South Korea was transformed from a poor nation in 1953 into the eleventh-largest economy in the world through rapid industrialization and modernization. The workforce is highly educated and technologically advanced. In stark contrast to their northern neighbor, they have complete religious freedom. As we’ve seen with many countries, those that have freedom and especially religious freedom are far more well-off and advanced than other countries.
The Korean Church is truly an answer to prayer and shows the impact of world missions. The first Protestant church was planted here in 1884. Today it is one of the foremost churches in the world for missions, and has the highest proportions of evangelicals in all of Asia. Pray that the Korean Church will be able to reach their neighbors with the Good News!
Colombia is located in the far northwest corner of South America, closest to North America. They supply 90% of the US’s cocaine. There are drug-lords, violence, political unrest, kidnappings and thousands of street children. Who is to blame? I believe the demand from the US has a large responsibility. Our addictions, excess and greed will and do have dire consequences on the world.
But there is some good news too. The Church has begun to grow, and a small light is beginning to shine. Evangelicals were non-existent in 1960 and have now grown to 7.5%, which is significant considering Christians have often been the targets of drug cartels and guerrillas. And there is the inspirational success story of the Bellavista Prison as well. It is a maximum-security prison in Medellin that was often called “hell on earth”. Through prayer and bold Christian witnesses, the prison has seen a remarkable turning of hardened criminals to Christ and the end of the prison’s rampant murderousness. Many inmates are now believers, and there is regular prayer, Bible training and evangelism and even a Christian radio in the prison.
Prayer is the strongest weapon against the dark hold of Colombia. Pray for the churches and Christians for their safety, and the continued witness to the prisoners and people of Colombia… and that America will lessen their hold on cocaine which only comes to destroy.
I have not read this book yet but it seems very interesting. It is a testimony of what prayer and Christ can do. No one else but Christ could make such a change in people’s lives. This is why Christ died for us, this is why Christ came for us, and this is why Christ is the only way and hope for us.
A friend’s post recently got me thinking. She mentioned something that was very personal and dear to her heart, and some people actually took the time to respond back with complaints and negative comments about her post! I was shocked. But on the other hand, I also see people throw out empty, superficially nice comments with no real thought or meaning behind them. And we begin to thrive on those artificial likes. Overall, we have become a world of detached carelessness. We have lots of information at our fingertips but not so much wisdom or care. Those are things that can’t be googled or measured in the number of likes. One of my all-time favorite book quotes comes from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, “The Great Gatsby”. It was true 100 years ago and is still true today.
“They were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.”
Recently I won a book in a raffle, called “Operation World, The Definitive Prayer Guide To Every Nation.” I figured God gave it to me for a reason, and the most obvious reason being to help pray for our world. The book has statistics and facts on every country in our world with a prayer guide for the year. So I’m going to try it. I plan to earnestly pray and care for the people in every country of our world – people just like you and me. We are all someone’s mother or husband, son or daughter or friend. We all matter individually and we all matter to God. Every one of us.
I hope you will follow along with me this year to learn a little about each country and something we can all do, which is to pray. Prayer is our direct communication with our Heavenly Father, and He hears us and listens to us, and in the process, it can change our hearts and others.
Here’s a few facts about our world to get started:
The population of our world is a little over 7 billion and is anticipated to be 8 billion by 2030. For comparison, the population was only 2.5 billion in 1950 (which seems to contradict the argument from some that the world could not have been populated so quickly after Noah and the Flood).
There are 16,350 distinct people groups and 6,909 languages spoken in the world. A third of these languages do not have any Bible translation.
The largest religion is Christianity at 32%, then Muslim at 23% and then Hindu and Non-religious both at 14%. Jews are only .21%. (This is the remnant that God has always promised us, and they will be significant in leading the world during the End Times.)
The world’s religions are leveling out. While Christianity used to be the biggest religion, by as early as 2030, the trend shows it will be decreasing while other major religions are increasing and evenly spreading among the population. Still, one-third of the population is not measured by any major religion.
Catholicism is the largest Christian religion at 15% followed by Protestant at 7%. However, there has been recent dramatic growth in the post-denominational church, which has a variety of Christian beliefs and practices though it is still mainly evangelical. Evangelicals have been the driving force of the revivals of the 18th and 19th centuries and the expansion of non-Western Christianity.
God seems to be moving once again in the evangelical church, just in a different way. Perhaps we are coming back to the roots of the early churches and the original Apostle missionaries and early pastors of Peter, Paul, James, John and Timothy. We can only pray, and spread the hope to our world. I hope you will join me.