Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favour as with a shield. Psalm 5:12 (NIV)
Argentina and Paraguay: COVID-19 in indigenous communities
Sadly, there are now reports that coronavirus has begun to spread into indigenous areas in the Chaco of Paraguay and northern Argentina, where some of SAMS’s/CMS’s longest-standing mission has been focused and where people in mission continue to serve today. Having initially had some success in supressing the spread of the virus, both Argentina and Paraguay are now seeing rapid growth in the numbers of cases and deaths. Pray for our people in mission in the Chaco, those who serve with our partners in the area who have caught the virus and for the indigenous communities now being affected.
Peru: second-highest number of coronavirus deaths per capita
Six of the top 11 countries with the highest number of recorded cases of COVID-19 are in Latin America. Within the last few days Peru has been named as one of the worst-affected countries in terms of deaths per capita, second only to San Marino (https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/). A recent study there indicated that around 35 per cent of Peru’s population has already had the virus. Pray for the tide to turn and infection rates to go down, and for stamina for exhausted health workers.
Brazil and Ecuador: a puzzle which offers hope
Manaus, Brazil and Guayaquil, Ecuador experienced horrific outbreaks earlier this year, and when it looked like things were spiralling out of control – with no hospital beds, stretchers or oxygen left – infection rates plummeted, despite a lack of lockdown or strict containment measures. Pray for researchers to be able to unpick the puzzle of how the virus was subdued in these cities and put this information to use in terms of fighting the virus all over the world.
Adelante: preparations for online conference
Pray for preparations for Adelante: Mission Reimagined, the CMS Latin America forum conference, which will be online this year 25–26 September. Praise God for the exciting possibilities the online format brings in terms of drawing together more people, and pray for the technology to work, for strong internet connections and for a strong sense of community throughout the conference despite not being able to be together in person.
Uganda: virus spreading
Mission partner Nicci Maxwell, currently with her family in South Africa, is in regular contact with friends and colleagues in Kisoro. She writes that Uganda’s very strict initial lockdown was effective in keeping cases of COVID-19 very low indeed, but rules have been relaxed more recently in order to permit more economic activity, leading to an increase in cases over the past couple of months. The virus is now being transmitted within the community and sadly the first deaths from the virus have also occurred. There have been a few cases identified in Kisoro district but please pray that the rise in cases across the whole country in recent weeks will be contained.
DR Congo: arrived at last!
Short-termers Anthea and Martin Gordon, who had planned to arrive in Goma in March, write that they have now finally arrived after several months’ wait in Rwanda. Praise God that they have received a warm welcome from their Tearfund colleagues, the Diocese of Goma and the Congolese in general. Anthea and Martin ask for prayer for the family to settle in quickly to life on Goma, particularly for their three children who have already started school.
Europe, Middle East and North Africa
UK: six-hour walk this Sunday
Bruce Nuttall, aged 73, is preparing to walk an 18.5-mile circuit from his church, St Mary’s Westerham, to raise money for the Shalom Rehabilitation Centre in Lima, Peru, which was founded by CMS mission partner Pat Blanchard. Pray for Bruce as he spends six hours this Sunday walking to raise money for emergency supplies for the centre.
UK: new pioneer intake and returning students
Please pray for this year’s pioneer intake, a record number of ordinands and a record number of students on our postgraduate course. Pray for a great start to the year with our student induction on 14 and 15 September. Pray that this year will be a great time of encouragement and learning and that the new intake will really bond with each other as they start their time at CMS in Oxford.
Belarus: human rights and basic freedoms
Olga, an Orthodox Christian sister who worked with CMS for many years, writes that the situation for Christians in Belarus is going from bad to worse and that President Lukashenko’s regime puts pressure on everyone with a different opinion, including Christians. Olga writes that many Christians go through imprisonment and torture. One of her colleagues has been in prison for the past 11 days. On 1 September, Lukashenko made a speech where he once again underlined that religious organisations should completely obey the regime and not interfere in politics. Please pray for our brothers and sisters in this nation, for freedom to practise their faith.
South Asia: travelling and caring for ageing parents
Pray for mission partners E and R as R leaves for the UK today. Pray for safety on the roads (where there have been major landslides) as R travels to the airport and for E as he stays behind and looks after R’s father.
Pray for Myanmar, where they are facing a serious rise in cases of coronavirus. Some townships in Yangon are back in lockdown and schools that were about to reopen have to remain closed. The concern is that thousands of people have travelled to the affected areas but cannot be traced.
Pray for justice for the over one million Rohingya refugees who have been living for three years in what has become the world’s largest refugee camp in Bangladesh with no hope of return to Myanmar, where they are denied citizenship and other rights.