Pray for Our World: Italy

Italy is a mountainous peninsula that dominates the Mediterranean Sea and includes two large islands, Sardinia and Sicily.  Italy has contributed much to the world – legal systems of Roman law, Latin language, Renaissance culture of art and music, and many fashion innovations.  Christianity flourished here but soon became a formalized state religion of cultural Catholicism.  They were virtually untouched by the Protestant Reformation and have never had Biblical revival.  The Roman Catholic Church is now in crisis.  Though the church is active in Italian identity, very few people faithfully practice Catholicism, even as low as 3%.

Organized crime is high and infiltrates every level of society, with influence in local and federal governments.  The income from organized crime is largely from drugs and extortion.  Young people are very susceptible to the secularism and drugs that is prevalent in the country.  Italy is a beautiful and historical country and has a lot to offer the world.  Pray that the churches will turn to the Bible for truth and return to their faith as a way of life for their country.

Pray for Our World: Hungary

Hungary has adjusted well from a socialist economy to a market economy, though the older generation struggles a little more to go from a system that cared for their needs to one which they mostly look after themselves.  Hungary is a country rich in history and Christian history as well.  In the year 2000, they celebrated 1000 years since their conversion to Christianity.  Originally Hungary was a Roman province in 8 AD, and there were Christian communities there as early as the 3rd century.  The first Hungarian translation of the Bible was prepared in the 1430’s by Hussite preachers.  Roman Catholicism came to Hungary and they helped administered schools and hospitals.  Later came Reformed (Calvinist), Evangelical (Lutheran), Orthodox, and Unitarian (first created in the 1850’s in Transylvania).

Around the year 1000, Vajik became the first King of Hungary after defeating his pagan opponent, and was baptised (pictured in the famous painting above) and assumed the name Stephen after his baptism.  Around this time, missionaries also came from several different areas to Hungary.  One of King Stephen’s first laws was that everyone should go to church.  His second law was that every ten villages together should build a church.

Hungary has contributed significantly to the arts, sciences, and literature over the ages, from middle ages, reformation, papal history, enlightenment, and the Austro-Hungarian empire.  In 1949, Hungary became communist, modeled after Stalin in the Soviet Union.  Religious instruction was abolished, monasteries were dissolved and almost 4,000 monks and nuns were deported, imprisoned or tortured.  Fifty years later, communism disappeared, and the government passed the Law of Freedom of Conscience and Religion which established the freedom of religion as a basic human right and that church activities were useful to society.

May Hungary continue to acknowledge their Christian importance in the world and keep their freedom of religion.

Pray for Our World: Guadeloupe

Guadeloupe is a French-owned island in the Caribbean.  France has owned the island since 1635, and with its subsidization from France, there is little motivation for them to be independent.  However, the riots of 2009 showed some of their dissatisfaction with France in their standard of living.  There is widespread unemployment especially among youth.  The people are predominantly of African and South Asian descent.

The island is nominally Christian (in name only), but occultism and magic are large influences.  There is the grim legacy of slavery as well that has left its mark.  Before 1946 there were no evangelical churches on the island, but the Southern Baptists have helped establish a strong network of churches that have risen up in the last few decades.  There is only one Christian bookstore on the island, but the Gideons and The Bible Society help distribute Bibles and Christian literature.

Pray for the people of the island – for employment, freedom from the occult, and for the churches that they may be able to effectively reach the people of the island.

Pray for Our World: Ghana

Ghana is on the south-western coast of the Gulf of Guinea in Africa.  79% of the population earns less than $2 per day.  Yet, Ghana enjoys a rich Christian tradition.  With over 100 ethnic groups, there were only 5 Bible translations available in 1965.  Since then, the majority of Ghanaians have at least a New Testament translation and there is work in progress on every language in Ghana!  Hundreds of churches have been planted as a result of the newly translated scriptures in their languages.

May God bless the people and organizations that have faithfully worked on Bible translations over the years in Ghana.  But where God’s truth is being successfully told, there is often strong opposition.  Islam has set out to conquer Ghana.  Almost half of the population is under the age of 15 and very impressionable.  Pray for the Christian workers and churches there, that they may reach the young people for the truth and light and hope of Jesus Christ.

Pray for Our World: The Gambia

The Gambia, or also called Republic of The Gambia, is a narrow strip of riverine enclave that divides part of Senegal.  Life expectancy is 55 years, and half the population is under 15 years.  The Gambia was part of the West African slave trade, and the reason a population was kept by the Gambia river.  Today it is a majority Muslim country, and the country celebrates the Muslim holidays.  Homosexuality is illegal, and punishable by life in prison.

The unreached peoples are many and Christian evangelicals are few.  There is lack of tools, literature and training for the small churches that are there.  Pray for missionaries, the churches, and continuing Bible translations, Jesus film and Christian radio and tv, which offer hope and freedom to the people.