We made it—175 days of prayer for the nations! Since May 11, 2020, we have prayed together Monday through Saturday, lifting up the needs of missionaries, ministries that are brand new and those that have existed for years, and many unengaged, unreached peoples across the globe. Rejoice in knowing that thousands have participated in this prayer initiative and give thanks for the answers to prayer that will be evidenced in the months to come. Coinciding with this end to the 175 Days of Prayer, the Week of Prayer for International Missions begins. Today, the focus is on the Naivasha Children's Shelter in Kenya. "Hundreds of thousands of boys sleep in the streets in Kenya, rejected by their families or seeking their independence for a number of reasons. They're marginalized, beaten, sexually abused, and arrested. Many Kenyans regard them as worthless and not to be trusted. They call these boys 'trash eaters.'" Pray that God will bless the work of the shelter's staff as they reach out in love to boys who are hurting. Visit imb.org/lmco to learn more about the Naivasha Children's Shelter and the Week of Prayer for International Missions. Daily notifications will continue through this Week of Prayer.
Due to the extended period of caution and the fears of contracting COVID-19, the tourism industry has dropped drastically in Seoul during the usually busy summer and fall months. Formerly bustling areas have become quiet, causing previously successful small businesses such as cafes, shops, and hostels to shut down. Other business owners are fearfully taking out loans just to pay rent, not knowing for sure what the future may bring. Pray for the many young business owners who have had to see their dreams close. Ask that this time of introspection and quietness will prompt a seeking of the one who holds all things. Ask that they will find their hope in Christ rather than in financial stability and will begin to pursue Him rather than their own wealth. Ask that the Lord will answer those who, having nowhere else to turn, finally turn to Him.
Islamic attacks in France this fall over free speech sparked outrage around the world. Inside France, the government response was swift and forceful, closing mosques and searching Muslim homes. At a time of such division and fear, particularly when many immigrants are already struggling to survive, pray for the Muslims living in Paris. Ask that violence and hatred will be eradicated by Christ. Pray that God will give dreams and visions of Jesus to many in the Muslim community as they seek peace. Pray for peace to rule in the city and for believers to rise up as ambassadors of Jesus in their response to their Muslim neighbors. Pray for those families directly impacted by the attacks, asking that the comfort and truth of Christ will overwhelm their hearts.
Sharing the gospel during COVID-19 lockdown is complicated at best. Representatives in Berlin and their partnering church are distributing 6,000 evangelistic newspapers to neighbors this month. This is something that people can read while in lockdown. Included with these newspapers are invitations to participate in an Alpha Course in January, which is an evangelistic discipleship program. Please pray for their neighbors, especially that some will respond to the Alpha Course invitation.
Believers and non-believers from European, American, Middle Eastern, and North African backgrounds meet in homes with less than 10 people due to COVID-19 restrictions. They eat together, read a passage from the Bible, and discuss the text. There is a spread of flatbread, hummus, and chicken in the kitchen as people begin to arrive. One kind man brings small chocolate treats for the children. Sway* has come a few times, and during the past year, she has also been reading the Bible with another believer. This night, she says that she finally understands the importance of the cross for the first time. Believers who are taking care of the children pray for her salvation while others in the group continue to speak about the gospel with her late into the night. Sway* says she believes and now wants to be baptized. The following week, there is a great celebration of singing and praising God for her salvation. Pray for gospel seeds to grow deep roots and for physical needs to be met for her and her children. (*name changed)
(n-GO-knee) - "Why would a missionary give to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (LMCO)?" ask missionaries Terry and Twylia Bell, who serve among the Ngoni people. "In the 25 years that we have been serving as IMB missionaries, each year, we have given to the LMCO. Why? We know that 100% of the gifts that are given to the LMCO will go to support the 3,500-plus IMB missionaries serving around the world. We, as two missionaries, can't go to all the places where those 3,500-plus missionaries are serving, but we can give to help with all the needs that each one of them will have while they serve cross-culturally. We, ourselves, know what it takes for us to live and work overseas, so we count it a privilege to join with some 47,000 Southern Baptist churches in giving to the LMCO each year. We want to be a part not just of receiving the LMCO gifts, but also of giving to the LMCO so that many who have never heard the name of Jesus will have that opportunity. Please join us in giving, and pray that others will, too."
One people group's homeland is a Communist country that is closed to a traditional gospel witness. The Christians in that country have a long tradition of huge Christmas celebrations, however. Each Christian village celebrates for one or two days, and people from all around come to celebrate with them. They invite many nonbelievers as well as local officials, police, and soldiers. This is the one time of the year that they can openly share the gospel as they explain why they celebrate Christmas. In recent years, the government has become more and more restrictive in their approvals given for celebrations. This year is especially concerning because they are saying that the celebrations will not be allowed due to COVID-19. Restaurants, bars, and schools are now open, and this country has only had minimal cases of the coronavirus, so this is simply an excuse to slow the spread of the gospel. Pray that the government will soften their attitude toward these celebrations and be reasonable and just. Pray that the Christians will continue to find ways to share the good news in this restrictive atmosphere.
Please pray for leaders of the Brazilian Baptist Mission Board to have wisdom as they make plans to allow their workers to return to sharing the good news with indigenous tribes like the KDD. Some tribes (including the KDD) have seen increases in COVID-19 cases over the past few months, so it's still going to be risky for workers to return to the villages, but it has come to the point where not being present is no longer an option. The work must go on.
(i-RAY-nee-uhns) - Please be in prayer for the many people affected by the earthquakes in Turkey this fall. Many are scrambling to find housing after being displaced either by the destruction of their home or by the need to await the inspection that will determine their home's structural damage. With cold weather and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, being without shelter is extremely difficult at this time. Pray that wise decisions and provision will be made where relocation is needed. Pray that the body of Christ will be a lighthouse to those suffering through these traumatic and distressing events. Pray that hearts will be softened in the midst of great need to see the mighty hand of God meeting their greatest needs.
Persecution can come at any time, but during difficulties, it can be particularly bad. During the coronavirus pandemic, those outsiders who are the brunt of persecution have suffered disproportionately. Despite the persecution, however, there are people seeking out healthcare workers in Southeast Asia; God is opening the way for behind-closed-doors conversations about the gospel. Praise Him!
"Praise God for His miraculous work in planning a church re-plant outside the city of Gweru, in answer to your prayers!" writes the Zimbabwe Evangelism Team. "Christ Redeemer Church officially opened on November 29. Please pray for the Spirit to draw people as we celebrate advent during the month of December, and ask God to bring laborers whom He can use to accomplish His work through His church. 'And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near' (Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV)."
(BANG-ah-lohr) - Further restrictions regarding the receipt of foreign funds have been imposed recently. Some community health projects and construction projects at Bangalore Baptist Hospital are funded by grants and donations from overseas. Pray that all requirements can be met and approved by the authorities. Pray for hospital leaders as they continue to face the challenges of increasing regulations and permissions needed.