“We don’t have to be afraid!”

A local sister shared recently that their group was tipped off that the police would be visiting their Sunday gathering. They prayed together, chose 2 spokespeople and prayed some more, then began worshipping. Sure enough, a little later came a “hodi” at the door and in walked 4 policemen. They were duly welcomed and when they’d sat down, they asked “What are you all doing here?”. The spokeswoman said “We’re reading this Bible, see?” And she showed them what they were reading. “And we’re singing-do you want to hear a song?” And they all sang a song. Then the spokesman said, “And we’re praying. Nothing bad is happening; we’re not drinking, we’re not doing anything immoral. Do you want to pray with us?” They didn’t (yet), but they were satisfied nothing wrong was happening and they said their goodbyes. The sister sharing this story said, “See! We don’t have to be afraid!” Ask for more faith against fear and more bold worship among islanders.

A changed life

An islander called “Farrell” has been asking for just one other person from his village to decide to follow Jesus so he won’t be alone. He attended a CP training recently and tried out some of the fruitful practices he learned. He shared with a young man in his village who struggles with a drug addiction. This young man decided to follow Jesus and Farrell reported that this man’s wife has noticed a difference in him. Recently, after they had an argument, when his old self would have gone off to get high, he instead went to their bedroom to pray. His wife was surprised… And even more so when he told her what he was doing! Ask for this wife and many others in this village to turn to Jesus. Ask that the Lord would send Farrell and this new brother out as a “two by two” pair in their village.

Pilgrimage

Pray for islanders making the pilgrimage to Mecca this week. Ask that they would see the underside of Islam there and would be filled with questions that Islam can’t answer. May they have courage to seek Truth, wherever it is found.

New outreach

Tana is a city where many islanders go for university studies or health care and then return to the islands. There is a group of believers in the city who meet regularly to pray for the islanders, and have arranged their lives to be able to meet islander students and share the good news with them. Pray for wisdom in meeting with islander patients. Ask the Lord to bless this group with wisdom, unity, and favor, and to open a door for fruitful ministry among students and patients.

Gospel proclamation

Praise God for the opportunity to explain faith in a public setting tomorrow! Pray the truth will be clearly presented without compromise or ’embracing the good of all religions’. Ask for hearts to be sensitive to hear and challenged to consider what is shared.

Meeting together

Pray for the small groups of believers that are meeting. Pray that these groups would be places where believers would come to understand more and more their new identity in Jesus. And where they are equipped to do the good works that God has prepared them to do. Pray that their meetings would be characterised by worship, love for one another and joy.

May they meet together

Pray that believers would be motivated to meet together. Pray against all that might keep them apart whether it be busyness, fear, lack of trust or something else. Pray that love might grow and that they would begin to see each other as family.

Sharing testimonies

While sharing her testimony during an English club recently, friends who know “A” now were astonished to hear what she had been like before she gave her life to Jesus. They loved hearing about what Jesus had done and wanted to hear more. So another team member told her story too. A few days later, some of these friends were together with a third team member and they asked for her story too. After hearing these, one woman said, “So, how do you know all these things? How do you learn more about God?” Team members offered to study God’s Word with her and they’ve been doing that regularly since. Ask for more to join this woman in studying God’s Word and for this woman’s eyes to be opened so she too can give her life to Jesus.

Pray for Fruit

S. is like many Islanders who have had the truth laid out before them in incredible ways, and yet still reject it – or rather still reject Him. This is a reminder that people are spiritually blind and need Jesus to open their eyes. We can plant a seed, we can water, but it is only Him who makes the seed grow! Please pray that the word planted in this man’s life, and others like him, would grow and bear fruit.

Families coming to the Lord!

Some complete families have recently turned to Christ on the islands! Pray that these new believers would cling to the Word of God and to each other. Pray for courage to share the good things God has done for them.

Source of salvation

As islanders seek to earn their salvation through fasting and extra ritual prayers, pray they would feel the hopelessness of their efforts. Ask God to reveal His grace and mercy to them- that He came to seek and save the lost.

Many opportunities to share

Workers this month will have more opportunities to share than the rest of the year combined! Pray they would share boldly and with passion and wisdom. Pray islanders would walk away from conversations unsettled, thinking deeply, and unable to forget what they heard.

Believers and Ramadan

The month of Ramadan is a particularly challenging month for local believers as they come under extra scrutiny and pressure to conform. The vast majority of them are isolated and walk a lonely path. Pray today for their encouragement. Pray that the additional pressure would only serve to press them closer to Jesus. Pray they would remember the hope that they have. Ask for boldness and wisdom in sharing this hope with others.

Vanilla Island, the ‘Least of These’

In the past year or so there are signs that this quiet little island is being awakened after a long sleep. The mix of workers living there have seen a whole family, married couples and a married woman come to faith. However, the fruit of these new lives and the translation work that is carried on in plain sight have not come without opposition from local religious teachers and certain government officials.

Pray that the Spirit would continue to blow through Vanilla island, that the ‘least’ of these islands would lead the way into the kingdom and that workers would remember that as long as God holds open the door no one can close it!

Needing the savior

Pray for Mama Sy, a new friend who has a troubled home life. She has been very open so far to our good news, ask for wisdom in sharing and for her heart to receive. May she meet her saviour in her suffering.

Hearing the Word in their own language!

Pray for the women that team members are testing the translation drafts with. Pray for good conversations about what is being read. Pray that these women would be so impacted by reading/hearing the Word in their language. Pray that they would hear God speaking directly to their hearts.

Jonah distribution

Continue to pray for the newly translated book of Jonah, that God’s word would speed through this land. Pray that it would be passed from phone to phone and that as people read and listen they would recognise the voice of God speaking to them in their language. Pray that the Spirit would convict, challenge and comfort, and the people would repent like the Ninevites!

May her family know The Truth

Pray for one island sister that has been under increased negative scrutiny from family members because of her leadership role in the body here. Pray for courage and wisdom for her and softened hearts for her family.

Good Friday

On this Good Friday, pray for many opportunities to share the story of Jesus’s death and resurrection; most people here believe that God rescued Jesus from the cross by substituting Judas in his place. Pray that God would open blind eyes to the truth and as people hear the good news they would not only believe that Jesus died, but that he died for them. Pray that many islanders’ hearts would be broken as they discover a God who came to seek and save the lost.

Jonah

Pray for the book of Jonah’s release into the community through a phone app and audio resource in two languages in the coming weeks. Pray for many people to come across this, the first splash in making the Word available here. This is a big deal. High risk. High impact. Please pray!

Translation meeting

Today and tomorrow the members of the unit who are involved in translation are meeting together to make plans and decisions! Pray for a great spirit of thankfulness and celebration for all the work that has been done. Pray for clarity of communication and thought in our discussions. Pray that we would be guided by the Spirit in all the decisions and plans we make.

Needing freedom

Pray for O as she grows in her faith, pray that she would be protected from evil and that she would experience true freedom from the darkness of her past.

Local worship songs

Pray for one local believer who is working on five different Scripture songs. He is using several different local music styles and we hope the songs will inspire others to write their own songs, as well as help believers memorise Scripture and make sung worship a key part of their gatherings. Pray for the Spirit’s inspiration as he writes these songs and that even as he writes them he too would be changed by them.

Translation check

Another translation consulting check will begin today the 15th of January. Pray for the technology to function well and for the work to continue to move forward.

Calendars

We produced a 2017 calendar complete with the proverbs of Solomon and island proverbs – in both the local language and English. We will be giving these out over the next few weeks in many different locations. Pray that God’s word would surprise and provoke further interest, pray for good conversations as we distribute them.

Islanders Transformed

Pray for the Islanders hailing from the islands of the Indian Ocean, with sizeable communities also found in France and Madagascar. Nearly all Islanders are Muslims. Those who have chosen to follow Jesus tend to live isolated lives and many experience pressure and persecution from their families, villages and government. 2 Thess 3:1 “Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honoured, just as it was with you.” Pray that God would move in power and reveal Himself to Islanders- young and old, male and female. Pray that He would draw families and communities to Himself that they might support each other on the journey. Pray that believers would be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit and that they would be strong and courageous.

Translation project

Our island is hosting a 2 week translation workshop, which started Monday. It is going well- the content and learning are excellent, but there are signs of fatigue and some sickness.  Pray for the logistics of the workshop. Pray for the health, strength and capacity of the translation team. Pray for the translators’ families who have been deeply affected by their interactions with the Word. There will be a lot of hard work in the coming months but big returns as we hope to produce accurate Bible stories in the native island story-telling style. Pray for the Word of God to come to the islands with power!

Loving the Word

There is a lot of testing and translation of the Word happening at the moment – with both believers and non believers alike. Pray that as islanders read and listen to God’s word it would be as sweet as honey to them drawing them back for more and more. Pray that it would be like blows of a hammer shattering pride and other strongholds in their hearts. Pray that it would pierce their hearts like a double edged sword. Pray that no islander would walk away from an encounter with God’s word unchanged!

Marriages not made in heaven

Many islanders enter into marriage with low expectations- they don’t  expect faithfulness, longevity or love. Husbands and wives first loyalty and connection usually remans tied to their families rather than creating a united bond with their spouse.

Pray for all those who are hurting and in pain from betrayal,  for all those who live in loveless cold marriages, for all those who long for something more but don’t know how to go about building a marriage that will last. Pray for those who bear the shame of being unmarried or cast off for not producing children. Pray that men and women would meet One who sees their hearts and their burdens, pray that they would cry out to Him for comfort, pray that God would transform the culture of marriage here and it would become the gift he intended it to be.

Distractions and busyness of life

Pray for those who have expressed a desire to know more but then the busyness of life gets in the way. Ask that God would reignite a desire to know and learn, and that they would pursue Jesus just as he is pursuing them!

Praise God that he did just this in the life of a new believer on Vanilla Island. Life had become very busy for her and she had stopped meeting with workers to study and pray together. The other day however she appeared in a bit of a flurry and said they must start meeting again – when asked why she explained that Jesus had spoken to her in a dream and asked her why she had stopped!

Pray for those translating the Word

Pray for the local translators on Clove Island. Both are believers married to unbelievers, and both of their spouses not only know what they’re doing but also add in their own ideas! Recently E’s husband said “If people actually believed all of this then the world would be totally different!” Pray that these translators would be living examples of God’s word, and that God would remove the stumbling blocks that are keeping their spouses from running to their Father.

Pray also for a local translator on Vanilla Island who has expressed a desire to find out things for herself – despite discouragement from family and a religious leader. She is recently married and her husband hasn’t discouraged her from working on translation. Her father also seems disillusioned with the majority faith and is talking to workers about what they believe. Pray that God would lead this whole family into his kingdom.

Women worshipping together

Praise God for a recent women’s retreat where nine local women gathered to worship and pray together. Some of these women came to faith through locals rather than workers and now some of these newer believers are sharing with others! Pray for strong third and fourth generation believers and that these women would continue to meet together and build one another up in unity.

God is speaking in dreams

Pray for one woman who has had many dreams from God – she has seen both her prophet and Jesus in the dreams. She said ‘Mohamed was nothing like Jesus, he was all dressed in black and wizened, but Jesus was all in white and shining’. Pray that she would be freshly amazed that God is speaking to her! Pray that she would begin to pursue him wholeheartedly.

The Lamb of God

Pray for many opportunities to share the story of Abraham’s sacrifice this month. This story is remembered and celebrated during the Eid festival happening this week. Pray that the story would prompt questions about the character of God, and their own relationship with him. Pray for the desire to hear more stories.

Good news from the islands!

Baba S has been our go-to person to help write Bible stories and gospel presentations. He loves to record and memorise them, and he recently asked us if he could play them to his whole family! Pray that as they listen they will be transformed by them. Mama Bey is elderly and house-bound. She always asks to hear stories about Jesus, and recently told us that she now follows Him! Angel is a young mum who is married to a strong believer, they are both illegal immigrants. She has been soaking up the Word and recently decided to follow Jesus and be baptised!

Praise God for curious women!

I was chatting with a couple women in a shop and when I mentioned Jesus, they immediately said: ‘We don’t know much about Jesus, will you tell us about him?’. And so I shared the big story of the Bible, building up for them a picture of why Jesus came. Her friend was in and out of the conversation, customers came and went but Karla was engaged and asking questions. Today I popped by her shop again and without any prompting she told me that I really needed to teach them more, and how her friend had said that they needed to gather others together and really learn about these things! Praise God for curious hearts! Pray that they would put their idea in action, and we would be able to meet together to study God’s word. Pray that as they discover more of who God is, their hearts will be captivated with a love for him.

A God who closes and opens eyes

A local brother who lives in a distant village was going to visit an old, poor, sick relative.  He planned to bring him the hope of the gospel and had in his bag a copy of the NT.  But somehow some men in the town got wind of his visit and came in the house looking to make trouble.  They pulled his NT from his bag and took a close look at it.  Miraculously, after a careful look one man said, “Why this is a just a copy of our book.”  He handed the NT to another man who agreed with him and said that this was “their book”.  Then they apologized for the intrusion and left.  Praise for our Father blinding the eyes of those who would make trouble as he opens the eyes of those who are searching for Him.

Rejoice over a lost sheep found

Praise God for a new female believer in Vanilla Island. After watching a video that took her through God’s story from creation to the second coming she said “I’m not even in His family and yet he carried my sins and they are really heavy! He loves me so much!’” Pray that she would daily grow in her faith and that she would develop a deep intimacy with J. Pray that God would place an urgency and a passion for sharing him with others. Pray that her husband would see her being changed by God’s love and recognise he needs what she has discovered!

Tell us more!

An island sister was recently preparing wedding food with a large group of women when some of the women started talking about the way God was responsible for all the evil in the world as well as the good.  They brought our sister into the conversation and she was able to tell them that she didn’t agree. She then had the entire audience of women captivated as she told them the story of creation all the way to Cain and Abel.  Afterwards women were asking her how she knew these things and if she could tell them more!  Praise God for this sister’s boldness and ask that she would be encouraged to step out more and more in faith to share the good news. Pray that God would bless these women with a strong hunger to hear more, and that they would seek her out for more stories.

May God speak as they sleep!

Pray for one young woman who has had three dreams from God. However, since sharing this with a worker she has been reluctant to talk in more detail. Pray that God would keep bringing those dreams back to her mind. Pray that she would have courage to be found by the God who is pursuing her! Pray also for a young believer who dreamed about an island woman searching for truth, in his dream this woman had a dream (!) that he was the one who would give her the answers. Pray that there would be women who are dissatisfied and searching for more, pray also for this young believer and others like him, that they would recognise with joy that they do have the answer to what others are searching for.