatment in official places of detention last year, and torture in Turkey’s prisons has reached unprecedented levels.
Evangelical churches across Bosnia and Herzegovina will be putting on a series of camps for children, teenagers and young people across the country. Ask God to bless, strengthen, and protect the adults who have cleared spaces, prayed over them, and sought blessing for the young Bosnians. Pray for unity through these efforts, as well as much fruit. Pray for God to move in the young people, and for Him to raise up disciples who in turn also make disciples. Pray that the Holy Spirit would give the adults insight into how to pray for the youth coming to the camps. Pray that Jesus would move powerfully through His people. Ask Him to give the average church attender a desire to join in these prayer camps and that there would be unity in the Evangelical church.
Vladimir Putin visited Iran this week in only his second overseas trip since invading Ukraine. He received a red carpet welcome from Iran’s supreme leader who wants to strengthen long-term cooperation with Russia. Tehran and Moscow are both suffering under Western sanctions. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei praised Putin for ensuring his country had ‘maintained its independence’ from America and said their two countries needed to remain vigilant against ‘Western deception’. Ahead of Putin’s arrival, Iranian officials indicated they could strike weapons deals with Russia. ‘Currently, we are ready to export military equipment and weapons’ said Iran's army ground forces commander. His comments came a week after America claimed Iran was planning to send hundreds of weapons-capable drones to Moscow for use in Ukraine. Meanwhile a Ukrainian missile struck a key bridge linking Russian-occupied Kherson city with the heavily militarised Crimean Peninsula, amid reports Kyiv is preparing to take back captured territory in the South.