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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 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.
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!
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.
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.
Praise God for all those who have heard the good news over the past few weeks of fasting. On vanilla island two workers have had multiple times each day to share with friends and neighbours, and also with those they don’t normally interact with and rarely engage with in conversation. In the past when they’ve begun to share Truth people have either turned away from the conversation, interrupted with an objection, fallen asleep, or changed the subject! But in these last few weeks, people have stopped what they are doing to listen, they’ve pondered their statements, and asked inquiring questions. Pray that people would continue to think on what they’ve heard and that these seeds would send down deep roots into their hearts. Pray that many would be discovering a hunger in their hearts for something more than what Islam can offer them.
Pray for protection from a local Christian cult. They follow the teachings of a man called William Branham and among other things don’t believe in the Trinity. They first appeared on the scene about ten years ago and at that time some of the older believers choose to follow them. Now it seems that there is some mixing going on between that group and the local church. There is much to attract them – a charismatic leader, a place to meet for fellowship, and it’s possible that financial incentives may also play a part. Pray for discernment for local believers, that they would recognise the teachings of this cult for what they are. Pray also against the seductive hold money has on the hearts of some believers, pray that God would bring them to true dependence on him.
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!