1. War's devastation has brought immense suffering to the nation, yet has been used by God to make people more receptive to the gospel. An estimated 800,000 have lost their lives, a further 1,600,000 have been maimed and 7,000,000 have had to flee their homes. It will take decades to clear the 10-40 million mines and rebuild homes, schools, farms and shattered lives. Pray for peace and deliverance from further tyrannies.
2. The Civil War began as an Islamic holy war or jihad, but has degenerated into a cruel contest for power, ethnic superiority and religious supremacy. Weapons from Iran and Saudi Arabia and ideological indoctrination have further polarized society to the tragic detriment of the people and surrounding countries. Islam has gained no credit in the hearts of many who claim to be its followers. Pray that the centuries-old powers of darkness that bind this land may be broken, and that many may come to new life in Christ.
3. Afghanistan is one of the least reached lands in the world. There are 48,000 mosques but not a single church building, nor a viable fellowship of believers in any but one of the indigenous peoples of the country. Pray for the 88 unreached peoples of this land, especially:
4. The tragic plight of the refugees will take years to resolve. Pakistan is urging refugees to return to their homes, and in 1992 about 5,000 were leaving every week. The mujahidin (guerrillas) who control the camps have long used Western weapons and aid, but have now become very anti-Western and anti-Christian. Many Christian aid programmes have been abused or stopped, and at least three Christian aid workers have been killed. Pray for Christians who still seek to help and witness tactfully in a hostile environment and atmosphere. Some refugees have become Christians, but open profession has often led to deaths.
5. Afghan believers are few and mostly Dari-speaking. Their number in urban and some remote rural areas has multiplied through the witness of expatriates, Afghan believers and even Christian Russian soldiers. The war has given some protection to this small witness. Pray for the continuance and growth of the Church in the '90s; the fundamentalist government could endanger it.
6. The International Assistance Mission is an inter-agency Christian organization, supported by 26 agencies and recognized by the government, which has continued to function in the capital through the war. Its loving and dedicated ministry to the blind, maimed, sick, deprived, illiterate and needy has been a commendation of the Christian message that has borne fruit. War conditions and insecurity are not easy for the expatriate 70 staff from many countries; pray for them, and for the recruitment of other dedicated tentmakers with a wide range of skills. This is an unusual day of opportunity.
7. Distribution of Scriptures. The new Dari New Testament is available in quantity, and the new Pushtu New Testament in limited numbers. Pray for effective distribution in spite of the difficulties. Pray for the translation of the Scriptures into other languages too; work is in progress in eight, but 29 others may need translators. There has not been a survey of the languages for a long time -- this is a great need in the aftermath of the confusion of war.
8. The Media. Pray that all appropriate methods of witness may be used effectively.
1. Praise God for the spectacular changes in Albania. Hoxha's proud boast of achieving atheism was pronounced by his successor "a mistake" in 1991. Religion is now actively encouraged as an antidote to the crime wave that came with freedom.
2. Albania's experience with Communism has been economically, morally and spiritually devastating. The savagery of the repression of all real and imagined opposition to the dictator Hoxha was such that 700,000 were killed or imprisoned for long periods. A high proportion of the population was coerced into spying on neighbours. The democratic government faces an immense task in redressing the injustices of the past, constructing a modern viable state from virtually nothing, initiating a fair programme of land reform, and giving hope to a demoralized people. Pray for wisdom and moderation for the leaders of the nation.
3. Religious freedom has become a major issue. Muslims from the Middle East have mounted a massive effort to re-Islamize the country by means of missionaries, scholarships, aid, mosque building and drawing the country into the Muslim world. Catholics in the north and Orthodox in the south are reasserting their presence where they were once strong, and all three are pressing for stringent legislation to keep out other religions considered un-Albanian. The successes of Mormons and Baha'i could ultimately adversely affect Evangelicals. Pray for balance and wisdom in formulating laws that will grant religious freedom.
4. Evangelical Christian input has been swift and the effects dramatic. Within 18 months of the fall of Communism, 16 mission agencies had entered the country for aid projects, evangelism and church planting. By October 1992, there were over 1,000 believers gathering regularly to worship the Lord in 19 congregations and 17 home groups. There is an Evangelical witness in 22 of the 32 districts of the country. Pray for the growth, maturity and legalization of Protestant Christianity in the new Albania. The young church has grown so rapidly that growing pains are acute -- how to cope with rich foreign visitors and their aid, fights among members, and preparation of leaders to keep pace with the growth.
5. Evangelical mission agencies have multiplied since 1990. There are 32 or more agencies with long- and short-term workers committed to social ministries and to outreach and church planting. The Albanian Encouragement Project is a loose network linking 28 agencies. The larger groups are: YWAM (12 workers), Frontiers (11), OM (10), Ancient World Outreach (7), Brethren (6), (intteams)IT (3). Pray for:
6. The unreached. A toe-hold for the gospel has been established in most major towns, but to reach the rural areas and remote mountain valleys will need a considerable effort. The Swiss Helimission and MAF could have a significant role to play. The challenge is to reach traditional Muslim areas where folk Islam is more influential, and also the Gypsy and Vlach minorities.
7. Albanians abroad. Nearly half of all Albanians live outside Albania; they need to be evangelized.
8. Christian help ministries.
1. Opposition to the gospel is intense. A hundred years of tearful sowing the seed by a tenacious succession of missionaries has borne little fruit. Muslims have a long and bitter memory of "Christian" conquests, colonialism and atrocities, so miracles are needed to overcome the centuries of prejudice. Behind this are the unbound legions of Satan which hold the land in thrall.
2. Independence and the socialist political system that followed it have failed dismally. The desire for radical change boosted Muslim extremist opposition as the only viable alternative; the option of the gospel has never been fairly presented. A radical Muslim government would make conditions for gospel proclamation and the lot of the few Christians even more difficult. Pray for God's overruling in the affairs of men and that he may grant democratic moderation and religious freedom to the country. Algeria has become a political time-bomb.
3. The Berber peoples may comprise as much as 40% of the population. The Arab majority has long sought to impose their rule, culture and language and resents Berber intransigence. Berber nationalism is becoming a significant force as these peoples seek to reaffirm their identity and return to their cultural roots. Their forebears were once Christian, and many thousands have turned to Christ among the Kabyle -- largely through supernatural revelations of the Lord Jesus in the very area where Raymond Lull, the great missionary pioneer, was martyred 600 years ago. Pray for:
4. Indigenous Christians in the cities are relatively less numerous than those in rural areas. Only a few small fellowships exist where Arabic is used; most local Christians tend to use a mixture of French and Kabyle. The easy option is to emigrate to Europe. Pray for:
5. The unreached comprise virtually the whole nation.
6. The active mission force has steadily declined since 1970 with a number of expulsions. Missionaries are severely restricted in their activities. Most use secular jobs for residency and as a platform for witnessing. Personal witness and discipleship, camps and Bible study groups are the main opportunities for service. What wisdom, tact, courage and faith these servants of God need in the midst of frequent discouragements and insecurity! What sensitivity they need in tactfully helping the few groups of believers to maturity without dominating them!
7. Bible translation and distribution is fraught with obstacles and restrictions. Translation work is proceeding in four Berber languages, but nothing has been done for a further ten. Pray for perseverance for translators and for an adequate survey of the unfinished task. One major challenge is for the translation of the whole Bible into Kabyle in the Latin script by 1997.
8. Christian literature in the national languages and French is in such demand that supplies do not match it. Pray for the freedom to import and distribute Bibles and teaching materials as well as BCCs. Postal censorship is severe, leading to confiscation of mail and interrogation of recipients; pray for deliverances in this. There is an urgent need for BCCs and other materials in Kabyle.
9. Algerians in Europe are numerous; many are there illegally. If civil war or economic collapse comes to Algeria, their numbers may increase dramatically in the 1990s. They are more accessible to the gospel in Europe, but not necessarily more open. Pray for the network of agencies and churches seeking to reach them (AWM, GMU, WEC and others). Pray for the discipling of individuals and planting of Arabic- and Berber-speaking congregations which can then be channels for the gospel to their homeland.
10. Christian media are important in this internally restrictive situation. Pray for:
1. The dominance of the materialistic culture of USA and ease of emigration have weakened the church. Nevertheless, Assemblies of God churches have multiplied over the past generation. Pray for holiness of life and a commitment to discipleship among believers.
2. Spectacular Mormon growth demonstrates that evangelical believers are not meeting evident spiritual needs. Pray that stagnant churches may be roused to evangelize. Pray for the ministry of YWAM to simulate this; they have a large base with 33 staff.
1. Much of the past and present wealth of the country has been based on sin - smuggling, gambling and international finance as a "tax haven". So, though nominally Christian, Andorra needs a deep work of the Holy Spirit for hearts to be radically changed. There is no known indigenous Andorran evangelical believer.
2. There are three very small evangelical groups with a total of 20-30 believers, all being expatriate. There are no resident full-time evangelical Christian workers. Pray for the provision of missionaries. Jesus Is The Answer International Mission is seeking to place a couple to minister in the land.
3. Christian literature has been distributed by several evangelical groups, and some witnessing done. Pray for lasting fruit.
1. The tragic legacy of 31 years of war will take years to erase once peace is restored. Resettlement of 1.5 million refugees, rehabilitation of 30,000 maimed casualties, care for 20,000 war orphans and reconstruction of roads, railways, homes, hospitals, schools and churches will require enormous resources. Pray for peace and freedom for the gospel. Not all restrictions on Christian activity have been removed.
2. The church in Angola has multiplied in war and persecution. Praise God for this. In the first ten years after independence there was intense persecution of Christians, dozens of pastors and thousands of believers were martyred, and many churches were deliberately destroyed. Many simple Christians kept the faith and witnessed. As a result, congregations have multiplied in both the UNITA and MPLA areas in the conflict. Services are packed, and in their desperation and destitution hundreds of thousands have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ. Pray that this growth may continue and lead to the total evangelization of the country.
3. Christians will face a new range of moral and ethical challenges once peace comes. These include granting forgiveness to those who inflicted such suffering and giving loving discipline to Christians who compromised the truth. The government restriction on the legal number of churches poses problems for the more autonomous groups such as Brethren and Baptists; it could also lead to government manipulation or power struggles for church leadership. Pray that Christians may triumph in these areas too. Pray for a Church with holy living, unity in the Spirit, vision for the lost and leaders who truly resemble their Master.
4. The dearth of trained leadership is becoming the most critical problem limiting church growth and maturity. For years, little formal training could be given, but now there are seven Bible schools and four seminaries (Ecumenical, Evangelical [at Lubango, AEF], Baptist and Catholic). Pray for the provision of funds, buildings, libraries and, above all, godly teachers from Angola and abroad.
5. The unreached and needy:
6. The life and witness of a depleted missionary force through the years of suffering was a good testimony. Pray for continued ministry within the churches of AME (19), Brethren, British and North American Baptists (15), AEF (13) and others. Pray that a new generation of missionaries may be raised up to reconstruct the country, strengthen the Church and evangelize unreached peoples and areas. Pray for the provision of visas and favour in the eyes of the government.
7. Young people at school have had years of Marxist-Leninist teaching. Pray for the ministry of IFES (three groups in tertiary institutions and one staff worker) and SU. Pray for complete freedom for witness in schools and colleges.
8. Literature and Bibles are scarce and in great demand. Pray that supplies entering from Namibia, Canada, Portugal and Brazil may reach those who need them.
9. Media ministries:
1. The Christian population is physically isolated from the rest of the world, but needs spiritual separation and consecration as well. The lack of unity or vision for evangelism within or beyond their islands needs to be purged by an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
1. Christian profession is rarely accompanied by a holy life among Antiguans. Pray for a revelation of the holiness of God, and a revival. Pray also for the ministry of Christian literature to this end through the CLC bookstore in St. John's.
2. Oneness in fellowship and vision is the need. Pray for effective cooperation between the constituent congregations and agencies of the United Evangelical Association.
1. Astonishing reports of the revival in Argentina are a cause for praise! There has been a tide of conversions in response to every form of evangelism. Some reckon that Evangelicals may even be 12% of the population. Decades of dictatorial and military misrule, the tragic disaster of the Falklands/Malvinas War against Britain in 1982, and national economic collapse were all factors in making this proud people so responsive.
2. Church growth among Evangelicals has been dramatic, especially in the large cities, but less so in the provinces. Growth has been in every evangelical denomination but rather more in those that are Pentecostal. This growth has strained the resources of churches so that conservation and maturation of this harvest of souls has been inadequate; backsliding and loss to cults have been widespread. It is reckoned that only 10% of decisions lead to church membership. Pray for deepening and continuance of the spirit of revival in the '90s to touch every denomination and district.
3. Spiritual warfare against the forces of darkness has played a prominent part in Christian ministry, and decisive blows have been struck against bondage, witchcraft and sin, with dramatic results. Pray for the protection and continued spiritual health of all in the forefront of the battle. The dangers are plain -- pride in success, an unbalanced ministry, inadequate discipling and emphasis on doing rather than being. Pray that more Christians may become involved in local and national government where low ethical standards and corruption are rife, and pray for the moral and spiritual reconstruction of society as a result.
4. Pray for the unity of believers. Praise God for an estimated 13,000 all-night prayer meetings regularly held in the country. Yet denominational barriers, doctrinal divisions and power conflicts among leaders are damaging the cause of Christ. Pray for the Pentecostal Federation and the Alianza Cristiana de las Iglesias Evangélicas (ACIERA) in their efforts to bring believers together. Unity is essential for national goals for the '90s to be set and achieved. At present there is little cooperation or visionary planning.
5. Leadership for the Church has now become the critical bottleneck for more growth. Lack of finance, facilities and teachers prevent many from being prepared for the ministry. Most Bible schools are full. Some theological colleges emphasize humanism, liberation theology and social action rather than preaching the Word. Pray for the raising up, training and effective deployment of mature Christian leaders who walk humbly with their God.
6. The immigrant minority Churches (especially among Italians, Danish, Dutch and Welsh) once made up a significant proportion of Protestants. They attended to the spiritual needs of their own church communities, but did not evangelize the Spanish-speaking majority; however Italian, Russian and Chilean believers have evangelized their own groups. They are in decline, partly because their Spanish-speaking children do not feel at home in the churches. Younger Korean and Chinese ethnic churches are growing.
7. Lowland Amerindians of the Chaco in the north have responded to the gospel, and a high proportion are active Christians through the work of SAMS, Mennonites, and Pentecostals. Pockets of animism remain, and several indigenous sects have arisen which have led some astray. The coming of the gospel saved both these people and their cultures and gave them a pride and dignity to survive and thrive in the modern world. Pray for:
8. Missions. The greatest need is for mature missionaries able to assist the Church in Bible teaching, church planting and imparting a missions vision. Pray for the church-planting and support work of missionaries with AoG USA & Brazil (67), CBFMS (38), Brethren (30), CMA (22), GMU (12), and SBC (11). Major missionary-contributing nations: USA (517), Germany (104), Brazil (64), UK (55), Sweden (52).
9. Challenges for evangelism in the '90s.
10. The missionary vision of the Argentinian Church is small but growing with a significant interest in Spain and North Africa. The economic crisis and hyperinflation have made it hard to maintain missionary support. The COMIBAM committee has a major interdenominational role in stimulating and facilitating the vision for missions. Pray that pastors and churches may gain a vision for the unreached peoples of the world.
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