Praise Reports


British Isles


Praise Reports

Dominican Republic: IJM’s major milestone

Praise God that the International Justice Mission (IJM) has signed its first collaborative agreement with the business sector in the Dominican Republic. IJM and Aerodom, the largest network of airports in the country, are joining forces to bring an end to sex trafficking. They are launching awareness campaigns in the air terminals, equipping their staff to recognise the signs of trafficking, and establish additional protocols to report these crimes to local authorities.

Praise: God for the work of IJM. May He continue to bring them success in all they do. (2 Samuel 22:20)

Indonesia: Islamic hijab not mandatory in schools

Indonesia has banned schools from forcing girls to wear Islamic hijab headscarves after the case of a Christian pupil pressured to cover up sparked outrage in the world’s most populous Muslim nation (90% of the population follows Islam). The move was applauded by rights activists, who say non-Muslim girls have been forced for years to wear a hijab in conservative parts of the country. State schools across the archipelago of nearly 270 million people will face sanctions if they fail to comply with the edict. Nadiem Makarim, the education minister, said that religious attire was an individual choice and schools cannot make it compulsory.

Praise: God for religious tolerance in schools; may all Indonesia respect different religions. (Ephesians 4:2)

Praise Reports

Predators groom children online

A new Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) study indicates internet sex predators are manipulating children to record their own sexual abuse, and that of their friends and siblings. The new research reveals this ‘disturbing’ trend is eight times worse than experts had feared. The IWF is the UK-based charity responsible for finding and removing images and videos of children suffering sexual abuse from use of the internet. The rise in ‘self-generated’ child sexual abuse imagery being created and shared online often occurs after a child has been groomed, bullied, or blackmailed by an adult. Between 28 September and 23 December, 511 self-generated child sexual abuse images and videos assessed in this period were also found to involve siblings. That’s eight images or videos each working day. IWF said the youngest children are the most vulnerable, and often disproportionately suffer the worst kinds of abuse. It often takes place in children’s own bedrooms, when parents think children are safe – playing with their siblings.

Pray: for parents to be more aware of the perils of the internet, and for successful detection by authorities of dangerous web platforms. (Matthew 18:6)

Home Office plans for asylum seekers

Last year over 8,500 people crossed the Channel in small boats to the UK. The Home Office plans to make it much tougher for those who enter the UK illegally to claim asylum. They will no longer have the same entitlements as those who arrive legally. The Government wants to deter organised criminal networks who attempt to smuggle thousands of men, women, and children into Britain. Under the new plans, refugees who come to the UK through the government’s official resettlement program will get indefinite leave to remain once they arrive. Those who arrive illegally, but still manage successfully to claim asylum, will receive a new ‘temporary protection status’ rather than an automatic right to settle. The Kent Refugee Action Network charity said that far from solving the problem the new ‘deliberately divisive policy’ will ‘make people think that there are good refugees, who do the right thing, and bad refugees, who don’t do the right thing’.

Pray: for a humane system to protect refugees from people-smuggling in lethal tiny boats. (Psalm 121:7-8)

Covid deaths below average

Deaths in the UK have fallen below the five-year average for the first time since the summer. Experts say it means the winter wave of Covid deaths has ended, and lockdown and the vaccine rollout have saved lives. Prof Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London said, ‘The new data on deaths are encouraging in suggesting the second devastating wave of the pandemic is behind us. But calling epidemics ‘waves’ can be misleading in implying a phenomenon which has reached a natural end – that is not the case here. The rapid decline in deaths we have thankfully seen is entirely because of the lockdown and the rapid rollout of vaccines. So, while I’m optimistic that this means we will be able to return to something more like normal in the next few months, we need to remain vigilant and cautious – particularly given the threat still posed by new variants of the virus.’

Pray: for the nation to continue social distancing, hand washing, and face coverings. (Romans 13:1)

Church leaders speak out about nuclear warheads

Church leaders from seven denominations have argued that the Government’s plan to increase the UK’s nuclear warheads ‘takes us in a worrying and wholly wrong direction.’ The UK currently has 195 nuclear warheads and was expected to reduce that to 180 by the mid-2020s. The cap is now 260, due to the threat of state-sponsored terrorism and other states increasing their nuclear arsenals. The leaders said that the fundamental purpose of nuclear weapons is to preserve peace, prevent coercion and deter aggression. A minimum, credible, independent nuclear deterrent, assigned to the defence of NATO, remains essential to guarantee our security and that of our allies. They also said that Trident submarines already carry warheads with an explosive yield equivalent to hundreds of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima, and the Government is committing resources which could be spent on the common good of our society.

Pray: for global elimination of nuclear arsenals through cooperative relationships. (Matthew 5:9)

Christians in Parliament

On 25 March Parliament rose for Easter recess. Please pray that all our politicians may continue to serve their constituents and make decisions for our country, and that they will be refreshed over the Easter break. Please be praying in particular that they, as well as others across our nation, will be encouraged by the hope of the Easter story, amidst all the challenges of the last year. In this vein, Christians in Parliament have gathered together a group of Christian MPs and peers from across the political parties to share a message of renewed hope this Easter, through a recording of the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Pray that this video will be a great comfort and encouragement to all who view it. The National Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast on 25 June has Rt Revd Prof Tom Wright speaking on ‘Life after Covid: a renewed hope’.

Pray: that the prayer breakfast plans may come together as God leads them. (1 Peter 5:2-3)

Bishop announces mental health support

The Diocese of London has partnered with the mental health text support service Shout 85258 to assist those experiencing mental health challenges. The Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, has formally launched ‘Neighbour’. Now, if anyone within the Diocese of London texts the word ‘neighbour’ to 85258 any time of the day or night, they will be connected to a trained Shout volunteer who will chat by text and listen to them. They aim to help people think more clearly, enabling them to know what steps could be taken next to feeling better. It is a confidential service which can be used free on most mobile phone networks. While Shout is for anyone, to date 65% of those who have texted Shout 85258 are aged under 25; 7% are aged 13 or under.

Pray: for people to discover the service and have the courage to use it. Pray also for this service to be replicated across the nation. (1 Peter 5:7)

Over-50s to book jabs before supplies dip

The NHS said anyone who currently qualifies for their Covid-19 jab (aged over 50 or in at-risk categories) should book their first dose of Covid-19 jabs before 29th March when slots are set to dry up. Officials expect a slowdown in vaccine supplies in April and medics will be focusing on providing second doses. Ministers say the plan to offer a first dose to all adults by July is on track. However NHS England said no first appointments should be booked next month for people under the age of 50 unless they fall into a higher priority group (those who are clinically vulnerable). The reduction in the UK’s Covid vaccine supply is partly due to delays in deliveries from India of five million Oxford-AstraZeneca doses. Indian foreign ministry sources said they have placed a temporary hold on all exports of vaccines amid a rising number of domestic cases.

Pray: for supplies to be sufficient and for vaccination centres will remain open. (Jeremiah 33:6)

Praise Reports

Belarus: investigating corruption

The UK has joined other European countries and donated €500,000 to a human rights project investigating the Lukashenko regime in Belarus. The longtime dictator denies human rights abuses in his country despite overwhelming evidence gathered by journalists and NGOs. The project will collect, store, and build evidence of human rights violations and torture against the people which may in future be used in independent criminal proceedings. The initiative is led by a coalition of expert NGOs and supported by the UK, Denmark, Germany, and other international partners to hold Lukashenko’s regime to account for violations following the rigged Presidential election in 2020. This independent initiative, free from political interference, will help defend democracy, media freedom and human rights. It will help the Belarusian people take a vital step further towards securing justice.

Pray: for every scrap of hidden evidence to be uncovered so that justice is done for the peaceful protesters, journalists and human rights defenders. (Amos 5:24)

Moldova: limited access to Covid vaccines

So far Moldova has only received 36,000 doses of the Covid vaccine, barely enough for 1% of its population of 2.6 million. This stock isn’t even enough to cover the country’s primary target – its 60,000 medical staff. A coordinator from the National Vaccine Program said a three-stage rollout is ready, but the doses are not. He explains that to keep to their target of immunising 70% of their population, ‘we need to have more negotiations with manufacturers. But we are a small country, with a small population; we are not as interesting for manufacturers as other countries. The consequences of the lack of doses are dire, especially for the most fragile’. An NGO distributing lunch boxes to elderly and isolated populations in a poor neighbourhood said, ‘The week we went there, the death rate had almost doubled compared to the previous week. Yet despite this, there is still no sign of more vaccines.’

Pray: for an end to financial issues, bureaucracy, distrust, and alleged corruption that are hampering attempts to distribute vaccinations. (Isaiah 61:8a)

Praise Reports

USA / Central America: many are fleeing

The US homeland security secretary said they are expelling most single adults and families but not unaccompanied children. An average of 565 lone children are crossing the border daily. The highest number of families come from Honduras, the most unstable Central American country. Many lone children come from Guatemala, where youth population and unemployment are high and smuggling networks are developed. The transition from Donald Trump to Joe Biden has persuaded would-be migrants that a limited window now exists for US entry. In the Trump years human traffickers were thwarted, but they are now eager for more. Also, two major hurricanes have inflicted severe human and economic damage in Central America. Taking to the road to find a better life is dangerous, especially for children. Most flee from violence, corruption, and poverty all around them. Doctors Without Borders said 75% of migrants with children were fleeing threats of violence, including forced recruitment by gangs.

Pray: for police along the migration route to protect travellers from violent drug gangs and kidnappers. (Galatians 5:13)

Australia: flood devastation

Days of torrential downpours caused rivers and dams to overflow around Sydney and south-east Queensland. The military helped search and rescue in a ‘one-in-fifty-years event’. By 22 March 18,000 people had been evacuated and 10 million people across Australia were under a weather warning. Dead livestock floated through floodwater and houses were engulfed, causing over 22,000 flood damage claims to be lodged by 25 March. Receding waterlevels have begun to expose the extent of flood devastation to collapsed homes and businesses.Pray for those who have lost homes, farms, cattle, and businesses to have government support. Pray for people ordered to evacuate, still sheltering in centres living in fear and apprehension of what they will find when they return home. Pray for people warned to prepare for flash flooding and landslides as rivers rush in their direction. New South Wales Health is warning residents to be aware of the risk of contamination and water-borne diseases. See

Pray: for God to comfort those mourning friends and relatives who have drowned. (Psalm 31:24)

South China Sea: fake fishing fleet

On 22 March the Philippines demanded China withdraw its massive ‘fishing fleet’, controlled by its navy, from waters that Manila has exclusive economic rights over. These boats have been nicknamed ‘little blue men’ because their role is similar to Putin’s famous ‘little green men’ (Russian soldiers without official insignia who invaded eastern Ukraine on behalf of Moscow in 2014). For the Chinese navy to masquerade as fisherfolk is nothing new. But this time the sheer scale of the flotilla, a whopping 220 vessels, totally outnumbers the ill-equipped Philippine navy, coastguards, and local fishing boats which have long complained of China chasing them out of their own waters. As China’s power rises, so too has Beijing’s determination to dominate the South China Sea despite American intervention in the past, and the Philippines’ attempts to prevent illegal control.

Pray: for the Philippines and USA to unite in successful action that prevents China from ruling the waves. (Habakkuk 1:4,5)

Lebanon: worsening crisis

Lebanon has failed again to form a new government. President Michel Aoun wants help from other countries to overcome the deadlock. There is economic despair as political instability drives the currency down. As the currency dips further, the minimum wage sinks below that of third-world countries. It is unbelievable how little people are earning now. They are stuck in a vicious circle, with no end in sight. Each time the currency loses value, prices go up, and people can buy fewer daily essentials. A bottle of milk was 3,000 Lebanese lira, now it’s 8,000. But that same bottle of milk bought with US dollars is less than 50 cents. It becomes ¼ of the price for people with dollars, but the poor people pay over double the price. As the crisis worsens, people have nowhere to put their hope, so they are starting to put their hope in Christ.

Pray: for the Lord to bless believers’ efforts to reach Lebanon for Christ and for people to genuinely turn to the Lord in great numbers. (Psalm 55:22)

Eritrea: EU announces sanctions

On 22 March the European Union announced a number of sanctions on Eritrea’s national security office. This positive EU move should hardly be a surprise to the Eritrean government. It has faced sanctions for its human rights and religious freedom violations in the past, earning the nickname of ‘Africa’s North Korea’ for its systematic flaunting of international standards and its insular foreign policy. The recent sanctions target arbitrary arrests, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances of persons, and torture committed by its agents. Eritrea has a well-documented history of treating its prisoners inhumanely and of targeting religious minorities for particularly harsh treatment. Me’eter Prison, the customary holding place for Eritrean prisoners of conscience, is notorious for its regular use of torture, for example to induce religious recantations. Prisoners are kept in metal shipping containers placed on the open desert floor.

Pray: for God in His mercy to comfort religious minorities and unite other governments with the EU to bring about the end of inhumane persecution and punishment. (Romans 8:35)

Ethiopia: crisis for children

UNICEF is underscoring the need for continual aid for children amid a worsening situation in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. Five months since the conflict began, a picture is emerging of killings and sexual violence against women and children. UNICEF reports schools and health centres looted, vandalised, and occupied by armed groups. In addition, deliberate attacks of violence and looting have left 60% of health care facilities not operational. 57% of boreholes (providing water) in 13 towns are not functional, and a quarter of the region’s schools have sustained damage. Although UNICEF and partners give humanitarian aid to the needy, there are urgent needs for children’s protection. Fighting, media blackout, and government-imposed restrictions leave humanitarian organisations unable to provide adequate aid, and they have had difficulty accurately gauging the need. Basic service outlets must be protected and the safety and security of everyone working in and accessing those services guaranteed.

Pray: for Ethiopia’s prime minister Abiy Ahmed, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, militia, and Eritrean troops to meet for peace talks that will end fighting. (Romans 12:17)

China: church in chains – Pastor John

Just one of the Christian prisoners in China is Pastor John Cao (60), serving a seven-year prison sentence for ‘organising illegal border crossings’ between China and Myanmar. He made many trips from America to his native China to establish schools and work among the poor before expanding his humanitarian work into Myanmar. He was detained in 2017 while returning to China from Myanmar and sentenced a year later. His defence lawyer and his mother asked prison authorities to deliver a Bible to him. They refused. His mother writes Bible verses in each letter she sends. Please ask God to bless Pastor John and keep his faith strong, and pray for healing from his various health problems. Pray that he will be released early. Pray for his witness to prisoners and guards, and that others would continue his ministry to the poor.

Pray: for comfort and hope for his wife Jamie, their two sons, Ben and Amos, his sister and 84-year-old mother Sun Jinhuai. (Romans 15:13)

Praise Reports
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