Pray for Our World: Montenegro

Montenegro is a coastal Adriatic state that is small, but mountainous and picturesque.  With its beautiful coastline, it is Europe’s fastest growing tourist industry.  It was recognized as a state as early as 1077 and became part of Yugoslavia in 1918, and separated in 2006.  With their independence, it has brought optimism and hope.  If they can avoid the ethnic/religious difficulties that plague most of the other Balkans, then they will have a chance to succeed.  Seventy-five percent of the population is Orthodox, but the Orthodox Church has many disagreements between Serbian Orthodox and Montenegrin Orthodox.  Evangelicals have been growing, as we’ve seen in many other non-western countries as well.  Foreign missions is also just beginning in Montenegro.  Pray that the missions and the churches will unite and spread the Good News to the people of Montenegro.

Pray for Our World: Mongolia

Mongolia is a country squeezed in the middle, with China to the south and Russia to the north.  It is subject to extreme climates.  Mongolia was unified as a nation in 1206 under Genghis Khan, and became the greatest land empire ever known.  It was foreign dominated from 1368 to 1911, then Russia installed a Marxist government in 1921.  After the fall of USSR, Mongolia has struggled with poverty and finding employment, and many have moved abroad.

While it seems sad to see the changes governments have imposed over hundreds and thousands of years, God seems to be working quietly behind the scenes in many of these countries at this time.  Many changes have taken place over the last 50-100 years around the world that we have not been seen before.  In 1989, there were only four Mongolian Christians.  Today, there are over 40,000 believers in hundreds of churches and groups, meeting in most parts of the country.  The greatest challenge for the churches and missionaries to this part of the world is that they must shed their foreign-ness and become truly Mongolian and yet still remain Biblically centered.  Jesus came for all people, and His message is for all people, and we must not try to westernize Christianity and force others to fit that mold.  Jesus’ message of belief and repentance is not culture-specific.  It is only our rituals that are culture-specific.

Pray for Our World: Monaco

Monaco is the second smallest state in the world, with an area of 2 sq km.  Used as a byword for a very high standard of living, most revenue comes from tourism, gambling, and a tax haven.  The prince of this state has been from the house of Grimaldi since 1297.  The religious culture is Catholic, but the real culture of Monaco is materialistic hedonism.  It sounds similar to Las Vegas in the US.  There are over 160 nationalities there with most being expats.  Pray that the small number of Christian evangelicals that are there will find a culturally appropriate way to witness in a country where it is regarded as socially unacceptable.

Pray for Our World: Malta

St. Paul’s Bay at the island of Malta

Malta is an island in the center of the Mediterranean Sea.  The Apostle Paul shipwrecked on the island during his missionary journeys, and it became one of the first nations in Europe to embrace Christianity.  Can you imagine seeing Paul swimming to the shore or climbing out of his shipwrecked boat onto the island, and then beginning to tell the islanders about Jesus Christ?  Even to this day, the bay is named after him – St. Paul’s Bay.

The Phoenicians in 1000 BC occupied the island, and it has since had many seizures from Romans, Arabs, Normans, Ottomans, French and British, yet it has maintained its Christian heritage ever since Paul came.  Today, most are Catholic.  Pray that they will remember their heritage and continue to stand in their Christian identity.

Pray for Our World: Macedonia

Macedonia is a landlocked state surrounded by Serbia, Kosovo, Bulgaria, Greece and Albania.  It is one of the poorest of the former Yugoslavia state.  There is high unemployment and low standard of living, which has spurred an exodus of young people.  The ethnic composition is made up of Albanians, Romani and Turkish communities.

In New Testament times, Paul visited Macedonia several times on his missionary journeys.  The first European convert was from Macedonia after Paul had a vision about a man from Macedonia.  Today, the evangelical population is small and has a stigma of being a cult, but they are growing.  The people of Macedonia are responsive to the gospel, and their needs are great.  Pray for the people of Macedonia, that they will embrace the good news that Paul brought to them many years ago.  While our circumstances may have changed since then, the truth and message of the Good News of Jesus Christ has not changed over time.