Pray for islanders as they fast – some fast because they are seriously seeking to please God, some fast because they always have and always will and have never really thought about it, some fast just because everyone else does, some fast and take pride in their achievement, a very few fast and wonder whether it’s enough.
For two weeks we talked about the divinity of Jesus, which is a huge stumbling block for Muslims. So it was pretty amazing to go through different passages of the Bible with him looking at how through His words and actions Jesus showed himself to be God. At one point Papa B said, ‘when you say these things, you dishonour God and you dishonour Jesus. Jesus was a great prophet, He healed people, He raised people from the dead – from the dead! And He suffered, He really suffered! How can you say God suffered, that God was defeated, how can you say God died? You dishonour God with these words.’ It’s not often that I get to talk to people who have really understood what we believe and are grappling with the ramifications, but each time I do I marvel at how amazing it will be for them when God reveals that yes He did suffer, yes He did die and He did it for them. Like most here the fact of the incarnation is incomprehensible to Papa B; that God would come down to live in an unclean human body, that He would go through the physical indiginity of being born, and then to go on to die a shameful and painful death. And yet because of this how much more glorious will it be when God opens his eyes? How could it do anything other than draw out the most extravagant devotion and worship?
Pray for believers who are under A LOT of extra pressure this month of Ramadan. This month all men pray five times a day at the mosque – your absence is noted and questions are asked. Some religious teachers teach that if one person in the village doesn’t fast the whole village’s fast is ruined, other families will state that family members who didn’t pray won’t get fed. They also naturally feel a greater sense of isolation and lack of community than normal. I don’t think any of us really has any idea how hard this month must be for believers.
Praise God that T (a local translator), his son and wife made it to Kenya and are being well looked after. We’re also so thankful that his son doesn’t have hydrocephalus; in fact, he is severely malnourished. It was thought that his weakness and lack of appetite were because of a sickness, but turns out they were the sickness. They have a follow-up appointment in a month and lots of time to help little H eat. Ask that this time is like a breath of fresh air to their souls. Ask for fruitful interactions with local Kenyan believers and that as a family they would discover true and full health in Jesus.
An islander recently asked a worker “do you ever hear Satan walking around your house?” This man has just moved to a new house in the village and has been awakened at night by loud stomping sounds & then what sounds like something very large eating something. He has asked his neighbors about it and they’ve told him that it is Satan, and that they must say special prayers to make sure he stays outside. The worker was able to share with him how Jesus has defeated the kingdom of darkness. Pray that fear would drive this man to the Father and that we would see the kingdom of light advance in his life!
Praise God for the persistence and hard work of the local translators. Please lift up one translator T and his family – none of whom follow Jesus. His baby son is very weak and sick and they hope to travel abroad for treatment in May. So much good could come of this trip, but there are also many pitfalls and much potential for misunderstanding. T and his wife have fears about their son, about travel, and about staying in a mostly Christian country. Ask that the enemy wouldn’t get his hands in this situation and that Jesus would be lifted up through it. Ask for Terry, his wife and all the community watching, to see Jesus’ love and power.
Pray for M a local believer who was recently kicked out of his family. He was summoned to a family meeting where he was told that everyone was talking about him being a follower of Jesus and that he was bringing shame on the family. His mum told him that he was no longer her son and to get his stuff and get out. Pray that local brothers would provide support and comfort to him and that this rejection and suffering would only drive him deeper into the arms of the father. Pray for provision for practical needs and that his suffering would open up opportunities for the good news to spread.
Pray for all the necessary preparation to be done for the production of audio recordings of Genesis in 2 languages in June. Pray for good recordings and for eager listeners!
Easter weekend is just a normal weekend as far as the islands are concerned. However through expat workers and Christian satellite channels many will have the chance to hear the Easter story this month. Most islanders believe that Jesus was replaced by Judas on the cross and that Jesus was taken up to heaven unharmed. Pray that the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection would capture the hearts of islanders and that the truth would overcome these lies and that many would begin to walk towards the light
Continue to pray for T, who recently shared that she has a evil spirit. Ask that she will not be satisfied with the ‘medicine’ she is planning to take, and would give her life to the One who can bring her into complete freedom. Continue asking for wisdom, protection and sensitivity for the worker to share truth that will penetrate the darkness.