Abdel-Nour witnessed violence and humiliation from the Arab rulers of Algeria. ‘I was a racist, I disliked Arabs.’ He fought against the Arabic language forced upon him at school; when his sisters watched Arabic he turned the TV off. Then he met some people from a local church. He said, ‘They did not stop talking about Jesus Christ. I was curious so I went with them to the church. Verses like “Love your enemies” had a big impact on me. I loved God’s Word, this strengthened my faith, and I accepted Christ as the Saviour and Lord of my life. Christ radically changed my life. God loves us as we are, regardless of our nationality and language.’
At the height of the recent riots in Northern Ireland, Leading The Way launched a social media campaign. ‘After seeing the riots in Belfast, we decided to reach out on social media to young people across the city with these messages of hope from Dr. Youssef, as well as offering a free Finding True Peace booklet.’ The scale of the response was surprising, unexpected - and a huge answer to many prayers! On Facebook, tens of thousands of young people watched the videos. Nearly 400 people visited the Finding True Peace website, which explains how Jesus provides the only hope to people who increasingly need to know the love of God in their lives. On YouTube, over 17,000 people watched the video. 30% were under 24 years of age, and from Northern Ireland. See
Two Royal Navy ships are returning home after a protest by French fishermen over post-Brexit rights in Jersey’s territorial waters ended. Sixty French boats had been blockading the port of St Helier, which is why the two warships were deployed. The fishermen said their rights were being unfairly restricted by licences issued under the new system, but after ‘positive’ discussions between the two sides they returned home. The French government expressed the hope that the dispute would be swiftly resolved and that the new trade deal would be fully implemented. Boris Johnson said he was pleased the situation had been resolved for now, but the Government is still ‘on standby’ if Jersey needs further assistance.
Last week you prayed for the UK to settle the debt they owe to Iran, so that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe can finally be released from prison. Please keep praying. This week the UK and Iran are in discussions over the £400m that the UK owes for failing to deliver tanks Iran bought in the 1970s. Nazanin believes she has been imprisoned as leverage for the debt. Boris Johnson said ministers were doing ‘everything we can to look after her interests and all the very difficult dual national cases we have in Tehran’. On 1 May Iranian state TV suggested the UK had paid the debt - but the Government said nothing had changed.
COP26 will be held in Glasgow in November and countries must set ambitious goals for bold climate action. The G7 summit will be held in Cornwall in June. As host nation, the UK will have an important role in influencing the discussions of climate issues. This week the Government announced radical new commitments to cut carbon emissions by 78%, fifteen years earlier than the previous target. This would be a world-leading position. Covid-19 paused climate emissions - but they are rising again. Hitting targets requires more electric cars, low-carbon heating, renewable electricity and reducing meat and dairy consumption. Climate laws will extend to cover international aviation and shipping. Consequently, homes will need better insulation, people must drive less and walk and cycle more, and expect expensive aviation fees for frequent fliers. See also this week’s World article ‘Rising sea levels threatening my home.’
The entire Indian delegation in the UK for G7 talks must self-isolate after two Covid cases were detected. India's foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar pulled out of face-to-face talks, saying he was aware of exposure to possible Covid positive cases. India is not in the G7 group of nations, but delegates from the country had been invited as guests. Jaishankar met home secretary Priti Patel in person on 4 May, but will now meet delegates virtually. The G7 consists of seven advanced economies - UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the USA. Their official summit will be next month, but ministers from India, Australia, South Korea and South Africa have been invited as guests as the UK tries to deepen ties with other regions. India is currently on the UK's red list, meaning travel from there is banned, but some people are exempt, including representatives of a foreign country.
As Nick James of the Animal Health Agency reported at our April prayer gathering, the recent round of bird flu is over and there has been good progress in the battle against bovine TB. At the same event, one family said that their farm was finally clear of TB after being shut down for fifteen months. Give thanks for answered prayers. Pray for livestock farmers who have suffered outbreaks of these diseases or feel threatened by future outbreaks. Pray that the agency will be alert to future threats (including approaching swine fever).
Ioannis Dekas, a father of four sons, became concerned after he found one of his boys had accessed pornography. He said this was a wake-up call for him and his wife, making them confront the potential danger to their son and the impact on them all as a family. Mr Dekas wants the government to put in place the age verification requirements set out in part three of the Digital Economy Act - a law that was passed in 2017 but not acted on. Mr Dekas is seeking a High Court hearing to consider whether the government should tighten youngsters' access to pornography. He wants the government to implement proof of age in order to gain access. New research suggests the majority of 16- and 17-year-olds in the UK have recently seen porn. The government is currently preparing a new Online Harms Bill, which is expected to be put before Parliament later this year.