1. Prayercast | Fiji

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    More than 300 volcanic and coral islands in the South Pacific Ocean make up the Sovereign Democratic Republic of Fiji. One hundred and ten of the tropical islands are inhabited, with the majority of the 900,000 people living on Viti Levu. Under British rule for nearly a century, Fiji became a republic in 1970. Before gaining independence, indentured servants from India were brought to work in the sugarcane fields, leading to a history of racism and segregation between natives and Indian Fijians. This ongoing scourge resulted in uprisings in 1987 and again in 2000. Recurring military coups along with broken government promises and faulty elections have led to an array of difficulties, including the crumbling of Fijian democracy. One of the most developed economies in the South Pacific, Fiji’s main industries include tourism, sugar, and clothing. Tourism has dwindled due to continued revolts, and because of unrest the islands have been removed from the Commonwealth of Nations. A European Union decision to cut sugar subsidies has lessened Fijian profits, and due to budget and trade deficits, the nation remains one of the world’s largest recipients of aid. While the Indian community is the leader of commercial activity, they are denied nearly all rights of land ownership. This tension continues to destabilize the economy and hinder future growth. Dating back 150 years, the Methodist church has had a strong presence in the Fijian government as well as in the lives of most native Fijians. Despite its position and political influence, little is being done to end racism and segregation, and this has greatly hindered the church’s effectiveness in evangelism. Indo-Fijians make up more than 35 percent of the population, the majority practicing Hinduism. Christ’s love can move the Fijian government and people’s hearts – restoring them to godliness – so relationships can be healed and Indo-Fijians can be reached with the Gospel.

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    • Prayercast | Gaza Strip and West Bank

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      West of Syria and Jordan lay some of the most contested and contentious lands on earth, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The West Bank, formerly Judea and Samaria, is landlocked between Israel and Jordan and contains the northwest quarter of the Dead Sea. The Gaza Strip, located between Egypt and Israel, borders the Mediterranean Sea and has historically been a prime location for trade. It contains the city of Jericho, one of the oldest cities in the world. Since the formation of the Israeli state in 1948, Palestinian life has been dominated by the ensuing issues and conflicts. Many have emigrated due to the extremely poor living conditions and the instability of life. Sixty-one percent of all Palestinians live as exiles. With a global diaspora of 10 million, the population of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank numbers only 4 million. Bethlehem, in the center of the West Bank and Jesus’ birthplace and area of public ministry, has transformed from more than 70% being Christian in the mid-20th century to less than 15%. Throughout the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, military occupation and violent Islamist persecution have practically forced out the dwindling Christian minority, now down to less than 2%. Christians who remain feel largely abandoned and ignored by the global Church. Unemployment soars as high as 30%, and only 17% have access to the available water resources. In Gaza, 70% of people live in poverty. Eighty percent depend on external aid. After more than six decades of suffering, oppression, and displacement, a “cry of hope” has risen in the form of the Kairos Palestine document, a historic document of “faith and work” to build solidarity to make lasting change for all people. The violence of extremism is rampant and has become a dangerous part of everyday life for many. Palestinian Christians, who trace their roots back to Pre-Islamic times, face pressures from both Islamists and Israelis, enduring constant persecution. Arab evangelicals face isolation and rejection from Arabs, Jews, and even many Christians worldwide. The loss of leadership to continuing emigration remains a hindrance in the growth and expansion of the Church. The hope for a true peace and a solution over the land often seems bleak. May God bring peace in the land, and may both Jew and Arab alike meet the Prince of Peace. Through Him alone will any meaningful reconciliation occur.

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      • Prayercast | Mongolia

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        Mongols pillaged and tore through Eurasia in the 13th century, leaving their enemies with no choice but surrender, and the name Genghis Khan rang throughout the world with a chilling pitch. The Mongol empire was established in the might and power of their leader. However, in the 14th century the empire broke apart and by the 17th century was ruled by the Chinese. It was not until 1921 that Mongolia gained independence with Soviet backing. The nation now rests between China and Russia, barren and marked with deserts and pastures. This empty landscape mimics the lack of national pride. The 2008 global financial crisis dramatically effected Mongolia, as a steep plunge in commodity prices greatly reduced the government’s revenue. Severe weather has claimed over 20% of the nation’s livestock, thus doubling meat prices. Despite this, Mongolia has one of the world’s fasted growing economies. Sitting on untapped mineral wealth, Mongolia is attracting significant foreign investment and now has the second highest GDP growth rate in the world. In addition to traditional herding and agriculture, tourism is also key to the economy. Lamaistic Buddhism has been on the rise since independence, and in 1989 there were only an estimated four Christians in the entire nation. Praise God that today there are over 40,000 Mongolian Christians! The Church is less than a generation old, and is already actively sending missionaries to unreached areas of their nation and operating ministries within Mongolia. It has proven difficult for foreign missionaries to adapt to Mongolian culture and the naturally harsh living conditions. Crime, alcoholism, and prostitution have led to suffering and exploitation within the country. The Church in Mongolia must become more united in order to tackle these tough social issues.

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        • Prayercast | Maldives

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          1200 coral islands off the shores of Sri Lanka and India form the breathtaking Republic of Maldives, which has enjoyed independence for most of its history. Briefly under Portuguese control and later a protectorate of Britain, Maldives regained full sovereignty in 1965. The sultanate was replaced by a president in 1968, and a republic was declared. A multi-party democracy was established in 2008, bringing limited freedoms. Vibrant shades of ocean blue, pure white beaches, and glorious sunsets draw many to this tropical wonderland. The average size of each island is merely one square kilometer, with only 202 actually inhabited. But this apparent paradise is reserved only for tourists; beneath an idyllic surface, the realities are dire. Maldives suffers from one of the highest divorce rates in the world, in addition to rising crime rates, increasing gang activity, widespread child abuse, and pervasive drug use among teens. The islands themselves stand in a vulnerable state, as the coral that supports them is being destroyed by coral mining and increasing ocean temperatures. The potential for rising sea levels also threatens to wipe these islands off the map. While some freedoms have expanded through democracy, there remains no freedom of religion. Islam is the official and only religion; all others are illegal. Only the Gospel of Luke and Acts are currently available in Dhivehi, but even those are not permitted to enter the nation. No mission work or christian literature has ever been legally allowed within the islands. Widespread traditional beliefs in spirits combined with Islam leave many Maldivians trapped in fear. With little to no access to the Gospel within these isolated islands, a true miracle is needed to bring hope and salvation to the people.

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          • Prayercast | Laos

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            Head bowed, palms pressed together in a prayer gesture, and the Laotian words, “sabai di” (good health) are called a nop and are used as a social greeting by Laotians. This narrow landlocked country in Southeast Asia is surrounded by China, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar. Laos is mostly mountainous and one of the few communist nations left in the world. Laos was part of French Indochina until communist forces removed the French in 1954. Since 1975, the communists have maintained firm control. Closed for many years, Laos is one of the Asia’s poorest and most underdeveloped nations. Poverty is most prevalent on 5 percent of the land, where 75 percent of the 6.6 million Laotians live and depend on agriculture and natural resources. Economic reforms towards a more free market system have helped to lower poverty in recent years, but the economy still depends heavily on foreign investment and aid. Following the communist takeover, Christianity was declared an enemy of the state. Two thirds of Laos’s Christian believers fled the nation, and those who remained had to meet in secret. Laos’s Buddhist majority was also suppressed. Today, Buddhism, which meshes easily with animist spirit worship, has again become the religion of over one half of Laotians. Christianity is one of four government-approved religions, but open churches are closely scrutinized. Intense persecution and restrictions still occur, mostly at the local level. Despite those pressures, the Church in Laos has shown encouraging growth through the evangelism of indigenous Laotian Christians.

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            • Prayercast | Grenada

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              Also known as “Spice Island” for its exports of nutmeg, mace, and cinnamon, the nation of Grenada is located north of Venezuela in the southern Caribbean. Uninhabited when Christopher Columbus landed on its shores in 1498, the French settled Grenada in the 17th century and imported large numbers of African slaves to work sugar plantations. The British took control of the island in the late 18th century, and independence was fully gained in 1974, making Grenada one of the smallest independent nations in the Western Hemisphere. In October of 1983, Grenada was overtaken by a Marxist military council, and six days later it was invaded by US forces, who captured the rebel military leaders. Free elections have occurred since, and Grenada has functioned as a parliamentary democracy within the Commonwealth of Nations. Grenada is located in the hurricane belt, and in 2004 Hurricane Ivan decimated crops and crippled the spices normally sold for export. The nation has since recovered from the damage but has acquired massive debt from the rebuilding process. Widespread poverty remains an issue, and the nation has a wide diaspora, with as many as double the island’s population living outside the nation. Over 90% of the nation identifies with Christianity, and half of those are Catholic. Despite this high number, there is a steady moral and family decline in the nation. Almost half of the households are run by women as men travel abroad looking for work. There is a high teenage pregnancy rate, and the culture has increasingly become accepting of sexual promiscuity. There is a lack of missionary vision amidst the local churches, though an Evangelical Alliance has been formed in an attempt at unity. While growth continues in all segments of the church, it has slowed significantly within the last decade. Nonetheless, a number of conservative and mainline denominations are healthy and thriving.

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              • Prayercast | Solomon Islands

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                In 1568 the Spanish explorer Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira observed gold on the Solomon Islands, and, thinking it the source of King Solomon’s fabled wealth, he left the islands with their given name. This group of islands east of Papua New Guinea in the Pacific Ocean came under British rule in 1893 and received independence in 1978. The World War II Battle of Guadalcanal took place in the Solomon Islands, and that war became a key factor in unifying the divided peoples of the islands. In some corners of the nation, inheritances include non-material things such as knowledge, wisdom, and magical powers. The economy is based on agriculture, fishing, and forestry, and many mineral resources are underdeveloped. Fish and lumber are the main exports, but the industries are mostly foreign owned. Ethnic tensions led to violence and a 2000 coup and resulted in an Australian-led police force arriving in 2003 to restore order. This violence, along with the closing of key businesses and a moneyless government, led to an economic collapse. Over the past hundred years, the Church in the Solomon Islands has grown from around 30% of the population to over 95%, serving as a unifying factor for the nation, as well as providing many services to the people. Much syncretism takes place in the Church, with some islanders still praying to their ancestors or practicing animism or black magic. The Church played a key role in reconciliation throughout the recent ethnic conflict and is conducting a Truth and Reconciliation Commission as well. Despite a history of revivals, the Church has begun to stagnate and is in need of a fresh breath. However, because of this history, the Solomon Islands are still home to a group of dedicated prayer warriors.

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                • Prayercast | Morocco

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                  Once believed to be the westernmost part of the world, the name Morocco is derived from the Arabic Al Maghrib, meaning “far west” or “where the sun sets.” Occupying the northwest corner of Africa, the nation was originally inhabited by Berbers, who were then conquered by Muslim Arabs after 684 AD. In the 17th century, Morocco was colonized by France and Spain, and in 1912, the nation was split into French and Spanish protectorates. Morocco became independent in 1956 and established a constitutional monarchy in 1972. The king is both the head of state and religion and has declared all those born in Morocco to be Sunni Muslim. Morocco is the world leader in the production and export of phosphates and has 70% of the world’s reserves. The leading industries are agriculture, forestry, and tourism, and agriculture employs 40% of the workforce. Casablanca is the economic capital, the largest port, and the most populous city. There is a huge gap between wealthy and the poor and 13% of the population live below the poverty line. Morocco also lays claim to the Western Sahara, and the nomadic Saharawi people that live there are fighting for their independence. While the UN has set up referendums to allow for self-determination, Morocco has postponed those votes. The state religion is Sunni Islam, and ninety-nine percent of the population is Muslim. Unlike in many other Muslim nations, Christians and Jews are tolerated, though some freedoms have deteriorated in recent years. Despite this tolerance, Christians are monitored by authorities, and some have been imprisoned. Dozens of Christian workers were expelled in 2010. The majority of Moroccans have a strong prejudice against Christians and are resistant to the Gospel, and the media helps fuel these attitudes. In an effort to avoid the religious violence and conflict occurring between Muslims and Christians in other African nations, the Moroccan people and government try to keep all Christian activity secret. The government is opposed to an indigenous Moroccan Church, but one is emerging nonetheless, and an estimated 2,000 Moroccan believers meet in small house churches. Unity of the church is difficult with believers scattered around the nation, sometimes isolated from other believers.

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                  • Prayercast | Algeria

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                    The largest nation in Africa, Algeria has faced problems nearly as big. The Berbers, a native people of North Africa, were the nation’s first inhabitants and lived at peace until the 5th century B.C., when Algeria first experienced foreign influence. Islamic expansions during the 8th and 11th centuries were highly influential, as the new religion and Arabic language were brought to the region. French colonial rule, which began during the 19th century, brought expressive French ethos and socialist ideas, which similarly affected Algerian culture and thought. Algerians rebelled against French rule during the mid 1950s, and though independence was gained in 1962, millions of people died in the years preceding autonomy. Upon independence, socialist governments with strong militaristic loyalties controlled Algerian policies and trade. The large oil and natural gas deposits found within Saharan lands were hopeful assets for economic growth. Unfortunately, low petroleum prices left Algeria’s economy faltering. During the 1990s, brutal civil war ensued between military forces and Islamist militants. The struggle for political control cost the lives of over 100,000 people. Islamist factions continue to emerge, and the government, which identifies itself as Islamic, is making concessions to these extremists at alarming rates. The heavy influence of Islam in Algeria and the government’s promotion of extremist ideals continue to color the nation’s spiritual climate. Algerian Christians face systemic persecution through laws making all non-Muslim worship illegal. Even so, Christianity is expanding despite increasing opposition, with some estimating there are 100,000 believers in Algeria today! Congregations composed of Arab, Berber, and foreign believers are experiencing great unity and exhibit a vibrant national expression of faith. Pray that God would continue to move mightily in Algeria, drawing many to himself though the witness of bold believers and effective missional efforts to Muslim neighbors.

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                    • Prayercast | Bahrain

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                      bahrain

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