Baroda Bible Club
 

March

       

 

March - 01 To 04

COUNTRY :BANGLADESH
Population 132,219,000
Peoples:

All ethnic groups 50.
Bengali 97.3%. Muslim and Hindu Bengalis have distinct cultures and dialects.
Tribal Groups 1.1%. Over 30. Largest: Chakma 352,000; Mogh 185,000; Santal 157,000; Tipera 105,000; Garo 102,000; Tripuri 78,000; Meithei 56,000; Mru 45,000; Hadi 42,000; Usipi 35,000; Bawm 31,000; Oraon 24,000; Dalu 11,000; Pankhu 2,200; Khyang 1,400.
Other minorities 1.6%. Urdu 600,000; Hindi 346,000; Burmese 231,000; Bihari 230,000.
Refugees: 200,000 Rohingya from Arakan, Myanmar.

Literacy Literacy 24%. Official languages: Bengali, English often used. All languages 37. Languages with Scriptures 14Bi 3NT 7por.
Cities Capital: Dhaka 6,646,000.
Other major city: Chittagong 2,289,000.
Urbanization 15%.
Economy: One of the world's poorest nations, suffering from gross over-population and periodic natural disasters such as devastating floods and cyclones with enormous loss of life. There seems little hope that the poverty of this unhappy land will ever be substantially alleviated. Major sources of foreign exchange are aid, textiles and jute. Underemployment 50%. Public debtperson $81. Incomeperson $180 (0.85% of USA).
Politics: Formerly East Pakistan; independent in 1971 after bitter civil war and defeat of Pakistan by Indian and Bangladeshi forces. Corruption, instability, assassinations and 18 coups have marred the years since then. A nine-year military dictatorship ended in 1991 with restoration of democracy and the election of a government led by a woman, Begum Zia.
Religion: A secular state 1971-88; then the former government declared Islam to be the state religion. This is heightening tensions between Muslims and followers of other religions. Muslim fundamentalists are a vociferous minority.

Muslim 87%. Almost entirely Sunni.
Hindu 11.7%. Decreasing through emigration and lower fertility.
Buddhist 0.6%. Mainly among the Chakma, Mogh and Mru peoples.
Other 0.3%. Non-religious 110,000; Animist 80,000; Baha'i 4,000.
Christian 0.44%. Affil 0.36%. Growth 3.6%.
Protestant 0.23%. Affil 0.19%. Growth 4.5%.
Roman Catholic 0.21%. Affil 0.18%. Growth 2.9%.

1. Bangladesh has been a hard field for the gospel. Revulsion at the cruelty of Pakistan's repression in the name of Islam in the 1971 civil war temporarily weakened Bangladeshi loyalty to Islam, and gave new opportunities for the gospel. However, the rise of extremist Muslim groups pressing for a more radical Islam is affecting Christian witness in many ways. Pray that the present freedom for all to practise and propagate their own religions be maintained and that the leaders of the nation may handle the many problems with integrity, devotion to duty and fairness. Pray above all that the grip of the powers of darkness may be broken.
2. Praise God for progress for the gospel despite the increased difficulties.
a) Christian aid since independence and during the nation's frequent natural calamities has been generous and impartial. Non-government organizations such as HEED and World Vision seek to uphold Christian values and prepare the way for local church and mission involvement. TEAR Fund seconds workers and helps in funding projects. Pray for wisdom and sensitivity for all involved in implementing these programmes -- that aid not be perceived as manipulative or dependency-producing.
b) The openness and even responsiveness of whole Muslim families in some areas to innovative methods of evangelism is encouraging. Pray for strong witnessing churches to be planted and for protection in persecution of all who follow Christ.
c) Several Hindu castes have shown marked and continuing response to the gospel. This has mainly been among the Namasudra and, more recently, the Muchi castes.
d) People movements among tribal peoples have resulted in nearly all the Bawm and Pankhu becoming Christian, and also 95% of the Garo, 60% of the Oraon, and 50% of the Mahili and Khasi. The turning to the Lord continues among the Santals (25%) and Munda (16%).
3. Praise God for steady growth in the number of Christians with ingatherings of both Hindu and tribal people into the churches.
The Church has grown at twice the population rate for the last 30 years despite the difficulties. There is rising confidence and faith for that to continue in the '90s. Pray for:
a) The Bangladesh Baptist Fellowship, Assemblies of God and the Bangladesh Free Baptist Churches who are growing fast and who have set bold church-planting goals.
b) The Great Commission Movement, launched in 1991, which has brought together evangelical congregations with the commitment to prayer, research and cooperation to plant a church in every one of the 464 sub-districts and each of the ethnic groups of the country by the year 2000. Pray for the implementation of these goals.

4. Revival of the church is the greatest need.
Pray that the Holy Spirit may move in these areas:
a) Nominal Christianity. Early people movements brought thousands of marginalized sections of society into the Church. Poverty, illiteracy and lack of trained and godly leadership have led to shallowness and nominalism.
b) Unity. Imported and indigenous divisions have hindered the effectiveness of the witness in the past. Pray for the National Christian Fellowship of Bangladesh as it seeks to encourage evangelical unity and cooperative action in evangelism, teaching and aid programmes.
c) Missions vision. After years of little interest, there is growing interest in reaching out to the major non-Christian communities.

5. Leadership for the churches.
God is raising up a new generation of leaders who exercise a ministry beyond their own community, yet they are few. Pray for the multiplication of leaders:
a) The Christian Discipleship Centre and the Dhaka United Theological Seminary are the only interdenominational residential schools. The CDC also runs TEE and short-term programmes. The CDC had graduated 145 by 1991.
b) Five denominational Bible schools and seminaries (AoG, ABWE, Free Baptist, Lutheran and Church of Bangladesh).
6. Unreached peoples.
Few nations in the world have a larger number of people totally untouched by the gospel. Pray for:
a) The Muslims. From among the 100 million Muslims there are only a few thousand believers, but their numbers are increasing. Pray for the house groups meeting as Jamat (Muslim-style congregation) and for their continuing need for discipleship to be met. In 1985 there were only 25 Christian workers among them; the situation has improved, but the vast majority have never heard the gospel. Most are fairly lax in their profession of Islam.
b) The Hindus who feel vulnerable as a religious minority. Their insecurity increased during the 1991 Gulf War, when Muslim mobs destroyed Hindu temples. Pray that this may open many to the truth in Jesus. Of the 29 lower castes, only four are over 2% Christian, and in a further six there has been a smaller response. The upper castes have remained resistant to the gospel.
c) The Bihari Muslims who, while refusing Bangladeshi citizenship, are denied entry to India and Pakistan. They live in large refugee camps. Pray that their dilemma may bring an openness to the gospel.
d) The Rohingya Muslims. 200,000 became refugees in 1978 and again in 1992 fleeing Myanmar government persecution. They have never been evangelized -- pray for those seeking openings to reach them.
e) The tribal peoples, some of whom have resisted the gospel, or have not had adequate opportunity to hear: the animist Mru (work by Baptists), the Buddhist Chakma (Baptists), Mogh and Khyang (1,200 Christians).
f) Students. There are nine small groups with but 200 Christians linked with the BSFB (IFES) for the 458 colleges and 650,000 students. Pray for the two staff workers. In 1992 a Bangladesh Sports Coalition was formed for ministry among literate, educated and sports-loving young people.
g) Young people and children. Over half the population is under 16. Very little effective outreach is directed to them.
7. Church planting in the majority community has borne fruit, and village congregations and indigenous house meetings have multiplied. Pray for great wisdom in nurturing this movement -- its leadership, worship patterns, dependence on God in poverty, firmness under persecution from Muslim neighbours, evangelistic vision and relationships with the older Christian community from a different cultural background.
8. The tribal peoples' very existence is threatened by the population explosion.
The Chakma of the Chittagong Hill Tracts have responded with guerrilla warfare to the destruction of their villages, occupation of their land and even massacres by hundreds of thousands of Bengalis invading their territory. Pray for a just settlement -- the granting of limited autonomy to the region has not improved the situation much. Pray also for Christian agencies seeking to bring the tribal peoples to Christ (ABMS, BMS, SBC, Presbyterians and Lutherans).
9. Missions have been welcomed for their social uplift programmes -- hence the emphasis on institutions and aid programmes -- but too few are directly involved in evangelistic outreach and church planting. Pray for increased opportunities to fulfil their primary calling. Since 1980 limitations have been placed on missionaries, with all projects, plans and finances needing government approval and strict quotas placed on the number of missionaries allowed. Yet reinforcements are needed. Pray for visas, patience with red tape, and strategic usefulness for the small missionary force in a pressurized situation. The largest agencies are Assoc. of Baptists for World Evangelization (53), Norwegian Santal Mission (49), Scandinavian Pentecostals (36), Mennonite Central Committee (35), ABMSBMS (23), Interserve (15), SBC (14) and SIM (12).
10. Christian literature is in great demand because of the hunger created by:
a) Mass distribution by Young Christian Workers, EHC, UBS and ABWE, the latter with a large Literature Division.
b) Bible Correspondence Courses run by SIM and others; the former have a staff of 10 in six centres processing over 2,000 papers a month. Pray for these and all efforts to follow up contacts, and for many to be added to the churches. Pray for inspired, national writers and for efficient production of suitable evangelistic and teaching literature and books.
11. Distribution of Scriptures -- portions and sales of Bibles have risen year by year. Pray specifically for:
a) The Bible Society and its extensive ministry of production and distribution of Scriptures.
b) The wise distribution of the New Testament in the Bengali Muslim dialect. Many copies have been distributed since 1981. It has been well received and appreciated by Muslims, but there has been opposition from some churches. A temporary ban on its import in 1990 enhanced sales. Pray for the completion of the Old Testament.
c) The translation of the Bible into tribal languages. At least six, possibly nine, translations are needed; work is in progress in three of these.
12. Christian Media are important since a high proportion of the population is illiterate. Pray for effective outreach through:
a) Radio. Christian broadcasters (TWR, FEBC and FEBA) transmit eight hours a week in Bengali and 88 hours in English. Pray especially for the production of suitable and sufficient programmes for the non-Christian majority.
b) The Jesus film. This is available in Bengali, Assamese and Santali, and has been used among Hindus and Muslims with good response. Pray for effective training programmes for those who use the film -- both in maintaining the equipment and effectively using the film for church planting. Pray for freedom to show the film in villages and for protection for the operators.
c) Cassettes. GRn have a team of recordists working on master tapes in indigenous languages; 21 languages have been recorded. Pray for the completion of the recordings and effective use of the finished product.

 

COUNTRY :BARBADOS
Population 272,000
Peoples Afro-Caribbean 95.4%.
European 4%. Asian 0.6%.
Literacy 98%. Official language: English.
Cities Capital: Bridgetown 102,000. Urbanization 45%.
Economy Tourism, sugar and light industries are the mainstays of the economy. Incomeperson $5,990 (28% of USA).
Politics Parliamentary government since 1647. Independent from Britain in 1966.
Religion Complete freedom of religion.
Non-religious other 9%.
Baha'i 0.6%. Muslim 0.36%. Hindu 0.25%.
Christian 89.8%. Affil 71.7%. Growth -0.4%.
Protestant 79.3%. Affil 64.35%. Growth -0.6%.
Roman Catholic 7.5%. Affil 4.4%. Growth 0.8%.
Marginal 3%. Affil 2.9%. Growth 2.4%.
1. Since 1627, Barbados has been Protestant. Despite religious profession and many Evangelicals, real commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ is rare. Materialism, decreasing church attendance, increased violence and crime are the symptoms of spiritual malaise. Pray for the renewal of God's people and a spiritual awakening throughout the country.
2. Opposition to the gospel is strong. Sinister attempts have been made by Satanist prayer groups in other lands to destroy churches and pastors in Barbados. Muslim evangelism has become more aggressive, and Eastern religions more vocal. Pray that God's people may have wisdom and courage to counteract these assaults, and may commit themselves to earnest prayer.
3. Young people must be transformed by the power of the gospel to lift them above spiritual lukewarmness and the pervasive immorality, for 73% of all births are illegitimate and only 13% of adults are legally married. Pray that churches may offer effective programmes for children and youth. Pray also for the ministry of CEF among children, as well as for the efforts of ISIUCF(IFES) in schools and colleges.
4. Goals for 2000. The New Testament Church of God and Pentecostal Assemblies have set bold church-planting goals. Pray for a greater vision for evangelism and missions within all churches.

 

March - 05

BELGIUMCOUNTRY :BELGIUM
Population 9,980,000
Peoples Indigenous 88%.
Flemish 54.7%. Language related to Dutch; mainly in north and west.
Walloon 32.3%. French-speaking; mainly in south and east.
German 0.65%. In districts adjoining Germany.
Jews 0.32%. Mainly in Antwerp.
Foreign 12%.
European Community Citizens 6%. Italian 280,000; French 110,000; Portuguese 80,000; Spanish 70,000; Dutch 70,000.
Other 6%. Arabic-speaking (mainly North African) 150,000; Turkish 60,000; Kurdish 22,000; Chinese 14,000; Zairois 10,000; Albanians 3,000.
Literacy 98%. Official languages: Flemish, French and German. All indigenous languages 4. Languages with Scriptures 3Bi.
Cities Capital: Brussels 1,100,000 -- HQ for the European Community and NATO. Urbanization 96.5%.
Economy Highly industrialized and wealthy, but economy faltering due to weak governments and world recession. Income/person $14,880 (71% of USA).
Politics Constitutional monarchy since 1830. Political stability imperilled by disagreements between the Walloons and Flemings since the mid-1960's with fragmentation of most political parties along linguistic and regional lines.
Religion Non-religious/other 7.2%.
Muslim 3.1%. Mainly North African, Turks and Yugoslavs.
Jews 0.32%. Half the pre-war number. Largely Orthodox.
Buddhist 0.10%.
Christian 89.3%. Attendance 11%. Growth 0.1%.
Protestant 0.8%. Growth 0.5%.
Roman Catholic 87.3%. Growth 0.1%.
Other Catholic 0.04%. Growth -1.1%.
Orthodox 0.5%. Growth -0.3%.
Marginal 0.7%. Growth 2.7%.
1. For 400 years spiritual darkness has gripped this land. The Spanish Inquisition destroyed the 600 churches that embraced Reformed teachings in the 16th Century. Pray that the light of the gospel may penetrate that darkness once more.
2. The great majority of the population is culturally Catholic rather than Christian. Catholic attendance and adherence to the teachings of the church are stronger among the Flemish than the more lax Walloons. Yet the Church faces four major crises -- declining attendances, waning influence, theological seminaries without students and the invasion of New Age thinking. The charismatic movement has had little lasting impact.
3. The small Protestant witness has hardly grown in 20 years; the growth of the Evangelicals and the evangelical wing of the theologically liberal United Protestant Church has offset the liberal decline. Growth has been most marked through the witness of the BEM/OM teams, Baptists, Pentecostals in the French-speaking areas and, in the Antwerp area, of the Brethren.
4. Goals for the year 2000.
a) There is a growing trans-denominational vision to present the gospel to every Belgian in this decade. Pray for a closer fellowship and unity among believers so that this goal may be achieved.
b) BEM plans to plant 47 new churches in the '90s.
c) Cosmopolitan Brussels has nearly 30% foreign residents. It is the HQ of the European Community and NATO. During 1991 many churches cooperated to reach the 400,000 homes in the city. Pray for lasting fruit in the many new churches planted
5. Freedom for evangelism has never been greater, but all outreach is an uphill battle to obtain a hearing. Pray for OM Love Europe summer teams in their literature and door-to-door ministry and year teams in evangelism and church planting. Evangelism Explosion is a church-based method of evangelism that is attracting interest in a number of churches.
6. Bible training. There are four evangelical training schools: the Evangelical Theological Seminary (Heverlee -- Dutch and English), Belgian Bible Institute (Heverlee -- Dutch) Institut Biblique Belge (Ottignies -- French) and the Brussels Bible Seminary (French and Dutch). Pray for these institutions, the staff and students.
7. The missionary force has steadily increased, the largest being BEM with 125 workers. Other missions of note include AoG (123), OM (61), GEM (50), YWAM (26), SBC (18), Evangelical Free Church Missions (18), and GMU (17). BEM aims to recruit 300 new workers in the 1990s. Stress points for missionaries are the hardness of the field, the high cost of living, and the increasing difficulty of obtaining missionary visas for non-EC residents.
8. A wide range of Christian literature is being produced by groups such as SU, Biblical Literature Fellowship (BLF) with 12 workers, OM and AoG. BLF has a large printing plant and has published over 500 titles. There are 21 Christian bookstores in Brussels and Wallonia; nationally BEM runs seven bookstores and BLF a further five. Pray for the effective use and fruitfulness of these endeavours.
9. Neglected areas of Belgium:
a) Of the 2,500 administrative districts in Belgium, 2,200 have no evangelical congregations.
b) There are 140 towns of over 6,000 people without an evangelical congregation.
c) In Flanders (5 million people) there are only 2,000 known evangelical families.
d) Antwerp (660,000) has but 22 small Protestant churches.
e) Luxemburg province (250,000) has nine groups, each with about 30 believers.
10. Unreached peoples in Belgium:
a) North Africans have grown rapidly through legal and illegal migration, the majority settling in the poorer areas of Brussels. They are almost entirely Muslim and present a unique and urgent challenge for prayer and evangelism. Three GMU couples work among these people. "Good News by Telephone" in a number of languages has proved a fruitful method of witness; pray for this and the prospective ministry of "Radio Good News". There is now one congregation of Arab believers in the city.
b) Turks and Kurds have proved hard to reach with the gospel. There is now a small Turkish fellowship of seven believers, but the great majority have never heard the good news.
c) Orthodox Jews have no long-term ministry specifically directed to meet their need.
d) The large international body of diplomats and EC bureaucrats are overpaid and underevangelized. They present a unique challenge for evangelism, but little has been done to reach them.
e) The German-speaking cantons on the German border have been long neglected by evangelicals. Only recently has a beginning been made by German missionaries to plant churches in the area.
f) The student population of 176,000 in 17 universities and colleges is a major challenge. IFES has a ministry in the five Flemish universities (ESG) and in French universities (GBU), but the total membership in each of the two branches is 50. Pray for the evangelistic ministry of OM in cooperation with these groups and in a teaching ministry in the IFES groups; there is one staff couple.

 

March - 06

COUNTRY :BELIZE
Population 201,000
Peoples Afro-Caribbean/Eurafrican 38%. Mainly English-speaking.
Mestizo/Ladino 34%. Predominantly Guatemalans and Hondurans, with considerable illegal immigration in the '80s.
Amerindian 10.5%. Mayan tribes speaking three distinct languages.
Garifuna (Black Carib) 7.6%. Descendants of African slaves and Arawakan Indians.
European 4.2% Mainly German Mennonites and British.
Other 5.7%. East Indian 3,800; Chinese 2,500; Jews 2,100.
Literacy 93%. Official language: English; Spanish spoken by 50% of the population. All languages 9. Languages with Scriptures 2Bi 5NT.
Cities Belmopan 3,700. Largest town: Belize 74,000. Urbanization 52%.
Economy Underdeveloped yet relatively prosperous. Public debt/person $694. Income/person $1,600 (7.6% of USA).
Politics Independence from Britain in 1981 as a parliamentary democracy. British forces remain to prevent annexation by neighbouring Guatemala.
Religion A secular state with freedom of religion.
Non-religious/other 2.4%.
Spiritist/Animist 2%.
Hindu 1%. Muslim 1%. Baha'i 1%.
Jews 0.5%.
Christian 92.1%. Growth 3.4%.
Protestant 25.7%. Growth 3.2%.
Roman Catholic 64.3%. Growth 3.3%.
Marginal 2.1%. Growth 9.5%.
1. The evangelical witness is strong, with most of the mission work of the Baptists, Brethren, Mennonites, Nazarenes and Pentecostals being evangelical. Denominational barriers are high; pray for a breakdown of rivalry and mistrust and the growth of a vision for the completion of the evangelization of every ethnic group and immigrant minority. The Catholic Church is growing through immigration from neighbouring Central American lands.
2. Much of Christianity is nominal and syncretic. The Spanish-speaking immigrants with their superstitions and superficiality, the Mayans with their underlying paganism, and the Garifuna with their black magic -- each need a culturally relevant and sensitive presentation of the gospel. Many settlements still need church-planting ministry, despite the threefold increase in congregations since 1960.
3. The less reached groups.
a) The Mayan Mopan (2,500) have only a few Nazarene and Mennonite believers.
b) The Garifuna have had their own NT since 1983. Their strong animistic culture has only been marginally penetrated (CoN, Brethren). There are some Nazarene and Brethren believers among them.
c) The East Indians and Chinese have no one focused on their evangelization.

 

March - 07

COUNTRY :BENIN
Population 5,573,000
Peoples About 57 ethnic groups.
Southern Peoples 69.4%. Fon 1,400,000; Yoruba (8) 465,000; Aja 360,000; Gun 320,000; Ayzo 227,000; Mina 126,000; Wachi 110,000; Mahi 66,000; Tofin 66,000; Xweda 54,000.
Northern Peoples 30.2%. Bariba 460,000; Fula (Fulbe-Borgu) 280,000; Ditammari (Somba) 119,000; Burba 70,000; Boko 70,000; Pila (Yom) 70,000; Lamba 60,000; Gurma 50,000; Nateni (Tayaku) 45,000; Tem (Kotokoli) 43,000; Lokpa (Dompago) 42,000.
Migrants from Niger and Burkina Faso may be 3% or more of the population. Mainly Dyerma (Dendi), Hausa, Mossi.
Other 0.4%.
French 0.3%.
Literacy 28%. Official language: French. Trade Languages: Fon in South, Dendi in North. All languages 52. Languages with Scriptures 5Bi 8NT 4por.
Cities Porto Novo 188,000 and Cotonou 501,000. Urbanization 38%.
Economy Poor and underdeveloped with most people engaged in subsistence farming. Virtually a satellite economy of Nigeria. The stagnation during the years of Marxism is changing with the switch to a free-market economy. Public debt/person $230. Income/person $380 (1.8% of USA).
Politics Independent from France in 1960. The seventh coup after independence brought a repressive Marxist government to power. The worldwide collapse of Communism in 1989/90 led to the multi-party elections of March 1991 and the first democratic replacement of an African head of state in mainland Africa.
Religion The application of Marxist ideology between 1972 and 1985 was not harsh, but it bred a spirit of uncertainty and fear that restricted Christian witness and missionary initiative. There is now complete religious freedom.
Tribal religions 54.8%. Strong in all but seven of the peoples in the country -- especially the Fon, Lokpa, Boko, Bariba and Egba.
Muslim 17%. While only the Nago, Tem, Dendi and Anii of the indigenous peoples are predominantly Muslim, most northern peoples have a significant minority that is Muslim, and the immigrant Nigerian and Burkinabe are largely Muslim.
Christian 28.2%. Affil 24% Growth 5.5%.
Protestant 4%. Affil 3.3% Growth 9.9%
Roman Catholic 21.7%. Affil 18.2% Gr 5.3%.
Foreign Marginal 0.2%. Affil 0.17% Growth 8.8%.
Indigenous Marginal 2.27%. Affil 2.2% Gr 1.6%.
1. Praise God for significant changes in the 1980s. These include the liberation of the country from the ideological bondage and fear of Marxism; the beginnings of a gospel breakthrough among the Fon people; rapid church growth in the country since 1987; and the expectancy of a great harvest in the '90s.
2. The civilian government faces an enormous task of reconstructing and developing the country. Pray that an ethnically fair and ethically just democracy might take root in the social fabric of the country, and that the leaders may work for the good of the people rather than for enriching themselves.
3. Church growth is a new phenomenon. Historically, the southern Methodist churches have stagnated, and growth elsewhere has been slow. But since 1987, both Evangelicals and Catholics have seen new advances and more rapid growth: in AoG churches in the north (Natimba, Burba, Belime, Fulbe, etc) and south (Mina, Nago, Aja, Gun and now the Fon); UEEB/SIM in the north and centre (Lokpa, Bariba, Cabe, Fulbe, etc. and now Boko, Ditammari and Fon); SBC in the south (the Yoruba-related peoples); and Evangelical Baptists in the far north (Dendi and Gurmantche). Pray for:
a) The raising up of more leaders of maturity and vision.
b) All pastoral training -- the AoG Bible Institute (32 students), the ICI Correspondence School, UEEB with one French and seven vernacular primary level Bible Schools (100 students) and 250 studying in a TEE programme.
c) The vision to reach out to every unreached people and community, and the strategy to implement it.
4. Unreached peoples. Only a handful of peoples have a Christian majority, and just five have over 5% Evangelicals. Benin has Africa's highest percentage of followers of traditional religions and is the least evangelized non-Muslim country in Africa south of the Sahara. Specific peoples for prayer:
a) The Fon -- a strategic, well-educated and influential people but in bondage to a fetishism that has remained, until recently, unchallenged by the gospel despite the fact that 20% of the tribe is nominally Christian. The long-awaited breakthrough appears to have begun with rapid church growth since 1987 through the ministry of six missions/churches (including AoG, SIM, SBC). There are now 24 churches with 1,500 adherents; yet this is still but 0.12% of the population.
b) The Togo border strip in the west, where the unreached Aguna, Ica, Anii Foodo, Ife, Kabiyu and Anufo total some 130,000. UEEB(SIM) have started work among the 9,000 Soruba.
c) The middle strip in the south, where the Mahi, Ayzo, Weme, Idaca and Seto live, and among whom there are no indigenous churches. Total population: 350,000.
d) The southwest corner with a complex medley of peoples, including the Wachi, Xweda, Xwla, Ko and Ci totalling 220,000 people.
e) The Muslim peoples. No work is being done among the indigenous Tem and Anii, nor among the more urban immigrant Dyerma, Hausa and Mossi. Islam is extending its influence among many of the central and northern peoples, but among the Fulbe (Fula) there has been a breakthrough with nearly 2,000 coming to Christ (SIM, AoG).
f) The 800,000 urbanites of the two capitals. There are 17 evangelical churches with 4,000 adherents and a further 60,000 in African Independent Churches, but the majority have not been reached. Nearly a fifth of the population is Muslim, and no one is working full time for their evangelization.
5. Missions. Only since 1946 has the centre and north been penetrated by missions. The largest of these are SIM (70 missionaries in 12 peoples) and EMS-Nigeria (11), SBC (20), SIL/WBT (13), Evangelical Baptists (11), AoG (6). Considering the need of the country, the small church-planting missionary force (only 35 in the country!) must be increased. SIM runs the only evangelical mission hospital in Benin and has a useful ministry of rural development.
6. Young people are a vital part of present advance. Conversions in the towns through youth centres, camps and the extensive use of the Jesus film together with good follow-up have often resulted in churches in both towns and rural areas. Pray for adequate resources to be committed to these ministries at a time of unprecedented openness.
7. Bible translation is a major unmet need. There are 24 languages without a New Testament. SIM translation teams are working in seven languages and SIL in five. Other literature is being translated and printed -- TEE materials, Bible commentaries, etc. Pray for a biblically literate Church to be the result. Literature sales are increasing. There are four Christian bookstores.
8. Media opportunities abound in the new day of freedom. Pray for:
a) The effective use of audio recordings in evangelism and teaching. GRn has made recordings in 34 languages.
b) The wise and strategic use of the Jesus film in French, Fon and Bariba.
c) Radio. The loss of ELWA (SIM) radio station in Liberia has forced the churches to look for alternatives. Radio Parakou broadcasts the gospel daily in Fon and Bariba, and weekly in French, with encouraging response (UEEB).

 

COUNTRY :BERMUDA
Population 60,000
Peoples About 25% of the population is foreign-born.
Afro-Caribbean 63%.
Euro-American 35.4%. Mainly from UK, USA, Canada and Portugal.
Other 1.6%.
Literacy 97%. Official language: English.
Cities Hamilton 6,000. Urbanization 100%.
Economy Its superb climate and geographical position makes it a tourist paradise and a lucrative tax haven. There are over 4,500 offshore companies registered in Bermuda. Income/person $26,040 (123% of USA).
Politics A British Colony; parliamentary democracy.
Religion Non-religious/other 10.1%. Baha'i 0.5%.
Christian 89.4%. Growth 0.5%.
Protestant 71.7%. Growth 0.2%.
Roman Catholic 15.5%. Growth 1.3%.
Marginal 2.2%. Growth 3.5%.
1. Bermuda is a materialistic Eden, but spiritually shallow. The islands are crowded with churches, the airwaves filled with gospel broadcasts, but the message is largely ignored. Pray that the believers may live lives worthy of the Lord, and contribute more to world evangelization.

March - 08

COUNTRY:BHUTAN
Population 671,000
Peoples Only rough estimates can be given.
Drukpa 60%. Three major indigenous groups: Ngalong, Kebumtamp, Sharchop, but speaking numerous dialects.
Nepali 30%. Indo-Aryan Paharia and Tibetan Sherpa, Gurung, Rai, Tamang and Limbu. Mainly in the southern lowlands.
Other 8%. Assamese 30,000, Loba, Kirabi, Lepcha, Santali and others.
Expatriates 2%. Mainly Indians, some Westerners.
Literacy 18%. Official language: Dzongkha. All languages 11. Languages with Scriptures 2Bi 1NT 3por.
Cities Thimphu 28,000. Urbanization 13%.
Economy Undeveloped subsistence economy but with development potential should the government desire it. Income/person $300 (1.4% of USA).
Politics Moving from feudalism to a constitutional monarchy. Isolated from the outside world until trade and cultural links with Tibet were severed after the Communist Chinese invasion. India plays a dominant role in foreign affairs of Bhutan and also in its development, but the government fiercely protects its own sovereignty and oppresses those considered non-Bhutanese citizens. Over 70,000 of Nepali descent were forced to become refugees in 1992 due to fighting in the south.
Religion Unity and independence of the country under state religion of Buddhism. All public worship, evangelism and proselytization by any other religion is illegal.
Lamaistic Buddhist 70.1%. With a strong element of Bon, the animistic pre-Buddhist religion.
Hindu 24%. Mainly Nepali and Assamese.
Muslim 5%. Assamese and Indians.
Animist 0.6%. Predominantly tribes originating from Arunachal Pradesh in India.
Christian 0.33%. Affil 0.13%. Growth 3.2%. Mainly Nepali and Santali.
Protestant 0.25%. Affil 0.10%. Growth 4.4%.
Missionaries:
to Bhutan 72 (1:8,300 people) in 11 agencies.
from Bhutan 1.
Roman Catholic 0.08%. Affil 0.03%. Growth 0%.
Missionaries to Bhutan 10 (1:60,000 people).
1. Bhutan was tightly closed to any Christian witness until 1965. After a very slight relaxation for 25 years, increased success in soul-winning by the few Christians has brought renewed restrictions. National Christians have been denied promotion and overseas training, and pressure has been occasionally brought to bear on any Christian house gatherings. Pray for the opening of this land for the light of the gospel.
2. The government has pressed the Nepali minority to assume Drukpa customs, language and clothing. This has provoked a violent reaction with outbreaks of terrorism. Many Nepalis have been expelled, or fled the country to India and Nepal. Pray for the king and his government, and for wise and enlightened rule that gives peace and freedom to all the land's peoples.
3. The Drukpa majority is strongly Buddhist, and Christians among them number only about 120-150. Most of these believers are isolated and scattered with little opportunity for fellowship, and some have suffered for their faith. Pray for the emergence of a vital witnessing fellowship in every ethnic group of the Drukpa.
4. The number of believers among the Bhutanese Nepali has grown steadily since 1970 through the fervent witness of believers inside Bhutan and on the Indian side of the border. Believers meet in about 20 places but mainly along the southern border. It is not easy for foreign Christians to fellowship with them. Pray for these believers, who face growing pressure from the authorities
5. Missions have been welcomed to operate leprosy hospitals and be involved in health, agricultural and educational programmes, but only on the condition that they do not proselytize. Leprosy is almost eradicated, and leprosy ministries are being phased out. Small aid projects continue. Pray that aid workers may be called and granted visas. Pray for the silent witness of Christians in various aid missions (TLM, Interserve, Norwegian Santal Mission, etc.). Pray for a relaxation of restrictions on entry and witness for missionaries.
6. Indian believers in India's border region are active in evangelism and literature distribution among visitors from Bhutan. Many of the Christians in Bhutan have come to the Lord by these means. Pray for conversions among the Bhutanese. Pray also that Bhutanese students in India and lands around the world may hear the gospel.
7. Christians in government service -- mostly Indians and some Westerners -- have good opportunities to witness all over the country. Pray for Christians who work in such frustrating and lonely situations.
8. Literature distribution is possible in Bhutan in a limited way, through personal contacts and the mail. Pray for fruit from the literature now spreading through the land.
9. Bible translation is making slow progress. Parts of the New Testament have been translated into Dzongkha, but are only in draft form. The main translator has died. Pray the New Testament into print and into the hands and hearts of Bhutanese. Translation is under way in the Kebumtamp and Sharchagpakha languages.
10. Radio programmes in Dzongkha and Sharchopkha are being prepared for broadcasting.

 

March - 09 to 10

COUNTRY:BOLIVIA
Population 8,421,000
Peoples European 10%. Mainly of Spanish descent; they dominate the political and economic life of the country.
Mestizo 25%. Mixed race, Spanish-speaking, predominantly urban.
Amerindian 64%.
Highland peoples 62%. Quechua (2 groups) 2,500,000; Aymara (26 sub-groups) 1,889,000; Mixed Quechua-Aymara 227,000.
Lowland peoples 2%. About 35 groups. A further seven have recently become extinct. Major groups: Chiquitano 47,000; Guarani (2) 33,000; Guarayu 12,000; Tsimane 9,200; Ignaciano 7,700; Trinitario 7,700; Tacana 6,200; Yuracare 4,600; Ayoreo 2,300; Mataco 2,200.
Other 1%. Plaudietsch (dialect of German) 23,000 spoken by Mennonite settlers; Japanese 14,000; Chinese 5,000; Jews 600; Korean.
Literacy 81%. Official languages: Spanish, Aymara, Quechua. All living languages 38. Languages with Scriptures 3Bi 16NT 7por.
Cities Capitals: La Paz (administrative) 1,092,000; Sucre (legal) 93,000. La Paz is the world's highest capital at 3,600 metres. Other major cities: Santa Cruz 467,000; Cochabamba 349,000. Urbanization 49%.
Economy Decline through frequently corrupt and unstable governments, the fall of worldwide tin and cotton prices, and hyper-inflation (26,000% in 1984), brought the country to its knees. Since 1985 courageous reforms have stabilized the economy. Shared responsibility for ending illegal cocaine exports between the consumers and producers is bringing in foreign aid to build a more healthy agricultural industry. Unemployment 22%. Public debt/person $500. Income/person $600 (3% of USA).
Politics Independent from Spain in 1825 after a long war for freedom. Since then, over 200 successful coups or revolutions have held back meaningful progress. Since 1985, successive democratic governments have stabilized the country and give cautious hope for improvement.
Religion

The Catholic Church continues to be recognized as the State Church, but the rapid growth of non-Catholic religious bodies has threatened this status. Religious freedom and separation of Church and State is an issue yet to be fully resolved.
Non-religious 5.9%.
Animist 15%. Predominantly Aymara and some lowland peoples. About 58% of the population has been baptized as Catholics, but are practising animists or Christo-pagan, so statistics below must be interpreted in this light.
Baha'i 3%. Strong among the Quechua.
Other 0.4%. Buddhists, Shinto, Muslim 1,000, Spiritist, Jews 600.
Christian 75.7%. Affil 88.5% (see note under Roman Catholic). Growth 3.5%.
Protestant 9.3%. Growth 8.6%.
Roman Catholic 65.2%. Affiliated 77.9%, but of this figure syncretic Christo-pagan are 52.9%, nominal 15%, practising 10%. Growth 2.8%.
Orthodox 0.04%. Growth 2.1%.
Marginal 1.17%. Growth 16.3%.

1. Democracy and freedom are new realities for Bolivia. The benefits have yet to reach the Amerindian majority that has long been mired in poverty and politically marginalized. Pray for courage and moral integrity for the democratic leaders as they grapple with the immense economic inequalities and social ills of society, not least of the latter being the cocaine "industry". About 50% of the world's cocaine is grown in Bolivia. Bolivian Evangelicals are becoming active in exercising their political responsibility to bring Biblical principles into the government of the country.
2. The great responsiveness of many sections of the population is cause for praise to God. The economic and political disasters of the '80s have increased spiritual hunger. Evangelicals have consistently doubled their numbers every ten years since 1960. The major growth has been among:
a) The Aymara. A people movement since 1930, with 17% growth per year, has resulted in 20% of these animistic people becoming Evangelicals (Baptist, AoG, Friends, Methodist and AEM/SIM-related churches).
b) The urban areas and frontier settlements in the Amazon lowlands, with many conversions through evangelistic outreach and campaigns among the mestizos.
c) The lowland Amerindian tribes (130,000), whose evangelization is nearly complete.
3. The Catholic Church is confronted by multiple crises. Its long-held political supremacy is threatened and annual losses to other churches and religions are disturbing. It has failed to develop an indigenous clergy or challenge the rampant paganism within the majority it claims to shepherd. Pray for an outpouring of the Spirit.
4. Evangelical unity, a product of a repentance and prayer revival in 1986, has been advanced by weekly prayer meetings among Christian leaders in La Paz. Pray for love and unity of vision among all true believers for the evangelization of the 65% of the population that never goes to church.
5. The Association of Evangelicals of Bolivia is sponsoring the launch of the DAWN programme. Pray that this may be a sustained, interdenominational, coordinated, country-wide effort which results in:
a) The evangelization of every people group.
b) The tripling of Evangelicals and churches in the '90s.
6. Territorial powers of darkness have long held the nation. Only now are Christians coming to grips with the reality of the spiritual battle. Pray that the Lord may rebuke these and liberate millions from fears, bondages, sin and compromise.
7. The less reached:
a) The upper classes have long held exclusive control of the reins of power, but were shocked by the national disasters of the '80s. Few were Evangelicals before 1985, but all is changing and many are seeking the Lord. The Ekklesia Church came to life in the 1986 revival; many of its members are from this class.
b) The Quechua in the high Andes and lowland farming colonies are largely Christo-pagans and have long been indifferent to the gospel. By 1990 only 2% have become Evangelical. About 70% of the Quechua are beyond the reach of present efforts.
c) The 100,000 tertiary students in the nine universities are disillusioned with traditional Catholicism, often secular, leftist in political views, and discouraged by interrupted courses and bleak future prospects. About 500 students in eight universities are linked with the CCU (IFES); others are linked with the ministry of CCC in several universities.
d) The youth are largely neglected. Few churches know how to meet their spiritual needs. Unemployment, urban violence and increasing drug abuse enhance the growing generation gap. Pray for the work of SU and others seeking to reach and disciple the youth.
8. The lowland tribes have been largely evangelized at great cost and with considerable success. Praise the Lord for the work of NTM, AEM-SIM, WGM, UWM, South American Mission, SIL and others. Their ministries have been strongly attacked by anti-Christian anthropologists and others as "genocidal", but in answer to prayer the effects of these attacks have been reduced. Pray for the neutralizing of these assaults, the maturation of indigenous leaders, the integration of these believers into Bolivian life, and the sound conversion of the second generation of Christians.
9. Leadership training at various levels is vital for the many growing churches -- from jungle village tribal churches to sophisticated elite city congregations. There are over 25 Protestant seminaries and Bible schools as well as a number of TEE institutes and BCCs. All these can never provide maturity and spiritual authority without the deep working of the Spirit of God. Men and women who know their God are needed!
10. Foreign missions. Early missionaries struggled long against hostility, persecution and harsh living conditions before the harvest ripened. The contribution of AEM (now SIM) was unique in pioneering most of the major gospel advances and ministries in the country, but the work of AoG and Ekklesia is also significant in new visions and advance. The missionary body now needs to concentrate more on church planting among the Quechua and upper classes and the discipling of the youth. Major missions include NTM (130 workers), SIM (109), Swedish Pentecostal Mission (65), WGM (58), Mennonites (56), Brethren (50), GMU (49), South American Mission (47), Norwegian Lutheran Mission (44), AoG (35), SBC (23), CBIM (15), UWM (16), Friends (12). Major missionary-contributing nations are USA (557), Norway (75), Canada (73), Sweden (56), UK (53), Brazil (49) and Korea (30). There are six Korean missions in the country, and Koreans have founded two of the three Christian universities.
11. Bible translation and distribution. The Bible Society has played a major role in every aspect of Bible work and now has its own press. Over one million New Testaments have been distributed in schools. The Aymara and Quechua Bibles are in great demand. SIL has almost achieved the amazing objective of completing the Bible translation programme for all the Amerindian languages that warranted it. May God's Word become part of the life of the entire nation!
12. Christian Media:
a) TV and radio have made a big impact through six Christian radio and two television networks and also the international stations. The latter include HCJB, TWR, FEBC, and High Adventure (USA), among others. Many hours of programmes are broadcast daily in Spanish, with HCJB adding eight hours per week in 17 Quechua dialects. The big gap is the lack of broadcasting in Aymara.
b) Christian literature -- especially tracts, teaching materials and books -- is in short supply in Aymara and Quechua. AEM/SIM have a significant ministry in this area.
c) The Jesus film is being widely used, with considerable impact in Spanish, Aymara and Quechua.

 

March - 11

COUNTRY:BOTSWANA and HERCEGOVINA
Population 1,528,000
Peoples Total ethnic groups 83.
Bantu peoples 94%.
Tswana 70%. Eight major tribes, most living along south-eastern border with South Africa.
Other 24%. Kalanga 160,000; Yeyi 29,000; Herero 18,000; Ndebele 17,000; Lozi 14,000; Subia 12,000; Pedi 11,000; Shona 10,000.
San (Kalahari Bushmen) 3.4% speaking 32 languages and dialects. Of the 43,000 San, less than 1,000 are still nomadic.
European/mixed race 2%.
Other 0.6% Zimbabweans, Angolans, South Africans and South Asians 1,000.
Literacy 71%. Official languages: English, Tswana. All languages 26. Languages with Scriptures 3Bi 1NT 2por.
Cities Capital: Gaborone 130,000. Urbanization 22%.
Economy Benign neglect in colonial times. Rapid development since independence through export of meat, diamonds, copper, nickel and gold. Earnings have been wisely used to develop country. Average annual economic growth 13% in '80s despite severe drought. Public debt/person $400. Income/person $940 (4% of USA).
Politics Independence from Britain in 1966 as a stable, multi-party democracy -- a rarity in Africa.
Religion Freedom of religion. The government has introduced Scripture education into the school curriculum as a compulsory subject.
Tribal religions 37%. A major component within every people, a majority among the San, Yeyi and Mbukushu.
Baha'i 0.8%. A surprisingly strong following among the Tswana.
Muslim 0.2%.
Christian 62%. Nom 13.5%. Affil 47.7%. Growth 4.3%.
Protestant 20.1%. Affil 13.4%. Growth 1.9%.
Roman Catholic 6.8% Affil 4.2%. Growth 4%.
Foreign Marginal 0.17%. Growth 12%.
Indigenous Marginal 35%. Affil 30.7%. Growth 5.7%.
1. The Tswana were the first Bantu people in Africa to respond to the gospel, several tribes turning to God in the last century through the LMS from England. Other missions followed. Nominalism soon became a major problem, since each mission planted what became virtually a "state" church for the tribe that received that group. Only a few ageing pastors remain in the United Congregational Church with very few preparing for the ministry. The average congregation today is predominantly composed of women. The majority of Tswana are Christian in name but given over to immorality and drunkenness accentuated by the breakdown of family life. In some areas, over 90% of children are illegitimate. The AIDS virus had infected at least 6% of the population by 1990. Pray for revival and a reversal of the moral decline.
2. The growth of African indigenous churches has been dramatic. Nearly one third of the Tswana are linked to one of these 160 groups, most of which mix Christian truths with traditional religions. Mennonite missionaries are giving Bible teaching to the often-illiterate leaders. Pray for many in these bodies to see the full light of the gospel.
3. Less reached peoples:
a) The 50,000 Bakgalagadi are mixed Tswana and San, but they speak Tswana. They are partially nomadic, living in the western desert. Little is being done on a permanent basis to reach them.
b) The Kalanga resent the cultural dominance of the Tswana. There are few active Christians among them. The New Testament is now being translated.
c) The Yeyi of the Okavango Swamp have only been exposed to nominal Christianity in the medium of the Tswana language.
d) The Mbukushu and Subia in the north are isolated from the main flow of national life and have never received a clear presentation of the gospel.
d) The Herero are mostly nominal Lutherans or belong to the fire-worshipping "Oruuano" Church.
f) The San have seen their traditional way of life destroyed by drought and modernization. Perhaps 1,000 may now be Christian in about 15 congregations through the efforts of Lutheran, AEF, Dutch Reformed and Charles Haupt Ministries workers. Pray that these workers may help the San to adapt to modernity, yet retain their cultural heritage and, above all, find their true identity in Christ.
4. The last 20 years have been a time of a new evangelical penetration. The growing work of the Mennonites (32 missionaries), AEF (27), SBC (21), the Korean Stump Mission (20), Brethren (16), AoG (4) and others needs prayer. Major missionary-sending nations: USA (108), UK (32), Korea (20), Germany (17), Finland (16), South Africa (13).The spiritual and physical conditions are not easy. Pray for the planting of witnessing churches in which Christians exhibit true holiness and a love for the Scriptures. The impact of Christ For All Nations evangelistic crusades in Gaberone and Francistown since 1975 has been significant.
5. Young people under 21 make up half the population, but relatively few are churchgoers. Pray for the ministry of SU in providing Christian teaching materials for the schools and nurturing the 30 of the 73 secondary schools that have SU groups. Pray for more part- and full-time workers for this ministry. There is a lively IFES group at Gaberone University.
6. The training and support of pastors and leaders is a great need. There are few pastors, and the scattered and poor congregations are barely able to support them. Pray for the AoG Bible School, and the AEF Shashi Bible Training College. Pray for the raising up of men of God able to turn the nation back to Him.
7. Christian Media Ministries for prayer.
a) The Bible Society oversees the translation programme. Pray for the new Kalanga NT being translated and for wisdom in choice of minority languages for translation projects, the most challenging being the many small San languages.
b) Radio broadcasts and Christian TV on the national network are supervised by the International Church Radio Council. TWR Swaziland broadcasts 45 minutes daily in Tswana.
c) Literature for the rapidly increasing literate population is scarce and often expensive. Little variety is available in Tswana, and virtually nothing in minority languages. Pray for bookstore ministries and the national distribution of evangelistic literature by EHC.

 

March - 12 to 14

COUNTRY:BRAZIL
Population 165,083,000
Peoples Brazil is a "melting pot" of nations, with much intermarriage, so percentages given below are not meant to indicate rigid categories.
European 53%. Portuguese 15%, Italian 11%, Spanish 10%, German 3% in origin. (Undefined 14%.)
African 11%. Many claim the actual figure is closer to 40%. Descendants of slaves brought from West Africa and Angola.
Mixed race 34.8%. Mestizo and Mulatto.
Asian 1.1%. Japanese 1,200,000; Chinese 160,000; Arab 150,000; Korean 60,000.
Amerindian 0.14%. In 1900 there were 500,000 in 230 tribes, but now there are an estimated 200,000 in 200 tribes, still decreasing through the encroachments of new settlers, loss of land and disease.
Literacy 81%. Official language: Portuguese. All living languages 208. Languages with Scriptures 1Bi 30NT 37por.
Cities Brasilia 1,950,000. Other major cities: Sao Paulo 18,300,000; Rio de Janeiro 11,700,000; Belo Horizonte 3,640,000; Porto Alegre 3,000,000; Recife 2,700,000; Salvador 2,300,000; Fortaleza 2,300,000; Curitiba 2,170,000. Urbanization 74%.
Economy Vast economic potential in the developing hinterland of the north and west, rapid growth and industrialization in the '60s and '70s in the south made Brazil one of the leading industrial and trading nations in the world. Massive inflation in the '80s, crippling foreign debts, and gross disparity in wealth between the rich 30% and the poor 70% have blunted growth and increased hardship to many, and hunger encourages violence. There may be 90 million undernourished. Inflation in 1989 was 1,386%, but this fell dramatically in 1990. Public debt/person $565. Income/person $2,550 (12.1% of USA).
Politics Independent from Portugal in 1822 as a kingdom, it became a federal republic in 1889. Authoritarian military rule between 1964 and 1985 left a legacy of social inequality, bureaucratic inefficiency and state ownership of large parts of the economy. Multi-party democracy restored in 1985. Popular outcry at the corruption of the President forced his resignation in 1992, hopefully strengthening grassroots democracy and forcing on the political system greater accountability to the people they rule.
Religion Freedom of religion and separation of Church and state. There is still a residual bias to Catholicism in government circles.
Non-religious/other 2.4%. Secularism is on the increase in the middle and upper classes.
Spiritist 4.8%. Spiritist-Catholic 16%. Over 60% of the population are involved in occult practices, most still claiming to be Catholic.
Buddhist 0.2%. Muslim 0.1% (though Muslims claim 1.4%). Jewish 0.06%.
Christian 92.4%. Affil 91.73%. Growth 1.6%.
Protestant 21.6%. Affil 19.2%%. Growth 7%.
Roman Catholic 68%. Attend 5.3%. Growth 0%.
Other Catholic 2%. Growth 1.7%.
Orthodox 0.1%. Growth 0.1%.
Marginal 0.7%. Growth 11.5%.
1. Praise God for the astonishing growth of Evangelicals -- from less than 100,000 in 1900 to four million in 1960, eight million in 1970, 15 million in 1980, and 26 million in 1990, with Pentecostals being 88% of the last total. Brazil has long been known as the largest Catholic country in the world, but it also now has the third largest evangelical community (after the USA and China).
2. The Catholic Church is in serious trouble, and faces a discouraging future. There are only 13,000 priests, 46% foreign, and most over the age of 50. About 600,000 Catholics leave the Church every year -- 30% turning to spiritist groups and many others to the Evangelicals, provoking tension between conservative Catholics and sections of the Pentecostal movement. Average church attendance is around eight million, but for Evangelicals it is over 20 million. The left wing of the Church has espoused liberation theology and champions the poor and outcast. Yet there are strong renewal movements through both "Base Communities" (one million involved in Bible study groups that work for social and political reform), and also the vigorous 600,000-strong, charismatic movement which are changing the face of the church. Pray for an increasing receptivity to Bible truths that leads to changed lives.
3. Challenges facing Brazilian Evangelicals. Intercede for the following needs:
a) For relevance and a prophetic voice in Brazilian society - their influence is not in proportion to their large numbers. Evangelistic vision is rarely extended to a vision to bring a message of righteousness to a society ravaged by inequality, injustice, selfishness, crime, immorality and AIDS. Pray that Evangelicals may use their influence to raise the moral tenor of public life rather than for political manipulation.
b) For spiritual depth. Pentecostal growth has often been at the expense of adequate discipling, biblical teaching and nurturing of mature leaders. Narrow and petty legalisms concerning dress and social behaviour and a common over-emphasis on physical healing and prosperity have resulted in a high rate of backsliding or membership transfer.
c) For spirituality -- especially in non-Pentecostal denominations. Liberation theology, with its emphasis on political and social salvation at the expense of personal repentance and faith in Christ, has gained a significant hearing in some churches and seminaries. Pray that theologians may equip the church to maintain loyalty to the Scriptures and balance in teaching its truths. Pray that world evangelization may be the priority in the churches.
d) For leadership for the churches to maintain growth and retain the fruits of evangelism. There are 27,100 ordained pastors for 150,000 churches. Pray for the 321 seminaries and institutes where over 12,000 men and women are being trained for ministry. The great bottle-neck now is godly, mature, well-trained teachers who are good role models to the students -- over 2,000 teachers are needed over the next 10 years.
e) For unity. Unresolved divisions weaken the voice of Evangelicals. Pray for the Evangelical Association of Brazil, founded in 1991, that it may be a means of fostering unity, fellowship and prayerful cooperation.
4. Goals for the '90s. Praise God for denominational goals for prayer mobilization, church multiplication and growth set out by the Assemblies of God, (50,000 new churches and 50 million affiliated to their churches), Baptists, Foursquare Church and others. Pray for denominational barriers to be lowered to enable trans-denominational national goals to be set so that all Brazil be permeated with the gospel.
5. Spiritism is a dynamic force for evil in Brazil. It appeals to the emotions and offers physical healing; both traits make it an attractive alternative to traditional Christianity. In 1975 there were at least 14,000 spiritist centres guided by 420,000 mediums. There are seven million Brazilians practising Kardecism ("high" spiritism) and millions more practising Umbanda and Macumba ("low" spiritism with African roots). A majority of Brazilians are involved -- most still claiming to be Christian. Pray both for Christians willing and spiritually equipped to minister to those bound by Satan, and for the deliverance of many. Freemasonry among Baptist and Presbyterian pastors is on the increase.
6. The challenge to reach less evangelized people groups. Pray for:
a) The squalid favelas (slums), a blight in every major city. Over 13 million live in such places, where poverty, hopelessness, crime and disease make these people hard to reach. Pray for Christian congregations and agencies to be raised up who will give spiritual and economic uplift to these communities.
b) The northeast, which is poor and underdeveloped and also has Brazil's lowest percentage of Evangelicals (5%). There is a great exodus of poor to the Amazon and the cities of the southeast.
c) An estimated eight million children who have lost all or most links with their families. Many live on the streets and in the sewers, and live from crime. Prostitution, drug-taking and AIDS are "normal". Pray that Christians may minister love, healing, identity and salvation to these unfortunates.
d) The secularized, wealthy middle and upper classes. These have been generally less responsive.
e) Young people who face many pressures -- especially in university. There are about 1,500,000 students in 871 universities. Pray for more workers to minister to them. The CCC and Navigators are active, and the ABU(IFES) is having a significant impact with groups in most universities. They help students come to the Lord, build them up in the Word and encourage missionary vision. The ABU is also pioneering a ministry to Christian graduates.
f) The one million Japanese who are over 60% Roman Catholic and only 3% Protestant. There are 80 evangelical churches with 7,000 adult Japanese believers. Pray for the witness of the Japan Holiness Church (OMSI), Japan Evangelical Mission and UFM. Pray that these Japanese churches may enter into the mainstream of Brazilian life.
g) The 160,000 Chinese. They live largely in Sao Paulo, where there are 12 small evangelical congregations, but the percentage of Christians (1.7%) is low. By contrast, there are 42 churches for the 60,000 Koreans.
h) The little settlements along the many rivers in the vast Amazon jungle. These communities are poor and needy -- physically and spiritually -- and believers are few and often isolated. UFM is doing pioneer work in the Lower and Central Amazon region, planting little churches. These churches need prayer -- they constantly suffer the loss of key members to the towns and cities. Pray for those engaged in pioneer evangelism by means of river launches -- a hard ministry.
i) Pioneer colonies along new roads being driven through the virgin jungles of the west and north -- the Brazilian Church is seeking to reach out to these rough settlements and plant churches.
j) The Amerindian tribes yet to be reached. Possibly about 40 small tribal groups totalling around 5,000 remain to be contacted with the gospel. About 52 tribes are "assimilated" into national life, and a further 45 marginally so. Until curtailed by the government in 1978, SIL was working in 41 tribes, NTM in 20, UFM in five; but in a number of these a viable indigenous church had yet to be planted. Some of these restrictions have since been eased, but international interest in the Amazon makes this a sensitive issue. Pray for the complete evangelization of these tribes and the preservation of the integrity of their societies in the face of disastrous and exploitative invasions into their territories by gold-seekers and settlers.
7. The role of missionaries has changed from the past. The most important ministries for missionaries today are in leadership training, missionary preparation for Brazilians and pioneer work in the Amazon region. Missions with the largest number of workers: NTM (693 -- 30% Brazilian), YWAM (610 -- 85% Brazilian), SBC (292), SIL/WBT (208), Baptist Mid-Mission (183), ABWE (113), UFM (106), Brethren (59), BMS-UK (59), CBFMS (53), WEC (48 -- 50% Brazilian), GMU (40). Major missionary-contributing nations: USA (2,390), Germany (265), UK (201), Canada (182), Korea (86). Pray for the wise and strategic deployment of the missionary force to the best advantage of the Brazilian church.
8. Limitations on missionary activity among 48 Amerindian tribes since 1978 was triggered by a combined assault of anti-Christian anthropologists, development agencies seeking Indian lands, gold-seekers and corrupt officials. Pray that this unholy alliance may be thwarted and that evangelism, Bible translation and church planting may continue unhindered. Brazilian commitment has rapidly increased, with 857 missionaries from national and international agencies serving among Amerindians. Bible translation is a major unfinished ministry. Work is in progress in 64 languages, but between eight and 70 additional languages may yet require translation teams.
9. Rapid growth of missions vision is cause for praise! The AMTB is an evangelical association of cross-cultural missionary agencies that links many of the 1,300 cross-cultural Brazilian missionaries serving in 21 national and 45 international agencies. Pray for:
a) Suitable training and orientation programmes, sending structures and pastoral care for these missionaries.
b) Congregations which have long-term commitment in prayer and giving for their missionaries. Initial enthusiasm has often faded rapidly. Inflation has wrought havoc with the support of missionaries overseas.
c) The Associaçao de Conselhos Missionários de Igrejas (ACMI), founded in 1990, which aims to help local churches set up viable missions structures, programmes and channelling mechanisms.
10. Christian literature. Brazil's most widely sold books are about magic and the occult. The evangelical community, as a whole, reads one book per person per year. Pray for change through:
a) Christian publishers such as JUERP (Baptist Conv), EVN (New Life, CBFMS), Betania (Bethany Fellowship), Mundo Cristao (EUSA) and ABEB (IFES). Most of these are under the umbrella of the Evangelical Literature Committee of Brazil.
b) Christian distributors. CLC, with 10 stores and 59 workers is one among many.
c) The Bible Society, which distributes over one million Bibles and 142 million portions or leaflets annually.
d) Gideons International, who are distributing 10 million New Testaments in six years.
11. Christian Media -- for prayer:
a) The Jesus film. Pray for its effective use by film teams all over the country. Over 100,000 see it every year. The video version has been a valuable means of reaching professionals. Pray for those who respond and for their integration into Bible study groups and churches.
b) Radio. Brazilian Evangelicals operate four TV stations and 40 radio stations. Internationally, TWR Bonaire, KYFR USA, and HCJB Ecuador beam in 226 hours of broadcasts per week. Projecto Luz (700 Club) gains huge audiences across the country. Pray for a lasting impact for the Kingdom.
c) Cassettes. GRn have prepared tapes in 80 indigenous languages.

 

COUNTRY:BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
Population 12,950
Peoples Afro-Caribbean 90.3% Euro-American 7.5%. East Indian 0.9%; Other 1.3%.
Literacy 98%. Official Language: English.
Cities Road Town 5,200.
Economy The mainstays are tourism and offshore company registrations. Poor agricultural land. Income/person $10,760 (51% of USA).
Politics A dependent territory of the UK.
Religion Non-religious/other 2.9%.
Baha'i 0.9%. Hindu 0.34%. Muslim 0.31%.
Christian 95.5%. Affil 90.2%. Growth 0.3%.
Protestant 86.5%. Affil 83.9%. Growth 0.1%.
Roman Catholic 6.3%. Affil 3.6%. Growth -0.4%.
Marginal 2.7%. Growth 7.6%.
1. The tourist trade brings large numbers of people seeking fun but whose lives are empty without Christ. Pray that local believers may have a good testimony to them.
2. The beauty of the islands belies the spiritual need. There are many churches, and most people profess to be Christian, yet sin mars the lives of many. More than three-quarters of all births are illegitimate. Pray for revival and for Christian families to live exemplary lives.

 

 

March - 15

COUNTRY:BRUNEI
Population 301,000
Peoples Malay 70.5%. Dominant in government and civil service. Many tribal people who converted to Islam have been absorbed into the Malay population.
Chinese 16%, of which 80% are non-citizen residents. Gradual decline through emigration. Dominant in commerce.
Tribal peoples 5.3%. Predominantly Iban. Also Kedayan, Kayan, Kenyah, Kiput, Murut, Tutung.
Expatriate 8.2%. British 6,000; South Asian 4,200; Gurkha 1,000; Korean; Filipino. Largely involved in the oil industry.
Literacy 85%. Official languages: Malay, English. All languages 17. Languages with Scriptures 9Bi 1NT.
Cities Bandar Seri Begawan 66,000. Urbanization 59%.
Economy Entirely dependent on oil, with estimated reserves for 25 years. One of the wealthiest nations in Asia. Income/person $14,120 (67% of USA).
Politics Refused to join the Malaysian Federation in 1963. A Protectorate of Britain until full independence in 1983. The Sultan rules as an absolute monarch. There are only rudimentary democratic structures
Religion Islam is the state religion. Constitutional guarantees for the free practice of other religions are being eroded and limitations on Christian activity are increasing.
Muslim 71%. All Malays, some Iban, Murut and other tribal people.
Chinese Religions 9%.
Non-religious/other 6.5%. Chinese and non-Malay.
Animist/other faiths 5.5%. Mainly tribal peoples. Some Hindus and Buddhists.
Christian 8%. Nom 3%. Affil 5%. Growth 1.6%.
Protestant 3.8%. Affil 2.8%. Growth 2.2%.
Roman Catholic 3.9%. Affil 2%. Growth 0.7%.
Foreign marginal 0.02%. Growth 5.2%.
Indigenous Marginal 0.19%. Growth 1.1%.
1. No evangelism is permitted among Muslims, and no known believers have come from this community. However, there is a steady stream of conversions to Islam from among tribal and immigrant communities. Pray that through the pure lives of the Christians and the work of the Holy Spirit some may be saved.
2. The Chinese community feels insecure; most are still considered foreign, even if they were born in Brunei. Many still follow Chinese religions or are non-religious. About 15% are nominally Christian, but only a small proportion of these are committed to Christ. Pray that neither fear nor materialistic concerns may hold back Chinese from salvation in Christ.
3. Christians in the various fellowships have a vigorous outreach through meetings, camps and literature. In 1992, the importation of Christian literature and the public celebration of Christmas were banned and all contacts with Christians in other countries forbidden. Most of the Catholic priests and nuns in the country were expelled at the end of 1991. Pray for Christians in their present predicament and for these unconstitutional edicts to be withdrawn.
4. Tribal peoples have either been converted to Islam and absorbed into the mainstream of national life, or have remained isolated in jungle villages. Among the latter, many Iban, Kelabit, Murut and others have come to Christ through the witness of the Anglicans, Brunei Christian Fellowship and Bethel Chapel. Pray for the evangelization of each of these communities.
5. Brunei students usually complete university education in Malaysia, Britain, Australia or other lands. Pray that they may come into contact with a vibrant Christian witness, be won for Christ, and ultimately return home as witnesses to their Saviour.

 

 

March - 16

COUNTRY:BULGARIA
Population 9,036,000
Peoples Slavic 84%. Bulgarian 6,950,000; Macedonian 225,000; Russian 18,000; Serb 9,000; Czech 9,000.
Turkic 11% (Officially 9%). Turks 990,000; Gagauz 12,000; Crimean Tatar 6,000.
Gypsy 4.6%. Speaking Romani, Turkish or Bulgarian.
Other 0.4%. Armenian 27,000; Greek 11,000; Jews 3,200.
Literacy 90%. Official languages: Bulgarian, and locally, Turkish. All languages 12. Languages with Scriptures 5Bi 3NT 5por.
Cities Capital: Sofia 1,222,000. Urbanization 68%.
Economy Long one of Europe's poorest countries. Communism left a legacy of inefficient, polluting heavy industry. Since 1990 some progress in liberalizing the economy and adapting to market forces. Much poverty remains, but much potential for growth. Public debt/person $1,220. Income/person $5,300 (25% of USA).
Politics A nation since the fifth century, but rarely independent. Ruled by the Turkish Ottoman Empire 1396-1878. Communist rule of particular severity 1947-1989. Multi-party democracy instituted in 1990. A see-saw struggle for power since then between the Democrats and Socialists (ex-Communist Party) with the Turkish Party holding a balance of power in parliament.
Religion Orthodoxy the state religion until 1945. Communist oppression and ruthless control of denominational leadership until 1989. The new democratic constitution proclaims freedom for all denominations, but makes the status of the Orthodox Church one of ambiguous primacy. Statistics below are approximate; the rate of change since 1989 is rapid.
Non-religious/other 17%.
Muslim 13.9%.
Christian 69.1%. Growth 9.9%.
Protestant 1.25%. Growth 17%.
Roman Catholic 0.83%. Growth 1.3%.
Orthodox 66.9%. Growth 9.9%.
Marginal 0.02%. Growth 17.6%.
1. Bulgaria's political and spiritual transformation has been one of the most dramatic in the former Communist bloc: from one of the most repressive regimes, with severe persecution of Christians, to multi-party democracy (albeit tumultuous). Across the country is a yearning to fill the moral and spiritual void Marxism created. There is a desire for an identity and a hope. Pray that this may be found in the Lord Jesus through the preaching of the gospel. Many forms of eastern and western cults and also the ancient, but very live, occultism of Bulgaria vie for a following.
2. All Churches have shown dramatic growth. Many non-religious and atheist Bulgarians have returned to Orthodoxy. The great change is among Evangelicals, who have more than doubled in numbers in three years; in Sofia they have quintupled. Evangelistic outreach among Bulgarians has elicited good response and possibly 4,000-10,000 Turks and Gypsies have come to Christ since 1990. Praise God, and pray for a continued and conserved harvest. There are signs that the initial enthusiasm is wearing off.
3. The growth has been amidst pain. The dire effects of outright persecution -- with many Christians imprisoned or killed, and manipulation through informers, infiltrators and imposters in the churches -- are still to be seen. The subversion of the Orthodox hierarchy was particularly widespread. Some leaders courageously suffered, others compromised -- a fact that still breeds division, mistrust and lack of cooperation in Orthodox, Protestant and Pentecostal alike which may lead to new Orthodox and Pentecostal denominations. "Sheep-stealing" -- even of whole congregations from one denomination to another -- has unfortunately developed into a fine art. Pray for repentance, reconciliation, healing and spiritual unity. These tensions still prevent the formation of a national Evangelical Fellowship. There is a National Committee for the AD2000 Movement linking five denominations and setting goals for the decade.
4. Maturing the Church is the major challenge for the '90s. Pray for:
a) Bible-based teaching of believers. Only a handful of Christian leaders have had formal Bible training. The hunger of the new Christians is matched only by their ignorance of Scripture and tendency to legalisms.
b) Leadership training. Underground TEE programmes of the '80s have blossomed into the interdenominational Logos Bible Academy in Sofia as well as four other Pentecostal denominational schools. Pray for the provision of the right staff, funds and facilities and, above all, spiritual life for these programmes.
c) The right structures to enhance growth. The tendency is for autocratic, central leadership and a desire to build mega-churches. Pray for a clearer vision for multiplying churches and plurality of leadership, thus avoiding personality clashes and denominational divisions. Networking and loving communication between leaders is a great need.
d) The discernment of doctrinal error. Every modern heresy and cult seems to have targeted the country -- Mormons, Children of God, Jehovah's Witnesses, extreme "prosperity" teachings, as well as eastern cults. Christians are being swayed by every wind of doctrine.
e) The multiplicity of new indigenous agencies that have sprung up for reaching children, prisons, and ethnic minorities, and for providing literature, Bibles, and Christian teaching in schools and camps. There are also international agencies setting up local branches -- CEF, EHC, TWR, Gideons, and the Bible Society among others. The need for wise coordination and adequate funding mechanisms is urgent.
5. Ethnic minorities need specific prayer.
a) The Turks were deeply offended by the Communist campaigns in the mid '80s to impose Bulgarian culture upon them. In 1989, 350,000 fled to Turkey. The collapse of Communism led to the return of half of them and to restitution of their cultural rights. Muslim missionaries from Turkey and Iran have been assiduously seeking to make them stronger Muslims. At the same time there has been a work of the Holy Spirit leading to hundreds of groups of Turkish believers across the country. There were reckoned to be at least 4,000 believers in 1993. This is the first known major spiritual breakthrough among Turks. Pray for Christians with knowledge of Turkish as they seek to disciple the many Pentecostal and indigenous groups (WEC, OD, OM, Ichthus Fellowship -- the latter three with more short-term involvement).
b) Gypsies are generally despised and at the bottom of the social order. Some are Orthodox or Muslim and others still deeply involved in the occult. Among them thousands are turning to the Lord, mainly through the outreach of the Church of God in the Bulgarian language. Others are linked to the indigenous Turkish-speaking movement. A third (180,000) of all Gypsies use Romani as their first language, but lack of a New Testament is a major deficiency. Illiteracy is widespread, and there is a great challenge to patiently teach the fundamentals of the faith.
c) Pomaks (300,000) are Bulgarian-speaking Muslims; a specific ministry is needed to reach them. Several congregations of new Christians have been planted in the south of the country.
Pray that there may be warm and close fellowship between the Christians of different ethnic groups. Ancient Balkan inter-ethnic hatreds and mistrust are still potent. Both Turks and Gypsies have formed political bodies to combat discrimination.
6. Foreign missions have increased personnel committed to Bulgaria. There is great need for long-term missionaries and tentmakers who will learn the culture and language and who earn the confidence of the people through effective role-modelling life and ministry. The need is less for pioneer evangelism than for providing teaching skills and support to an evangelistically-minded church. Pray for:
a) The calling of the right workers to serve in this day of extraordinary opportunity. Significant missions: SBC (6), (intteams)IT (4), []SEND (4), YWAM (4), OM (3), WEC (3).
b) Wisdom in use of short-term visits and ministry. Too much has been done (and even undone) by enthusiastic but ill-prepared visitors on foray ministries. All needs to be integrated into a wider coordinated strategy that has been developed indigenously. High-powered western evangelism is meeting with rising scepticism.
c) Sensitive use of foreign funds. The chronic lack of finance and poverty of those in Christian work makes every infusion of funds a potentially damaging or distorting influence to the spiritual life of churches and individuals. Employment by foreign agencies can easily take away key workers from the ministries most needed by the church. Yet how vital such help is!
7. Young people. The authorities are eager to have moral and religious education in schools, so there is freedom for Christian input in many schools. Pray that neither Orthodox sensitivities about Evangelicals nor Western evangelical insensitivities limit opportunities. Millions of Bibles, books and pieces of literature published in the West have been distributed in schools, but not always adequately used. Pray that all this may lead to a good understanding of the things of God and many new Christians.
8. Christian help ministries.
a) Literature. New Man became the first Bulgarian Christian publisher with a wide-ranging vision for producing solid evangelical books, Scripture aids and teaching/evangelistic materials. Pray for viability in the prevailing poverty and flood of Western-produced subsidized literature. EHC has plans for a nationwide literature distribution campaign. Effective cooperation between foreign and national literature agencies is needed.
b) Bible translation and distribution. The present Bulgarian Bible is archaic; but the new Living Bible soon to be available is not acceptable to some. Pray for consensus among Christians on the issue. Pray for the early availability of an effective modern translation. Distribution of 70,000 of the Cyrillic-script Turkish New Testaments has had a significant impact. Higher levels of illiteracy among Turks and Gypsies are a hindrance. Many Bibles are being printed locally. There is a need for the Scriptures in Romani for the Gypsies.
c) Radio. Local television and radio programming is increasing; TWR has set up a studio. The potential is enormous; finance and caution about Evangelicals are bottlenecks. Four international broadcasters transmit five hours/week to Bulgaria.

 

March - 17

COUNTRY:BURKINA FASO
Population 10,382,000
Peoples Over 72 distinct ethno-linguistic groups in four major language families.
Gur-Voltaic (35 groups) 75.7%.
Mossi-Gurma: Mossi 4,541,000; Gurma 533,000. The Mossi are the dominant people in Burkina Faso and comprise 52% of the population.
Gurunsi: Dagaari 287,000; Lyele 225,000; Bwamu 193,000; Kurumba 151,000; Nuna 110,000; Birifor 108,000; Kassena 84,000; Buli 70,000; Gurenne (Frafra) 25,100; Ko 16,200; Puguli 13,200; Kusale 12,600; Sissala 9,000; Pana 7,200.
Senufo (11 groups): Karaboro 64,000; Nanerge 41,500; Tusian 32,000; Tagba 28,000; Bolon 11,000; Tiefo 10,000; Vige 6,700; Wara 4,500.
Lobi-Lobiri: Lobi 175,500; Gouin 53,000; Turka 45,000; Doghosie 14,400; Dyan 14,100; Komono 3,000; Kaanba 7,600.
Mande peoples: 10.8%. Bissa 322,000; Samo 218,000; Bobo 203,000; Marka 158,000; Jula 30,000; Sambla 16,000; Samogho 10,000.
Fula 10%; two groups.
Other African: 3.3%. Songhai 122,700; Tuareg 85,500; Hausa.
Non-Africans: 0.2%. Arab 9,000; French and Westerners 7,000.
Literacy 13%. Official language: French, spoken by 10% of the population. Trade languages: Moré (the language of the Mossi), Jula in south. All languages 72. Languages with Scriptures 5Bi 7NT 9por.
Cities Ouagadougou 437,000. Urbanization 9%.
Economy 83% of the population is dependent on subsistence agriculture and the intermittent rainfall. Much malnutrition and famine in the centre and north since early '70s. The economic outlook is bleak. Public debt/person $76. Income/person $310 (1.5% of USA).
Politics Independent of France in 1960. A series of economic disasters destabilized a succession of governments. Six coups since 1966. The 1983 coup brought in a left-wing revolutionary regime which radicalized the structure and foreign relations of the country. The 1987 military coup halted many of the extremes of the former regime, but ambiguously defines itself as "revolutionary, democratic, anti-imperialist and secular".
Religion The former regime was far less sympathetic to Christian churches and missionaries. The present climate is favourable to Christian outreach and aid programmes.
Traditional religions 33%. Yet most of the population is animistic under a religious veneer.
Muslim 48%. Growing rapidly in some areas. 10% of the country was Muslim in 1900.
Christian 19%. Nom 5.8%. Affil 13.2%. Growth 5.4%.
Protestant 5%. Affil 4.5%. Growth 11.9%.
Roman Catholic 13.9%. Affil 8.6% Gr 2.6%.
Foreign Marginal 0.02%. Affil 0.02%. Growth 8%.
Indigenous Marginal 0.1%. Affil 0.1%. Growth 13.3%.
1. Praise God for growth and advance in the midst of revolution, drought and famine. Specifically:
a) The spectacular accelerated growth of evangelical churches between 1983 and 1990. Membership more than doubled over that period. By the year 2000 over 14% of the population will be evangelical if this growth is maintained.
b) Significant people movements with thousands of conversions among the Mossi (AoG), Lyele (SBC), Gurma (SIM), Bwamu, Bobo and Samo (CMA), Nuna and Sissala (Canadian Pentecostals); all but the Bobo are now over 5% evangelical.
c) The vibrant AoG family of churches, with possibly half its quarter-million following converted out of a Muslim background.
d) The first Burkinabé cross-cultural missionaries sent out to other lands, with AoG missionaries moving out to four African countries.
e) Ten peoples without a Christian witness who are now being reached.
2. The Unreached. Despite church growth, increased missionary exertions and greater responsiveness, there remain over 28 peoples without an effective witness; 13 of these are Muslim. Most of these lie within the area of witness of existing missions. Pray for the recruitment and deployment of pioneer workers from Africa and the world to evangelize them. Pray also for the Burkina Church to pray and plan together for this. Specific challenges:
a) Muslims who are stronger in the north but continue to grow in nearly every ethnic group. Only 20 missionaries are specifically committed to ministering among peoples comprising almost half the population: the urbanized Soninke, Jula and the rural Tuareg in the north (WH, AoG); Bolon in the northwest (AoG); Songhai in the northeast; Doghosie, Komono in the south. Strong political ties with Libya strengthen Muslim influence within the country.
b) The partly nomadic Fulani who are beginning to respond through the witness of three SIM teams, and AoG workers. This outreach needs to be expanded.
c) Unreached non-Muslim peoples: the Kurumba with a handful of AoG believers in the north, the Dogon of the northeast, the Bulsa and Gurenne on the Ghana border, the many Senufo sub-groups in the southwest (CMA and Mennonites), and the numerous small peoples of the south (WEC).
3. The power of the occult has yet to be decisively challenged and broken in many peoples of Burkina Faso. Few countries in West Africa are more dominated by idolatry, fetishism and secret societies. Especially strong is that of the many Lobiri peoples in the southwest (WEC area), Gurma (SIM) in the east, Gurunsi (Canadian Pentecostals, AoG), Senufo and Bobo (CMA) in the west. Pray that the power of the risen Christ might be demonstrated for the saving of many.
4. The Catholics have grown steadily, but the rate of growth slowed in the '80s. Some 11% of the Mossi and most of the Dagaari are Catholic, yet the strong idolatry and fetishism within the hearts of the converts is often unchallenged.
5. The dramatic expansion and even local revival conditions have strained the resources of the evangelical churches to cope with the influx of new converts. Leaders are too few, illiteracy is high, and economic hardship widespread. Pray for church leaders at this significant time. They need wisdom, humility, tact and firmness in the delicate political situation in the country. Pray also for Bible schools run by the major churches and missions in local languages and in French (SIM, CMA, AoG, WEC and Pentecostals). Pray for Christian leaders able to stand firm against the idolatrous practices of tribal society and against the demands of non-Christian national leaders. Pray that satanic hindrances to the ongoing growth of the Church in the '90s may be thwarted.
6. Young people are better educated than their parents and they enthusiastically supported the failed revolution. Local prospects for employment and advancement are poor, so they are frustrated and disillusioned. Few churches have effective programmes directed at children or young people. Pray for the work of SU in the high schools and the expanding ministry of GBUAF (IFES) in the high schools and Ouagadougou University. There are over 1,000 linked with the latter in cell groups around the country and one group of 60 in the university. More staff to expand the work is a great need.
7. The massive emigration of Burkinabé to the cities and to Côte d'Ivoire is both a challenge and an opportunity for the gospel. The social upheavals, family breakdowns and economic stagnation caused by the emigration of most of the active men in the community are severe. In 1990 there were estimated to be 1,500,000 Burkinabé in Côte d'Ivoire. It is reckoned that 70% of these convert to Islam within a few months of arrival. Only now are Burkina churches taking up the challenge by sending pastors and missionaries to these people -- especially AoG, CMA and WEC. Pray for an abundant harvest and effective church planting.
8. Missionaries working in Burkina Faso have a vital role in a land of so much physical and spiritual need. The work has been hard, and victories long in coming. Major missions working in the country are SIL/WBT (66 workers), CMA (51), Mennonites (46), SIM (41), WEC (24), AoG (15). Pray for their protection and encouragement. They need to know the Lord's priorities. Missionary reinforcements are needed in a wide range of ministries.
9. Christian aid and relief have been coordinated by the Federation of Evangelical Churches. Much is and has been done in alleviating suffering and staving off future disasters. Wisdom is needed by both missions and Christian leaders in the administration of this help. Massive internal migration, poor communications and distortion of the fragile local economy all too easily result. Pray for the hearts of both Muslims and fetishists to be opened to God's Word through such help.
10. Bible translation is a ministry of major significance. Only two indigenous languages have the whole Bible -- Moré and Bambara. SIL has 38 workers committed to 12 language programmes and is surveying the needs of 20 others. Five other missions are involved in translation work in 15 languages. Present and future translators need prayer to complete the immense task. Literacy programmes are needed for many areas so that Burkinabé may read the new translations.
11. Christian literature ministries are in the pioneer stage. The Bible Society is now legally registered. The Baptists, CMA and AoG have small bookstores in the capital, but a coordinated nationwide literature publication and distribution network would improve the situation. CLC has started ministry in the capital; pray that this and all literature ministries may lead to a literate and well-read church.
12. Media ministries. High levels of illiteracy and poverty and the limited availability of literature in local languages enhance the importance of other media.
a) Radio is used by some churches for local Christian broadcasts, but lack of equipment and expertise is the bottleneck.
b) Audio materials for evangelism and teaching have not been adequately used; GRn have made recordings in 40 languages and dialects.
c) The Jesus film is proving a key pioneer evangelistic tool in Bambara/Jula and is in use or in preparation in Dogon, Bobo, Dagbani, Fula, Gurma and Soninke.

March - 18

COUNTRY:BURUNDI
Population 6,299,000
Peoples Rundi-speaking 96%. Considerable inter-ethnic mixing.
Tutsi 15%. The politically dominant minority.
Hutu 80%. A further 150,000 live as refugees in Tanzania.
Twa Pygmies 1%. Despised by other groups.
Other African 3.7%. Rwandan 90,000; Zairois 80,000.
Other 0.3%. South Asian 6,500; European 3,000; Arab 1,600.
Literacy 14%. All languages 4. Official languages: Rundi, French. All speak Rundi. Languages with Scriptures 2Bi.
Cities Capital: Bujumbura 272,000. Urbanization 8%.
Economy One of the world's poorest states. Agricultural economy; coffee provides 90% of export earnings. Dependent on foreign aid. Over-population and lack of natural resources make improvements hard to achieve. Public debt/person $172. Income/person $310 (1.4% of USA).
Politics For 400 years, Tutsi lordship over the Hutu majority has dominated the political life of Burundi. After the country's independence from Belgium in 1962, the Tutsi constitutional monarchy was replaced by a republican military regime in 1966. Tutsi dictatorship in the '80s led to vigorous and bloody suppression of Hutu uprisings. The Libyan-backed regime was overthrown in 1987, and replaced by a military-civilian government with increased Hutu participation. Conflict between the two groups continues, but in 1992 a multi-party democratic constitution was adopted.
Religion The previous regime became increasingly hostile against Christians. Meetings were curtailed, missionaries expelled and many ministries closed down. Since 1987, a measure of religious freedom was restored, and the return of missionaries allowed. During 1992 renewed restrictions on some Christian activities were imposed.
African traditional religions 7.1%.
Muslim 1%. Gradual growth. Baha'i 0.1%.
Christian 91.8%. Nom 16.2%. Affil 74.7%. Growth 5.8%.
Protestant 16%. Affil 14.6%. Growth 7.1%.
Roman Catholic 75.6%. Affil 59.7%. Growth 5.5%.
Orthodox 0.02%. Growth 1.2%.
Foreign Marginal 0.01%. Growth 5.1%.
Indigenous Marginal 0.2%. Growth 10%.
1. Government leaders are working to unify the nation, but centuries of mistrust, enmity and bloodshed cannot be forgotten overnight. The Tutsi military must be placated and the Hutu majority's demands satisfied. Pray for reconciliation and peace -- above all at the foot of the cross. Pray also for full religious freedom to be instituted and maintained.
2. The Burundi Church had a notable revival in the '50s. Subsequent moral and theological compromise harmed the witness, but persecution brought new maturity and spiritual fervour. There is once again revival in many churches. Pray for deep and lasting effects in leaders, laity and young people.
3. Leadership for the churches is in short supply; persecution and closure of Bible schools cut off the supply of newly trained leaders. Pray for the full re-establishment of the Mweya Theological Institute (Friends, Free Methodists and WGM), the Pentecostal Bible School and for the effective launching of the Matana Theological College (Anglican-MAM). Pray for the provision of staff and the blessing of students as they prepare for the ministry.
4. Missionary personnel are returning to a new situation and a new era. Pray that they may have warm, close relationships with Burundi Christian leaders, and be placed in ministries that will maximize their gifts in the development of the Church. The major ministries are theological education, discipling, media ministries and youth work. The largest missions: Swedish Free Mission (57), Methodists (20), Brethren (5), and MAM (CMS-Rwanda Mission) (4).
5. Areas of greater need:
a) The Twa are relatively less evangelized, but integrate well into existing churches when converted.
b) A number of towns and rural areas are less evangelized and without a settled evangelical witness.
6. Refugee resettlement is a major problem in an already crowded land. Pray for wise handling of the 130,000 Burundi refugees in Tanzania -- most of whom have put their roots down in that land. There are thousands of believers and churches among them (WGM, Pentecostal Church).
7. Young people. The ministry of SU in the schools has been used of the Lord. Pray for the establishment and growth of SU groups in each secondary school. There is a small CBU (IFES) group in the university. CEF also have a ministry among children.
8. Christian Media for prayer:
a) Literature. This is scarce and costly, and Christian bookshops are few. There is very little available in Rundi. Christian Literature and Outreach, an agency with which WGM is working, has the vision to rectify this. SU has a literature development programme which is supported by TEAR Fund.
b) Radio. TWR and SU have established a communications centre in Bujumbura, where locally-produced programmes are prepared.

 

March - 19

COUNTRY:BYELARUS
Population 10,481,000
Peoples The smallest of the three Slavic nations of the former USSR.
Indo-European 98.4%.
Slav 98%. Byelorussian 7,905,000; Russian 1,342,000; Polish 417,000; Ukrainian 291,000.
Other 0.4%. Gypsy 11,000; Lithuanian 8,000.
All other peoples 1.6%. Jews 112,000; Tatar 12,000.
Literacy 99%. Official language: Byelorussian, but the majority are still more fluent in the related Russian. All indigenous languages 2. Languages with Scriptures: 2Bi.
Cities Capital: Minsk 1,650,000. Urbanization 65%.
Economy One of the most productive agricultural and industrial regions in the former USSR, but collapse of trade between the independent republics and reluctance to modernize and free the economy from state control have forced the country into severe recession and inflation. The Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe in 1986 has made a colossal impact on the Byelorussian economy and health services. Income/person $5,729 (27% of USA).
Politics Indefensible borders and flat plains have made Byelarus a pawn in international politics and a battlefield in war. Although a separate member of the UN since World War II, it was never an independent state until independence in 1991. Political leadership is cautious, trying to appease both the Communists and democrats and failing to grapple with economic and ecological crises that cripple the new nation.
Religion Religious freedom after 70 years of Communist repression. Many church buildings were destroyed during that time. Nearly all statistics below are estimates.
Non-religious/other 27.6%. Many non-religious and Marxists have reverted to the faith of their forebears.
Jews 1.1%. Muslim 0.2%.
Christian 71.1%. Affil 67.5%. Gro 6.9%.
Protestant 1%. Growth 15.1%.
Roman Catholic 22%. Growth 6.1%.
Orthodox 48%. Affil 44.9%. Gro 7.2%.
Marginal 0.04%. Growth 16.9%.
1. Byelarus stumbled into an unexpected independence and is searching for a national identity. The cultural dominance of Poland and Russia lasted for many centuries. Even the use of the Byelorussian language has atrophied. Pray for the development of a vigorous evangelical expression of the body of Christ within the culture and a wide range of Christian literature, videos and programmes for radio and television in Byelorussian.
2. The Chernobyl catastrophe in the Ukraine blanketed Byelarus with toxic, radioactive debris. Over 20% of the population still lives in areas with radiation levels above the safety limit. USSR and local government response was limited and the long-term effects on health and the economy devastating. This has had a deep effect on the morale of the people and prompted a longing for spiritual answers -- many fear premature death. Pray that Christians may minister effectively in this tragic situation and win many to Christ.
3. It has become fashionable to be Christian. Many former Communist Party members and fence-sitting non-religious people have returned to Orthodoxy and Catholicism. Real understanding of the gospel and willingness for true discipleship are lacking. Pray for the Holy Spirit to move through the land.
4. Evangelical Christians are relatively fewer than in neighbouring Ukraine. Pray for fellowship, understanding and cooperation among Evangelicals -- often in short supply. Growth rates in the churches are high among Pentecostals, less so among Baptists, but difficulties with building permits and supplies restrict construction of the required buildings. Lack of mature teachers and structures to cope with new converts also limit retention of those who show interest. More trained leadership is an essential if long-term growth is to be maintained.
5. Missions. Russia and Ukraine have attracted far more interest in the West. Pray for helpful supportive relationships with foreign churches and agencies. Too often such contacts have been insensitive and manipulative. Pray for expatriate missionaries to be called to serve long-term in the country.
6. The less reached. There are only a few significant non-Christian minorities.
a) Jews. 3.5% of Minsk is Jewish. There is a Messianic Jewish group in Minsk, but the majority still need to be reached.
b) Muslims. Small communities of Tatar and Azerbaijani exist.
7. Christian help ministries for prayer.
a) The Bible Society (UBS) has been established in Minsk. Local production of Scriptures is planned. Pray for wide use of the Byelorussian and Russian Scriptures.
b) Christian literature is scarce. There is very little evangelistic, apologetic or teaching material available in Byelorussian.
c) EHC plans a nationwide distribution of Christian literature to every home.
d) The Jesus film has been widely shown in Russian and Byelorussian. Resources for follow-up are too limited to help all who are touched.
e) TWR has established a base for local programme production.

 

March - 20

COUNTRY:CAMBODIA
Population 9,205,000
Peoples Khmer 85.2%.
Indigenous minorities: 3.6%. Cham 206,000; Mnong 19,000; Paong 19,000; Kui 16,000; Tampuan 15,000; Jarai 10,000; Kru'ng 10,000; Brao 5,000; Chong 5,000; Stieng 3,600; Kravet 3,000; Somray 2,000; Pear 1,400; Lamam 1,000.
Other minorities 11.2%. Vietnamese 600,000 to 1,000,000; Chinese 340,000. Many new immigrants: Lao 17,000. UN personnel 20,000 (in 1993).
Literacy 48%. Official language: Khmer. Languages with Scriptures 3Bi 1NT 1por.
Cities Capital: Phnom Penh 1,000,000 or more. Urbanization 16%.
Economy Rich agricultural potential. Reduced to bare subsistence because of the devastation to land and people by war, massacres, political isolation and socialist bureaucracy. The major economic activity is provided by foreign aid and the large UN military presence.
Politics Powerful kingdoms from first to fourteenth centuries. Thereafter for 500 years a pawn in regional and global conflicts with Thai, Vietnamese, French, Japanese and US invasions or occupations. A tragic victim of the Vietnam War (1970-75) which opened the way for the extreme Marxist Khmer Rouge takeover in 1975. This was followed by one of the most savage slaughters in this century. Almost all former military personnel, civil servants, educated or wealthy people and their families were killed, and the nation turned into a vast labour camp. The Vietnamese army ousted the Khmer Rouge in 1978, but civil war between four contending armies raged with superpower support until 1991. UN-supervised elections in May 1993 were held despite opposition by the Khmer Rouge. Many fear a return to further war and to the "killing fields" of the '70s.
Religion Buddhism has been the national religion since the 15th century. The Khmer Rouge sought to eradicate all religion. 90% of Buddhist monks and most Christians perished. Since 1978 there have been periods of more tolerance, but only since 1990 have Christians been allowed to worship openly, yet are treated as second-class citizens.
Buddhist 87%. Openly practised and with a revival of interest nationwide.
Non-religious/other 7%. Mainly Marxists.
Animist 2.7%. Mainly tribal peoples.
Muslim 2.9%. Mainly Cham people.
Christian 0.38%. Growth 25.3%.
Protestant 0.10%. Growth 8.8%.
Roman Catholic 0.28%. Growth 33.6%.
1. The terrible genocide perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge in 1975-1978 and the subsequent civil wars have devastated the people. Their lands are strewn with mines, many are maimed physically and emotionally, with families decimated and numerous widows and orphans. The longing for peaceful transition to democratic government in 1993 is threatened by the continued intransigence of the Khmer Rouge. Pray for a workable and lasting peace with full political and religious freedom.
2. The election of 1993 may fail to give peace and economic progress. Violence, intimidation and corruption marked the election preparations. Pray that God may raise up honourable leaders for the nation who will work for reconciliation and the good of the people. Recent governments have been corrupt and have obstructed efforts to alleviate the sufferings of the people.
3. For centuries Cambodia has been in spiritual darkness. Ubiquitous spirit shrines, strong opposition of Buddhism to any ideological rival, and hatreds generated by 20 years of war all reveal the nature of the conflict. Pray that spirit powers which control the land may be forced to yield to the Lord Jesus.
4. The Cambodian Church has struggled to survive. Beginning in 1923, CMA missionaries laboured for 42 years before the breakthrough began. There were only 700 believers in evangelical churches in 1970, but by 1975 this had grown to 9-12,000. Only 2,000 survived the slaughter -- many fled to Thai refugee camps where a great harvest was reaped for the Kingdom. Since 1990 the church in Cambodia has had more freedom for worship. By 1993 there were 30 groups or congregations meeting in the Phnom Penh area, others around Battembang and among the Mnong. The fragile young church needs prayer:
a) For freedom from government manipulation and interference, and wisdom how to relate to the authorities.
b) For trained leaders; lack of maturity leads to quarrelling, divisions and susceptibility to diverting financial offers from Western agencies. There is one Bible school in Phnom Penh.
c) For effective Christian families in a nation where family cohesion, trust and love have been severely impaired. To add to the nation's miseries, AIDS is spreading rapidly in the capital.
d) For ministry to emotional and spiritual needs of both believers and non-Christians, and vision for evangelism.
5. Christian ministry to physical needs is a major concern.
a) Refugees poured out of Cambodia between 1975 and 1978. About 700,000 fled to Thailand, where many came to Christ in refugee camps. Many agencies have had a remarkable ministry there (SAO, YWAM, WV, SBC, Christian Outreach, OMF, CMA and others). Some 350,000 have moved on to USA, France, Canada and other lands, where there are now dozens of Cambodian Christian fellowships. The remaining 350,000 had returned home by 1993 to rebuild their lives; they need much help.
b) In Cambodia the needs are enormous. The murder of most of those with skills or an education make expatriate input essential. Rehabilitation, orphanages, reconstruction, health care, projects for agriculture, fisheries, water management and education are all ministries where Christians can have significant input. Pray for World Concern, Christian Outreach, SAO, CMA, WV, AoG, YWAM, Mennonites and Servants to Asia's Urban Poor, who are committed to such ministries. Cambodian Christian Services has provided a coordinating forum for 12 agencies and overseas Khmer workers. More fellowship and cooperation is needed to avoid wasteful duplication.
6. Christian workers are granted visas only for aid and rehabilitation projects. Pray for their health, safety, spiritual freshness and fruitfulness in these ministries. Conditions are difficult and harsh. Pray this land fully open for other ministries -- especially pioneer workers, church planters and Bible teachers.
7. The less reached. There is a window of opportunity for the land that must be prayerfully kept open. Pray for:
a) The Buddhist majority. Though reviving, Buddhism has lost some of its grip.
b) The Vietnamese, who have increased in number. They are receptive, there is a growing revival in their homeland, and some are coming to Christ in Cambodia.
c) The Cham Muslims. There are several individual believers but no churches known. Refugee communities live in Sumatra (Indonesia), Malaysia and USA.
d) Tribal peoples. Among the Mnong there are 700 Christians. Pray for survey and church-planting work to begin.
8. Christian media ministries for prayer:
a) Literature. CMA missionaries have translated a range of materials, and continue to do so. There is a real need for teaching materials, for false teachings multiply as the doors open wider; few of the believers have the background knowledge of Scripture to combat such error. The UBS and others are providing Khmer Bibles and New Testaments. A new Khmer New Testament was completed in 1993. SGM Scripture portions are widely appreciated.
b) The Jesus film. This is available in Khmer and Vietnamese, but has not yet been widely used.
c) Cassettes. GRn have scripture messages on cassette in 11 languages.
d) Radio. Pray for the considerable input from FEBC-Manila in Khmer (2 hours/day), and Vietnamese (3.5). AoG also broadcasts in Khmer from Guam. Teaching cassettes are a useful extension of this ministry. FEBC plans to set up a recording studio in the capital.

 

March - 21

COUNTRY:CAMEROON
Population 12,875,000
Peoples Over 260 languages, maybe 500 or more ethnic groups; Africa's most complex country. Only the larger or noteworthy are mentioned here. Major language groups:
Bantu 50.5%. 97 groups: Bamiléké (20) 1,737,000; Ewondo 369,000; Bassa 358,000; Bulu Fang 314,000; Eton 259,000; Nso 231,000; Mum 190,000; Maka 118,000; Kundu 116,000; Kaalong 116,000; Limbum 115,000.
Chadic-Hausa 19.4%. 41 groups: Mandara 393,000; Masa 208,000; Matakam 129,000; Kotoko 116,000; Giziga 102,000; Mose 100,000; Mofu 96,000; Musgu 90,000; Kapsiki 58,000; Gidar 50,000; Gude 46,000; Daba 38,000; Zulgwa 25,000; Mambila 22,000.
Sudanic 10.3%. 41 groups: Gbaya 281,000; Tupuri 277,000; Fali 116,000; Mundang 104,000; Manja 92,000; Mbum 42,000.
West Atlantic 9.6%. Adamawa Fulani, 1,080,000.
Bantoid 8.2%. 42 groups: Bitore 116,000; Kungom 92,000.
Arab 0.7%. Shuwa (Baggara) 69,000; Turku 6,000.
Kwa 0.4%. Igbo 45,000.
Saharan 0.2%. Kanuri 23,000.
Pygmy 0.2%. Two groups: Baka 35,000; Bayaka 11,000.
Other 0.5%. French; British.
Refugees: Chadians fleeing civil war in their land have fluctuated between 50,000 and 200,000.
Literacy 62%. Official languages: French, English. All languages 275. Languages with Scriptures 18Bi 24NT 31por.
Cities Capital: Yaoundé 712,000. Other major city: Douala 1,117,000. Urbanization 42%.
Economy An agricultural economy, but boosted by oil exploitation in the '80s. The depletion of oil reserves and decline in earnings on cocoa and coffee have put stress on the economy. Political uncertainty has further worsened prospects of improvement. Income/person $1,010 (5% of USA).
Politics A German colony between 1884 and 1919, then divided between Britain and France. Independence from France in 1960, and union with English-speaking West Cameroon in 1961 as a bilingual one-party republic. The first president, a Muslim Fulani, was replaced by a Catholic southerner in 1982. Popular pressure forced the President to accede to multi-party elections in 1992, but blatant manipulation of the results to prevent change could lead to political upheaval and even civil war.
Religion Secular state which guarantees religious freedom. Controls on Christian activities in the more Islamized north and promotion of Islam nationwide until the change in leadership in 1982.
Tribal religions 12%. Numerous among central and northern non-Muslim peoples and of considerable influence among Muslims and "Christians".
Muslim 24%. Strong among the Fulani, Mandara, Shua Arab, Kotoko, Kanuri; increasing among the Mbum and Fali.
Baha'i 0.8%.
Christian 63.2%. Nom 17%. Affil 46.2%. Growth 3.3%.
Protestant 22%. Nom 7.1%. Affil 14.9%. Growth 4.3%.
Roman Catholic 40%. Nom 9.8%. Affil 30.2%. Growth 2.8%.
Foreign Marginal 0.3%. Affil 0.25%. Growth 1.7%.
Indigenous Marginal 0.9%. Affil 0.81%. Growth 5.2%.
1. Praise God for present religious freedom, church growth, and localized touches of revival. Yet the overall situation gives rise for concern:
a) Political uncertainty and the danger of civil war. Endemic corruption in government, and unwillingness of the leaders to relinquish power through the ballot box are building widespread resentment. Pray for peaceful change and leadership for the country which will bring unity in a land with such ethnic and religious diversity. Without this, disaster could come.
b) Spiritual poverty among Christians. Widespread nominalism and liberal teaching given to church leaders has led to lowering of spiritual standards, pagan practices among Christians, and unchallenged pride, compromise and sin among leaders. Pray for deep repentance, lasting deliverance and true revival, and a restoration of Bible reading, preaching and holiness among Christians.
2. Christianity is predominant in the centre and south -- the fruit of a century of Presbyterian, Baptist and Lutheran missionary activity. Yet denominational and language barriers have prevented leaders from developing spiritual fellowship and common goals for the advancement of the cause of Christ. Pray for unity and vision for evangelism and missions to transform the church in the '90s.
3. The north is still a pioneer area where Christians are relatively few. For years, the Muslim Fulani dominated the trade and politics of the region, but this has been reduced since 1982. The contribution of Lutheran Brethren missionaries from the USA and Norway, the SUM, German Baptists and the Full Gospel Mission (AoG) has been decisive and the churches have grown faster there than elsewhere in the country. Intercede for these young churches that they may powerfully witness to the pagan and Muslim peoples around them.
4. Theological training is the key need. Few outside the north are evangelical. Pray for the provision of born-again, godly national and expatriate staff for the 10 accredited denominational and interdenominational schools in Cameroon. Pray also for a spiritual revolution in these theological faculties and seminaries which will bring new life and biblical standards to churches so long deprived of these.
5. Bible translation for Cameroon's 275 languages is an overwhelming task. Only 32 have a Bible or New Testament. SIL and UBS are involved in 50 translation projects. For 38 more languages, there is a proven need for translation, but further research in another 125 languages may increase that number. Pray for Cameroonian and expatriate translators to be called, trained and deployed. The lack of Scriptures in indigenous languages is a major reason for spiritual poverty in the churches.
6. The missionary force is predominantly from USA (303), Norway (99), Switzerland (65), Germany (61) and Nigeria (32). The largest agencies are SIL (194), Norwegian Lutheran Mission (95), SUM (20), North American Baptist Conference (32) and European Baptist Mission (18). Pioneer missionaries are needed to reach the Muslims and northern pagan peoples, and for Bible translation ministry. Evangelical missionaries could help bring new life and vigour to the more nominal churches -- but this requires skills and gifting of a high order.
7. Less reached peoples. Pray for careful, in-depth research into the spiritual needs of every people and area in the country.
a) The many peoples of the Mandara mountains, 30% Muslim but mostly fetishist, among some of whom SUM is beginning to see a breakthrough. The Zulgwa and Mambila are stone-age peoples.
b) The northern plains peoples -- Giziga, Mofu, Kapsiki, Gude and Gidar among whom Lutheran Brethren missionaries are at work.
c) The less-responsive Adamawa peoples -- especially the Pygmy Baka (to whom Presbyterians have gone) and Bayaka.
d) Islam is dominant in eight peoples, and Christians are few but increasing in numbers. Pray for:
i) The Fulani, with only a handful of Christians.
ii) The Kanuri/Kotoko -- a burden for entry for the Lutheran Brethren.
iii) The Arab Shuwa -- no Christians and no outreach.
iv) The Islamized Fali and Mbum.
8. Supportive ministries for prayer:
a) Christian literature is not used widely enough. More literature workers, both expatriate and national, are needed for writing, publishing and distributing French, English and local language materials.
b) Cassette ministries have been used by churches -- UBS (Bible reading) and GRn with recordings available in 147 languages/dialects. This is a valuable tool in a multilingual land.
c) The GBEEC (IFES) witness among students is small but vibrant and growing.
d) Christian radio programmes may be aired on local stations; few workers have the skills or equipment to prepare quality material. Sawtu Linjiila is a studio run by the three Lutheran missions working in Cameroon, Chad and Central African Republic, which produces French and Fulani radio programmes, cassettes, and audio-visual materials. The aim is pre-evangelism among the northern Cameroon peoples who use Fulani as a trade language.
e) There are four SIM workers serving with the Swiss-based Helimission, which operates a helicopter service for Christian ministries.
f) The Jesus Film has been dubbed in the language of the Adamawa Fulani.

 

 

March - 22 to 23

COUNTRY:CANADA
Population 27,567,000
Peoples A mosaic of indigenous and immigrant nations and peoples, many of whom have retained much of their original cultures. The high degree of inter-cultural marriages makes classifications only approximate.
British 37%. Majority in east, centre and west.
French 27.7%. Majority in Quebec Province. Although Canada is officially bilingual with equal rights for all, the French minority includes a considerable separatist segment.
Other European/mixed origin 23.6%. Representing every nation of Europe.
Asian 4.3%. Chinese 780,000; Indo-Pakistani 280,000; Filipino 95,000; Vietnamese 60,000; Japanese 43,000; Korean 29,000.
Indigenous 3.2%. Amerindians (Canadian Indians) 800,000 speaking 65 languages; Inuktitut or Inuit (Eskimo) 32,000.
Middle Eastern 3.2%. Jewish 747,000; Arab 93,000; Iranian 15,000; Turkish 5,000.
African 0.9%. Afro-American, Afro-Caribbean and African.
Latin American 0.13%.
Literacy 96%. Official languages: English, French. All indigenous languages 78. Languages with Scriptures 2Bi 4NT 36por.
Cities Capital: Ottawa 819,000. Major cities: Toronto 3,427,000; Montreal 2,968,000; Vancouver 1,389,000. Urbanization 77%.
Economy One of the world's leading industrial nations. Over 80% of Canada's trade is with the USA, with which it is closely linked in a free trade agreement. This interdependence moderates trends towards an economic nationalism. Public debt/person $11,760. Income/person $19,020 (90% of USA).
Politics A federal monarchy with parliamentary government. Independent of Britain in 1867. The unity of Canada is under threat due to increasing polarization between the French-speaking Quebec and the other, English-speaking provinces. A referendum in 1992 on constitutional change rejected government proposals to settle the issue, and the break-up of Canada could be the consequence. Intense negotiations are also under way to restore up to one-fifth of Canada's territory to the indigenous peoples.
Religion Freedom of religion, but a rapid secularization of every level of society is taking place.
Non-religious/other 12.1%.
Non-Christian religions 4.4%. Jews 1.2%; Sikhs 0.94%; Muslims 0.8%; Hindus 0.75%; Chinese/Buddhist 0.36%; Baha'i 0.2%; Animist 0.1%.
Christian 83.5%. Nom 19.2%. Affil 64.28%. Attend 20.8%. Growth 0.9%.
Protestant 32.2%. Affil 18.07%. Growth -0.5%.
Roman Catholic 45.2%. Affil 41.67%. Growth 1.7%.
Other Catholic 0.8%. Affil 0.62% Growth -1.8%.
Orthodox 2.9%. Affil 2.23%. Growth 0%.
Marginal Groups 2.4%. Affil 1.46%. Growth 3.9%.
1. The Christian Church has been marginalized in Canadian society. Many major denominations have suffered disastrous declines in membership. The loss of biblical roots and lack of vision for evangelism, compromise on homosexuality and moral failure among well-known Christian leaders have all contributed to this tragic situation. Canada needs revival.
2. The evangelical witness also declined steadily through this century from 25% of the population in 1900 to about 8% in 1980 and 7.6% in 1990. However, Pentecostal church membership has nearly doubled between 1970 and 1990, and other denominations such as CMA have grown even faster. Pray that evangelical Christians may break out of their negative isolationism and unite to make a decisive impact on the nation in its hour of spiritual need.
3. Vision 2000, nurtured under the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, was launched by 40 denominations and agencies. The purpose: to serve the Body of Christ in evangelism so that every person in Canada will have the opportunity to see, hear and respond to the gospel by the year 2000; the opportunity being defined as one evangelical congregation for every 2,000 people. This will mean increasing the number of congregations from 8,000 to 14,700. Pray that this big advance may be achieved.
4. The large number of Bible institutes, colleges and theological seminaries committed to the orthodox view of Scripture are fulfilling a major role in strengthening the evangelical witness. Most are concentrated in the western Prairie provinces. Pray for those in training and those teaching them, that world evangelization may have priority.
5. French Canadians are 85% Catholic in culture, but less than 30% ever attend mass and this percentage continues to fall. Pray for spiritual life and renewal in Catholic institutions and congregations. Evangelicals are only 0.5% of the Francophone population of Quebec, but grew from 150 congregations with 6,000 adherents in 1976 to nearly 400 congregations with 35,000 adherents in 1990. Pray for:
a) Widespread evangelism to continue to bear fruit. The rate of conversions slowed in the late '80s.
b) Increased receptivity in times of rapid social and political change. For Vision 2000 to be achieved, 2,300 congregations would need to be started in the provinces.
c) Quebec separatism is a potent political movement with unknown implications for Canada's future. Pray that this may stimulate maturity and growth of the churches.
d) The small, but growing French-speaking Protestant missionary force.
6. Canadian Indians are largely Christian in name, but active evangelistic churches among them are relatively few.
a) Pray for a moving of God's Spirit to combat the effects of unintentionally paternalistic missionary work, the high incidence of social and economic problems, and the strident anti-White propaganda that draws many back into old heathen customs.
b) Pray for the growth of strong, well-led churches that are culturally Indian. In many parts of Canada a change came after 1981, and hardened communities have been responding to Christ in local revivals.
c) Pray for denominational (Anglican, United Church, CMA, PAoC, etc.) and interdenominational (NAIM Ministries, N. Canada Evangelical Mission, etc.) missions seeking to evangelize and plant churches -- often in the inhospitable northern parts of the country.
d) Although only 25 languages are still actively used, Bible translation or revision is still needed. Pray for SIL workers and others engaged in 22 language projects.
e) The one million Canadian Indians living outside reservations are neglected and needy -- especially in the cities.
7. The Eskimos (or Inuit) in the Arctic are mostly Anglican, but the impact of the worst of Western civilization has greatly altered and harmed the Eskimo way of life. AIDS is a major threat, and the suicide rate is four times the national average. However, since 1982, after a century of nominal Christianity, there has been a wave of conversions and an evident work of the Spirit across the Arctic. Pray that rising nationalistic sentiment might stimulate further spiritual awakening.
8. Immigrant communities have multiplied. Toronto lays claim to be the world's most racially diverse city. Vancouver is the world's second-largest Sikh city. Especially significant are:
a) Asian Indians (now numbering over 600,000) -- 250,000 Sikhs with under 100 Christians, 200,000 Hindus and 150,000 Muslims form the biggest bloc of unreached peoples in the country. OM has a team ministering to them in Vancouver and Toronto. Only four known congregations of believers use any of their own languages.
b) Arabic-speaking peoples, mostly Muslim or Orthodox Christian; very little specific outreach to them has been undertaken. Most of the few believers are Lebanese or Palestinian.
c) The Greek, Italian, and Portuguese communities with few evangelical churches.
d) The Chinese (780,000) who will soon number a million people with the influx of immigrants from Hong Kong. There are over 80 growing churches among them.
9. The missionary vision has been great, but the number of missionaries has fallen of late. Pray for increased involvement by churches and individuals in the evangelization of the unreached in Canada and around the world. Pray for the stimulation of missionary concern in the many growing evangelical churches among the ethnic minorities; such a vision could be strategic for the evangelization of their lands of origin.
10. Specialized ministries for prayer:
a) Christian broadcasting. There are a number of widely appreciated religious programmes on secular radio and TV networks. US Christian stations tend to dominate the airwaves, but recent scandals involving televangelists have brought the medium into disrepute.
b) Student ministries in the 266 colleges and universities. These give wide exposure to sections of the campus community. There are three movements linked with IFES -- IVCF (English), GBU (French) and Ambassadors for Christ (Chinese) -- and also extensive ministries linked with Navigators and CCC. YFC has a good ministry in high schools. Pray that these and other ministries may make a deep and lasting impact on the 800,000 tertiary students.

 

 

March - 24

COUNTRY:CAPE VERDE ISLANDS
Population 444,000
Peoples African 28%; mainly from Guinea-Bissau. Caboverdian Creole (mixed race) 71%. European 1%.
Literacy 70%, but 84% of adults over 25 have had no formal education. Official language: Portuguese. Trade language: Portuguese Creole.
Cities Capital: Praia 82,000. Urbanization 35%.
Economy Deforestation and overgrazing followed by 20 years of drought have devastated the economy. Heavily dependent on aid and remittances from Caboverdian migrants. Unemployment 25%. Public debt/person $292. Income/person $760 (3.6% of USA).
Politics Independent of Portugal in 1975 as a one-party socialist republic. A revised constitution in 1990 led to multi-party elections and a peaceful change of government.
Religion The privileged position of the Catholic Church ended in 1975. A secular state with freedom of religion.
Non-religious/other 1.4%.
Christian 98.6%. Affil 95.6%. Growth 2.4%.
Protestant 3.5%. Growth 5.7%.
Roman Catholic 95%. Affil 91.3%. Growth 2.1%.
Marginal 1.12%. Growth 24.1%.
1. The new democratic leaders face a daunting task in repairing the damage of years of ecological neglect and socialist planning. Pray for the government, for stability and for social and economic betterment.
2. Caboverdians are Christian in name, but in practice are more influenced by superstitions and African fetishism. Pray for true conversions among them. Christian literature in Creole is lacking, most only partially understanding Portuguese.
3. The steady growth of Evangelicals has been primarily through the ministry of Nazarene missionaries. There are now churches on most islands with Caboverdian pastors, but the poverty of the islands retards the maturing and growth of the churches.
4. There are 430,000 Caboverdians who live in migrant communities, the largest being in New England -- USA (250,000), Portugal (50,000), Angola (40,000), Senegal (25,000), Italy (10,000), France (9,000), Sao Tomé (8,000), Spain (8,000), Brazil (3,000), and Guinea-Bissau (2,000). Pray that many in these communities may become true disciples of Jesus and a blessing to their homeland.

 

COUNTRY:CAYMAN ISLANDS
Population 28,000
Peoples Residents come from 120 nations, 48% being foreign-born.
Afro-Caribbean 59%, including Jamaicans 4,800.
Euro-American. 30%. American, Canadian, British.
Latin American/Hispanic 7.9%, mainly Honduran, Cuban, Nicaraguan.
Jews 1.9%.
Asian 1.2%. East Indian, Filipino, Middle Eastern.
Literacy 97.5%. Official language: English.
Cities Capital: George Town 13,000.
Economy Very wealthy through offshore banking and trading. Income/person $19,200 (91% of USA).
Politics A British dependent territory.
Religion Non-religious/other 6%.
Jewish 1.9%; Baha'i 0.7%; Muslim 0.2%.
Christian 91.2%. Affil 76.9%. Growth 5.6%.
Protestant 81.2%. Affil 74.85%. Growth 5.6%.
Roman Catholic 8.8%. Affil 0.7%. Growth 0%.
Marginal 1.2%. Affil 1.29%. Growth 7.6%.
1. The pursuit of wealth and pleasure is the main preoccupation of the residents. Pray for a spiritual awakening in the churches.
2. The numerous foreign residents need to hear the gospel. Pray for effective outreach to those whose first language is not English, for whom little is being done at present.

 

 

March - 25

COUNTRY:CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
Population 3,306,000
Peoples Over 100 ethnic groups.
Sudanic 90%. Over 38 languages. Largest: Banda 607,000; Gbaya 542,000; Sango 361,000; Manja 270,000; Mbum 195,000; Kare 72,000; Azande 72,000; Sara 72,000; Tana 63,000; Nzakara 54,000; Maba 44,000; Pana 36,000; Ngbaka 31,000; Kaba Dunjo 31,000; Mbati 27,000; Runga 23,000.
Bantu 3.2%. 11 languages. Largest: Kaka 67,000.
Arab 2.3%. Chad and Baggara Arabs.
West Atlantic 1.9%. Bororo Fulani 58,000.
Chadic-Hausa 1%. Ten languages, mainly on northern borders.
Pygmy 0.8%. Bayaka 18,000; three other small groups.
Other 0.8%. Mainly French.
Literacy 40%, but 73% of population have not had any formal schooling. Official languages: French, Sango, the latter a trade language used by most of the population. All languages 94. Languages with Scriptures 5Bi 4NT 5por.
Cities Capital: Bangui 597,000. Urbanization 41%.
Economy Underdeveloped subsistence economy due to poor communications with distant seaports. Diamonds and other gemstones are the main exports. Unemployment 30%. Foreign debt/person $264. Income/person $760 (3.6% of USA).
Politics One-party or military governments 1981-87. A gradually developing multi-party democracy since then.
Religion Freedom of religion.
Non-religious/other 1.4%. Baha'i 0.3%.
Tribal religions 12.3%. Many "Christians" are still following the old ways.
Muslim 3.3%. In the far north, east along the Sudan border, some Fulani in the west and Arabs in towns and capital.
Christian 83%. Nom 40.3%. Affil 42.77%. Growth 2.4%.
Protestant 47.2%. Affil 24.2%. Growth 2%.
Roman Catholic 34%. Affil 17.7%. Growth 2.6%.
Foreign Marginal 0.3%. Affil 0.2%. Growth -4.8%.
Indigenous Marginal 1.5%. Affil 0.6%. Growth 15.3%.
1. Few countries have been better evangelized! Praise God for the massive response to evangelism in the '60s and '70s that brought about rapid church growth. There are now evangelical churches in nearly every tribe and district.
2. Growth has outstripped the resources of churches to give adequate discipleship to new Christians. Many are nominal, others are immature in their faith. The lack of Scriptures in local languages, low literacy, and the underlying but often unchallenged powers of darkness have all worked against real depth of commitment or a mature grasp and application of the truths of Scripture. A large evangelical, but often nominal, church is the result. Pray for revival.
3. Leadership training. Trained servants of the Lord who are able to give life-changing Bible teaching are in short supply. There are more than a dozen Bible schools for which there is a constant need for adequate national and expatriate staff. Pray that the right students may be called and that those trained may go out as spiritual and effective Christian workers. The large, underpopulated land makes TEE a key tool for training local leaders, but much work must still be done to develop and maintain this programme all over the country.
4. Mission agencies have played an important role in education and health as well as in planting churches, translating the Scriptures, etc. The largest are Baptist Mid-Missions (55 missionaries), Örebro (40), Grace Brethren (29), Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (13), AIM (7). Major missionary sending nations: USA (117), Sweden (40), France (11), Germany (10). Pray for missionaries' health and spiritual fervour in an enervating climate. There are many opportunities for more missionary Bible teachers and those with special skills to help develop a strong indigenous church.
5. There have been tragic divisions between missions and missionaries and between missionaries and local church leaders that have not been a credit to the gospel. Pray for a deeper mutual understanding among the servants of the Lord. Pray for the healing of past wounds, and for cooperation in the building up of the Body of Christ. Pray also that the AEEC (Assoc. of Central African Evangelical Churches) may promote such.
6. The Bangui Evangelical School of Theology opened in 1977 as a result of the initiative of AEAM (Assoc. of Evangelicals of Africa and Madagascar). This was the first theological degree-level school for French-speaking Africa. After many birth pains, this school has now gained stability under African leadership. Pray for this institution and its spiritual impact throughout Africa. Pray for the provision of the right staff and resources. There are now 55 resident students, but it has the capacity to take in 120. The Grace Evangelical Brethren also have a seminary at Bata.
7. The development of secondary and university education means that more must be done to meet the spiritual needs of students. Pray for the GBU (IFES) groups in Bangui, and for the Christian Unions now in most of the secondary schools. The Theological Training Secretary of IFES for Francophone Africa is based in Bangui. Churches are permitted to organize Bible teaching in school buildings after school hours. Pray that present opportunities may be well used.
8. Bible translation -- only four indigenous languages (the trade language, Sango, also Gbaya, Mbai and Zande) have the whole Bible. Pray for effective use of the new revision in Sango. Over one million speak this language, and 200,000 use it as their home language. In seven other languages Bible translation is now being undertaken, but up to 74 may need translators.
9. Unreached peoples. There has been an influx of Muslims who present the greatest challenge at present -- a task for which local believers are not yet equipped.
a) Arabs. Many are migrants fleeing from Sudan, and most live in the towns. Others are nomadic pastoralists in the north.
b) Hausa (10,000) are strongly Muslim. Nothing at present is being attempted to reach them.
c) Fulani. Less strongly Muslim -- there is now some work by the Baptist Church of the West and Swedish Örebro missionaries.
10. Other less evangelized indigenous groups.
a) The Pygmy Binga being evangelized by French and local missionaries.
b) The less evangelized Sara groups along the border with Chad. Some are partially Islamized.
c) The partly Muslim Runga in the northern tip of the country. Little has been done to reach this tribe, which also lives in Chad and Sudan.

 

March - 26

COUNTRY:CHAD
Population 6,447,000
Peoples Ethnic groups: 181. Tribal, cultural and regional differences have dominated the area for centuries. The ethnic and linguistic confusion defies a detailed description! Populations below are estimates.
Sudanic (99 peoples) 44.2%. Largest: Sara and related tribes 1,100,000; Masalit 122,000; Daju (2) 100,000; Karanga 95,000; Mundang 83,000; Bulala 70,000; Bagirmi 67,000; Tana 58,000; Banda 57,000; Tama 50,000; Massalit 75,000; Maba 47,000; Sungor 32,000; Fur 6,000.
Arab 27.3%. Many are nomadic, and live interspersed among other peoples.
Chadic (48 peoples) 19.4%. Marba 100,000; Tupuri 100,000; Tobanga 64,000; Musgu 62,000; Somrai 50,000; Nancere 30,000.
Saharan (9 peoples) 7.8%. Teda/Tubu/Goran 187,000; Kanembu 67,000; Bideyat/Zaghawa 59,000; Kreda 46,000; Daza 34,000.
West Atlantic 0.9%. Fula (6) 51,000.
Other 0.4%. French 3,000.
Literacy 17%. Official languages: French (only spoken by the educated), Arabic (spoken by about 60% of the population). All languages 126. Languages with Scriptures 8Bi 17NT 9por.
Cities N'Djamena 500,000. Urbanization 24%.
Economy A subsistence economy due to the lack of rainfall and distance from the sea. The combination of severe droughts and 25 years of civil war has devastated the country. Public debt/person $73. Income/person $190 (0.9% of USA).
Politics Independent from France in 1960. The non-Muslim Southerners were politically dominant until 1978, but since 1979 northern Muslim factions have fought among themselves for power, with interventions by Libya, France and other powers. There has been a succession of military governments, but with localized rebellions commonplace. The latest regime that seized power in 1990 has promised multi-party elections. A sustained peace in the foreseeable future looks unlikely.
Religion Muslims dominant in government since 1979, but there has been religious freedom within the constraints of continual civil war. Christians were heavily persecuted between '73 and '75 by the then President, a southerner.
Muslim 45.5%. All the Arab and Saharan groups in the centre and north; a few among Chadic tribes and Sudanic southerners.
African traditional religions 19.1%. Still dominant in many of the Sudanic and some of the Chadic peoples in the south.
Baha'i 0.2%. Other 0.1%.
Christian 35.1%. Nom 15.3%. Affil 19.8%. Growth 4%.
Protestant 14%. Affil 13.3%. Growth 4.9%.
Roman Catholic 20.5%. Affil 6%. Growth 2.1%.
Foreign Marginal 0.02%. Growth 11.3%.
Indigenous Marginal 0.6%. Affil 0.5%. Growth 4.4%.
1. Civil war and political infighting since independence have fragmented the country along religious and ethnic lines. Pray for reconciliation and peace, so that the message of the gospel may cross ethnic divisions to the many unreached peoples.
2. There was rapid church growth in the '60s and '70s. The work of various missions in the south was blessed by God. During 1973-75 the government severely persecuted Christians who refused to revert to heathen customs. Hundreds were martyred. Church growth slowed in the '80s as nominalism, lack of teaching and legalism sapped the inner life of the church while war, famine and poverty hampered evangelistic outreach. Pray for revival.
3. The church needs much prayer:
a) Growth has outstripped the availability of resources and trained personnel for discipling. The lack of the Bible in many languages, and illiteracy, make this task the more urgent.
b) Training of pastors and evangelists was hindered by war, evacuation of missionaries and the lack of finances to support students in training. Pray for the Shalom Higher School of Theology in N'Djamena and for secondary- and primary-level Bible schools in the south. Pray that the new generation of pastors may be men full of the Holy Spirit. Pray also for refresher courses arranged for those already in the ministry.
c) Tribalism, syncretic life style and petty legalisms cripple many congregations. Pray for liberation from all bondages by a deep working of the Holy Spirit in every congregation.
d) Witness to Muslims is rare. There are huge cultural, historical and emotional barriers to be overcome. Pray for the vision of EET/MEU to train Chadian missionaries to reach the unreached in the Chari region and beyond. The EET has a missionary society with 26 missionary couples, most of whom are working cross-culturally.
4. There are more totally unreached peoples in Chad than in any other African country. AIM and EET have conducted an excellent preliminary survey of the needs. Of the 180 peoples, 30 have strong churches, 30 weaker, and a further 11 Animist and 109 Muslim peoples are still unreached. Praise God for new initiatives by TEAM, AIM, WEC and SUM to reach them. Pray specifically for:
a) Arabic-speaking peoples, hard to reach, specially those that are nomadic. Some are becoming Christians in the east of the country.
b) Desert tribes of the north -- the Teda, Tubu, and Daza -- among whom Frontiers is opening up an outreach, and also the Zaghawa-Bideyat.
c) Tribes of Lake Chad. Earlier work started by EET and TEAM missionaries was aborted by war. TEAM has resumed work among the Kanembu and SIL among the Buduma.
d) Bagirmi (WEC, Swiss SUM, Lutheran Brethren) among whom there are only five known believers. Pray for their discipling and the planting of a church among the Bagirmi.
e) The 17 tribes of the Ouaddai in east central Chad, including the Tama, Massalit, Maba, Daju, Assangori, Massalit, Fur (French SUM, WEC). Only about 15 Christians of local indigenous groups are known in the area.
f) The Hadjerai peoples and Daju of the central Guera region. There is a group of churches and a small Bible school in the Mongo and Bitkine area (Brethren and EMET), but most of these peoples are unreached.
g) N'Djamena, the only city in the country, is rapidly becoming a centre of Islamic propagation, with many mosques but only 40 or so churches. Many southern Christians gather in these churches, but they make little impression on the Muslim majority. Pray for missionaries working in N'Djamena and for others to be called.
5. Missionary work continues despite the upheavals of the past three decades. The main missions groups are Mission Evangélique Unie (MEU) with five member missions -- TEAM (32 workers), French SUM (9), Swiss SUM (4), WEC (18), EMEK (6) -- and other missions who have seconded workers (AP, AIM, etc.), also EMET (8), Lutheran Brethren (8), Grace Brethren (6). Major missionary contributing nations: USA (70), UK (23), Switzerland (19), France (15), Canada (13), Germany (13), Nigeria (10). The need for new workers is obvious, but pray for those with a pioneer spirit and perseverance to give years to language learning, necessary to contribute much to the unreached and to developing churches. Pray also for their daily provision and safety.
6. Specialized ministries:
a) Bible translation is a pressing need because of the linguistic diversity. Some church services have to be conducted in three or four languages! The social turmoil and economic difficulties have slowed translation work now being done in 17 languages. Possibly 78 other languages are in need of NTs. The Bible Society is involved in eight projects, and SIL is surveying the need and sending in translation teams. Pray for wisdom, perseverance and safety for all involved.
b) Missionary Aviation Fellowship with four workers and one plane gives a vital service in a land torn by war and hampered by vast distances and poor communications. Pray for safety, supply of needs, and secure, effective bases for this programme.
c) GRn has produced recordings in 50 languages; this is a ministry that could be profitably expanded.
d) Christian students, many of whom are affiliated with Union des Jeunes Chrétiens (IFES), need leadership training and adequate training materials.

 

March - 27

COUNTRY:CHILE
Population 14,237,000
Peoples A relatively homogeneous society.
Chilean 91.6%. European 20% (Spanish, Italian, French, British, German, etc.), Mestizo (mixed Spanish/Indian) 71.6%.
Amerindian 6.8%. Mapuche 600,000; Quechua 95,000; Aymara 68,000; six other small peoples.
Polynesian 0.02%. Rapanui 3,500 on Easter Island.
Other 1.6%. European 120,000; Arab 2,600; Chinese 1,500.
Literacy 95%. Official language: Spanish. All languages 7. Languages with Scriptures 2Bi 1por.
Cities Capital: Santiago 5,134,000. Urbanization 84%. 40% of the people live near the capital and 85% in the temperate central provinces. The northern desert, and wet, cold mountains in the south have few inhabitants.
Economy Mining and export of minerals, especially copper, is the most important economic activity. Considerable industrialization and agricultural development. Draconian implementation of free market policies by the former regime brought economic stability, a trade surplus, and some growth but at great social cost. Unemployment 4.7%. Public debt/person $823. Income/person $2,900 (14% of USA).
Politics Republic independent from Spain in 1810. The elected socialist government was ousted in a bloody military coup in 1973. The controversial Pinochet regime imposed political conformity and economic change with widespread human rights abuse. The referendum and electoral defeats in 1988/9 opened the way for a democratic government which is cautiously seeking to rectify the damage to health and education and to heal the deep divisions in society.
Religion The Catholic Church was disestablished in 1925. Freedom of religion, but the period of military dictatorship divided the church -- both Catholic and Protestant.
Non-religious/other 9.2%.
Animist 1.4%. On the increase among the nationalistic Mapuche, but occult practices permeate Chilean culture.
Jews 0.24%. Baha'i 0.1%. Muslim 0.03%.
Christian 89%. Growth 1.8%.
Protestant 27.9%. (Estimates vary from 16% to 30%.) Growth 5.2%. Nearly all Pentecostal figures are estimates; few keep records.
Roman Catholic 57.7%. Attend 15%. Growth 0%.
Orthodox 0.2%. Growth 0.6%.
Foreign Marginal 2.8%. Growth 12.8%.
Indigenous Marginal 0.43%. Growth 4.5%.
1. The growth of Evangelicals in Chile is unique. A Pentecostal revival in 1909 within the Methodist Church gave birth to a dynamic, indigenous Pentecostal movement with great evangelistic zeal. The lower classes were evangelized and churches and denominations multiplied. Possibly one quarter of the population is now affiliated with an evangelical group; 21.5% of these are linked with indigenous Pentecostal groups. Pentecostal growth has pressured the Catholic Church to change; there is a strong Catholic charismatic renewal movement.
2. The government faces an almost impossible task in closing the book on the traumatic events of the past 20 years. The just grievances of those who suffered and the fears of those involved in oppression have to be faced. Pray that:
a) People might turn in repentance to God and thereby find healing and unity for the nation.
b) Christians might repent of their carnality in allowing political divisions to divide them and that the prophetic role of the Church to the nation might be restored. Pentecostal enthusiasm for the discredited dictatorship has diminished such a role.
c) God might raise up political and spiritual leaders for the nation who fear him and seek to do his will.
3. The Roman Catholic Church has been deeply affected by two major forces:
a) Social upheaval and reaction to the excesses of the dictatorship in "Liberation Theology" and the Base Community movement. This led to coldness between Catholic leadership and the former regime.
b) The widespread distribution and use of the Bible, the growth of the charismatic movement, and a significant exodus of Catholics to evangelical churches.
Both are being challenged by the conservative Pope John Paul II. Pray that many Catholics may find true liberation and peace through a personal faith in Christ.
4. Consolidation of the work must follow decades of evangelical growth. Major areas to cover in prayer -- especially for the large number of Pentecostal denominations:
a) Development of evangelistic strategies for the '90s. Widespread street preaching harvested many in the past, but no longer. Middle classes have been less affected by the indigenous Pentecostal movement.
b) Effective teaching of believers. Personal revelations have often been made equal to the Bible. Preaching can often be unprepared exhortations; general Bible knowledge and understanding are limited among leaders and followers. Petty legalisms often are prized more than holiness of heart. Mormonism has grown rapidly -- mainly through winning Pentecostals. Pentecostal nominalism is becoming a problem.
c) Leadership which tends to be strong and domineering. Power-seeking and rivalry have sadly led to many divisions. There may be anything from 1,500-5,000 denominations as a result.
d) Effective grounding of leaders in the Scriptures. An earlier sentiment against Bible schools is changing. Pray for the Pentecostal Bible Institute launched by AoG and PHC for training pastors of indigenous denominations, and for its acceptance in these denominations.
e) Local vision to become world vision. Lack of meaningful fellowship links with other lands has stunted exposure to the world's spiritual needs.
5. Evangelical denominations with foreign roots have, generally, been more effective in reaching the middle and upper classes. The Baptists, CMA, Anglicans (SAMS), AoG, CoN, SIM and others have made some progress in planting churches among them. Pray for every stratum of Chilean society to be reached.
6. The Chilean missionary movement has not developed as much as it could. Geographical isolation, political upheaval and lack of exposure have all contributed to this. The sinking of OM's ship MV Logos off the southern tip of Chile in 1988 contributed to a new level of interest in missions in the south. The influence of COMIBAM on the Latin American Missions movement and the involvement of CMA in their Bible school and OM and YWAM in setting up missions training programmes have further stimulated interest in missions.
7. Foreign missions in Chile. The major agencies are SBC (88 missionaries), SAMS (36), ABWE (32), YWAM (30), MTW (29), AoG (27), Gospel Mission of S. America (26), CMA (25), Brethren (21) and BBF (20). Major missionary contributing nations: USA (372), Germany (63), UK (33), Canada (23), Korea (21), Sweden (20), Brazil (18). The major task for missionaries is to serve the large Chilean Church in teaching, developing Chilean leadership and encouraging a missionary vision. Pioneer work is limited to some peoples listed below and among the upper class and the urban slum dwellers. Pray that the missionaries' contribution may prove vital for maturing the Chilean Church.
8. Unreached Peoples:
a) The Mapuche (Auracanians) are the largest and most independent of Chile's indigenous peoples. A strong nationalist movement is agitating for improved land rights. About 70% are nominally Catholic, but the old religion is still the most influential spiritual force. The work of the Anglican Church has resulted in a strong community of 4,000 Christians. CMA, AoG and others have also initiated work among them. Two SIL workers are translating the New Testament into one of the dialects.
b) Rapanui (Easter Islanders) are a largely Polynesian people. One SIL couple is translating the NT into their language. Most are nominally Catholic, but there are 50 evangelical believers in two small fellowships.
c) The Jews of Santiago. SIM plans a ministry among them.
9. Christian literature is proving a vital evangelistic and teaching tool, but too few Christians have developed a reading habit. Pray that more pastors buy study books. CLC is the only major book distributor in the country; pray for the 26 workers, the four bookstores and the large wholesale distribution network.
10. Student witness in the 17 universities and among the 233,000 students is not strong. There are 10 GBU(IFES) groups, but only four are viable. CCC (40 overseas workers) has a considerable impact on secondary schools and some universities.
11. Christian radio and TV programmes are widely available on national, commercial and Christian stations. IBRA radio has continuous transmission from 10 stations. International broadcasts from TWR-Bonaire, HCJB-Ecuador and others from the USA beam many hours of Spanish programmes.

 

March - 28 to 31

COUNTRY:CHINA
Population 1,214,221,000
Peoples Chinese (Han) 92%. Eight major languages and 600 dialects but one written language common to all. Putunghua (Mandarin) 744 mill., Wu 78 mill., Yueh (Cantonese) 53 mill., Xiang (Hunanese) 45 mill., Hakka 45 mill., Minnan 34 mill., Minpei 23 mill, Gan 22 mill.
Ethnic minorities 8%. Officially recognized 55; but the true total of ethno-linguistic peoples may be closer to 150. Main groups:
Tai 2.1%. Zhuang 15,490,000; Bouyei 2,545,000; Dong 2,514,000; Li 1,111,000; Dai 1,025,000; Gelo 438,000; Mulam 159,000; Maonan 72,000. Mainly in south and southwest.
Tibeto-Burman 1.9%. Over 18 peoples: Yi 6,572,000; Tujia 5,704,000; Tibetan 4,593,000; Bai 1,595,000; Hani 1,253,000; Lisu 575,000; Lahu 411,000; Naxi 278,000; Quiang 198,000; Jinpo 119,000. Mainly southwest and west.
Mongolian 1.35%. Over nine peoples. Manchu 9,821,000; Mongolian 4,807,000; Xibe 173,000; Daur 121,000; Evenki 26,000.
Miano-Yao 0.84%. Miao (Hmong) 7,400,000; Yao 2,134,000. Mainly in southwest.
Hui 0.76%. Chinese Muslims 8,603,000.
Turkic 0.76%. Over six peoples; all Muslim but for Yugur who are Buddhist. Uygur 7,214,000; Kazakh 1,112,000; Kirgiz (Kyrgyz) 142,000; Salar 88,000; Yugur 12,000; Tatar 5,000. Mainly in northwest.
Mon-Khmer 0.1%. Over six peoples. Wa 352,000; Shui 346,000; Blang 82,000.
Other 0.25%. Korean 1,900,000; Tajik 33,500; Russian 13,000. Also foreign experts 60,000.
Literacy 73%. Official language: Putunghua (Mandarin Chinese); local languages in the five Autonomous Regions. All languages 142. Languages with Scriptures 15Bi 13NT 26por.
Cities Capital: Beijing (Peking) 10.8 million. Other cities: Shanghai 13.3 mill., Tianjin 8.8 mill., Chongqing 2.9 mill., Guangzhou 3.5 mill., Shenyang 4.4 mill., Wuhan 3.6 mill., Nanjing 2.4 mill. Thirty-four other cities of over one million inhabitants. Urbanization 37%.
Economy The Cultural Revolution with its application of an extreme Marxist economic system was a fiasco. Since 1978, the see-saw conflict between the hardliners and pragmatists within the Communist government has been reflected in the degree of economic liberalization. The commune system has been partially dismantled with dramatic improvements in agricultural yields. Much of manufacturing and industry has been opened up for privatization and foreign investment with a 14% average growth rate in the '80s. The most rapid growth has been in the special economic zones adjoining Hong Kong and Macao. The restraints of a massive bureaucracy, fear of political liberalization and inefficient state-run industries slowed growth in 1990, but since 1992 the country has moved strongly into growth and a capitalist economic system. Unemployment 2-20% depending on area.. Public debt/person $46. Income/person $360 (1.7% of USA).
Politics This great and ancient nation has regained its place of importance in the world after nearly two centuries of decline and humiliation at the hands of the Western powers and Japan. Since the final conquest of mainland China in 1949, the Communist Party has remoulded the nation along Marxist lines. The Cultural Revolution (1966-76) was the culmination of Mao's policy. It caused immeasurable suffering and economic chaos. Intellectuals and religious believers were cruelly persecuted. It is estimated that 20 million Chinese lost their lives during that time. The death of Mao Zedong in 1976 and discrediting of radical leftists in 1978 was followed by a more pragmatic leadership under Deng. He initiated a series of economic, political and cultural reforms and developed links with other nations, but all within the limits set by Deng. The crushing of the 1989 student protest in Tiananmen Square in Beijing and also the collapse of Communism in Europe and the USSR left China diplomatically isolated as the oldest surviving Communist regime. The threatened government responded with a reversion to ideological rigidity and repression of all political, ethnic and religious dissent. Economic reform with tight political control emerged as government policy for the 1990s. In 1997 the British return Hong Kong to China and in 1999 the Portuguese Macao.
Religion Elimination of all religious groups has always been the ultimate aim of the Marxist government. In the '50s the government engineered the infiltration, subversion and control of all organized Christianity. By 1958 this had been achieved through the Three Self Patriotic Movement among Protestants, and the Catholic Patriotic Association among Catholics. During the Cultural Revolution even these front structures were banned, and all religious activity forced underground, giving birth to the house church movement. In 1978 restrictions were eased and the TSPM and CPA resurrected as a means of regaining governmental control of the thousands of house churches. This has been only partially successful. The collapse of Communism in Europe is perceived as due to "religion", so strict controls are maintained over Christian and Muslim organizations and all unregistered activity repressed wherever possible. All figures below are estimates.
Non-religious/other 59.1%. Communist Party members are claimed to be about 50 million -- all officially atheist. The atheism propagated in the education system ensures that most young people have no religious knowledge.
Chinese religions 27%. A blending of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and folk religion.
Buddhist 3%. Traditional Buddhists 24,000,000; strong among the Zhuang, Manchu, Dai, Lahu, Korean, Bulang. Also Lamaistic Buddhists 9,600,000; Tibetans, Mongolians, Naxi, Tu Moimba, Pumi, Yugur, Lhoba.
Animist 2.4%. Mainly among the tribal peoples of the south, southwest and far north. Miao, Hani, Yi, Tujia, Yao, Bouyei, Bai, Va Dong, Li, Mulao, She, Gelo, Shui, Qiang, Xibe, Daur, Evenki, etc.
Muslim 2.4%. Dominant in Xinjiang and Ningxia. The major religion of the Hui, Uygur, Kazak, Kirgiz, Tajik, Uzbek, Tatar, Dongxiang, Salar and Bonan. There are now 43,000 officially-allowed mosques.
Christian 6.1%. Growth 7.7%.
Protestant 5.1%. Growth 7.1%.
Roman Catholic 0.77%. Growth 10.8%.
Indigenous Marginal 0.18%. Growth 13.3%.
1. The growth of the Church in China since 1977 has no parallels in history. Researchers estimated 30-75 million Christians in 1990 as likely. The State Statistical Bureau in China confidentially estimated 63 million Protestants and 12 million Catholics in 1992. Compare this to the estimated 1,812,000 Protestants and 3,300,000 Catholics in 1949. Most of the growth is in the unofficial house fellowship networks, and through the work of itinerant preachers and numerous local revival movements. Praise God for:
a) The 140 years of sacrificial seed-sowing by thousands of missionaries. At one stage there were 8,500 Protestant missionaries, 1,000 of these being with CIM (OMF). Their labour was not in vain! Yet it was seen wisest by the Lord to remove them before the harvest that He alone get the glory!
b) The millions of intercessors who travailed in prayer for the long-delayed breakthrough. Prayer is changing China.
c) The manifest bankruptcy of Communism. Colossal blunders and changes in Party policy over 35 years have disillusioned the people. The fall of personality-cult leaders and the failure of promises for a better future have created a vacuum which only the gospel can fill. The Church of the Lord Jesus is larger than the Communist Party of China. Mao Zedong unwittingly became the greatest evangelist in history. The nepotism, corruption and factionalism of the present Communist Party have become repugnant to the majority.
d) The Christians who stood firm in what was probably the most widespread and harsh persecution the Church has ever experienced. The persecution purified and indigenized the Church and has inured it to more recent efforts to weaken and destroy it. In the '60s, Wenzhou City in Zhejiang was selected as a model for the campaign for renouncing religion; it is the most Christian city in China today where Christians officially number 300,000.
e) The search for Truth among the educated. The tanks of Tiananmen Square crushed the idolatrous trust in democracy as their solution, and led large numbers of young people to faith in Christ since 1989. The old religions of China have not attracted them, but the claims of Christ have. Until then the growth had been among the poor and the rural population; now every stratum of society has been affected.
f) The waves of revival that follow every man-induced or natural disaster. The love and testimony of Christians and the power of the Holy Spirit manifested in miracles, healing and exorcism have played their part.
g) The fruitfulness of Christian radio and the remarkable faith of those who broadcast into China for years with little visible evidence of a response.
2. Barriers to the gospel have been broken down by the suffering and distress of wars and revolutions this century. The cloying hold of the old religions of idolatrous Taoism, Buddhism and philosophical Confucianism has been broken, and the foreignness of Christianity dissipated. Now is the time of harvest. Pray that the whole land may be evangelized. Over 80% of the population have known only Communism, so the majority has no faith at all. Possibly 500 million Chinese, especially in remote provinces and ethnic minorities, have never heard the gospel. China's 500 million children and young people under 18 are officially forbidden to be exposed to the gospel.
3. Population control by draconian legislation and disregard for human rights, family life and moral absolutes have had tragic social consequences with widespread divorce, forced abortion on a massive scale, female infanticide, violence and suicide. Pray for leaders to be raised up for China who will rule with justice. Pray for Christian families to be a light and example to all around. Pray especially that the children of believers may follow in their parents' footsteps, despite mockery, discrimination and a constant barrage of atheistic propaganda.
4. The Overseas Chinese number at least 56 million. Of these, 28 million live in the four Chinese-majority territories and states of Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao and Singapore. The other 28 million live in over 100 nations of the world. Worldwide there has been a significant turning to God among Chinese with highly visible, often wealthy, churches planted within these Chinese communities. Their interest and concern for the spiritual welfare of China has had significant impact -- in evangelism, church planting, providing aid and Christian literature. Pray for the growth of overseas Chinese churches, their expansion into unreached Chinese communities around the world and development of China-related ministries.
THE CHURCH IN CHINA
1. The TSPM was reconstituted by the government after 13 years of oblivion. The purpose was to wrest the initiative from the burgeoning house church movement and for the government to gain control of the Church; the amount of political interference has varied widely from district to district. Every form of inducement to extend control over house churches has been used, including coercion, military suppression, threats and promises, but with limited results. In 1991 there were over 7,000 churches linked with the TSPM. Pray for:
a) Leaders who have compromised and have been more concerned to implement government policy than obey the Lord Jesus Christ.
b) Many godly leaders and committed believers within the TSPM to remain committed to the Truth and fear God more than man.
c) The 13 officially-sanctioned seminaries, one of which is specifically for ethnic minority leaders in Yunnan. Much of the instruction is Marxist-oriented and liberal in theology. There are 700 students preparing for ministry, but not all have a call from the Lord. There is a high drop-out rate, and many become enmeshed in administrative work in the TSPM rather than pastoral ministry. Pray that the true believers among them may not lose their faith but be drawn closer to Jesus despite the negative aspects of their training.
2. The house church movement and its several networks is the heart of the true Church of China. Its very weakness is its strength. Pray for:
a) Its commitment to preach Christ and Him crucified whatever the cost and without compromise. The lack of Scriptures and teaching in depth could affect this.
b) Its evangelistic outreach. Witnessing Christians and itinerant preachers have spread the gospel far and wide, but many provinces, districts and towns are still unreached. Yet it is this outreach that is most violently opposed by the authorities. Pray that they may be ever more bold for Jesus and implement their missionary strategy for China.
c) Its leaders. Some are old veterans whose ministry began before the Communist takeover. Pray that they may lay the theological foundations for the upcoming generation of young leaders. Most of the latter are in their 20s and 30s and only recently converted. Pray for a right balance between control and freedom in leadership style as the new China emerges.
d) Its training of leaders. There are known to be dozens of field/mountain seminaries that gather secretly for three months at a time for fellowship, teaching and preparation for ministry.
e) Bible study groups on university campuses, which have multiplied since 1989 with students, graduates, professors and researchers participating. New groups were established in over 12 cities in 1991. This has great significance for the future as a new third wave of church growth in China. Pray for the strengthening and growth of these groups.
3. Revival and reaction. Great turnings to the Lord over the past 15 years have deeply affected the provinces of Fujian, Zhejiang, Anhui, Henan and some of the ethnic minorities of Yunnan. In Henan alone, some claim the number of Christians doubled between 1989 and 1991. Pray that other provinces less affected may likewise be touched. The enemy has not been idle. Attacks are coming through:
a) False teachings. The many new, untaught and Bible-less converts have easily fallen prey to doctrinal excesses, distortions and error. Millennial extremes and legalistic teachings are common. Exotic names such as Audible Voice, Queen of the South, Salvation through Knowledge and the Shouters are used. Pray that believers may have discernment and leaders wisdom in correcting these.
b) Persecution. This has come in cycles, and was very severe during the Cultural Revolution. Most Bibles were destroyed, believers' homes looted, and believers humiliated. During that time many believers were imprisoned. Between 1983 and 1985, and since 1989, the persecution of unregistered non-TSPM groups and Christian workers has been stepped up. Several thousand believers are known to be imprisoned, and some tortured for their faith since 1989. Pray for the protection and preservation of Christians, and for those imprisoned, and their families, to be upheld. Other Christian workers have been scattered and are in hiding where the pressures have been the most severe. By 1992 it was clear that government policy is to shut down all house churches. The Catholics have suffered particularly severely because of their allegiance to a foreign leader, the Pope. Government control through the puppet CPA has stunted growth and the illegal loyalists have had to carry on very secretively.
CHINA'S LESS REACHED
1. The Chinese. The great turning to Christianity has been more among the Han Chinese. By 1992, 6.5-7% were Christian, yet the spread of Christians in society is uneven. Pray for:
a) Communist Party members. The official number of 51 million members may be unrealistic. Ideology is a facade to cover self-seeking opportunism. Disillusionment and defection to Christianity have led to many resignations. Pray that the Holy Spirit may convict many more of their sin and need. Among them are also many secret believers!
b) The armed forces who are the protectors of the Marxist state, and who jealously guard their privileged position. There are 3,030,000 in uniform, but very few Christians among them.
c) The "lost generation", the young people mobilized as the Cultural Revolution Red Guards. The millions involved were morally warped and exploited, losing their youth, education prospects and hopes of betterment in the madness of those years. Pray that they may find hope in Christ.
d) Those still bound by the idolatrous superstitions of Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism. These customs and philosophies are being revived, but young people are not so attracted to them. A new religion, QiGong, is gaining a large following too. Pray for the millions still bound and needing the freedom only the gospel can give.
e) Students who are the key for the future. The shock of the events of 1989 have brought many to Christ, but most of the 2,100,000 university students are still unreached. Pray for Christians among them to be built up in their faith and to be fervent witnesses. Pray also for the establishment of Bible study groups on every one of the 1,075 campuses. Pray also for the evangelization of the Chinese sent to study in Japan (90,000), USA (75,000), Australia (40,000) and elsewhere. A number have found the Lord.
f) The cities. Some cities in the southeast and centre of the country have many Christians, but the great Chinese cities of Beijing, Tianjin, Taiyuan, Lanzhou and Shenyang have fewer believers and surveillance of their activities is more marked. In these cities alone live 30 million people.
g) The less evangelized provinces predominantly in the north and west. Those with possibly less than 1% Christian are Shanxi, Gansu and Jiangxi. Others with less than 3% Christian are Qinghai, Hebei, Jilin, Liaoning, Hubei and Hunan. Pray that there may be an outpouring of the Spirit on these less-reached Chinese, and pray for evangelists working in these provinces.
2. Autonomous regions. These have been established for five of the most populous ethnic minorities -- the Zhuang, Uygur, Tibetans, Mongolians and the Hui -- and are the least evangelized areas of China. Massive immigration of Han Chinese has left only Tibet with a clear indigenous majority.
a) Tibet (Xizang Zizhiqu). Population 2,200,000. Tibetans 2,100,000. Tibet lost its temporary independence as a theocratic Buddhist state in 1950 when China invaded the land. The Communists have systematically sought to destroy the culture, religion and ethnic identity of the Tibetan people. Resistance to the occupiers has resulted in frequent revolts and unrest. Over one million people may have lost their lives and a further 100,000 may have been forced into exile including the spiritual and political leader of Tibetans, the Dalai Lama.
i) Tibetans have long resisted any attempt to bring the gospel to them. Pray that the present sufferings may be God's means for breaking the demonic bondage of Lamaistic Buddhism. There are no more than a handful of believers in Tibet itself and no known congregations.
ii) The political sensitivity and tensions in Tibet make entry and travel difficult for both Chinese and foreign Christians who desire to witness there. Pray for open doors and freedom to proclaim the gospel.
iii) The 2,400,000 Tibetans living in the neighbouring provinces of Qinghai, Sichuan and Gansu are more accessible for Christian witness, but only a few workers are concentrating on reaching them. Other ethnic groups in the area are more receptive. Pray for the planting of effective Tibetan churches.
iv) 450,000 Tibetans are in exile. Nationalism, strong loyalty to Buddhism, and the careful shielding of Tibetans by the Buddhist authorities from any Christian witness make them hard to reach. There are a few congregations among Tibetans in India and a growing responsiveness in Nepal.
b) Xinjiang Uygur Zizhiqu (Sinkiang): the vast Central Asian region of deserts, mountains and oases -- population 15,155,000 of which the nine Muslim peoples constitute 60% (Uygur, Kazakh, Hui, Kirghiz, Uzbek, Tajik and others); Chinese 39%; Mongolian 1%. There has been a rising level of agitation for independence since the collapse of the USSR in 1990 and considerable resurgence of Iranian-inspired revivalist Islam with many new mosques being built. The proximity of related ethnic groups in the five Central Asian Muslim republics of the former USSR further stimulates nationalistic fervour.
i) There were once believers and some churches among the Uygur in the '30s, but in violence and persecution the churches were destroyed and believers killed or scattered. There are now only a handful of believers among the Uygur. Pray for the completion and distribution of the New Testament and also the dissemination of the Jesus film in Uygur.
ii) The Muslim Dongxiang, Salar, Bonan, Kazakh, Kirgiz, Tajik, Uzbek and Tatar in both Xinjiang and the adjoining provinces of Qinghai and Gansu are unreached, with no churches and very little long-term Christian witness to them.
iii) The 150,000 Christians in Xinjiang, almost all Han Chinese, are culturally isolated from the indigenous population. Pray that they may have a vision for and understanding of witnessing to Muslims. Most live in the capital, Urumqi. There are only about 30-40 known Christians among the non-Chinese; their numbers are growing, but they are subjected to heavy pressure by Muslims to return to Islam.
c) Ningxia Hui. Population 4,655,000, of which Han Chinese 70%, Muslim Hui 30%. The Hui live in nearly every part of China, but their highest concentrations are in Ningxia and Gansu. They are Han-Chinese-speaking Putunghua but are recognized as a distinct ethnic group. Efforts to reach them have been sporadic. Pray that recent renewed concern for their evangelization will lead to the calling of Christians to serve among them. There are only a scattered few believers known among them.
d) Nei Mongol (Inner Mongolia). Population 21,457,000. Han Chinese 86%. Mongolian 11%. Other 3%. The massive influx of Chinese immigrants has swamped and marginalized the indigenous Mongolians, who have clung to their culture and Buddhist religion. The establishment of democracy in the Republic of Mongolia to the north has provoked demonstrations demanding real autonomy for the Mongolians -- a desire unlikely to be granted by Beijing. There may be no more than 2,000 Mongolian Christians in China. Pray for an opening up of the Mongolians in China to the gospel. Radio ministry is showing promise. The New Testament in Cyrillic script is available in the republic of Mongolia. Pray for the provision of a Mongolian-script New Testament and for those seeking to plant churches among Mongolians.
e) Guangxi Zhuang. The Zhuang are China's largest ethnic minority. For years they were largely neglected by Christians, but over the past seven years great efforts have been made to reach them by means of radio, the Jesus film, personal outreach and social programmes. The effects on this Buddhist/animist people have been dramatic, with rapid church growth now taking place. Pray for the complete evangelization of the Zhuang and for the finishing of the New Testament in Zhuang.
3. Other ethnic minorities. On average, the percentage of Christians at 1.6% is lower than among the majority Han Chinese. Of the 55 officially-recognized ethnic minorities, 28 are without a known congregation of believers. Some are totally unreached, others have a high proportion of Christians. Pray for:
a) The Manchu (9.8 mill. 0.01% Christian) who have lost their language and blended in with the Han Chinese. They live in 15 provinces, but the main concentrations are in Liaoning and Jilin in what used to be Manchuria. There may be no more than 1,000 Christians. Renewed interest is being shown in their evangelization.
b) The Yi (6.6 mill. 3% Christian), living mainly in Sichuan and Yunnan. Only since 1949 has a small breakthrough come among the Nosu Yi. The Sani Yi are less reached. Scriptures are needed in at least five of the Yi dialects.
c) The Tujia (5.7 mill. 0.2% Christian), Dong (2.5 mill. 0.06% Christian), Bouyei (2.5 mill. 0.94% Christian), Li (1.1 mill; Hainan Is; 0.09% Christian) of the southern provinces who are culturally distinct but beginning to merge into the Chinese culture and losing their languages. Although the first churches were planted nearly a century ago, they have never had the Scriptures in their own tongue.
d) The unreached peoples of Yunnan. Ethnic minorities comprise 13 million people in 27 groups without a viable church -- Dai, Naxi, Blung, Pumi, Achang, Nung, Jino, Benglong and Drung. Pray that the many Christians among the Lisu (52% Christian), Jingpo (46%), Wa (21%), Lahu (12%), Miao (6%), Hani (4%) and Bai (3%) may catch a vision for the unreached in their area as well as for the relatively few Christians among the Han Chinese of Yunnan.
e) The unreached of the northern provinces. Among the following are no known churches: the Buddhist Tu of Qinghai; the Shamanist Xibe of Jilin; the Daur, Oroqen, Hezhen and Evenki of Nei Mongol, the Muslim Salar of Qinghai and Bonan of Gansu.
f) The Koreans (1.9 mill., 6.3% Christian) of Jilin and Liaoning, largely unreached, but rapid church growth through evangelism and radio ministry is taking place. Some estimate that there are 130,000 Christians -- some reaching out to relatives in North Korea.
4. Bible translation is one of the great missions challenges for the '90s. Pray for national and foreign linguists now working on 17 languages, and ask the Lord for translators for the 60 languages for which there is a definite need for a New Testament translation and the 59 others where there may be a need.
SUPPORTIVE MINISTRIES
The rapid growth of the Church and its influence on the democracy movement has heightened the ideological clash since 1989. The Communist Party and the old men that run it feel threatened by the powerful attraction of Christianity. The influence of foreign visitors, students and experts, and the pervasive impact of Christian radio programmes and videos, literature and Bibles have been perceived as decisive in this. Opposition to and vigilance against all activities conducted by foreigners has increased since 1989. Pray that economic desire may overcome ideological fears and keep the door open for Christians.

1. Missionaries as such are not welcome in China. Yet China's desire to improve trading relations with the world makes it possible for many Chinese and foreign Christians to enter as:
a) Tourists. Over 30 million visited China in 1988. Many Christians were among them. Pray for their ministry of bringing literature, aid, comfort and, in some cases, teaching. Pray also for safety for them and their baggage, tact and wisdom in their contacts and guidance for travel.
b) Students -- usually for language or culture studies in various universities. In 1991 there were 10,000 from 120 countries. Living conditions are often spartan and uncensored friendships with Chinese hard to maintain. Pray for Christians among them to be used of God to share Christ with those who are genuinely seeking the Lord.
c) Foreign experts and businessmen. China aims to recruit about 30,000 experts annually to teach English, Japanese and German as well as other subjects, and also to build up China's technology and industry. Pray that many may be radiant Christians able to impart their faith while on the job.
d) Chinese family members who visit their ancestral homes. These have flocked to China in their millions. Christians among them have sometimes seen astonishing results when staying with relatives.

2. Provision of Bibles is totally inadequate, despite the large increase in the number of copies available. The famine of the Scriptures is most acute in provinces far from ports of entry and for the house churches. In some areas there are reported to be 1,000 or more believers for every Bible. Amity Foundation, founded in 1988 and sponsored by the TSPM and the UBS, has set up a large printing operation in China, and over 7 million Bibles and New Testaments have been printed since 1981 -- nearly all going to TSPM congregations. A further 7 million Bibles and New Testaments are estimated to have been brought in by visitors. Pray that this flow might increase and that every Christian might have access to a copy of God's Word. Importation of Bibles is not illegal but prevented for ideological reasons.
3. Video and audio tapes. The increasing availability of play-back machines is making foreign-produced Scripture, song, evangelism and teaching tapes a useful means for disseminating the Truth. Pray for all involved in preparing and distributing these tapes.
a) The Jesus film is being widely seen on video in homes in 12 completed language versions (eight Chinese dialects and Mongolian, Uygur and Zhuang). A further 14 language editions are planned. Pray that the film may receive official recognition for public showing.
b) Teaching tapes that deal with the moral and ethical devastation left by Marxist thought and provide solid biblical teaching are a great need to help the many intellectuals who are coming to faith. Pray for the production of reading materials and tapes to fill this need.
4. Christian literature. There is an insatiable demand for hymn books, Bible study and teaching materials, biographies, tracts, and apologetic materials to explain the gospel to students and intellectuals. There are now over 40 titles available (Christian Communications Ltd, OMF). Pray for all aspects of publication, entry into China and distribution. Many agencies are involved in this ministry including AO, CCL OD and denominational bodies. Pray for many more writers with experience of life in China to be raised up. Pray for wisdom in selection of materials for printing.
5. Christian radio has been and still is one of the most potent pre-evangelism and Christian teaching media for China today. Nearly every home now has a radio and a TV. Over 678 hours of broadcasting a week is pouring into China in five Chinese dialects (515 hours in Putunghua alone!) and Akha, Zhuang, Korean, Lahu, Lisu, Mongolian, Miao, Shan, Tibetan, Uygur and Wa. Pray especially for the extensive China-oriented broadcasting of FEBC (Manila, Saipan, Korea and Russia), and TWR (Guam). There are many major programme producers such as AO, OMF, CCRC Seminary of the Air and CMA. Pray for wisdom in programme selection and preparation that the message may meet the real needs of the people. There were over 50,000 letters received from listeners between 1979 and 1984, and the volume has continued to increase. Pray for listeners and those who seek to help them. The authorities have fined believers and confiscated radios in some areas for listening to these broadcasts.