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.

Pray for Our World: Congo (Republic of Congo)

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.

Pray for Our World: Taiwan (China)

Taiwan, a mountainous island east of mainland China is also part of the Republic of China and one of the world’s most densely populated countries.  They are known for exporting high-tech goods.  It was under Japanese rule from 1895-1945, then granted to the Nationalist Government of China.  After the fall of mainland China to the Communists in 1949, Taiwan became a refuge.  The religion is mostly a Chinese blend of Buddhism, Daoism and Taiwanese folk religion, with very few Christians (5%).  The church has been growing recently due to increase in migrant workers, among them Filipinos, Thais, Indonesians, Vietnamese and others.  However, the decline in number of missionaries has been more significant than any other country in Asia.

On February 6, 2018, a 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit Taiwan, with a maximum felt intensity of “severe” on the Mercalli intensity scale.  At least 17 deaths were reported and 285 injured.  It occurred on the second anniversary of the 2016 earthquake which killed 117.  After the 2018 earthquake, Taiwan politely declined assistance from China.

Pray for the recovery effort and the people affected, the missionaries, churches and Christians who are there, and that more missionaries will come.

 

Pray for Our World: Bolivia

Bolivia is only one of two landlocked countries in the Americas.  It is on the southwest side of Brazil.  Once it was South America’s richest area, but corrupt governments and the fall of silver prices have made it one of the poorest.  They gained their independence from Spain in 1825 but have had 200 coups and revolutions since then.  Most of the economy is agriculture but about 70% illegally grow the coca plant used in cocaine.

The church and the people are in crisis here.  Most are baptized Catholic but are practicing Christo-pagans or animists.  Christo-pagans combine Christian and witchcraft together.  Animism is the religious belief that all objects, places and creatures possess a distinct spiritual soul or essence.  The young people are rarely ministered to, even though over two-thirds of the population is under the age of 30.  Up to 75% of Bolivia’s children are raised in poverty and malnutrition.  Many are homeless, many of the boys use drugs and many of the girls have been sexually abused.

Please pray for these children and for the missionaries who minister here.  More missionaries and resources are needed.  The people are responsive to it, as the number of evangelicals and church growth has been increasing.  People want hope, they just need to be shown the way.