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Pray for Africa

Regional Director Mike McClaflin

While the Assemblies of God in Africa con-ti-nues to grow exponentially, we recognize three primary needs that are a threat to the harvest.

The needs in any country are exacerbated by civil unrest. A decade of civil unrest in Eastern Congo (Democratic Republic of the Congo — Kinshasa) has resulted in the deaths of an estimated 5.4 million and the displacement of 3 million Congolese. Tribal conflict continues to bleed over the border from the war in Rwanda, and rape and looting are everyday events.

We have African brothers and sisters in about 350 churches along the continent’s eastern seaboard who are in desperate plight. Pray for a restoration of peace and normal life for the Congolese and across Africa.

Africa is the world’s poorest inhabited con-tinent, partly due to its turbulent history.

An estimated 2.5 million Africans will die this year from HIV/AIDS, and many more will be infected. In regards to the worldwide HIV/AIDS epidemic, 19 countries with the highest prevalence rate (percent of people living with the disease) are in Africa. Swaziland ranks number one and has an estimated AIDS death toll of about 16,000 annually. At this rate, the country’s population could become extinct in 20 years.

 Without a miracle, the devastation of AIDS in Africa will not erase itself for a long, long time. Pray for our missionaries and national workers who are faithfully presenting the gospel and offering compassion to Africans amidst this challenge.

 

Pray for Asia Pacific

Regional Director Russ Turney

Japan and North Korea are two of Asia Pacific’s most spiritually needy countries today. 

Less than 1 percent of Japan’s 130 million pop-ulation is Christian. Most Japanese have practiced a mixture of Shintoism (many gods) and Buddhism for centuries.

Missionaries first took the Pentecostal message to Japan in 1913 and the Assemblies of God was organized in 1949, but the growth of the church has been very slow. Currently, we have only 215 churches and 33,000 members and adherents, and many cities have no evangelical church or Christian witness of any kind.

Trained pastors and leaders are desperately needed, but ministry is viewed as an undesirable occupation in the Japanese culture and families often discourage their children from choosing that path.  Because of this, the Bible school is producing few graduates.

Two ministry outreaches are seeing many come to Christ — university campus ministry and international/military churches. University ministries are active on 28 campuses in Tokyo and other cities. But with thousands of campuses, workers are needed to expand this outreach.

 Six churches minister to the international and military community and host outreaches to the local community. Workers are needed to start churches near more military bases across the country.

Pray that Japanese young people will begin to boldly respond to the call of God to pastor existing churches and plant churches in the unevangelized cities across Japan.

Also, at this time, we have no missionary activity in North Korea, a nation of 23.5 million people. A person’s public profession of faith or possession of a Bible or gospel literature can result in imprisonment or even death. In one instance, authorities discovered a young woman giving away a Bible; her life was taken, and her husband and children were sent to prison.

 Reports indicate that thousands of Christians in North Korea discreetly meet for fellowship, worship and discipleship. Pray that God will open the door of opportunity so that the gospel can be shared openly in North Korea.

 

Pray for Eurasia

Regional Director Omar Beiler

In the Eurasia region, God continues to call U.S. and national church workers to take the gospel to least-reached people groups. Please pray for a team currently making preparations to go and start an indigenous church among the 260,000 Tatar who live on the Crimean peninsula of Ukraine.

The Crimean Tatar are a Turkic Muslim people and part of a larger community of 2.5 million spread across every republic of the former Soviet Union. They have had a strong civilization since the 10th century, surviving the Mongol invasion of the 13th century and the Russian conquest of the 16th century.

In the 13th century, Crimea became one of the centers of Islamic civilization. By the late 1700s, it is reported that there were close to 1,600 mosques and religious schools on the peninsula. In the 19th century, Tatar cities ranked among the greatest cultural centers of the Islamic world.

The territory of Crimea was conquered and controlled many times throughout its history. In 1944 the Crimean Tatars were  forcibly expelled from Crimea to Central Asia by communist leader Joseph Stalin. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, they have been returning by the masses.

The Ukrainian Pentecostal Union has established a number of churches in Crimea, and a few Tatar attend. Yet no indigenous work exists. In cooperation with the national church, we are training a team of workers who plan to go and live in Crimea, learn the Tatar language and culture, and help plant the first indigenous church among the Crimean Tatar on the peninsula.

Ask the Holy Spirit to prepare the hearts of Tatars so they will be receptive to the gospel. Pray that God will strengthen, encourage and protect the small number of Tatar Christians in Ukraine and will help workers to raise up a strong local church among them.

 

Pray for Europe

Regional Director Greg Mundis

In many parts of Europe, our missionaries and national workers face great barriers of resistance to the gospel. Two countries where we need prayer for a spiritual breakthrough are Greece and Montenegro on the Balkan Peninsula of southeastern Europe.

Historically, Greece has imposed restrictions on any public proclamation of faith, and some workers have been incarcerated as a result of openly sharing their faith in Christ.

Traveling to Greece several times over the past decade, I have seen the lack of growth in the number of evangelical and Pentecostal believers.

When I pray for Greece, I take great comfort in the assurance the angel gave Daniel (Daniel 10:12-13). The angel told Daniel that his request was answered the very first day he began to fast and pray, and the angel would have come sooner but the evil spirit blocked his way.

I believe that kind of spiritual struggle is what we’re seeing in Greece now, and it explains the people’s resistance to the gospel. We must not grow weary in doing good. Instead, we need to pray for a spiritual breakthrough.

The restrictive barrier to preaching the gospel in Montenegro is mostly geographical. The mountains present some of the most treacherous terrain in Europe. But the isolated 700,000 Montenegrins also have developed a mentality of self-independence that causes them to be resistant to accepting the message of the gospel. In 2006 this small Balkan state declared itself independent of Serbia, and the people said, “We are our own nation.”           

We have only one small Pentecostal church with 30-50 adherents in Podgorica, the capital, and we are assisting a Croatian minister in establishing that work. Planting the gospel in Montenegro is an open door for ministry, and we are asking God to touch the hearts of people who will go as missionaries, live there and help plant the church of Jesus Christ.

 

Pray for Latin America and the Caribbean

Regional Director Dick Nicholson

We have become increasingly concerned in the past few years regarding the shifting tides of political influence in Latin America and the Caribbean and the effect they may be having on the national churches.

In some countries we see few noticeable changes in the church’s influence and ability to present the gospel and establish the church. In other countries the impact varies. Churches in Bolivia and Venezuela, for example, appear to be under attack or showing indications of being influenced by the spirit of the political changes. This has been a major challenge.

The prevailing philosophy of current pol-i-tics sometimes infiltrates into the national church, causing division and various ideological dif-ferences. We emphasize the importance of not being influenced by political thinking, but the fact of the matter is that sometimes as a country goes, so goes the national church.

Political influences are also effecting mis-sion-ary presence in some cases. Peru’s leaders are discussing the possibility of adopting entrance regulations that would require mission-aries to renew their visas every three to six months. In other countries, excessive taxes have been im-posed, creating a situation that made it nec-essary for missionaries to leave the country.

Pray that the national church in these countries will stay true to biblical kingdom values and not be vulnerable to secular influences. Pray that we missionaries remain true to the task of planting the church of Jesus Christ in this region of the world.

We must continue to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We do not want to take any steps or actions that might cause a rift between our missionary presence in a country and the national church’s effectiveness. That would be untenable. Pray that we will continue to have a harmonious relationship with government and church leaders on all fronts.

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