“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14 (NIV)
Europe, Middle East and North Africa
Iraq: Prayer for Mosul
We have just received a news update on Mosul. Most of Isis has left the city and there is only a small part remaining under Isis control. Life is getting back to normal again for the inhabitants who didn’t leave Mosul in the delivered areas while refugees are still escaping the areas under Isis control. A colleague visited recently and was very saddened and shocked by the amount of destruction Isis had left, especially in churches. The heart breaking issue was that not one single Christian family was currently living in Mosul and only 50 Christian families had returned to Karakoush. Karakoush had the largest Christian community in Iraq but most have now left for neighbouring countries or to Erbil.
The heads of churches and the government are encouraging Christians to return to their towns and villages but most of them are hesitant, afraid as there are no guarantees of their security or safety. There is also no infrastructure, homes have been destroyed and/or looted and there is no safe electricity to use nor water. To add to this, there are also no functioning schools, hospitals or any sort of healthcare and there is a burgeoning crisis, as aid for Christian refugees will stop later this month. The situation is very unsettling as no one knows exactly what the outcome will be. Please pray for the overall situation as this is a critical time for Christian refugees.
St Cedd’s (a pioneer hub in Chelmsford diocese)
Please pray for the inspiration day being held for the Chelmsford hub, a pioneer hub in the diocese in which CMS is a partner, on Saturday (10 June). Pray that people come along, are inspired to become pioneers and will consider perhaps becoming a student at the St Cedds Centre.
Britain: Possible partnerships in mission
On Tuesday (13 June), CMS’s executive leader, Philip Mounstephen, along with other heads of mission agencies, will be meeting with Bishop Robert Innes, Bishop in Europe, to discuss possible partnerships in mission. Please pray for the Holy Spirit’s creative guidance in their conversations.
Britain: Pioneer course open day – Tuesday, 13 June
Please pray for the CMS Pioneer open day on Tuesday 13 June; this is our last open day of this academic year. Please pray that the day will be a success, that many will come and many will choose to study with us. Also pray for those attending as they think about their futures and perhaps begin to pray and discuss ideas about study. Finally, please also pray for those involved in running the day, for wisdom, discernment, energy and creativity.
We also have exciting new courses planned in Pioneer Youth Ministry Training and Pioneer Children and Family Ministry. Please pray that the new courses will be well received and will bear much fruit.
Nepal: A possible retreat centre
For many years, mission partners Andrew and Andrea Young have had a vision of opening a retreat centre in Nepal and now the opportunity has possibly arisen for this to happen. They are currently in conversation with the United Mission to Nepal (UMN) about what this might look like. Pray for Andrew, Andrea and UMN as they explore this idea together and also for the support that is needed for this to become a reality.
Asia Prayer and Aware event
Please pray for the Asia Prayer and Aware event taking place on 18 June (around Sadhu Sundar Singh day) in St Andrew’s Church, Ilford. The Prayer and Aware campaign was launched two years ago on 19 June, the day of commemoration of Sadhu Sundar Singh in the Church of England’s lectionary.
For more information, please contact Mr Shaheen Zar, chairman of the Asian congregation for St Andrews, on email@example.com and 07956 111939
Asia Gateway training
As we mentioned last week in Prayerspace, AsiaGateway Training is happening 3-30 June. Please continue to pray for this. It’s being led by AsiaCMS with mission partner Berdine van den Toren along with her husband Benno (professor of Intercultural Studies at Protestant Theological University, Groningen) as senior trainers in residence.
Twenty three students are on the inter-cultural engagement training with nine from Malaysia and 14 from six countries in Asia and also from the UK. Among the highlights of the training will be interfaith engagements and dialogue with Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim religious leaders, as well as a visit to ministry among Orang Asli local original peoples of Malaysia.
Sri Lanka: Severe flooding
Please pray for the nation of Sri Lanka and for floods severely affecting the country.
The Guardian newspaper writes: “Landslides and floods in Sri Lanka have killed at least 151 people and the country faces the risk of more mudslides as torrential rains continue.
“More than 100 people are still missing after the worst rains in the Indian Ocean island since 2003. The state-run National Building Research Organization warned people in seven out of the country’s 25 districts on Sunday to evacuate from unstable slopes if rains continued for the next 24 hours.
“The Department of Meteorology said there could be heavy rainfalls of above 100 millimetres in central Sri Lanka within the next 36 hours. The death toll has risen to 151, while 111 people are still reported missing and 95 injured, according to the state-run Disaster Management Center. Nearly 500,000 people have been affected by the disaster, the worst since the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, and the downpours have displaced more than 100,000.”
Northern Argentina: Training course for new leaders
Mission partners David and Shelley Stokes write with news of an exciting training course:
“Please pray for another training course for new leaders from Wichi and Chorote churches being held in Mision La Paz from 7-13 June. Please pray for the students (possibly as many as 50) from the adjacent zones to be able to get there and for good input from the team of teachers, including several who haven’t been involved before. David is coordinating the event but this time the logistics are more in local hands. Pray that the Lord will enable good cooperation at all levels and for good learning!”
Brazil: Andy and Rose Roberts
Give thanks for mission director for Latin America, Henry Scriven’s visit to Brazil. Please pray for mission partners Andy and Rose Roberts and the ReVive House in Olinda. There are constant daily challenges in caring for several very damaged girls who need a great deal of love and healing.
Pray too for short termer Becky Reid and her fiancé, Evaldo Rodrigues. He was denied a visa to get married in England this summer and is applying again; please pray for success.
Brazil: Christ Church Rio
Christ Church, Rio de Janeiro, is doing well with the two chaplains who are also people in mission: Jess and Mark Simpson, with son River, and Alex and Jane Cacouris with Mylo, Maia and Louis. There is also a short termer, Sarah Quinn, who is there for another few weeks. Her help has been invaluable in Christ Church and in Mage with the Saturday morning children’s club. The church is growing and there are many new initiatives springing up, including a strong social outreach programme.
Brazil: Jimmy and Katia Rocks
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 are are doing really well but ask for prayer for their leadership group and for the ongoing growth of the church they are planting.
Brazil: Faith Gordon
Mission partner Faith Gordon who is based in Recife, Brazil, is visiting England soon and speaking at various churches. Pray for clarity for her future.
South Sudan: An update
Please continue to hold South Sudan in our prayers. CMS trustee, Jane Shaw, writes with an update:
In South Sudan on 22 May, President Kiir launched the National Dialogue for peace and reconciliation, and announced a unilateral ceasefire with the rebels. This was to enable dialogue and also the delivery of humanitarian aid. Riek Machar’s rebel forces are excluded, but the rebels in Imatong State (Eastern Equatoria) have accepted to join the dialogue. But since then there have been government-initiated attacks in various locations – in Equatoria, including Yei, in Jonglei and Unity states. Rebel forces have carried out attacks in Upper Nile and part of north Jonglei state. Pray that the ceasefire will be genuinely enforced, and reciprocated by rebel forces, so that fighting will be halted.
Pray for all who have fled from their homes and crops and are dependent on food aid. In the first half of May, 20,000 people fled to Sudan from fighting in Kodok in Upper Nile state, and another 9,000 reached Sudan from Bahr-el-Ghazal because of hunger and insecurity. This has put great pressure on already-full refugee camps. The Sudan component of the UN’s Regional Refugee Response Plan for South Sudan is less than 10 per cent funded – they need US $1.4 billion to care for 1.8 million South Sudanese refugees in the six neighbouring countries, which includes 900,000 South Sudanese refugees in Uganda, where MSF reports the camps are overwhelmed. Pray for the refugees living in poor conditions, and for the agencies desperately trying to provide for them all.
In Maridi it seems there is no fighting, although people are affected by lack of food, high prices and an absence of health care. Mission partner Lynn Treneary writes of church celebrations for International Women’s Day, the translation of the New Testament into Baka Pygmy language, the opening of a new parish, graduation of 100+ students from the Chaima Christian Institute and her own licensing as a lay reader. She asks for our prayers for an internet connection for the Institute, and for the ongoing care of victims of last year’s fuel tanker explosion – especially for medications, and for a plastic surgery team to visit.
Uganda and South Sudan: Garry Ion writes with an update…
Mission partner Garry Ion, working in Uganda and South Sudan to support local church communities to undertake building projects, writes with thanks and prayer requests:
“Today is my penultimate day here in Kampala before flying to the UK for three months deputation, which will hopefully include some holiday too! It has been another busy period with exciting, sometimes challenging times. At the end of the day, it’s all about the people and communities I meet and the opportunities to come alongside, to share fellowship and share Christ.
“Last week I visited northern Uganda, up to the borderlands of South Sudan. It was good to see the arrival of long-awaited rains. The dry arid land is now being transformed into lush green meadows of elephant grass. I only hope the rains continue long enough to replenish the wells which now serve an extra million people. Yes you did read it right, a million refugees are now living in Northern Uganda. With no foreseeable end to political strife and insecurity in South Sudan, vast makeshift refugee camps are again being built in Uganda. Please keep praying for peace in South Sudan. It is very sad to see camps being rebuilt after only about 10 years since they were dismantled. Instead of cultivating land during the ‘wet, digging season’, many South Sudanese have to wait in line for the next food aid truck to arrive.”
Burundi: the Episcopal elections and consecrations of the four new bishops
We have just heard from friends about the timetable for the Episcopal elections and consecrations of the four new bishops in Burundi.
On 7 June, there were elections for the new bishops of Rutana Diocese (a new diocese), Buhiga Diocese (a new diocese), Matana Diocese and Gitega Diocese.
Please pray for God’s wisdom for these vital appointments, and for the work of those who will fulfil them.
Please also pray about the severe petrol crisis in Burundi, which is a major limitation for those who need to move around for their work.