During this time of isolation and social distancing, some Islanders set up a WhatsApp group for local believers to send out encouragement each day during the month of Ramadan. It is a huge step in the right direction of connecting islander believers and giving them a place to go for prayer and for encouragement in their own languages. Please pray that more members will be added to this group.
Despite cases now being confirmed on the islands and some deaths of prominent leaders, whose symptoms looked very much like the virus, some people are still refusing to believe it is here. They are still carrying on life as normal. Ask that they might realise the gravity of the situation and act accordingly. Ask that in a spiritual sense too, they would have their eyes opened to the seriousness of the situation and cry out to the only One who can truly Heal.
Praise God for the way the translation project has been able to continue despite lockdown.
Three-hour long phone conversations have meant drafting can continue each day, another
bel has been reading and testing finished drafts and the other local translator is finished up
an epistle by hand in his home village. With the extra time we have also been able to put
more time and thought into other aspects of the translation project – praise God for how He
continues to move us forward!
Even though numbers are slowly rising on the nearby French island, so far there have not been any cases confirmed on our islands. But we recognise that testing hasn’t been done properly either. So ask that God would protect this country – as the health system would be quickly overwhelmed. If the virus is indeed already here, ask that the government would become aware and for wisdom as they make decisions.
We are still waiting for the first confirmed case of COVID19. We do not know how this is going to progress.
This is a key time for sharing truth with people, and I’ve had some great opportunities in the last few days. Ask for wisdom in our interactions with people. Given that it’s such a social culture, people are unlikely to self-isolate. The normal practice if someone is ill is to go and visit them! Pray for protection on our own health, and that we will not infect others unawares. One of the things we can do is help people understand what’s going on, and advise them about precautions, and model those ourselves.
Some other considerations: What will translation work look like if we try to do it remotely? How can we encourage followers who live in other villages, and get resources to them? Ask that this will be a time of growth for them, and a time when many people seek the Lord.
There is a visiting believer from Clove island along with a Kenyan man from an outside
organization who have come to encourage the local Body here. We are excited that believers are
meeting and getting to know each other. Pray that the Holy Spirit will move in this body and use this time for his glory!
A group from mainland Africa is coming this first week of March to do a survey of the state
of the island Body. Pray for them as they talk with brothers and sisters that they would have
clarity and discernment and would be able to provide good guidance and advice for the
The events surrounding the girl with the demon has united workers and driven faith to new heights. We are excited to see what God has in store for this island. Ask with us that this would truly be a year of lasting breakthrough.
Please pray for Islanders who have heard the truth about salvation through Jesus Christ to realize He is their only hope, and pray that their desire to own that pearl of great price will lead them to sell everything else they have to gain Him. Pray also for holy boldness for believers to gather together to worship their Lord and Savior.
Last night about 20 believers (local, expat, and Malagasy) gathered in the family’s home to worship and cast out the evil spirit living there in the house. It had been attacking the daughter since Tuesday night – but from the outside, it couldn’t ‘enter’ her because she is a child of God! We sang, proclaimed the good news, and prayed. The spirit left! They all slept wonderfully! PTL! Pray still for the Muslim dad who was there in the midst of it all – he has great joy that his daughter is free but he doesn’t yet know that there is far greater joy awaiting him if only he would open his heart to Jesus.
There is a family struggling with a demon tormenting their teenage daughter. After two intense prayer sessions, last night the demon left. However, several hours later, a demon returned. Satan wants to steal our faith in God’s ability to change this island. There is a clear choice before us, not just to stand in faith but to sound a full volume battle cry declaring that our God will be victorious. I think there is more at stake here than just freedom for this girl and for her family.
In battles there are turning points and I wonder in the long uphill struggle that is ministry here on the island, whether this is such a moment. If it is, we need to seize it, we need to stir others to join. I think this is a moment to step out. Please pray!
Lift up a group meeting to study together on a Sunday. Ask that others would be drawn to them and to the word and that they would continue to trust despite difficulties.
The wife of a believer, who has previously been very closed to the gospel , recently said she was “coming to believing”. Ask that her heart would be fully surrendered and that she would know that He who started the work will complete it.
Praise! We have a new sister in the family! A few weeks ago we shared about a new brother we called “Yael”. Well, he shared with his wife and has been ministering to her daily. December 12th she decided to follow Jesus! We praise Jesus for another sister in the family and that this woman is our first 3rd generation believer.
Pray that God would give us opportunities to share the Christmas story. Pray that islanders would be amazed as they encounter Gabriel’s words, Joseph’s dreams, the wise men’s journey, Herod’s anger and the angels’ song! Pray that these stories would catch the imaginations and hearts of those who hear them!
Local believer Sophie invited her sisters and her neighbors to join us for a meal and a viewing of the Magdalena film. It was a packed little living room and front porch, full of women and their children, which was cool. Please pray for His light to shine in their hearts and for Sophie to have lots of follow-up conversations
We have started monthly meetings for testing the newly translated scripture drafts with new believers. Testing is a crucial part of the translation process, but also the hardest part to make happen.
Ask that these believers would not only be committed to the work but also start to take a more proactive role.
We long for our relationships with our local friends, neighbours and colleagues on the French island to grow and blossom. Pray that people would not only be willing, but eager to hear the Good News and would accept the Truth. Pray for one worker C who will visit and stay with his former neighbours and landlords. Ask for language ability after 6 months away and for fruitful conversations.
Give thanks that 3 women recently made new commitments of faith in Jesus! He is good, He is working! Lift up the translation check of Exod. taking place in late Oct. Ask that technology would cooperate and much would be accomplished, for His glory.
Pray for the H couple whose marriage is very strained, to the point of discussing separation. Praise God for the good relationship they have with workers who are like parents to them. Ask that the counsel and truth they have heard will encourage them to keeping working together and to seek reconciliation with the Father, for the sake of their child as well. May He intervene and transform this family!
Pray for the new English classes starting this month. Pray for those teaching , that they would show love and friendship to the students and for sweet and long lasting relationships to be born as result. Pray that the connections would grow, so that Light can be shared in an appropriate and relevant way.
Pray for a local brother who has been meeting with other locals and telling them about Jesus. He was discovered sharing and was kicked out of his village, and told he may not return. Praise God that this has not stopped his faith, but fueled it and now this group is continuing to study together in a different village. Pray for help and grace for this group.
A young lady who traveled to the French island met up with some old friends, including one who has started following Jesus. She was very curious and asked how this other family she knew of had come to follow Jesus. She heard their stories and testimonies as well as further explanation of the good news. Another young man who has kept engaging in spiritual conversations, came for the first time to a small gathering of believers last Sunday. Pray for both of them to respond to what they heard and that the Holy Spirit would transform their hearts.
Pray for the group that has been studying the Bible together on Sundays. Pray that they would stand together in the Truth, seeking God together, persevering even when difficulties come their way.
Someone in one of the regular fellowship groups was approached and told to stop their meetings. Pray for wisdom and courage for the brothers and sisters of this group to know what to do.
One of the sisters is hoping to make a visit to Volcano Island, in order to encourage the women believers there to meet more regularly. Pray the plans for this work out and may this initiative have positive results for all.
Last Monday, islanders celebrated Eid and this week many of those who went to Mecca on the hadj are now being celebrated as the return to the islands. Pray for many opportunities to continue to share the story of Abraham this month which is remembered and celebrated during this festival (albeit with significant differences e.g., the son in question is Ishmael not Isaac). Pray that the story would prompt islanders to new thinking about the character of God, and their own relationship with him. Pray for the desire to hear more stories.
Please pray for *Sofi, a local believer, as she is on the third island, Clove Island, this week to meet with other believers for a time of meeting, fellowship and worship. Pray for the meeting to be fully based in the Truth of Jesus and for it to be an encouraging time for all. Also pay for safe travels for *Sofi as she returns to Vanilla Island via small fishing boat next week.
Pray for a friend that is in P’s English class and is her neighbor as well. This person said he was interested in studying the Book and asked for P to give him one in French. Since she did, he has been reading and studying it on his own. She is also now sharing audio files of the Book in his local language. Pray for P’s interaction with this friend and for his exposure to the Good News to change his heart.
Pray that God would lead us to people who we can test the newly translated book of Mark with. Pray for boldness amongst all workers to ask people to read/listen to passages from the book, pray that we might get helpful feedback and that people would ask to hear more.
Pray for the believers who were called together last weekend by a local brother who came to visit from Clove Island. Many people came together to meet and talk about things like Kingdom finances and to pray and share together. Please pray that this sweet time will make them eager to continue to meet together on their own; to pray together and fellowship together regularly.
Praise the Lord for our new open Sunday Meetings (house -church style). A few locals are attending it. Pray that it would be just one of many house churches that spread throughout our island.
Please pray for a good friend of ours in the Islands whose name begins with F. He’s a believer and recently explained to his mom his faith. She informed the rest of the family and now he’s been kicked out of his family and told that he’s all alone. No one in his village will talk to him. Please pray for the local brothers and sisters to encourage and help him and for God’s kingdom to spread through this tough trial. Jesus is worthy!!
A local brother F, asks for prayer that he would have the courage to share his faith with his family. He’s still a student and so dependent on his family and very afraid of their reaction. His mum and cousin have both had evil spirits and were known for the power it gave them. However since the day he made his decision to follow Jesus some years ago the spirits left them. Though they don’t know he follows Jesus he overheard them talking the other day about how for both of them it was when F walked in the house that the spirits left. They have seen Jesus’s power, pray that they would now come to know his love.
Pray for Sophie, who came to faith during Ramadan 2 years ago. Pray for her as she continues to grow in her faith and seek the will of Jesus. Pray that she may stand strong in His Word and that she will not feel all alone as she is the only believer in her village. Pray for many more to be saved!
Pray that the newly translated Word of God would spread from islander to islander. Pray the Truth would penetrate deeply, bringing conviction that cannot be ignored. Pray for those who listen to the Word this month would find it sweet as honey and long for more!
This is a particularly testing month for local believers as they come under extra scrutiny and pressure to conform. The vast majority are isolated from one another and walk a lonely path. Pray today for their encouragement; pray that the additional pressure would only serve to press them ever closer to Jesus. Pray that they would remember the hope that they have; ask for wisdom and boldness in sharing this hope.
Pray for Shad, a colleague of A’s, who is open to discussion and gladly accepted a copy of the Word. Ask for more opportunities to share and for the relationship to deepen.
Also pray for Ann. She says even thought she grew up in a muslim home, she always knew there was something different for her. When C started sharing with her, she realized Jesus was the One she had been seeking! Rejoice with us, and pray her new faith would grow deep roots.
Volcano island was the hardest hit by the recent cyclone. There are many trees and power & phone lines down, lots of houses that lost roofs or collapsed in the storm, especially near the north of the island. Clean up started right away and the capital has been filled with the smoke of burning debris for the last several days. People are most concerned about the food –much of the staple cooking bananas and breadfruit – was destroyed. Please ask for workers to discern how best to help. We are thankful that there were few deaths or serious injuries and that the flooding that had been predicted did not happen. Our friend KC lost his belongings when his house collapsed, but he was unhurt and is in good spirits. Please ask that as people enter the fasting month after a year of extraordinary events, they will be asking deeper questions and will come to God with searching hearts.
Several team members are preparing to leave the islands. Please pray for many opportunities to sit with people and share Father’s faithfulness, and the hope and assurance that can be found in Him alone. Please pray that Dad would prepare hearts and open the way for these discussions. Pray for the right words and for open eyes and hearts to truly hear. Pray especially for ‘mum’- Mama Mark and Baba S to believe the truth they’ve heard.
Pray also for the cyclone that is due to hit the islands today! Pray for mercy and protection.