Displaying items by tag: Global
Release International reports, ‘With all eyes on Russia’s assault on Ukraine, we will be watching closely to see how Russia is treating Christians of faiths other than Russian Orthodox.’ The USCIRF has long criticised the Taliban for their extremist policies. Its 2022 report warns, ‘Afghans who do not adhere to the Taliban’s harsh and strict interpretation of Sunni Islam and adherents of other faiths or beliefs are in grave danger. With the Taliban’s return to power, religious freedom conditions in Afghanistan, and the overall human rights situation, have significantly deteriorated. Christian converts (and other minorities) practise their faith in hiding due to fear of reprisal and threats from the Taliban.’ Also religious persecution in India has taken a significant turn for the worse. In Nigeria there is an anti-Christian dimension to much of the violence which the government is failing to control.
Please pray for IJM Ghana staff and partners to be inspired with wisdom and innovation as they seek to identify and investigate cases of trafficking in the fishing industry. Pray for reliable sources of information that leads to the rescue and protection of many children exploited for labour on Lake Volta. In South Asia, please pray for IJM teams distilling and disseminating key information from recent studies to highlight the areas of greatest need. Pray for the approval of Philippine’s National Police Women and Children Protection Centre to become a National Operating Support Unit. The approval would allow the unit to be given a larger budget, enabling it to direct rescue operations of online sexual exploitation of children. IJM’s offices in the UK, USA, Australia, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, South Korea, Switzerland, and the Netherlands all need more team members and funding.
A study by Tel Aviv University found anti-Semitic incidents dramatically increased across the world last year. The USA, Canada, Germany, Australia and the UK experienced the sharpest rise fuelled by radical left- and right-wing political movements and incitement on social media. The report's release coincides with Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day, 28 April, commemorating the six million Jews murdered by Nazi Germany across Europe during World War Two. It is based on the analysis of dozens of studies from around the world, as well as information from law enforcement bodies, media, and Jewish organisations. Anti-Jewish hate crimes in New York and Los Angeles were almost twice that of the previous year. In France, anti-Semitic incidents increased by almost 75%. The gravest concern is the dark web, which shelters extremists. Anti-Semitic content is freely and openly spread, but is only accessible through special illegal browsing software.
By 2018 there were 5 billion mobile phone users and over 4 billion using the internet. Desert nomads can watch videos pre-loaded onto their mobile phones. This revolution in communications is increasing the spread of the gospel. Networking tools are being used in astonishing ways. Isolated Muslims who have heard of Jesus or dreamt of a man in dazzling white speaking to them have started to seek Christ via social networking. A project to do this drew over a thousand responses in just one southeast Asian country. When the idea was repeated in the Middle East, the response overwhelmed the available resources. One observer reports that thanks to messaging apps, untold numbers of groups are emerging daily who encourage one another in the Word even in places where the gospel cannot legally go. Pray for creativity and wisdom to make the most of every mission opportunity that presents itself.
Pray for Christians in the Muslim world during the month of Ramadan when Muslims will fast from food and drink during daylight, pray, do acts of charity and give alms. Most Muslims observe Ramadan peacefully, but it creates problems for Christians in Islamic environments. In theory, non-Muslims are not required to fast because it is a form of Islamic worship and one of the five pillars of Islam. However, Christians and other religious minorities in Muslim-majority countries can feel pressured into joining in the severe fast. They will probably be unable to eat in public, creating difficulties for those working outside the home. The month of Ramadan is especially hard for secret believers who converted from Islam but have not told their Muslim families for fear of persecution and even death. They must make the month-long extra commitment to Islamic observance, or risk showing that they have apostatized from Islam.
With millions of deaths and hundreds of millions of recorded cases around the world, the pandemic has been an enormous global health challenge. Covid restrictions erased all recent reductions in poverty. In 2020 the number of very poor rose. Loneliness, fear, grief, money worries, idleness and overwork caused a 25% increase in anxiety and depression. Pray for the restoration and rebuilding of lives. Pray that the churches worldwide will be ‘like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm’ and for God’s Kingdom to advance. Pray for Churches to make the most of new post-Covid opportunities. Covid normalised video-conferencing for billions and has multiplied opportunities to learn and pray together. Praise God for the Global Fund for Malaria, TB and HIV. Deaths from malaria have dropped 60% since 2000, and HIV is no longer among the ten leading causes of death. Pray for the continued fight against preventable diseases.
The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) and World Without Orphans (WWO) are calling on churches to help in a crisis. The ‘Lancet Child and adolescent health modelling report’, by national and international government and non government organisations, estimates that over seven million children globally have lost a parent or caregiver due to Covid-19. They estimate that for every person killed by Covid, one child is orphaned or loses a caregiver. That equates to one child every six seconds facing a heightened risk of lifelong adversity unless given support in time. Rev Dr Rebecca Goropevsek said, ‘We encourage church leaders to read the report and prayerfully consider how the pandemic has affected families and children in their own context and what support they can offer. Pray for families that are safe and nurturing to adopt and foster orphans; and for communities to protect vulnerable children from adversity and violence.
Five days after Shell announced it is ending all joint ventures with the Russian energy company Gazprom, on 6 March it admitted having bought Russian crude oil at a discounted price. It said there was no alternative crude supplies which would reach Europe in time. On March 8th Shell said, ‘We are acutely aware that our decision last week to purchase a cargo of Russian crude oil to be refined into products like petrol and diesel - despite being made with security of supplies at the forefront of our thinking - was not the right one and we are sorry.’ The business says it will immediately stop all spot purchases of Russian crude oil and will shut its service stations, aviation fuel and lubricants operations in Russia. It says its withdrawal from other associations with Russia will be done ‘in a phased manner, aligned with new government guidance’. They said Russian oil profits will be used to help Ukrainians. See
8 March was International Women’s Day. Genesis 1:27 says God created both men and women in His image, yet women disproportionately suffer injustice. Operation World statistics report, ‘Women account for two thirds of the world’s poorest citizens. Nearly two thirds of illiterate people are women, and this proportion has stayed the same for two decades. Globally, women are paid less than men. A cultural preference for male babies has led to 30 million or more deaths of unborn or baby girls, mostly in India and China. This fuels the growth of trafficking of women as brides or sex slaves.’ In 1945 the UN Charter was the first international agreement to affirm the principle of equality between women and men. The UN celebrated its first official International Women's Day during International Women’s Year in 1975. Nearly fifty years later, women still don’t fully participate in political, cultural and economic arenas in many nations and cultures. Globally, this still needs to be addressed.
The prospect of Ukraine’s wheat harvests being marooned by war has already sent wheat prices to record highs. If the crops cannot leave the country, global food shortages are likely. Ukraine is one of the world’s great breadbaskets. It is the top producer of sunflower seeds, its black-earth fields yield large oilseed crops, they export 12% of the world’s wheat and 17% of its corn. However the war has done grave damage to Ukraine’s infrastructure. Russian missiles have ruined airports, roads still existing have militarised checkpoints, and few companies want to send trucks across land borders already choked with refugees. Previously Ukraine’s sea ports exported 200,000 tonnes of wheat a day. Now the best it is likely to attain through transloading operations at every one of its western border crossings - Romania, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary - is ‘under 20,000 tonnes a day, altogether’.