Pray for Our World: Guatemala

Guatemala is located between southern Mexico and Honduras.  Just a few days ago, a 5.2 magnitude earthquake shook off the coast of Guatemala after the catastrophic devastation of the Fuego volcano erupted, the most active volcano in Central America, killing 38 people and leaving many others missing.  In addition to the country being susceptible to earthquakes, it is a major transshipment point for the drug trade, and 70% of the cocaine bound for the US goes through Guatemala.  Murder and violence are common there, and they have the highest murder rate in Latin America. Most of the people live below the poverty line, and are oppressed.

Growth of missionaries and evangelical churches have increased over the years due to freedom of religion.  The Catholic church is predominantly syncretized Christo-pagans, where their traditional Mayan gods become Catholic “saints”.  This has been a challenge to the missionaries, especially those from an American background.  However, the committed Catholics along with evangelicals have joined together to help fight the social problems of street children, substance abuse, homelessness and illiteracy.  Evangelism has occurred by city crusades, Christian schools and institutions, and Christian television, radio, magazines and newspapers.

Pray for the churches, the missionaries, and the people of Guatemala, that they will receive the help they need to have a more abundant life – both physically and spiritually.

Pray for Our World: French Polynesia

The French Polynesia is a group of over 100 islands in the South Pacific.  It was one of the last places on earth to be inhabited.  The main islands are Tahiti and Bora Bora.  The official language is French, and France controls the aid and military to the islands.

It is no doubt a beautiful place, but it is also a paradise lost.  Formerly, it was a strong Christian nation that sent missionaries all over the Pacific.  Today, it is debased by increasing vices and immorality.  Tahitian missionaries no longer go out to other islands.  The Catholic church has had some renewal in the 1980’s and 1990’s, but many have returned to tribal pagan influence.

Pray for the Christian churches there, that they may have revival and gain more influence over other strong influences on the islands such as paganism and mormonism which have been on the increase.

Pray for Our World: Finland

Finland is a northern country between Sweden and the top portion of Russia.  It is 70% forest, 10% lake, and 8% arable land.  They have 100% literacy rate.  They are a specialized, high-tech export-oriented economy, supported largely on wood products (from all those forests).  Their income averages $52,000 which is 109% of the USA.  They were ruled by Sweden for 700 years and then another 100 years by Russia before their independence in 1917.  Evangelical Lutheran and Greek Orthodox churches are the recognized national churches.  There are over 900 long-term missionaries from Finland in about 70 different countries.  Finland has strong Christian traditions and geographical location that made it a strategic place for reaching many people from the former Soviet Union.  It is considered one of those most affluent and peaceful nations on earth.

Pray that they will continue to have a strong Christian influence in their nation and the surrounding nations.  As with much of the rest of the world, church attendance is declining there as well, they have not had any revival since the 1960’s and the younger generations are becoming more secular.

Pray for Our World: Cyprus

Cyprus has a long history. It is first mentioned in the New Testament book of Acts as the native place of the apostle Barnabas, and it was also the scene of Apostle Paul’s first missionary journey.  The Orthodox Church, the major church in Cyprus, was founded by Paul.  It is different from the Roman Catholic Church in that it has no central doctrinal or governance authority similar to the pope.  In early Christianity, the Great Schism divided the (eastern) Orthodox and (western) Catholic churches.  The Orthodox Church is the only original church that was not derived from the Catholic church.  All other denominations came from the line of (western) Catholic churches.  Lutheran, Calvinists, and Baptists split early from the Catholic Church.  Episcopal, Methodists, and Pentecostal split later.  More of the Catholic rituals are evident in those that split later.

The island of Cyprus is divided between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in the north and the Republic of Cyprus in the south.  The Christians are almost all in the south and Muslims in the north.  Cyprus is very religious for a European country, but it is mostly the older generation that attend the Orthodox Church.  Very few Greeks in the area are evangelicals.  The area is considered a haven for Christians in the middle east.

Pray that this land that Paul first visited and the home of one of the original disciples, will continue to be a haven and light for the Christ they followed and knew personally.

Pray for Our World: Cote d’Ivoire

Cote d’Ivoire is one of the world’s largest producers of cocoa and coffee.  What a great combination!  Sadly, they have had many conflicts that have divided their nation.  Missionaries were mostly driven out in previous conflicts of 2002-2007, and the country is divided between Muslim in the north and predominantly Christian in the south.  Yet, both religions are mixed with African religion and distorted.  Islam has spread rapidly with tribal groups in the north, and have grown from 5% in 1900 to 42% today.

Christian music writing, recording and the Jesus film continue to be influential in Cote d’Ivoire and many other parts of Africa.  Pray that the messages of these songs will remain true and not become a mixed religion, and that the Jesus film will continue to be broadcast and heard as a message of truth and hope.