Mary - Cameroon
Boko Haram attacks continue on villages close to the Nigerian border in the Far North Region of Cameroon. A recent message reads: "The village of Tourou (a Hdi village) has been attacked by the Boko Haram. At present, there are six dead and about sixty burned houses. The number of injured people is huge. There is total confusion in the village.
Please pray for these poor defenceless people. Pray also for the wounded without means of care and for all those who have lost property and homes. Four churches were burnt, pray for these churches. May the Lord give us comfort!"
Tensions continue also in the English-speaking zone of Cameroon (NW and SW Regions). Claims of discrimination (in favour of the French-speaking zone) have been sustained, resulting in further clashes with government forces. Please pray that the authorities and the claimants would together seek just resolutions to these issues, and for a return to peace and stability for these populations.
Gédéon Noussi, a fellow literacy-specialist from Cameroon and now one of the SIL Directorate team for Cameroon-Equatorial Guinea, is following a study programme for some months at Redcliffe College in Gloucester. (He is thankful that his UK visa was finally granted!) Please pray for a good adjustment to our UK climate, to studying in English (he’s more at home in French), and for wisdom in relating the content usefully to situations in Cameroon and E.G. Pray too for God’s protection and enabling for his wife Sara and their four children who have remained in Cameroon.
For myself, I’m still on the apartment purchasing trail – might February find me settling in?! I’m appreciating the fellowship, prayer and sharing times in my home church. I’ll also take part in a Wycliffe event in Belfast (March 3rd). May I seek first God’s kingdom in all of these things!
Caleb - USA
We await a full report from Caleb regarding his recent trip to Peru in January, however, we have heard that it went well with a real answer to pray inasmuch as there was only a slight injury to one of the players. More to follow ...
The humanitarian situation caused by the civil war in Christian majority South Sudan is intolerable declared the Troika member countries (Norway, United States and Britain) on December 2017. The South Sudan Government and armed rebel groups have used "extreme brutality, mutilation, torture, sexual violence against both genders," as weapons of war, and have caused what is now the largest refugee crisis in Africa.
A third of the 12 million population have fled their homes with 2million displaced within the country. Another 2 million in neighbouring countries. A representative of the UN refugee agency says that underfunding has challenged relief efforts. The destruction of crops and food supplies by warring factions. Aid agencies have been attacked with 9 aid workers killed in November and aid vehicles and stocks looted.
Pray for the Church in this situation as they try and bring about a peace between the warring factions, and for Barnabas aid providing food for 120,000 refugees in Uganda’s Camp Rhino through Project Joseph.
Protestant Christians jailed for being members of an "evil cult"
Authorities near Lincang city in the south-western province jailed 6 protestant Christians on 18th January for up to 13 years, accusing them of "using an evil cult to undermine law enforcement."
The yun County people’s court handed out a 13-year jail sentence to Ju Dianhong; 12 years to liang Qin and 4 years to Yang Shunxiang with the others given shorter sentences. Accusing them of being part of a group called the 3 grades of servants. The accused denied being members that group and said they will appeal against their sentences, almost 200 Christians in the province have been detained and falsely accused of being members of that group. During her trial, she told the court: "I am a protestant believer, I believe in Jesus and none of my evangelism has contravened any principles of the bible, and my beliefs do not constitute an evil cult."
Pray for these brothers and sisters in their bold move in witnessing for the lord and that their appeal will be answered.
Help for believers in Yemen. War torn and wracked by famine and disease, Yemen is enduring what the UN has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Believers in Yemen are trying to help their brothers and sisters with practical help, but they need our help as well in prayer and where possible gifts.
Last week the UN children’s agency UNICEF reported that 5,000 Yemeni children have been killed or injured in the conflict since it started in 2015, with 400,000 children who are severely malnourished and fighting for their lives. 3 million children have been born since the war and are scarred by the years of violence, displacement, disease, poverty, food and clean water, with many losing their parents. Nearly all the children ‘about 11 million of them’ are in need of help. At least 2,200 people have died of cholera since April 2017.
We can only pray that the Lord would have mercy on those people and those Christians in that impossible place to hold on to the Lord who said "I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name" (Revelation 2:13)
Geoff, Fay & Danni
"If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing." (1 Corinthians 13:2 )
As we approach another year, I feel I should share with you something God has been teaching me. It is probably one of the most basic teachings of the Christian faith, but something that is so easily forgotten. I started the year asking myself this: is love for Christ the driving force behind everything that I do? If your answer is no, then we need to look seriously at our motivations.
There are many things that need to be done this year: Bible studies, one to one meetings, Dementia research, Church services, and many other things. But all these things are empty unless fuelled by the love of God, which is why we need your prayers.
Pray that we on the Pastoral team and those at Mission Care will know the love of God in such deep way that it will be the drive to serve and love others to the best of our abilities.
"I bow my knees before the Father... that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith - that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may... know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." (Ephesians 3:14-19)
Tim & Alison - UK
What does February hold for us? In some ways every day is an unknown, and we realise how it is only through God’s grace we are able to survive each day / hour / minute. Without God all things would be impossible!
The loft extension is just over half way through: this has meant lots of noise, dust, decision making and weather watching. Due to part of the roof being off, the wind and rain has meant flapping plastic and cold temperatures which has disturbed us all. However, we are all looking forward to more space and being able to settle as a family of 6.
Work for Tim continues to be a real challenge, and in addition to the mix of striving to catch up, he will be training and handing over two of the financial accounts. People within countries have been struggling with visa situations, which puts pressure not only on the person themself, but also their family and the wider community who rely on them doing their jobs. Please pray for this situation as this area seems to be getting more and more challenging.
For Alison, who is currently working 4 days per week but is being asked to consider doing 5, being so involved with the children and their families lives can be so emotionally draining. It is a great opportunity to walk this part of their journey, helping to steer towards the next step and be a witness during challenging and stressful times. Nevertheless, the knock on of emotions within work can be a struggle when also potentially having to deal with the many emotions in the home environment.
Please keep praying that we will hold firm to this promise: "You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." Psalm 16:11
Helen & Alastair - Ireland
Our new Immersion leader Billy, and his family, arrived in January to replace Tim who is in the process of moving to the US to be a student pastor. Billy and the family had difficulty entering Ireland because of a sudden freeze on visas for incoming volunteers. The freeze is for three months as the Irish government is changing the process for non EU people entering Ireland on volunteer visas. This has created uncertainty for many of our team members and there is a possibility that Alastair’s Personal Assistant, Breanna, will have to leave the country as her three year visa has just expired. She is waiting to hear the outcome of an appeal for an extension. Pray for wisdom for our Personnel department and Alastair as they help team members with their visa situation.
Alastair and Junior represented OM at a missions conference in Cork last weekend and also had an opportunity to share about the ministries and preach at a new church plant just outside Cork. This coming month Alastair will visit the Men for Missions group in Northern Ireland, who are planning to send work teams to assist us in renovating the showers in Lacken House. Alastair will be travelling to Johannesburg on 21 February for the International Leaders Meetings. While there he will have meetings with leaders from other countries and visit some of the ministries of OM South Africa, including their training base and AIDSLink.
Helen is helping to plan the European Leaders wives retreat, which is happening at Lacken House in April. Alisha is studying and working hard for her mock exams this month. Hannah is excelling at school, so her teachers told us at the recent parent teachers meetings. Daniella has returned to ballet, and has already read 10 books since Christmas! Ruairi and Callum are currently having swimming lessons, and Ruairi is looking forward to playing with the U10s Gaelic Football team in town