France is the largest country in western Europe and the sixth largest economy in the world, much of it coming from tourism. It is traditionally Catholic but Catholicism has been in decline while atheism and other religious groups have increased. They struggle with immigration and also trying to keep their traditional French identity. Those practicing the occults has risen dramatically, and outnumber doctors, while evangelicals are very few.
Sadly, the Bible is alien to most French people. Less than 10% own a Bible and 80% have never even handled one. Yet Bible sales are at an all-time high, and people are spiritually hungry. Pray for the availability of Bibles to the French people and that they will read and understand the truth and joy that Jesus Christ brings.
Ethiopia is a very unique country. It is one of the oldest known nations, and has a long written history even from the Bible. It is Africa’s oldest independent nation and one of the first Christian nations. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church was the state church from 1270 until the 1974 revolution. The Orthodox church had been isolated from the rest of the Christian world for a long time, as a Christian island surrounded by Islam, so they developed a unique culture, theology and tradition over time. In recent years, the demand for the Bible has increased, and the Orthodox Church has helped in distributing Bibles and they have started to work more closely with other Christian groups including Catholics and evangelicals.
Ethiopia is mentioned in the Bible from Genesis to Acts – from the Garden of Eden, to Noah’s sons who inhabited the land, to the Ethiopian eunuch whom the Apostle Philip explained the scriptures about Jesus. Even today, we see the roots of Christianity in this country, which is one of very few countries in this part of the world that is predominantly Christian.
A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. The name of the second river is the Gihon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush (Ethiopia). And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates. Genesis 2:10-14
Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place.And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worshipand was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah.And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?”And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. Acts 8:26-40
Congo Republic of Congo is west of the Congo DRC, which it is often confused. During its Marxist-Leninist period of 1968-1991, the youth were heavily indoctrinated against religion. Eighteen denominations were banned and some missions expelled. All restrictions were removed in 1992. But as a result, not many churches have been built and the people are not trained or educated in Christianity. Though most profess to be Christian, much of it is actually a thin veneer over traditional African religion (or animists, where everything has a spirit).
Bible translation is an ongoing challenge with all the different languages. Pray for missionaries, tools and resources to allow the people to learn true Christianity and lift the veil of darkness and deceit.
Comoros is a tiny volcanic island between Madagascar and Mozambique in Africa. Literacy is 56% and life expectancy is 64 years. They export perfumes and spices, yet despite working in agriculture, the small country is underdeveloped, poor and overpopulated. There are severe restrictions on Christians, but there is also a quiet witness of Christian medical workers and aid in the area.
Pray that they will receive the resources and tools needed to free them from their restrictive captivity, and to know the truth in Jesus Christ that can set them free from all.
Cambodia lies between Thailand and Vietnam. It is a fertile, forest-covered state on the Mekong River. It is also one of the poorest countries and heavily dependent on foreign aid. Years of war and genocide and corrupt government have hindered their development. The sex trade is also common here. Buddhism has been the national religion since the 15th century. The Khmer Rouge (Cambodian Communists) sought to eradicate all religion in the 1960’s. 90% of Buddhist monks and most Christians perished. The genocide of 1975-1979 killed nearly two million people and most of the population over the age of 30. Since 1990 Christians have been allowed to worship openly with some limitations, and there has been significant Christian growth. Please pray for the young people who have suffered the most, that they will have hope and a future that most of the rest of us take for granted.