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Prayer News 1 September 2017

“My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as one pleads for a friend.” Job 16:20-21 (NIV)

Asia

Thailand: Tracy Day

Please pray for mission partner Tracy Day working out in Thailand along with her husband Jason.

Tracy has been struggling with migraines for years but this year they have increased in frequency and severity, becoming almost constant these last four months, leading to a five-day hospital admission for a brain MRI and treatment. The MRI was inconclusive, so she is now taking prophylactic anti-epilepsy medication to try and stem the instance of the attacks. However, very recently she has seen some signs of breakthrough with better sleep and less pain.

Please keep praying for her and her family.

South East Asia: Mission partners A and L

Please pray for two mission partners A and L, working in a country in South East Asia. They write:

“We just wanted to let you all know – and ask for prayer – that it seems the government has decided that foreigners won’t be able to renew long term visas (six months or a year) without a work permit. Previously this wasn’t the case, and it may yet be a flash in the pan like other crackdowns, but it means that we have to look at options to stay. At the moment we are praying; our visas run out early October and we will need to put in for renewal soon. As you can imagine there is some anxiety in this, but we also know our God is bigger. We would appreciate your prayers and we’ll keep you informed.”

Latin America

Chile: Janet Dolder

Janet Dolder, a mission associate based in Puerto Montt, writes:

“I ask for prayer for preparation for a message I have to give to the pastors’ wives in Chile at a retreat in Temuco this Sunday, 3 September. Please pray that The Holy Spirit will manifest himself to us all.”

Brazil: Alex Cacouris

Please pray for people in mission Alex and Jane Cacouris and in particular Alex. He is still suffering the after effects of chikungunya and recently had another bout of “reactive arthritis” and has suffered from pain and numbness in his arms, which has affected his sleep. He is starting another course of treatment. Please pray that this will relieve his symptoms completely, and for complete healing. 

He also asks for prayer for the work in the church: “Lately we’ve had to deal with a series of fairly harrowing pastoral issues – most of which are the inevitable fall-out from the intensity and hedonism of the society and culture here in Rio. It has been a gritty reminder that all humans really do need God.”

Bolivia: Walter Toro

Please pray for Walter Toro, a local partner in Tarija, Bolivia. He writes that they now have 12 home prayer groups and that after perseverance and patience now have new families coming into the church. Please also pray for the planning and resources for a Marriage Course in the church.

Guatemala: Mark and Rosalie Balfour

Please pray for mission partners Mark and Rosalie Balfour who are pioneering a new path for CMS as our first people in mission ever to work in Central America. They are working with street children and young people at risk in Guatemala City, offering them the opportunity to receive mentoring and to be equipped with vital life skills.

They write with an update: “We have spent our first week in our new home in Guatemala City and are very grateful for the provision of this apartment. Rosalie’s health continues to improve as her energy grows: she has also been virtually free of migraines since mid-April, so we are thanking Jesus for healing in that area. We also had a good time with our son Dylan and he had an uneventful flight home!

"Please pray:

  • For us as we begin working with Mi Arca, for discernment (in Jesus’ timing, not ours) as to our role in the team 
  • That our home will be a place of peace and hospitality 
  • During 5-7 September, the UK members of the Street Kids Direct and Mi Arca teams in Guatemala and Honduras are having a retreat near Lake Atitlan in Guatemala; please pray for safe journeys and that we would hear Jesus together 
  • That we always see and hear what Jesus wants us to see and hear – and that we would be obedient to his call.”

Brazil: New Wine Conference

Mission partners Jimmy and Katia Rocks, based in Florianopolis, Brazil, are working as church planters and creating authentic community and a safe, informal and relational environment to explore faith. They write asking for prayer for the first New Wine Conference in Brazil – 6 and 7 October – taking place in Florianopolis. Some other CMS mission partners in Brazil will be taking part (Levi Santana, Mark Simpson and Alex Cacouris).

Europe, Middle East and North Africa

Britain: CMS selection conference

Please pray for the CMS selection conference in Oxford that starts on Sunday 3 September and runs until Tuesday 5 September. There are two couples and one single person being considered. Please pray for wisdom, guidance and discernment for the selection panel and peace and joy for the candidates and reassurance about their calling.

Iran: Ebrahim Firouzi

Middle East Concern asks for prayer for Ebrahim Firouzi, who continues to be on hunger strike in prison.

On 17 July 2017, Ebrahim began a 10-day hunger strike to protest against injustices inflicted on Christian believers (primarily converts) by the judicial authorities in Iran. Ebrahim noted the unjust verdicts and harsh sentences given to Christians in recent months with tens of Christians given long prison sentences. He also drew attention to the refusal to allow Christian prisoners access to Christian literature.

In late July, the prison authorities transferred Ebrahim – along with a group of other prisoners – to another section of the prison, a high-security area with very few facilities. They also confiscated Ebrahim’s glasses and other personal items. On 30 July, Ebrahim went on hunger strike once again, to protest against these new conditions and he remains on hunger strike and his physical condition deteriorates.

He was arrested in Tehran on 21 August 2013 and was due for release in January 2015 after serving a 10-month sentence for “propaganda against the regime, insulting Islamic sacraments and acting against national security.” However, the Iranian authorities then brought additional charges of “acting against national security, gathering, and collusion,” sentencing him to a further five years imprisonment.

Please pray that:

  • The Lord will draw near to Ebrahim and grant peace to him and to his family 
  • The Lord will strengthen Ebrahim physically and spiritually 
  • The Iranian authorities will review the sentences given to Ebrahim, and that he will be freed 
  • The Iranian authorities will halt the persecution of Christians and recognise their right to freedom of religion and belief.

Iran: Shamiram Isavi Khabizeh

Middle East Concern asks for prayer for Shamiram Isavi Khabizeh, the wife of Pastor Victor Bet Tamraz, whose court hearing has been postponed by three weeks.

Shamiram was called to attend a hearing on 31 July in Tehran at Branch 26 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court but the hearing was postponed until 21 August. She was summoned by the authorities in June 2017 to Branch 3 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court, and charged with “participating in foreign seminars” and “acting against Iranian national security” as a church member. She was released after one day, on bail of 100 million Tomans (approximately $30,000).

On 21 August 2017, Shamiram and her lawyer appeared in court and requested another postponement, in order to gather more information and to better prepare for the hearing. Shamiram suffers from minor heart problems.

Please pray that:

  • The judge will acquit Shamiram and that the bail money will be returned to the family 
  • That the lawyer would act with wisdom and care in defending Shamiram 
  • That the Lord would restore Shamiram to full health 
  • That those responsible for persecuting Christians in Iran will love mercy, act justly, learn about Jesus and choose to follow him.

Africa

Madagascar: Derek and Jane Waller

Pray for mission partners Derek and Jane Waller preparing for service in the Diocese of Toliara, Madagascar. Pray especially for the granting of a visa.

There will be a commissioning service this Sunday, 3 September, between 4-5pm, at St Peter’s Church, Rushden (Midland Road, Rushden, NN10 9UJ).

South Sudan: A short update

Please continue to hold South Sudan in our prayers. CMS trustee, Jane Shaw, writes:

“In Wau state, the death toll from hunger has reached 27, and the humanitarian situation is said to have worsened, so that another 100 people from Mboro have fled to Wau town. Security there is still volatile and 10,000 are still sheltering in the compound of St Mary’s Cathedral. Soldiers are reported to roam the area, attacking and torturing civilians, looting, and raping women. The only camp supplied by the World Food Programme is the UN PoC (Protection of Civilians) camp, as there is considered to be inadequate safety in all other locations including St Mary’s. However, the Wau State governor is reported as claiming that the general security situation in Wau town is “remarkably improved” and crime rates have reduced, through the combined efforts of all agencies.

“But attacks on aid workers are increasing – there were 100 ‘access incidents’ in June and 136 in July, the highest ever. In June there were 32 looting attacks, and 6 in July, which led to a loss of 670 metric tonnes of food. And – looting by another name? – the government has increased the registration fees for international NGOs from $600 to $3500. Pray for all who are struggling to get food and medicines to the starving and the sick, and for full cooperation from government forces."

Uganda/South Sudan: Garry Ion

Please continue to pray for mission partner Garry Ion, working in Uganda and South Sudan to support local church communities to undertake building projects. As we have mentioned before, he was admitted to hospital earlier this year with inflammation of his gallbladder.

Garry writes with an update: “Just to let you know that my keyhole surgery went well yesterday (Tuesday, 29 August) in Blackpool. This afternoon I was discharged from hospital and am now recouping at my parents’ home in Penrith. I am very grateful for the care I’ve received and many well-wishers. Although I’m eager to get back to Uganda, it won’t be until mid-October after a medical review.”