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March / April 2000
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Editorial :
The Church vs McWorld

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Home News :
The Church in Asia : Challenges and Responses

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Signs of the Times :
The New Age Movement

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For Your Intercession
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line1.jpg (4914 bytes) FOR YOUR INTERCESSION


Pray for a lasting peace for East Timor – following UN intervention – as the people seek to rebuild their lives following militia atrocities before, during and after the vote for independence from Indonesia. In recent years many East Timorese have become church members, but many need a clear understanding of what the Gospel is. Pray for this.


ARMENIA was the world's first Christian State. Today, 79.1% of the 3.5 million population in Armenia profess to be Christians. The ancient Armenian Apostolic Church has long been a cultural refuge in times of persecution, but the old liturgy is not in modern language, so is less appropriate for ordinary people. The Brotherhood is evangelical on biblical preaching and personal witness. Evangelical Christianity has thrived among the Armenians of Diaspora.


The Hakka people of Taiwan make up 15% of the island's nation's population, but only 0.3% of them are Christian. Descendents of the ancient Han of central mainland China, large numbers of these culturally distinctive people dominate whole neighbourhoods in the major cities. There is only one church on a new housing estate of 300 families in Taiwan. Ninety per cent of the families are Hakka. WEC missionaries are helping in the church's ministry in the town of Chutung and part of the vision is to plant another congregation thee. Pray for this work and for the salvation of Hakka people all over Taiwan.


The church is under great pressure. Pastors have been fined and other believers denounced on television. Some have lost their jobs, others are in prison for their faith. Despite these attacks the church is growing in numbers and depth of commitment. Pray for Christians to stand firm in Turkmenistan.


Over half of Albania's people are Muslims. To reach them and others in Europe's poorest nation, one church in Tirana, the capital, had the vision of setting up a radio station. UK-based Barnabas Fund is helping to raise the finance to broadcast the Gospel. Pray for the Lord's provision for this strategic project.


While it is extremely difficult for foreigners to obtain permission for evangelism inside Cuba, Haggai Institute is able to train Christians in the marxist-controlled West Indies island for this ministry. "The HI approach is so appropriate, because our mission is to multiply local leadership, aid Daniel Montenegro. We're advancing the skills of qualified Cuban Christian leaders to more effectively evangelise their own people – and they're training others to do the same. Pray for this work.


Pray for the political situation in the country. There seems to be tension in the ruling party, the NIF. Pray that God will use this time of unrest to make the government of Sudan more open towards Christians and allow more freedom to practice their faith.


Christians are not only being violently persecuted in Indonesia's, which has the world's biggest Muslim population, but face the task of reaching a nation for Christ where most of the 780-plus languages do not have Scripture translations. Pray for a significant increase in Indonesian believers committed to translating God's Word. Pray that the separatist forces currently raging in the country will not lead to a total disintegration of the republic instead. On the other hand, with greater decentralisation, evangelism in some regions will continue unobstructed. But in places such as Acheh, shariah law may be introduced soon, and it will become harder for local Christians to maintain their freedom of religion.


Pray that Christians in India might be sustained by the Lord as they face persecution for their faith; that God will give India a stable government; that Christians may be sensitive in the use of language, publicity and statistics in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ; that there might be a deepening of unity amongst Christians across denominations; that large prayer assemblies in various cities might continue to strengthen believers in the midst of attempts to forcibly reconvert tribal Christians back to Hinduism and that there might be peace for India and Pakistan in the light of the threat of war. Amidst the rising fanatical Hindu violence against Christians in India, a huge natural disaster gave the Church the chance to truly show Christ's love and compassion. The cyclone which hit the east coast was one of the worst this century. A Tearfund grant enabled its Delhi-based partner, the Evangelical Fellowship of India Commission of Relief to provide relief for villages in the worst-effected areas. Pray about this Christian witness in action. Christians have been in the front line in bringing relief to people affected by India's cyclone disaster. Fifteen million people live in the area where it struck. Besides the work of EFICOR, another Tearfund partner agency, The Relief Centre, has been working through a network of churches to supply food, clothing, blankets and emergency shelter. Pray that many who are helped will realise the Gospel is true.

Ninety-nine percent of Kashmiri people have never had Jesus explained to them. Attempts by evangelists from other parts of India have been violently rebuffed in recent years. Kashmiris are Muslims, their beliefs mixed with traditional occultic practices. Pray for them. At a meeting of north India Christian leaders to discuss ways of reaching Kashmiris with the Gospel it was agreed that a Bible correspondence course to introduce them to the Gospel and the life of Jesus was the best way to penetrate the communities. The studies were advertised in Muslim newspapers and hundreds of Kashmiri families enrolled in less than six months. Pray for these people to become Christ's disciples. The response to AsiaLink's Bible correspondence courses for Kashmiris has resulted in discipleship classes for those who want to know more. Pray for the Lord to build His Church among the Kashmiris.


Pray for the Lord's protection over house church leaders; for solid seminary field training programmes throughout China; for the Lord to raise up more overseas teachers with Chinese-speaking ability who can build up house churches into maturity in Christ; and that the Lord will sustain believers in China suffering persecution for their faith.


On the surface is a paradise: white sandy beaches dotted with shady hammocks, stately manors and plantations, a literacy rate of 89% – and more churches per square kilometre than any other place on earth. Yet Jamaica is also a very violent nation, has one of the highest income disparities in the world – and Christians are divided against each other. Billion dollar resorts in Jamaica attract wealthy foreigners and tourists marvel at the homes and plantations of the well-off, but many Jamaicans live in shanty towns of corrugated metal, earning less than 15 pounds a week. Riots over a big tax increase, escalating gang warfare and some 240 civilians killed by police in two years have caused many Jamaicans to turn to the church for help. Pray about this.


It is believed that many in Afghanistan have turned to Christ through Christian radio broadcasts. But they would almost certainly be executed if found out by the harsh Islamic Taliban regime. Pray for Christians there.


Operation Mobilisation has spent 40 years in spiritual seed sowing and church planting in Turkey. Last year's earthquakes gave teams the opportunity to help survivors come to terms with the trauma of the disasters, to comfort the bereaved. Pray for earthquake survivors to finding lasting comfort and hope through Christ. The small, newly-acquired church building in Izmit, Turkey, survived the huge earthquake undamaged to become an emergency relief centre coordinated by local Christians. Many people were helped through this work and services attracted many seekers. Pray for the growing church in Izmit. In contrast, Christians in Ismir and Istanbul have been persecuted for being illegal congregations. Pray for boldness, wisdom and protection for these believers.


The months following last year's ascension of King Abdullah to Jordon's throne brought a tougher stance against expatriate Christians, with some being expelled. Pray for Jordanian churches to continue their activities in relative freedom and for Christian organisations to carry on being effective in the region.


Together for the Harvest is an initiative in Liverpool involving conservative evangelical and charismatic churches, groups and individual believers which aims to reach every man, woman and child in the city with the Good News over the next 10 years.


A sinister trend in Europe is the official labeling of evangelical churches and organisations as cults. The French government defines evangelicals as representing extreme factions of the traditional reformed church and has them on the same list as satanic groups. Pray about this.