Pray for Our World: Togo

Togo is only 56 km long on the Atlantic African coast but the land stretches 650 km northward between Ghana and Benin.  Coffee and cocoa are the main cash crops. Democratic progress has been made in recent years, since independence from France in 1960 and subsequent military coups. There was a period of intense anti-Christian rhetoric in the 1970’s. Several religious groups were banned, with only Muslims, Catholics and five Protestant churches legally permitted to function. By 1990 nearly all restrictions have been lifted, and Christianity has expanded, particularly evangelical and pentecostal movements from West African pastors. There are still many voodoo and animistic societies that intensely oppose the gospel. Pray that the light of Christ and the Gospel will break through the darkness that still holds much of the land.

Pray for Our World: Timor Leste

Cristo Rei overlooking Timor Leste

Timor Leste is in the eastern half of Timor island, west of Indonesia. It may be small but has a big story. It was ignored by the Portuguese during their rule from 1511 to 1974, then developed by the Indonesian military as a place for the elite, and recently destroyed in vengeance after the vote for independence in 1999, destroying 75% of the infrastructure and economy before the UN intervened. The new nation faces major rebuilding.  The majority have experienced invasion, suppression, famine, lack of health facilities and poverty.

It is only one of two Asian nations that has a Catholic majority. Catholic agencies helped serve at the forefront of the mercy ministries to the desperate during the time of invasion. Protestants are viewed more with suspicion since most come from Indonesia. Pray that the churches will unite and help spread a gospel of hope, aid and love to the people of Timor Leste.

Pray for Our World: Tajikistan

Tajikistan borders on Afghanistan and China. It is very mountainous covering 93% of the area. The Soviet collapse and civil war damaged the economy and infrastructure, ranking it one of the poorest of the former-USSR states. The majority of the Christian population was greatly reduced afterwards from emigration. Though they have freedom of religion, the fear of radical Islam in the 94% Muslim majority prompts the government to attempt to control all religious expression. There is a recent birth of a new church, the Tajik Church, that is now growing.  Pray for the new church, and for the importing of Bibles and Christian literature for the people, which is extremely difficult.

Pray for Our World: Switzerland

The Swiss Alps in Switzerland are one of the greatest tourist attractions in the world. Switzerland is a very wealthy industrial state with an educated and skilled workforce. Tourism and banking are important foreign exchangers.

The great reformers of the past, Calvin and Zwingli, who expounded the truths of Scriptures, are all but forgotten in Switzerland. Not too long ago, almost every person would have been either Catholic or Protestant, but today, many consider themselves non-religious. The churches are reaching crisis proportions with a lack of clergy and the spreading of liberal theology in the congregations. Yet, there is modest growth in the Free churches, which is an active movement for the renewal of Reformed churches. Catholics are also returning to a more conservative and traditional faith. Pray that these trends to return to their faith will continue in Switzerland.

Pray for Our World: Swaziland

Swaziland is a small, landlocked enclave between Mozambique and South Africa. Mainly agricultural, most of the trade is with South Africa. However, the prevalence of AIDS has seriously affected their economy. It was a British protectorate from 1899-1968 and then became democratic, but the outrageous wealth of the monarchy among this poor country is a highly charged issue.

In Swaziland, the consistent sowing of the gospel over the last 160 years has led to a strong Christian community with a solid core of believers and regular church attenders. It is encouraging to see how a small, faithful sowing of the gospel over the years has reaped many benefits. Pray that they will continue to be faithful and lead others to Christ.