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: Korea, South

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!

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.