Pray for Our World: Burundi

Burundi is in central Africa between Rwanda and Tanzania.  It is one of the poorest nations with 70-80% living below the poverty line.  The country is highly in debt, and gained its independence from Belgium in 1962.  Christian workers were expelled by the volatile regime between 1970 and 1985, and few have returned.  However, there is a new development of Christian universities in the country, with the most notable being the Hope Africa University (Free Methodists) and University of Light (Anglican).

Many of the children have lost parents, are undernourished, and suffer from malaria and AIDS.  Violence against children is common.  Only half of the children attend school.  Pray for these children, and for more Christian education and resources to help the people.

Pray for Our World: Bolivia

Bolivia is only one of two landlocked countries in the Americas.  It is on the southwest side of Brazil.  Once it was South America’s richest area, but corrupt governments and the fall of silver prices have made it one of the poorest.  They gained their independence from Spain in 1825 but have had 200 coups and revolutions since then.  Most of the economy is agriculture but about 70% illegally grow the coca plant used in cocaine.

The church and the people are in crisis here.  Most are baptized Catholic but are practicing Christo-pagans or animists.  Christo-pagans combine Christian and witchcraft together.  Animism is the religious belief that all objects, places and creatures possess a distinct spiritual soul or essence.  The young people are rarely ministered to, even though over two-thirds of the population is under the age of 30.  Up to 75% of Bolivia’s children are raised in poverty and malnutrition.  Many are homeless, many of the boys use drugs and many of the girls have been sexually abused.

Please pray for these children and for the missionaries who minister here.  More missionaries and resources are needed.  The people are responsive to it, as the number of evangelicals and church growth has been increasing.  People want hope, they just need to be shown the way.

Pray for Our World: Benin

Benin is wedged between Nigeria and Tongo in Africa.  One of the trends I am seeing in many of the smaller countries like Benin is that they have gained their independence within the last half of the 20th century.  Indeed the world dynamics are changing in many ways.

Benin is split religiously between Christian, Muslim, and Ethnoreligionist.  Ethnoreligionists are various faiths that are usually confined to a specific ethnic group.  It encompasses ancestor-worship, polytheists, folk religionists, cults and tribal movements.  The birthplace of Voodoo is in Benin and each year they hold a Voodoo festival.  There is another dark side as well, people-smuggling.  Tens of thousands of children are allegedly smuggled from Benin each year to work as child laborers.

Please pray for these children, that God may rescue them with the help of His people, and bring them to the loving arms of Jesus, who often spoke about not doing any harm to the children.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14)  “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in My name welcomes Me, and whoever welcomes Me welcomes not only Me, but the One who sent Me.”  (Mark 9:37)   

In Jesus’ Words: Children’s praise (Matthew 21:14-17)

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~ Matthew 21:14-17  Children’s praise in the temple ~

The blind and the lame came to Jesus in the temple complex, and He healed them. When the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonders that He did and the children shouting in the temple complex, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant and said to Him, “Do You hear what these children are saying?”

“Yes,” Jesus told them. “Have you never read:

You have prepared praise
from the mouths of children and nursing infants?”

Then He left them, went out of the city to Bethany, and spent the night there.

When Jesus came to Jerusalem, he came to the temple.  It was His Father’s house and the place where Jesus showed His authority over His spiritual Kingdom. The temple was to be revered, a place of prayer, and a place of praise.  We too should want to go to our Father’s house.  It seems we’ve lost some of the specialness of such a place, but it is my hope that we will never forget and never take it for granted.  And all children should have the chance to experience the extraordinary grace and love that comes from knowing Jesus. In the middle of our political and selfish chaos of who is right and who is wrong, I hope each of us will continue to do the small things every day to show Jesus’ love, especially to the children.  His light will shine through.feet with waves cropped

In Jesus’ Words: Children are a Blessing (Matthew 19:13-15)

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As a mom, and especially on this recent Mother’s Day, there are no more comforting words to hear than these spoken from Jesus:

~ Matthew 19:13-15  Jesus Blesses the Children ~

Then children were brought to Jesus so He might put His hands on them and pray. But the disciples rebuked them.  Then Jesus said, “Leave the children alone, and don’t try to keep them from coming to Me, because the kingdom of heaven is made up of people like this.”  After putting His hands on them, He went on from there.

Children are a blessing in so many ways.  Whether you have children of your own or have a chance to interact with children in other ways, I cannot think of anything more precious.  Children teach us what is important in life.  They see things through a different lens than us adults.

Children are a promise of renewal.  Even though we have sadness in the world, there is something about seeing a new baby that washes over us like a wave of hope.  Jesus makes all things new and Heaven makes all things fair.  From Jesus’ own words, “Heaven is made up of children and people like this.”  Heaven is a joyous place, for the children.

One of the most important things we can do in this life is to take care of the children, teach them, show them kindness, and let them come to Jesus.  Children are naturally attracted to Jesus.  They are fresh from God.  And a mom praying for her child is a force that can change the world.feet with waves cropped