Intercessory Insights from the Isles

2004 ~ PART ONE

Turning Information into Prayer

Highlighting World Events and Christian Initiatives

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May the Lord fill your hearts with love and concern for people and places you might otherwise barely have thought, let alone prayed about.


  Africa Uganda at Crossroads -April 05
Mission Africa with Terry Charlton  
The Congo
  Light into the Muslim World Pandora's Box
War against Terror  

The Military Task and Spiritual Challenge  
Morality in Iraq  
Saddam's Fate
  Israel and Palestine Israeli Crossroads - April05
Israel: God’s Time Clock
Britain’s part in Israel’s history

Double Standards in the West
Warning Signs in the EU
War weary Palestinian Christians
Reconciliation Journey (Lyn Green)  
Two Arab Saints (Bishara and Rami)
What is God's Solution?
  Middle East Insights into Iran  - April 05 UPDATE
Qatar: a Proto-democracy?
  America ATROCITIES IN IRAQ (1.5.04)
  Australia Vilification Charges brought against Pastors
  Russia Kyrygzstan – After the ‘Tulip’ Revolution: what next? April05
President Putin and the Caucases
Why is the Ukraine so important to Russia?Ukraine
Ukraine 2
Revival in Russia
Asia Japan/China Tension - April 05
North Korea
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?...I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 8:35-39

The Heavenly Man: The Back to Jerusalem Vision
Economic Bubble about to Burst? (1.05.04)

A Prayer for 2004

Thank You, Lord, that You are the God of new beginnings.
Bless us Your pilgrim people as they look to You.
Expose our weaknesses, heal our waywardness
And make us prompt to follow Your leadings.

Bring Kingdom life into every project we are engaged in
and Kingdom power and perspective on the issues that we face.

Direct us to the people You would have us reach out to,
And grant us wisdom in all our dealings.

Interpret to us what You are saying and doing –
and when we cannot understand, let us trust Your leading anyway.

Where there is a gap between our past achievements
And what You could be doing through us
Help us not to hold back or settle for second best.

Grant us faith to step out, hope and courage to sustain us,
And love to embrace the people we meet on the way.

Thank You for all who have shown us love and support;
We bless those who oppose and show themselves small-minded:
May Your power come now to kindle love in both them and us,
Renew their morale and sense of purpose
So that together we can serve Your Kingdom effectively

In Jesus’ name, Amen. New Year 2004


Mission Africa

We have featured in previous editions the excellent work of Terry Charlton and Mission Africa as they continue their servant ministry to largely unevangelised areas of Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya. God is using this team mightily.

Read the report from their recent trip here: Report on Mission to Fort Portal and Masaka 

To contact or contribute: visit or ring Terry and Carol on 01932-856518.

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The Congo

Meanwhile, over the border in The Congo, the International Rescue Committee reports that between three and five million people have died from the recent war in The Congo, most from avoidable hunger and disease. In an article in the Daily Telegraph, Adrian Blomfield reports from Aru that although hostilities have officially ended, millions remain vulnerable in this vast country, which is the size of France Spain and Germany combined. The agricultural economy has collapsed with most Congolese far too afraid of the gangs of armed thugs to return to their farms. Many women have been abducted as sex slaves – and those caught trying to escape are brutally tortured. The infrastructure, once one of the best in Africa, has deteriorated to the point where basic travel across the country is now all but impossible.

Congo is made up of some two hundred and fifty tribes. Leopold II of Belgium brought them together, but there was never any indigenous unity. Moreover, his brutal overseers plundered the nation’s wealth to line the king’s pockets. Numerous demonstrations against this abuse of power were held in both Britain and America, which this eventually helped to bring his oppressive regime to an end. But the West has been much less vociferous this time. The (belated) sending of UN troops was utterly necessary, as we have reported in previous editions.

Pray for Congo to be spared from another bloodbath – and from those who would feather their own nests.


Many years ago I read a book called Visions beyond the Veil, which is the remarkable account of a revival that happened amongst poor children in China at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The book made a profound impression on me. But all the miracles that occurred in the children’s lives, and the visions that they saw concerning heaven and hell, came about only because a couple valiantly went to work where no one else had wanted to go: to the poorest of the poor.

A few days ago a friend gave me a copy of a book by the grandson of these missionaries: Rolland Baker, and his wife Heidi. Even in these days of Spirit-filled revival, it is seldom, almost never, that one reads of people who God has prepared and used quite so profoundly.

The hand of God is on this couple in a quite extraordinary ways. Their passion to love and reach the lost knows no limit. The whole book is one of such intense purity and devotion that it merits whatever superlatives people have written on the back cover, that the work this couple are involved in represents one the purest and most holy works in the world today. Single-handed, in the face of impossible odds, their passion to reach the lowest of the low took them to Mozambique in the aftermath of crippling violence, famine and civil war. There they set about reaching the thousands of street children who were either orphans or abandoned by their parents.

Without even the money to return back home, Rolland and Heidi took on several hundred sullen and violent children. By faith they saw these ‘impossible’ children transformed into shining examples of Spirit-filled believers. Despite setbacks and persecution that would have swamped nine hundred and ninety nine of every thousand of us, the Spirit of God supernaturally enabled them to overcome, and to see His miraculous provision.

The work has spread like wildfire. To date the couple have founded over SIX THOUSAND FELLOWSHIPS in Mozambique. Praise, praise, praise the Lord for every precious soul, now passionately in love with the Lord as the result of this couple’s faith and obedience.

Rolland and Heidi Baker’s book There Will Always Be Enough, is published by Sovereign World. Don’t be put off the by the title or by anything else. Like Rees Howells Intercessor, the clear and direct way in which the Bakers present the account of God’s dealings with them can seriously impact our lives. Expect God to humble and inspire you as you read it. Let Him renew your hearts’ passion to love and serve Jesus, and to see Him achieve kingdom purposes through your life – even if your ‘cello’ has broken, or you are facing shocks and obstacles that appear as daunting as those first facing Rolland and Heidi when they went to Mozambique. 

See the Baker's website:


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Uganda at the Cross roads - April 05

    Spare your people, O LORD.

    Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn,

    a byword among the nations.

    Then the LORD will be jealous for his land

    and take pity on his people. (Joel 2:17-18)

We warned a year or so ago that oppression and persecution were set to return to this beautiful and spiritually strategic country. Is the shadow of Idi Amin threatening to fall again? We received the following report from David Sseruwagi, the Director of Uganda Gospel Rehabilitation Centre, and one of Terry Charlton’s co-workers.

"We are going through a political transition that is very significant spiritually. Many intercessors and ministers gifted prophetically are in agreement about this. One of these people is John Mulinde and he had this word from the Lord:

'The priesthood in the land is in balance. We are at a place when so many politicians are leaning back on witchcraft and sorcery to see their way forward. They make covenants with demon gods and these are making demands if they succeed. Today Uganda is being bargained in the spiritual market. Both publicly and privately leaders are striking deals that are holding Uganda to ransom. In this season the satanic priesthood is more active than at any other elections. If the Godly priesthood does not rise up now, the satanic priesthood will take up the land. And you will live to regret it.'

‘On the ground we are having a lot of excitement about the political transition. We are to have elections in 2006 and a referendum sometime this year. The constitution is being changed to [make it possible for the] President to seek another term of office, which is against the present constitution.

Many laws are being debated in Parliament. We need to pray that these are laws that are not against the teachings of the Bible. The Moslems are also pushing for sharia law to come into the constitution. Feminists, homosexuals are also trying to resist laws on pornography. The political direction we take in the near future depends on the prayers of the church, at this time when the country appears poised to go back into the anarchy we had in the Idi Amin and Obote times. Many opposition politicians are quite violent in their speech. It is true that many people are being arrested and tortured in 'safe houses’ – though the government vehemently denies this.

Unfortunately we leaders in the church are generally not ready and in tune with the reality facing us. So we have felt led to first take a forty day prayer and fasting session involving repentance for our lukewarmness, (sin!) before we involve the whole church in twelve months of prayer right up to 2006.

This second report is by Adrian Blomfield. It was published in March in the Daily Telegraph, and is reproduced with permission:

Regime of Tyranny and Torture back to haunt Uganda
- April 05

Suspected dissidents disappear after midnight visits to their homes; chilling screams can again be heard from Idi Amin's infamous torture chambers, reopened after a quarter of a century of disuse. From the few that escape come tales of punishment beatings and even mass executions.

Welcome to President Yoweri Museveni's Uganda. One of Britain's favourite African states in recent years has, almost unnoticed in the West, become a sinister land where a corrupt regime uses its secret police to rule through fear.

Mr Museveni has ruled Uganda since 1986, when his rebels marched triumphantly into the capital Kampala. Many of his countrymen believe he now wants to recast himself as that most African of leaders: a president for life.

Signalling his intent to jettison the vestigial trappings of democracy his government still professes, Mr Museveni has set out to remove a constitutional provision that prevents him from standing in elections next year. Not all Ugandans are keen on the idea, but the government has ways of making them change their mind.[1]

The official existence of political parties was only allowed last year, under considerable western pressure. Until then Mr Museveni operated what he called a no-party system, in which every Ugandan belonged to an entity known as ‘The Movement’, which was headed by the president.

In theory, the philosophy was supposed to rid Uganda of the ethnic and political divisions that helped cause the civil wars and dictatorships that characterised much of the country's history since independence from Britain in 1962. In practice it has allowed Mr Museveni to exert total control over most of his people.[2]

Philip and his wife Juliet were picked up in January, accused of renting out their hall south of the capital for an opposition meeting. "Every night I was hung upside down over a pit of snakes while my wife was raped by army officers," said Philip, who was held in Room 21 of Mbale Police Station, another Amin torture chamber. "One time we had to move five dead bodies into a truck. Another time I was made to dig my own grave." Like Yasin, Philip and Juliet were released. Their captors told them to report what had happened to fellow villagers, but threatened them with death if they told anyone else.

Certainly things are not as bad as they were under Amin, who killed half-a-million people in eight years of bloodshed. Mr Museveni remains popular in many quarters for bringing stability to the country.

The president was long seen as an African role model in the West for his willingness to introduce economic reforms demanded by the World Bank. But many donors are now disgusted both by the repression and by the corruption in Mr Museveni's cabinet, many of whom are relatives of the president. "Museveni hoodwinked many donors for a long time and people wanted to see the glass as half full," a diplomat said. "We are now learning our lesson." But that lesson may have come too late. A gang of young thugs, known as the Kalangala Action Plan (KAP), is allegedly preparing to disrupt the elections. Styled on the youth wing of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party in Zimbabwe, the KAP was an effective tool of intimidation during flawed 2001 elections won by Mr Museveni.

With an even greater risk of defeat if elections are free and fair, diplomats fear that the KAP could be responsible for serious violence and compound Uganda's human rights reputation still further.

For an in depth look at the traumas occurring in northern Uganda see This will point you to other informative sites.


[1] Last year, Yasin, a taxi driver who occasionally chauffeured a senior opposition official around the countryside, was woken by a loud rapping at his door a few hours before dawn. The men who had come to arrest him were not policemen, but members of the widely feared Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI). Yasin knew that the CMI, a shadowy spy agency directly answerable to the president, had no powers to arrest anybody. But he also knew better than to question his captors. He was taken to Makindye barracks, where some of the worst atrocities of Amin's infamous State Research Bureau, which used to force inmates to beat each other to death with sledgehammers, took place in the 1970s. "Every day for a week, they would hang me upside down and beat me with clubs," Yasin said. "They wanted to know names of people working for the opposition. I kept saying I didn't know any, but they wouldn't believe me." On his third day, Yasin watched as a fellow inmate, an elderly man accused of recruiting for the main opposition alliance, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), was killed using a method known as "Liverpool". The victim's head was placed in a bag that was repeatedly filled with water. To breathe, he had to drink it all, but the more he drank, the more bloated his belly became until his innards ruptured and he died in a pool of his own urine.

[2] The leader of the FDC, Kizza Besigye, in exile in South Africa, has instructed his campaigners to dole out copies of Animal Farm during party rallies. But most people are too frightened to attend. Secret police infiltrate the rallies, noting down those who attend. It is usually supporters and low ranking FDC members who are taken to Makindye. As a means of spreading fear, it is an extremely effective method.



Zimbabwe in the aftermath of the Election

Mourn for her, all who live around her,

    all who know her fame;

  say, `How broken is the mighty scepter,

    how broken the glorious staff!' (Jer. 48:17)

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe led his ruling party to victory against an opposition weakened by intimidation in the past years, in the face of relentless international criticism that he has hijacked democracy to stay in power.

Ø      During Mugabe’s long years in office, opponents have been intimidated to the extent that a climate of fear keeps opposition in check even where sterner measures no longer need to be employed directly.

Ø      Criticism of the president is a criminal offence.

Ø      Up to three and a half million people have left the country, most to either the UK or South Africa, but with considerable numbers trying to go to Botswana, but being forcible repatriated. 

Ø      Mugabe made opposition to Tony Blair (of all people!) a central plank in his intensive propaganda efforts.  He claims that Washington and European governments (led of course by former colonial power Britain) want to bring him down because of his seizure of white-owned land for landless Zimbabweans.

Ø      Even before the election happened it was branded as rigged by both the United States and the European Union.

Ø      Members of Mugabe’s Militia of Choice (his young thugs) were present to ‘help’ voters in the polling booths. President Mbeki of South Africa, continued, however, to support Zimbabwe uncritically.

Ø      The South African trade union movement has finally woken up to what is happening however. There have been protests in the streets against their own government’s uncritical support of  Mugabe’s excesses.

Robert Mugabe has led the former Rhodesia since independence in 1980. He is planning to retire by 2008 at the latest. Pray for the new vice-president, Joyce Mujuru (49) who Mutable appears to favour as his successor and for all that happens in this troubled nation.


Light into the Muslim World

This is a prayer for those of us in the West who do not have a strong burden for the Muslim nations to pick up on the Lord's heart. If the Lord is shining His light into those huge swathes of the world that are known as 'Muslim' how can we remain indifferent?

Gordon Hickson, who runs 'Peacemakers' and 'Heartcry' urges us to 'think harvest' whenever we think about the Islamic world and to do whatever we can to care for the Muslims in our midst. Here are millions of dedicated and devout people just waiting to know the Lord Jesus, whom they revere as a prophet. They are ‘treasures’ being prepared in darkness. (Is. 45:2-3) To such people, prayer, commitment and obedience come naturally. Pray for many who are not yet in the Kingdom to become the future leaders in God's worldwide Church.

From Morocco to Kazakhstan and beyond; from West Africa to the Far East, over one billion people are waiting to become active disciples. Pray for the Lord to find ways to release their massive potential. Particular prayer needs to be focussed on the closed’ or ‘difficult’ countries. Pressure against Christians is continuing to rise in places such as Malaysia, and in Indonesia, where thousands of Christians have been slaughtered. Few believers are under any illusions about the risks that they face if they fall into the hands of militant Islamists. Raw courage has to be the hallmark of their faith.

Despite all manner of subtle discrimination, open persecution and repeated setbacks, the Church is growing in countries such as Egypt faster than it is in the West. People are coming to know the Lord Jesus through dreams and visions, through face to face experiences as well as through personal witness.

May Christian agencies, churches and missions recognise what the Spirit of the Lord is doing and be moved to direct their prayer and resources in that direction.

So many Muslims have never really heard the gospel or seen it incarnated in the lives of those who follow the Lord Jesus closely.

Pray special blessing on those who are involved in training Christian nationals to bring the gospel to the Muslim world.

Pray that the power of the gospel may dispel myths and faulty perspectives and open people’s hearts wherever the truth and the love of Jesus permeates. especially through the Jesus film and its successor, and through broadcasts made through Christian radio and satellite television. A high percentage of people in the Middle East can receive satellite broadcasts – and many have had their lives turned around as a result. May the Lord use the airwaves to defeat the prince of the power of the air and to disciple countless new believers. May the Light of Jesus flood into the hearts of those whose hearts are hungering for truth.

Father, help those who are on the point of making a decision for You to cross the threshold and to experience Your clear leading and Your supernatural guidance and protection. Bless those who look askance at their conversion, that in the fullness of time many of them, too, may see Who it is that their friends and family members have chosen to follow, so that Your Kingdom may beat in new hearts and advance in new places on Earth. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Pandora’s Box:

During the first literary class we held in Shetland, I asked everyone to write a piece about the impending war in the Middle East (which was then six months away). A seventeen year old had a picture of a sort of modern-day ‘Pandora’s Box’ with a reflective aluminium seal over it. He had a clear sense that if the West went in and punctured this seal, it would be impossible to reseal it again afterwards – and that much evil would emerge from it.

If we were to plot the rising tide of problems and outrages on a graph chart, it is so obvious that Pandora’s box has been opened, and the spirit of Babylon let loose, with all the attendant cruelty and confusion that has marked its progress through the millennia. Sections of the armed forces, operating in centres formerly used by Saddam’s tormentors, have clearly come under the baleful influence of this spirit. In the American case, what has been done is being exposed more and more, and is profoundly distasteful. In the British case, the pictures in the Daily Mirror have proved to be nothing but a malicious hoax – but reports of abuse continue to circulate not only from Amnesty International but also from the Danish Defence Ministry, which has reported that Danish medics treated Iraqis who had been severely mistreated at the hands of British interrogators.

This is doubly disappointing in that the British army has made considerable progress since the days of Bloody Sunday in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, in 1972, not least as the result of the leadership of Generals Rose and Jackson. Spare more than a passing prayer for the exceedingly difficult task the British army face in Basra. These troops come under live fire may times a night. The task of all concerned is becoming increasingly difficult: Iraq has enormous oil reserves – but neither Iraqis nor Americans will benefit from it if pipe lines are cut and civilian operators are in constant danger of being kidnapped and beheaded by Al Q’aeda.

The knock on effects from the lid coming off Pandora’s box are huge. The resignation of Piers Morgan of the Daily Mirror means he joins a growing rank of media moguls who have been forced out of office over the Iraq war. I can never get away from the word the Lord gave six months before hostilities that America was being lured into a trap by thinking it could win the war against terror by conventional means. But it is important too to consider the matter from the viewpoint of those who have suffered under totalitarian regimes. Those who suffered such extremes of horror in the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc countries longed constantly that the Americans might come to deliver them.

The tragedy is what else has come with the Americans. Newsweek itself now speaks openly of an American ‘Gulag’ (with up to 50,000 Iraqi prisoners). The Daily Mirror episode has, on this side of the Atlantic, taken away from the rather pathetic sight of Senator Hilary Clinton coolly and relentlessly forcing Paul Wolfowicz to concede that American treatment of prisoners has been inhumane by any standards: sleep deprivation, twenty four hour continual questionings, and wearing hoods for up to 72 hours. Not to mention pointing out that every prediction Wolfowicz made concerning the war has proved unfounded, and that he is currently requesting an additional $25 billion dollars for the American effort in Iraq.

Indonesia, Spain, Morocco, Bali, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Israel, the present pressure on George Bush . . . all these examples of countries in need of prayer are worrying examples of how Islamic militancy has caused great and widespread fear and instability. In the UK, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott is openly discussing in The Times today how government ministers are preparing themselves for life beyond Blair.

In Thailand (where Hannah Prittie recently worked in an orphanage), the military are currently hunting five thousand armed separatists in the deeply troubled the south of south. More than 200 people have died this year. With more than a dozen Arab teachers from across the Middle East and a seemingly endless flow of funds from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait, the multi-million-dollar campus of the Yala Islamic College has become the most obvious manifestation in Thailand of what critics call the "Arab threat" to the traditionally moderate and tolerant local Islamic tradition. Pandora’s box has been thrown wide open: much has yet to unfurl emerge. It is definitely time to pray for hope to emerge!

Pandora’s Box: The Myth

If you are not familiar with the myth, Pandora was a strikingly beautiful woman whom the gods brought to Prometheus in the expectation that he would marry her. But Prometheus knew full well that the gods were eager to take revenge on him, so he refused to have anything to do with her. Instead, Epimetheus, his brother, who was intrigued by Pandora’s beauty, agreed to marry her, presuming that anyone so beautiful could never hurt or harm anyone.

Epimetheus and Pandora were blissfully happy together – until Mercury, the god, paid them a visit, bringing a special box with him. Mercury wouldn’t tell them what the box contained, but asked them to look after it until he returned from a journey, merely ordering that the box remained sealed forever.

In what sounds rather like a rerun of the temptation of the Garden of Eden, Pandora became consumed with longing to find out what was in this beautiful box. She could not stop gazing at it, her mind filled with thoughts of beautiful dresses, expensive jewellery and fabulous wealth . . .

When Pandora was on her own, she drew closer and closer to the box, holding the carved woodwork in her hands. One day, the inevitable happened. Her longing got the better of her; she tugged the gold cord and knots and opened it. To her surprise, there was no gold or treasure inside, not even any beautiful clothes.

The gods had filled the box full of all the worst evils they could devise. What emerged were the symbolic precursors of the vials and woes we find in the book of Revelation: misery, disease and death in the form of buzzing moths. Pandora was stung over and over again. Epimetheus ran into the room to see why she was crying in pain.

Pandora could still hear a voice calling to her from the box, (whose lid she had, too late, slammed shut) pleading with her to be let out. Epimetheus, now of the opinion that nothing could be worse than the horrors that had already been released, opened the lid again. What emerged this time was Hope, in the shape of a beautiful dragonfly. Hope flew out and healed the wounds that the evil creatures had inflicted on Pandora. Pandora had released intense pain and suffering upon the world through her disobedience, but she had also allowed Hope to follow after them.

May the Lord still bring the true hope of the world to the people of Iraq.

On a personal note: if the Lord has shown you to do something – or, alternatively, not to do it: heed what He is saying. He means what he says!!!!

The War against Terror

Despite our huge backsliddeness, and despite the Madrid bombings, God is still showing more mercy to us in the West than we deserve. Just yesterday (March 25th) a bomb was discovered half buried between the rails of the train journey between Paris and Basle. A catastrophe was averted. Just think how miraculous it was that the shoe bomber Richard Reid failed to carry out his assignment. Yes, despite everything, God is intervening. How we need this to continue at every level of our society!

A point perhaps worth making is that, Kosovo excepted, most of the suffering that has afflicted Muslim countries since the Second World War has been the fruit of ‘home-grown’ extremism. The murderous campaign the militant jihadists in Algeria have long been waging, along with the reign of the Taliban in Afghanistan, led Barbara Amiel to a stark conclusion:

‘The main development in 2003 was that Muslims have just as much to fear from militant Islam as the West does. ‘The greatest enemy Muslim societies face are the extremists in their midst: Ba’athists and the so-called political Islamists.’ (The Daily Telegraph)

Al Qa’eda has now extended the theatre of action by launching attacks in Turkey and Saudi Arabia. But they may have miscalculated this time. The Saudi response has been as vigorous as we predicted it would be. (After all, the rulers are massively concerned to protect their own dynasty). Over four hundred suspected terrorists have been arrested. Equally as proactive has been the forced re-education of hundreds of imams.

Given that a substantial number of (innocent) British people have been arrested by the Saudi religious police and tortured into making the most bizarre confessions,
Pray for real terrorists to be located and the innocent protected.

Father, we pray for Your power to break through into this climate of fear. Bless the people of Algeria with seeking hearts and the means of finding You, and bring many in both Turkey and Saudi Arabia to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus.

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani gallantly urged New Yorkers in September 2001 to carry on as usual with their lives to show that they could not be cowed. But it has long since become ‘respectable’ to take elaborate precautions. People have been saying that Bin Laden is on the run, but the net effect we saw around us over Christmas was that America too is on the run. To spread such a climate of uncertainty is an obvious bonus for bin Laden.
Pray for the West to get the balance as nearly right as possible between security concerns and basic freedoms.

Al Qa’eda excels at picking soft targets. It was easier to launch attacks in Kenya, Bali and Turkey than in New York. Italian, Spanish and Portuguese citizens have also been killed in Iraq.
Pray for supernatural protection.

On the macro front, European opinion is itself one such target – and it is being most effectively focused on. Mind you, just as surely as pro-Israeli supporters feel that the EU has been unevenly supportive of the Palestinian Authority, so the Muslim Council of Britain strongly criticises it for refusing to making the far reaching indictments of Israel that it is pressing for.

Wherever the external war against terror is up to, there is a huge battle going on for souls in the Islamic world. The West’s assumption tends to be that ‘If the problem is militant Islam, then the solution must be moderate Islam.’ Such a solution is good for trade, for tourism and for international relations, but how can we, as followers of the Lord Jesus, settle for it?
Pray against excessive polarisation that leads to extremism winning.

CND is, and has always been, another example of uneven-handed support. For years, peace campaigners marched against western causes in such a way that it was clear that the only disarmament they had in mind was Western disarmament. When did CND ever march against Soviet missile programmes or protest against the actions of the Chinese in Tibet? Likewise, to say, as protestors did at the biggest ever anti war march in Britain earlier in 2003 ‘Give peace a chance’ fails to take account of the three hundred thousand people who died under Saddam Hussein. Iraqi firing squads were working flat out until minutes before the Americans took over towns and cities of Iraq.

In campaigning actively now against the Bush administration, CND finds itself in a formal alliance with the Muslim Association of Britain, whose spokesman, Dr Azzam Tamini, is on record as having said, ‘The Israelis have guns, we have human bombs. We love death, they love life.’ What does this new alliance point to? That CND has always teamed up with those who find the West’s resolution to protect its freedom too hard to bear.

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The Military Task and the Spiritual Challenge

Whilst the Taliban are having considerable success in regrouping in rural parts of Afghanistan, much as the mujahadeen predecessors did against the Russians, pray for a dear man – we’ll call him Charles – who is leading a team to resume a previous ministry of reaching an unreached tribal people.

What spiritual people can only do in the first instance on their knees, military planners are seeking to do by other routes. But the task of rooting out the terrorists in Iraq is made the more difficult by the fact that cells no longer conduct attacks in their own hometowns to make it more difficult for them to be infiltrated. Cell members do not sleep in their own homes, and they never keep their weapons in the houses they are living in. An estimated 5000 operatives are at work in these cells. Considering how well armed and resourced they are, this is a potent opposition, despite the capture of Saddam leaving them with no figurehead to gather around.
Pray blessing and success on all God’s chosen workers, but also on His secular agencies in the run up to the elections in Iraq.

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Morality in Iraq

Despite the sleaze inside the royal palaces, Saddam and the Minister of Culture kept a strict watch outside on any films or books that were deemed even remotely ‘naughty.’ Prostitutes could be beheaded. Now people are ‘making up’ for lost time. Just as in Eastern Europe, western-style ‘freedom’ is opening the door for porn and vice to flood into the country. A third of the country has access to the porn channels on satellite TV, which horrifies traditionalists. Whilst few in the nation want to see a Saudi-style religious police to curb these trends, Islamic vigilantes are inflicting their own horrific penalties on people found watching or practising such things.
Pray again for these satellite channels to be used to help the Iraqi people to find and follow the Lord Jesus.

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Saddam’s Fate

For all the suffering he caused, Saddam often miscalculated spectacularly. He launched a pre-emptive war against Iran expecting it to be a quick one; it turned into a long drawn out and sanguinary affair. Then, in the mother of all misjudgements, he invaded Kuwait and hoped that the world would turn a blind eye. Saddam’s capture was a huge blow to many Palestinians, who viewed him as their champion. (He had provided over $35,000,000 to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers and to support the Intifada). One would expect him to relish a ‘mother of all genocide trials’ – but rumours are beginning to circulate that he may be suffering from cancer and not have long to live.

The Allies had desperately wanted him to taken Saddam alive so that the world could hear the stories of torture and oppression that he inflicted on his people in order to demonstrate that they were ‘justified’ in going to war. But will the truth about the Ba’athist regime in Iraq be laid bare in the same way that the Nuremberg trials did about Nazi Germany?

Do tyrants repent? Always at the back of my mind I have the wonderful story of the American chaplain appointed to minister to the Nazi war criminals who had been sentenced to death following the Nuremberg trials. Initially, the man fought against the appointment. He had lost both his sons to the Nazis, and his heart raged. But, as he put it, the Lord gave him hell until he agreed to take the gospel to them. Some were not interested. Goering took his own life. But one by one several of the most guilty men in the Third Reich opened their hearts to the Lord Jesus and went to the scaffold pleading the blood of the Lamb.

The good news is that it is never too late to repent – but neither is there the slightest room for complacency. Studies amongst surviving tyrants who have been forced into exile indicate that the over-whelming majority remain stubbornly convinced to the end of their rightness. They have built the structure of their whole being around the decisions that they made, no matter how profoundly wrong more level headed people would regard them to be. To admit they were wrong would mean pulling down the foundations of their lives and leave them effectively admitting that everything they had done or believed had been off beam. Few are prepared to humble themselves so completely.

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Israel & Palestine

"Make your praises heard and say, ‘O Lord, save Your people, the remnant of Israel." Jer. 31:7

"Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God. Your sin has made you stumble and fall. Return to the Lord, and let this prayer be your offering to him: "Forgive all our sins and accept our prayer, and we will praise you as we have promised. Assyria can never save us, and war-horses cannot protect us. We will never again say to our idols that they are our God. O Lord You show mercy to those who have no one else to turn to." The Lord says, "I will bring my people back to Me. I will love them with all My heart; no longer am I angry with them..." Hosea 14:1-4

"I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them." Amos 9:15

What feelings rise up in you when you discuss Israel, let alone meet Jews?

Because this issue raises such strong feelings and opinions, polarisation continues to be the order of the day. A good starting point for praying about this topic would be to pray the prayer that originated in Kenya which we included on our cassette ‘Encounter’:

From the cowardice that dare not face new truth
From the laziness that is contented with half truth
From the arrogance that thinks it knows all truth
Good Lord, deliver us.

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Israel: God’s Time Clock

"Turn to Me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. By Myself I have sworn, My mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before Me every knee will bow; by Me every tongue will swear. They will say of Me, 'In the Lord alone are righteousness and strength.' All who have raged against Him will come to Him and be put to shame." Isaiah 45:22-24

Phil Townsend wrote, in ‘A Vision for the Church at the Turn of the Millennium’:

"God is restoring some key understandings to the Church concerning the place of Israel in His purposes at the end of the age. Israel is, and always has been, God’s time clock. We are to watch its face more closely than ever, seeking to bless that nation and co-operate in what God is doing there and among Jews everywhere. Above all, we are to pray for Israel – especially for the peace of Jerusalem.

Our attitude to Israel and what is happening in the Middle East as a whole affects other aspects of our lives, even though the relevance is often not revealed to us. We need to be prayerful and vigilant. We need to love the Jewish people unconditionally, wherever we find them."

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Britain’s part in Israel’s history

Britain has been used to support and succour Israel – but we have also been the cause of further suffering. Between 1922 and 1946, a large portion of the land which had been promised to the Jews in the Balfour Declaration was given away by Britain to the Arabs. In 1947, what was left of the Promised Land was again partitioned, leaving less than half of what had originally been promised.

Moreover, at the time when the Concentration camps in Germany were emptying, and Jews were desperately trying to get back to their new homeland, the British Navy actively prevented many of these refugees from reaching Israel.

Such actions have taken a toll in the life of our nation. We have not prospered spiritually. Two generations have now grown up in Britain, most of whom know little of the Word of God, or of His promises. To the Lord's intense chagrin, consumerist hedonism reigns supreme. The fear of doing anything that would be displeasing to a holy God is most certainly not the dominant influence in most people’s lives. But the Lord is watching over His prophetic word to perform it:

"I will take you (Israel) out of the nations. I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back to your own land . . . You will live in the land I gave to your forefathers; you will be My people and I will be your God." Ezek. 37:24-28

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Double Standards in the West (Article posted late March 2004)

Ryan Jones in Jerusalem Newswire (March 23, 2004) is relieved that Israelis will never again be subjected to the shrill ranting of Sheikh Yassin, Hamas' founding father, who declared the fire and brimstone destruction Islam sees as the being the ultimate destiny of the Jewish state. This is a very different picture of the Sheik to that currently being portrayed in the West.

Now that Sheikh Yassin has been replaced by a hard liner, there is widespread expectation that the Israelis will launch more such selected attacks.

Whatever your view of the appropriateness or otherwise of such attacks, it is hard not to agree with Jones when he accuses the West of hypocrisy. One of Israel's biggest critics was British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. Barely one year ago, Britain and the US launched a full-scale war against Iraq in which their first action was to attempt a "decapitation attack" aimed at bringing the war to a swift conclusion by killing Saddam Hussein. It stuck in the gullet therefore to hear a clearly irritated foreign Secretary deploring Israel's killing of Yassin as "unlawful, unacceptable [and] unjustified."

Why are Britain and America allowed to assassinate a recognized head of state who poses a minimal threat to their nations' assets, but Israel is not permitted to eliminate a known terrorist leader who advocates the mass slaughter of Jewish men, women and children from Israel's own backyard?

Jones argues that 'When the US finally captures or kills Osama bin Laden, will Washington for even one second entertain liberal criticism that by doing so the Bush Administration had exacerbated the situation? By denying Israel the same justice they seek for their own citizens, the leaders of these two "Christian" nations are playing a dangerous game with God.'
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Double standards in the EU (posted April 2004)

Europe as a whole is struggling to come to terms with the resurgence of Islam. Right at the centre is Germany, where the church is far and away the best funded and politically most influential on the continent. This is why the government has been able to pass a decree forbidding Muslims to wear headscarves The French government has done the same. Although it sounds somewhat like King Canute’s futile gesture to hold back the tide, these actions have intensely angered many Muslims.

Islam is becoming increasingly overt and ‘visible’ in Germany. The number of mosques with minarets doubled in Germany in 2003 alone, and a further 150 are currently under construction. Germany’s ageing population will be increasingly dependent on its army of immigrant labour, a majority of whom are Muslim.

Romano Prodi, President of the European Commission, deliberately chose recently not to proceed with a conference on anti-Semitism – but it did publish an opinion poll which shows that most Europeans consider Israel to be the greatest threat to world peace(!) Kevin Myers makes an important point when he wonders out loud if the Commission is not eager to divert attention from the fact that the bulk of anti-Semitism today originates even more from immigrant Muslim communities than from neo Nazi groups.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority continues to receive millions of euros every year from the EU, which it uses to promote explicit anti-Semitism in its schools and on television. By this reckoning, the EU can only be considered as guilty of sponsoring anti-Semitism.

In the National Review Online Bat Yeor points out that ‘Terrorism is not a consequence of poverty. Many societies are poor, yet they do not produce an organised criminality of terror. To subsidise societies which nourish ideologies of hate (which he accuses the EU of doing) will not suppress terrorism, rather such pusillanimity will reinforce it.”

Bat traces how the EC created a structure of Co-operation and Dialogue with the Arab League after the Yom Kippur War in which the EC would broadly support the Arab anti-Israeli policy in exchange for wide commercial agreements. Over time, he argues that this structure evolved into a channel for Arab immigration into Europe, of anti-Americanism, of increasing Judeophobia linked with a general denigration of the West.

If it is right to believe as Bat does that Europe has long since tied its prosperity to a co-operation with Middle Eastern rulers, it becomes additionally understandable why Germany and France above all were so opposed to becoming involved in the war against Iraq. Oil is thicker than water, and monetary rather than moral issues may well have been behind its reluctance.

Warning Signs in the EU: Author critical of EU arrested  (posted early 2004)

There is a continuing need to pray for what is happening at the heart of Europe. One of the most disturbing reports I have come across recently (by Ambrose Evans Pritchard) concerns the arrest and interrogation (with no lawyer present) of Hans Martin Tillack, the Brussels' correspondent for Germany's Stern magazine. Tillack, the author of The Brussels Spaceship - How demcocray fails in Europe' was investigating fraud and corruption in the EU, and has a hue amount of material regarding the subject, which has now been seized by the police, who took him to their HQ at the Hague, which, far from amusingly, is itself the building the Gestapo once used.

Tillack's book paints a serious picture of the European  Union Remeber, Tillack is a self-declared pro-federalist, ie an insider, being arrested by a police force that is not accountable to any nation. His book explains in detail how the European institutions function – or more precisely pertinently, how they do not function. His conclusion is that the European Union has the seeds of its own collapse within it.  

What did the police say to him? That he was lucky not to be in Burma or Central Africa, where journalists get the real treatment!" The European Ombudsman has already come to his defence, issuing a strong criticism against OLAF's campaign to silence him.
(OLAF came into being as a direct replacement for UCLAF, the old fraud office, which had been discredited for its cover ups in the days of Jacques Santer. But just as many former communists remain in power in Eastern Europe under a different name, so many UCLAF staff now work for OLAF. Pray for measures to be in place to ensure that unaccountable federal police in Europe do not overstep the mark.

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Overview of the current situation (April 2004)

Many who support Israel sense that it is so weary with its blood-spattered struggle that it is now willing to trade land in order to gain a measure of peace. But many in Israel fear that yielding some ground may only serve as a prelude to seizing more. Pat Robertson, the influential American evangelist, made an impassioned speech for Israel not to ‘commit national suicide’ by ceding control of East Jerusalem because he sees the goal of the PLO, Hamas and Hizbullah as being nothing less than ’the final destruction of the State of Israel.’ His speech was published in The Jerusalem Post. In it, Robertson said that the entire world is being:

“convulsed by a religious struggle. At the centre of this struggle, is not money, or even territory. No, the struggle is whether Hubal, the moon god of Mecca, known as Allah, is supreme, or whether the Judeo-Christian God of the Bible is supreme. If God's chosen people turn over to Allah control of their most sacred sites – if they surrender to Muslims . . . the tombs of Rachel, of Joseph, of the Patriarchs, of the ancient prophets, if they believe their claims to the Holy Land comes only from Lord Balfour of England and the ever fickle United Nations rather than promises of Almighty God – then in that event, Islam will have won the battle. Throughout the Muslim world, the message will go forth: 'Allah is greater than Jehovah. The promises of Jehovah to the Jews are meaningless.'"

In a major policy statement in mid December 2003, Prime Minister Sharon made it clear that if the Palestinian Authority does not move in the next few months to implement its Road Map obligation to crack down on terrorists, Israel will unilaterally establish a security border and "disengage" its people from the Palestinians. This will involve putting as much distance as possible between Israeli and Palestinian centres of population.

Support for Israel should not make us blind to the plight of the Palestinians. A friend passed on a heart cry from the Lutheran Church in Jerusalem concerning the immense damage being done to Palestinians by the building of the 600 kilometre long wall, which often incurses well into Palestinian territory. It encloses not only settlements but also the vital water sources on the West Bank, with heartbreaking effects for individuals and communities. (See the web site of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA),

The situation is unlikely to improve in the short term, simply because neither Mahmoud Abbas nor his successor, Ahmed Qureia, the Palestinian Prime Minister, looks set to act on the terms of the Road Map and to make a serious move to clamp down on terrorists. Praise for ‘jihad – holy war’ and ‘shahada – martyrdom’ is still incorporated into Islamic Culture, a core curriculum book that is being used by the PA in schools in the occupied West Bank. The PA argues tenuously that martyrdom is an Islamic concept rather than an incitement to suicide bombings, but the ideas are nevertheless being firmly planted in young people’s minds.

Jerusalem News Wire report that no fewer than 19,000 terror attacks have been launched by Palestinians during the last three years. As a friend who saw the draft of this article remarked, ‘I think the focus of our praying should be for salvation rather than peace . . . We are in a spiritual battle. We must balance politics with the prophecies. Scripture is clear that all the nations will gather against Jerusalem.’
Only the power of God can overcome the strongholds of hatred anger and fear that the powers of darkness have shed abroad in the land.

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Children being used to carry suicide bombs

As an example of the gates of hell being opened, (an American internet newspaper that sets out to bring news from the rest of the world to the attention of the American people), reported recently that a ten-year-old boy was found at a checkpoint the other day near the northern West Bank city of Nablus carrying a suicide bomb. He was not even aware of the contents of the package, which he had been paid a considerable sum to smuggle through. Fatah
operatives tried to detonate the bomb by cellular phone when Israeli soldiers stopped the 10-year-old at the checkpoint outside the town of Hawara.

Mercifully, the cellular phone failed to detonate the bomb. Over the last two years, Fatah and other insurgency groups have used Palestinian women, many of them teenagers, for suicide missions. Most of the women were said to have been blackmailed into agreeing to blowing themselves up near Israeli military and civilian targets. Israel's military has determined that Palestinian insurgents have recruited children to become suicide bombers.

Earthquake in Israel

Meanwhile, Israel itself was rocked in mid February by an earthquake measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale. Earthquakes are common in Israel, but are rarely felt or reported. The last really big one was in 1033; experts have been predicting that it is due a ‘big’ one in the next fifty years, with the Dome of the Rock, Al Aqsa mosque being thought to be particularly at risk.  (Zech. 14:4-5, an event that will split the Mount of Olives in two, creating an enormous valley. The book of Revelation also speaks of an earthquake in the last days such as there has never been before (Rev. 16:18).

This latest quake left a crack in the ceiling of the Knesset building – which many believers saw as a prophetic sign.


Pray for Palestine

Patrick Johnstone ( writes: ‘Israel’s strangle-hold on communications, investment in industry, control of water supplies and restrictions on Palestinian labour in Israel have severely reduced living standards and raised unemployment to 40% in 2000. The inefficient Palestinian administration further exacerbates the economic plight of the population.’ He called for specific prayer for a fair apportionment of the water resources. Israel uses a massive percentage of the land’s fast disappearing renewable water. (The crucial mountain aquifers are close to being used up and far too much water is also being taken out of the Jordan. See – West Bank Clean Up).

Patrick urges us in particular to pray for the squalor and hopelessness of Gaza’s teeming multitudes. There are well over a million people in the city but only one evangelical church; few to minister the gospel, and thousands of Islamists trapped in their bitterness and rage. Pray that the Lord will open people’s eyes and embrace the one true God as their only hope.

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Pray for Russian and Ukrainian Jews

Emigrés from the Russia and the Ukraine now account for the largest sector of Israel. Over half the Jewish population of the former USSR now live in Israel – and they are reported to be more open to the gospel than ‘traditional’ Jews. Their presence is changing the feel of the nation. By contrast, the Ethiopian ‘Falasha’ Jews, who were so marvellously brought to Israel over ten years ago, now form an underclass in society and are generally greatly disillusioned. The relative handful of Christians amongst them (about 500) are heavily discriminated against. Patrick Johnstone writes:

"Years of seed-sowing and breaking down of long-held prejudices against Christianity are now bearing fruit, but missionary work can be frustrating and discouraging. Many come with exotic ideas about Israel and unrealistic visions, and find little fulfilment or identification with local believers. Pray that all who are called of God may find viable ministries, effective means of contact with non-Christians and sweet fellowship with local believers. Friendship evangelism, literature distribution and encouragement of believers are the major means of service."

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War-Weary Palestinian Christians are seeking to escape the Holy Land (posted mid 2004)

Palestinian Christians can trace their roots back to pre-Islamic days, but there is a growing exodus from among their dwindling and increasingly desperate ranks. Squeezed by Israel's crippling military blockade of the West Bank and the rise of a deepening ‘Islamization’ of Palestinian society since the start of the Intifada in 2000, there are now barely 50,000 Palestinian Christians left in the midst of more than three and a half million Muslims. Many are finding the pressures too great to bear.

Pray for the Lord to protect and provide for the Palestinian Christians. Many of them are respected in the community and have good relations with the (still dominant) Muslims who do not want to see the Islamists winning. By all means pray for the Lord to show them clearly if they truly do need to leave, but a better prayer strategy might be to pray that they can be a force for good in the land.

Pray too for Arab Evangelicals, who number about 2,000 in 30 churches, of which 20 are on the West Bank. They feel rejected by Jews, Arabs, traditional Christians and even Western evangelicals. Those from Muslim backgrounds have been specifically targeted by Islamists. The loss of leadership through emigration is serious. Bethlehem Bible College is the most promising centre for Palestinian-Israeli reconciliation, and a key ministry with 80 full- or part-time students. See (Musalaha means ‘let us be reconciled.)

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Reconciliation Journey to the Holy Land (Lynn Green) (posted end of 2003)

A rather different approach to the region’s problems has been adopted by the visit of a recent team organised by ‘The Reconciliation Walk’, a project we have referred to on previous occasions. Our friend Peter Adams sent us this report of a visit to the Holy Land in November 2003, though Lyn Green the director of the Walk actually wrote it. Their focus was to meet people in Israel and the West Bank, to hear their stories and to encourage genuine peace.

"Our delightful seventeen strong inter-generational team have spent equal time in the West Bank and Jewish parts of Israel. They have responded so well to the heart rending and provocative scenes that have thrust themselves into our relatively tranquil lives. We have been in the company of saints and extraordinary people. I wish I could recount every story we have heard but that would require a book, so two short summaries will have to suffice."

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Two Arab Saints: Bishara and Rami

Bishara was born in Jerusalem and was just nine years old when the 1948 war broke out. His parents with their 7 children were trapped in their house just outside the Damascus Gate of the old city. After some days without provisions his father ventured out to buy food but was shot just outside the door. His mother managed to drag his father's body back inside but it was several days before they could bury his father in the courtyard of the house. Then they fled and found an open home extended to them by a Muslim family inside the old city of Jerusalem.

As he grew up Bishara, born into a Christian Family, came to a strong faith, gained degrees in America (thanks to the generosity of a visiting American pastor) and returned to teach school in Bethlehem. Eventually he took a huge step of faith and obedience to start the Bethlehem Bible College.

These days Bethlehem is like a vast open prison. Travel restrictions are so severe that the people in Bethlehem (still the strongest concentration of Christians in the region) cannot travel even to Jerusalem only four miles away. Unemployment is over 70% and when trouble flares food and water supplies can be cut off. Thankfully we were there in a relatively peaceful week, so the check-points were not difficult for us. However it was heart breaking to see mothers with sick children arbitrarily turned back as they tried to get them to hospital.

There is so much more injustice in Bethlehem, but in it all Bishara is a living illustration of the grace and forgiveness of Jesus. Against all odds he keeps sharing his meagre provisions with the poor, and training Christian leaders for the better future he faithfully expects.


We also met Rami, an Israeli whose wisdom and courage impressed us beyond words. (Rami and his wife Nurit are from one of Israel’s more distinguished families. Nurit's father was a famous general, Commander of the Jerusalem Brigade, and renowned war hero.) Six years ago the ultimate nightmare of every parent in Israel happened to him. They heard the radio report of another suicide bomber and realised their 14 year old daughter could have been in the target area.

The hours that followed were filled with fruitless phone calls, visits to the scene of the disaster, and then to hospitals where the injured were being treated. Late in the night they stood by a trolley in the morgue as the sheet was drawn back to reveal the near unrecognisable remains of the light of their life.

Rami, Nurit and their family faced an inescapable choice: they could direct their unspeakable pain towards vengeance, or they could take the higher and more difficult road to forgiveness. Today Rami is an inspirational leader in a peace movement, Israeli and Palestinian Bereaved Families for Peace.

Part of his message is; "There will be a solution – two states for two peoples. One side (Palestinians) gives up 78% of the land and the other (Israelis) gives up 22% of the land. One side gives up a holy grail and the other a holy of holies. It will happen in a year or two, or five, or five hundred. It will happen when the price of no-peace is higher than the price of peace, after a certain amount of anguish and agony, horror and nightmare, after a certain number of casualties, when there is weeping in every home and the cries of both peoples reach the heavens."

Rami explains that he spends much of his time speaking in schools and colleges where he sometimes encounters hard right Israeli youth who believe that the land should be taken using any and all means. Recently a young man expressed a view sometimes held by the most religious settlers (those are the fundamentalist Jews who settle within the boundaries of the Palestinian areas, as decreed by the Oslo agreement, the Road Map to peace and several other Middle East peace initiatives).

The young man said, "We should just kill all the Arabs because the land belongs to us not them." Rami replied, "OK. How shall we do it? Do you want to take a pistol and start shooting? It will take a long time and they will surely fight back when you start. Shall we bring buses and lorries and load them up to be taken away and be shot? Will you kill me too if I resist you? Maybe there is a more efficient way. After all our race has experience with that."

A few days later our team visited Hebron, an Arab town of about 180,000 people, where about 450 settlers are reclaiming the city where Abraham and Sarah are buried according to tradition. The settlers, mostly hard right religious Jews from New York, have created four enclaves in the centre of Hebron and require nearly 2000 Israeli soldiers to protect them. On the wall around one settlement, someone had written in English "All Arabs to the gas chambers!”

My reading from the New Testament that day was from Ephesians 2 "For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall that is the hostility between us" . . . This magnificent presentation of God's end times plan goes on to reveal that God has purposed to bring together Jews and Gentiles (including Arabs) into one people who, when built together in unity, will become a "holy temple in the Lord . . . a dwelling place for God."

Towards the end of Ephesians, the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul, reminds us that, in all these life and death matters, we are not struggling against enemies of flesh and blood, but "against the rulers, the authorities, the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places". The truth of this revelation is nowhere more clearly illustrated than in the Holy Land. Everybody we met had the same longing for peace – and people do not think ownership of the land by one ethnic group or the other to be worth the destruction of human beings who are created in the image of God. Oh, there are some fanatics who think otherwise, just as the graffiti in Hebron demonstrated, but they are a tiny minority. Yet the war of horror and military retribution continues to grow. These are indeed powerful "spiritual forces of evil".

How ironic therefore that some of our ‘end times’ thinking leads to theories and ideas that stoke the fires of terror and warfare. That brings us to the reason for making this journey and our determination to make many more similar journeys.

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What is God’s Solution? (by Lynn Green) (posted late 2003)

There is no doubt at all that God has a special love and calling for Jews and that He has enabled them to have a land of their own. I believe it is God's will that they should remain in the land and that they should live in peace with their Arab cousins, who are so close to them ethnically that no genetic distinction can be identified. I also believe that our brother in Christ, Bishara and many thousands like him, have the right (along with their Muslim relatives and friends) to live at peace in the land of their ancestors. As Rami said so eloquently, it is not only possible it is inevitable.

Neither Jews nor Arabs will ever abandon the land en masse peacefully, and the world will not stand by passively while one side annihilates 4 to 6 million of the other. Surely the world will not ignore holocaust again! As committed followers of the One who said, "Blessed are the peacemakers" and "you shall love your enemies", we must be the first to stand on the dividing wall, breaking it down as we call Jew and Arab to be reconciled to God in Christ and therefore to one another.

Peter Adams notes that it would surely help our prayer if more of us were to go on such journeys. The Reconciliation Walk will be hosting several journeys in 2004: contact them at The Oval, Harpenden, Herts, or at

Israel at an uncomfortable cross roads – April 05

The IDF (Israel Army) is anticipating huge problems ahead following the enforced evacuation of settlers from the Gaza strip. It expects that it will need to retake in the autumn the cities that the Sharon government is yielding now, and that this could easily lead to something approaching full-scale war with the PA.


Despite statements by PA chairman Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) that he is disarming terrorists, attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers have increased more than 300 per cent in the last two weeks. Pray for Israel at this vulnerable and volatile time.


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Middle East

Insights into Iran

Soon after Zedekiah became king of Judah, the Lord Almighty spoke to me about the country of Elam. He said, "I will kill all the bowmen who have made Elam so powerful. I will bring against Elam the four winds from the four quarters of the heavens; I will scatter them to the four winds, and there will not be a nation where Elam's exiles do not go . . . I will set my throne in Elam and destroy her king and officials," declares the Lord. But later on I will make the people of Elam prosperous again. I, the Lord, have spoken." (Jer. 49:34-39)

Twenty years ago, the Lord told us that there was going to be an earthquake in an Iranian town that would destroy it altogether. Now that it has happened, may the Lord somehow bring blessing out of the rubble, and bless the Iranian people both in their own land, and in the far-flung places to which they have been dispersed.

While attention is focused on the social disaster caused by the massive earthquake, a political crisis has been rocking Tehran. The Guardian Council – that is the clerical group that controls the country – has declared that hundreds of reformist-minded candidates, including nearly a hundred current MPs, should not be allowed to contest the elections scheduled for February 2004. Included in this group is the brother of the reformist President Mohammad Khatmi (Reza).

Despite sit-ins by dozens of moderate MPs, and even an appeal from the country’s spiritual leader, Ayatollah Khameniei, the Council has refused to compromise. Pray for Iran to open up in accordance with the wishes of the majority of its citizens – and that this will ease the pressure on believers.

The Power of God at work in Iran - April 05 UPDATE

"See, I will break the bow of Elam [Persia], the mainstay of their might.

I will bring against Elam the four winds from the four quarters of the heavens;

I will scatter them to the four winds, and there will not be a nation where Elam's exiles do not go. I will set my throne in Elam and destroy her king and officials," declares the Lord. Yet I will restore the fortunes of Elam in days to come," declares the Lord  (See Jer. 49:35-38).

An exciting event is going to be held in Holland at the end of July: a conference for one thousand Iranian Christians, who believe that the time is right for the hold that Islam has over the land to be broken. They believe that God has been raising up converts around the world to return to join forces with the underground church in Iran to make the Church significant in the land. The government is getting worried and is clamping down hard. This is an important time to pray for Iran.

Ø      One Iranian pastor says: "In the 1980s, we rejoiced over two or three new believers each month. In the 1990s, we were impressed when we heard about a group of new believers. Today, we are somewhat surprised to discover an entire new underground church."

Ø      The Islamic Revolution took place in 1979; the Shah was deposed, and Ayatollah Khomeni ruled the nation with an iron grip. Almost all Iranians were at least nominal Muslims. There was a minority of around 250,000 Armenian and Assyrian Christians who were allowed to practise their faith, but not in Farsi, the national language. They were also forbidden to evangelise.

Ø      That caused an exodus of Iranians, with half of the Christians emigrating.

Ø      After 25 years of the Islamic Revolution and its religious-political propaganda, people are disappointed in Islam and its broken promises. They feel stifled and repressed.

Ø      "There is no freedom of speech or of religion. Violence against women, suicide, drug use and prostitution are endemic, and AIDS is increasing," the Religious Liberty Commission (RLC) reported on the 10th February, one day before the 26th anniversary of Iran's Islamic revolution.

Ø      " Twenty-six years ago, the secular state was replaced with "a quasi-theocracy where the government is subservient to, and hamstrung by, the Council of Guardians, (fundamentalist Shia clerics and judges). Despite its ancient history in the region, Christianity is treated as a foreign religion and a threat to national security.

Ø      But the nation is setting set off on the quest for alternative answers and people are coming to faith in Christ as never before.

Ø      An Iranian who emigrated to Scandinavia for economic reasons found Christ there. On his first visit to Iran, he was itching to tell his relatives of his new faith. Within one month, 50 of his relatives came to faith. By the time he returned again one year later, the church had grown to over 250 believers. "Sixty per cent of all Iranians have heard the Gospel. We find these people everywhere!" said one member of the Iranian security services.

Ø      Children of ministers and mullahs are also coming to faith. Every day, 50 Iranian youths secretly join a Christian church, according to Shiite leader Hassan Mohammadi of the Iranian Ministry of Education, speaking to a group of students in Tehran. By saying that, Mohammadi was inadvertently admitting that the Iranian Republic has failed as a theocratic regime.

Hamid Pourmand held in notorious Evin Prison

Pastor Hamid Pourmand and his family


Under Iran's constitution, Islam is declared the official religion of the nation, and the doctrine followed is that of Ja'fari (Twelver) Shi'ism.

Ø      Hamid Pourmand, a Colonel in the army and a lay pastor in the Iranian Assemblies of God, was arrested on 9 September 2004 and tried for military espionage under the charge of deceiving the Iranian armed forces about his religion. Although the charges were dropped, the military court in Tehran heard that Hamid served in an 'underground church' and that 'many Muslims' have converted to Christianity through his ministry. He now faces a court with charges of 'apostasy' from Islam and 'proselytising' (evangelising) Muslims.

Ø      Iranian Christian Hamid Pourmand has been sentenced to three years in prison and incarcerated in a group cell at Tehran's maximum-security Evin Prison, along with several internationally known political dissidents.  Hamid reportedly explained to his fellow prisoners the circumstances of his arrest and sentencing, which was based solely on his religious conversion to Christianity 25 years ago.

Ø      "The government is very angry about this, because now he is very popular in the jail!" one source commented.

Ø      He is now facing something much worse: a trial for apostasy. 


Friends are fearful for Hamid's life. Evin Prison became infamous after the 1979 revolution brought an Islamist government to power. Untold thousands of political prisoners were tortured and executed there after cursory trials.

Pastor Pourmand's conviction on dubious charges of concealing his Christian faith from military superiors has left his wife Arlet and the couple's two teenaged sons penniless and homeless.


'Apostates' executed

Ø      Since the government-ordered execution of convert pastor Hussein Soodmand in Mashhad in December 1990, the Islamic Republic of Iran has enacted a harsh crackdown against the country's evangelical churches and various house-church movements accused of evangelising Muslims.

Ø      Many Iranians long for openness and liberty, but under Islamic law Christian witness to Muslims is banned. Renouncing Islam is a capital offence," the RLC added.

Ø      Because apostasy is a capital crime under Islamic law, Pastor Pourmand's conversion 25 years ago – which he never kept secret – is sufficient grounds for the death penalty. "He will doubtlessly be ordered to return to Islam or suffer the consequences," the RLC reported. Several former Muslims who had converted to Christianity have reportedly been executed by court order on charges of 'espionage'.

The weeping Mullah

Here is an example of Iranian openness to the Gospel: an Iranian Bible courier was on a long bus journey. The bus was modern, with air conditioning and a video player. The Bible courier went to the driver and gave him a video of the Jesus film, and asked him to play it.

The courier was shocked to discover a mullah a few seats behind him. How would the mullah react to the Jesus film?

The mullah could not keep his eyes off the video, and soon jumped up, shouting with a shaking voice, "Please be quiet! This is a film about a holy man, the Prophet Jesus. His life deserves our full attention!"

Immediately, the noisy bus fell silent, and the passengers concentrated on the video. At the end of the film, which ends with an evangelistic call, the mullah sat in his seat, weeping.

These developments are a catastrophe for the Islamic authorities. They are losing control. In September 2004, they arrested 86 Assemblies of God pastors – in many ways, an act of desperation.

Christians meet in independent groups, which are springing up like mushrooms – but they are invisible.

In contrast to most Islamic nations, new believers are not immediately expelled from their families. Quite the contrary – their Muslim relatives often follow the new believers in their change of faith.

There are now far more than a quarter of a million believers in Iran, according to the Iranian authorities – and that is a conservative estimate. This is an important reminder to keep Iran in our prayers. God is doing something special there. We record below a report from a Farsi-speaking Christian who visited Iran recently.

Talking with the Iranian Inquisition

On our way back from Kerman I sat next to a friendly man who immediately pounded me with questions as soon as he realised I could speak Persian. Where do you come from? What do you do? What is your religion? What were you doing in Kerman? What do you think of Iran? What do the English think of Iran? Iranians ask questions, but there was a different tone to this man’s questions. I felt he was on a mission. So after the umpteenth question I said, now I have a question – ‘What do you do?’ He smiled sheepishly, and then with real pride in his voice said – ‘I am a ‘pasdar’ (watchman) – I work for Sepah’. My suspicions were confirmed. Sepah is a sort of MI5 and MI6 and a massive SAS type of army rolled into one. If the official army ever caused a problem for the government, they would call in Sepah. They are very much the armed guardians of the revolution. I was genuinely happy. Nearly always I’d spent time talking to people who were less than sympathetic to the revolution. Now I had a believer next to me for the one hour flight to Tehran. And I certainly had questions for him.

I first asked about what Iranians thought of the English. He re-assured me that Iranians had nothing at all against the ordinary man in the street, but they did have serious problems with the government. The English had forced out Reza Shah and installed his son Mohammad Reza, then with the Americans they had helped topple Mosaddeq; more recently they had first enticed Saddam Hussein to attack Iran, and then supported Iraq throughout the war. He knew his history well and there wasn’t much to say. He was right – nothing very controversial here.

What was more interesting for me was what he, as a true believer, thought about the very widespread belief in Iran that the English had sent in Khomeini. I said I’d talked to many Iranians and they all said that underneath Ayatollah Khomeini’s beard was ‘Made in England’, that it was the English who had played their traditional religious card to cripple a possible economic competitor. He laughed to himself, and with his friends, and then his face became serious.

The Imam had always denounced England and the West, as well as Russia. It was the Imam who had taught his people how England had interfered in the affairs of Iran. No, it wasn’t the English who sent the Imam – it was the people who forced the Shah to go, and it was the people who brought back Ayatollah Khomeini. It was truly a people’s revolution. I completely agreed with him. Though widely believed by most Iranians that the BBC inspired the revolution, I have always thought this was nonsense. Ultimately Khomeini won Iran because he was a stronger man than the Shah and knew the aspirations of his people much better.

            My next question took him by surprise. I explained that as an Englishman I was completely free to choose whatever religion I liked. I had in fact chosen to become a Christian – but nothing would have happened to me if I’d chosen Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, or any other faith. And so my question – ‘What would happen to you today if you chose to become a Christian?’

            He was given time to think as the lunch trolley was coming down the aisle, and he said, ‘Shall we eat?’ So we ate in silence, but over coffee I repeated my question.

            He first side-stepped it by saying how Islam respects Christians and considers them as people of the Book. But I came back – ‘What would happen to you if tonight in a dream you saw Jesus on the cross, contrary to what the Koran teaches, then you studied the Gospels and became convinced your dream was true and so became a Christian.

He paused and then said – ‘Edam’ Execution. He started trying to explain, with plenty of quotes in Arabic from the Koran. In Medina some people had left the Prophet and then the verse had come that any who had committed themselves to Islam and then renounced it should die. I felt the principle of force was abhorrent anyway, but hearing this, saw this verse didn’t apply now. So I said, ‘You and everyone else in this plane, who I assumed are Muslim, have not freely chosen to commit themselves to Islam, so this verse does not apply to you.’ That was very logical in my mind, because the verse had come to people who had gone with Mohammad from Mecca to Medina, they had freely chosen. But it was not logical for the Pasdar. He said the verse applies to all Muslims, both those who had chosen the faith, and those from Muslim families. I could see his mind closing here. We cannot question, he said, the glory of the Koran.

            So I tried the historical approach. I said Europe suffered when it was ruled by the Roman Catholic Church and all sorts of terrible things happened - the burning of heretics, the censuring of sensible scientists like Galileo. He was well up on Galileo and agreed heartily. With the Enlightenment, I continued, there was more separation between the church and the state, so Europe has been more at ease with herself. So wouldn’t Iran be better off if religion and politics were separated? He gave me a rueful smile, rather like I was a schoolboy asking deliberately provocative questions. He explained that in Iran politics and religion should never be separated and added that the great difference between medieval Christianity and Islam was that while medieval Christianity was opposed to science, Islam has always worked with scientific progress. In his mind that was that. As long as Islam and science were happy together, religious freedom didn’t matter.

            I finally tried a more personal approach. I said, ‘Imagine your friend here, the man sitting next to the window, has become a Christian. Would you be happy to pull the trigger yourself?’ His friend had never liked all this talk of execution and muttered that in Iran apostates were never killed – it was just a theoretical law. The Pasdar vigorously shook his head in disagreement – no, there is definitely execution for apostates. He answered my question with another one. ‘If there was a command in the New Testament to kill apostates would I not carry it out?’. I explained that  there wasn’t one, but, what if there was, he countered. He thought this was going to be check-mate. I said, I do not believe anyone should ever be killed for a religious belief, so yes, in effect, I would definitely ignore any teaching like that even if it was in the New Testament. I returned to my question – ‘Would he pull the trigger?’ He said – ‘We cannot afford to ignore the glory of the Koran.’ And again he quoted the verse in Arabic. Then he asked– ‘Shouldn’t murderers and thieves be punished? I said, ‘Yes, but someone’s religious beliefs do not harm society’. His face became very serious. How wrong I was. A man who questions the glory of the Koran is guilty of the worst possible crime. He is a cancer in society that must be cut out. So here we were, face to face with the pure mentality of the Inquisition who had burnt thousands using exactly the same sort of arguments. There was nothing more to say. It crossed my mind that in his line of work, he might come across Muslims who have become Christians and might even hold their fate in his hands. So as we landed I leant over and said, ‘I hope, if you do ever meet any Christians who have been Muslim, you will treat them kindly.’ He looked at me, and tapped the top of the seat – ‘The glory of the Koran.’


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Qatar: a proto-democracy?

Do you see that little town? It is near enough. Let me go over there – you can see it is just a small place – and I will be safe. (Gen 19:20)

Finally, a look at a tiny emirate we have not often featured before. The Gulf States have traditionally been thought of as politically old–fashioned, but something approaching a democracy may be beginning to emerge in the tiny emirate of Qatar. It is, of course, the birthplace of the Al-Jazeera television network, which has proved so controversial that many Arab nations have banned it.

The push for democracy is based not on a grass-roots ‘people’ movement – far from it! – but is rather the initiative of the Sandhurst-educated emir, Sheik Hamad bin Khalfai a-Thani. His motto is, ‘It is better to move when you are stable. If we wait too long, then everything collapses. And you pay the price.’ He was surely thinking of Saudi Arabia and Egypt, which are now assailed by very high unemployment rates, with consequent economic problems and high internal discontent.

The Sheik has therefore decided that his people need representative government just as they already enjoy free health care, education and pay no income tax. Pray for the Lord to be at work in Qatar.

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Pakistan (posted early 2004)

It is highly likely that America has been exercising considerable pressure on Pakistan to take action against al Q’aeda; perhaps even to the extent of threatening that America would take direct action if they did not. Northern Pakistan is rugged mountainous territory, but this would be the time of year when incursions would theoretically be possible to try to seize senior Al Q'aeda militants. President Musharraf is in an awkward position, needing to balance his role as an ally of the U.S. in the war against militant Islamism with the awareness that a large percentage of his own countrymen are staunchly anti-American.

Serious incursions by U.S. troops might well have upset not only Pakistani's sense of competence to deal with the situation themselves, but could have led to serious splits in the Pakistani military, as well as unleashing a backlash from the public. This is the background to the military action against the village accused of hosting al Q’aeda militants which 'netted' over a hundred suspected militants.  

Despite bin Laden enjoying so much support in the country, President Musharraf has begun to rein in the 'madrassas' – the schools that are such a hotbed of Islamic militancy. (Musharraf represents the only obvious potential partner for the West in Pakistan in the War against Terror). The Taliban are annoyed with him for this curtailment of their natural recruiting grounds, and the president has also made many enemies through his attempts to work with the Indian leadership to resolve the long-standing Kashmir issue. There have been several attempts recently on the President's life. These have so far failed – but only just. Pray for President Musharraf and the populous country that he leads. Al Q'aeda's number two, Al Zawahiri has recently called for the overthrow of Musharraf's government.

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Outrage and atrocities in Iraq (posted 2004, but highly relevant for today!)

We have known for a long time that American soldiers, trained and ingrained in the simple art of winning wars by overwhelming power, have found the whole concept of winning hearts and minds to be well outside the stock responses of their training manuals. The repercussions set up by the leaked photographs of American guards abusing their captors will send shockwaves throughout the world; and coalition claims to have the moral high ground will come under increasing pressure.

It has come as a great disappointment to find the same charges now being levelled this morning against a rogue element within the British army. We have become accustomed to thinking of British soldiers as being highly disciplined, and mentally flexible enough to toggle between enforcing law and order and winning hearts and minds. But when you bear in mind the extreme tension they have been under, combined with the fact that far from lily-white atrocities the British Army has been guilty of throughout the centuries, the whole situation becomes more intelligible.

The shock and shame is likely to seep through the morale of an army that is already well aware that it does not carry the full support of the home country behind them, quite unlike either The Falklands Conflict or the First Gulf War. And then, spreading out in rapid ripples from the army, the morale of the politicians who launched the war will be affected, and who knows who beyond . . .
Even before this happened, 52 senior former diplomats sent a strongly worded letter to the Prime minister, accusing him of participating in an ‘illegal and brutal occupation.’ The Evening Standard wrote dismissively of these people as the ‘Camel Corps’ because of their known pro-Arab leanings. (The Lord warned me many years ago that Islam has achieved a strong hold over the Foreign Office). But the Financial Times was less scathing, pointing out that at least these people know the situation on the ground in the Middle East, and that much of the troubles have stemmed from governments acting with too little awareness or regard to the real situation in the Middle East. 

I felt sorry for General Sir Michael Jackson, as he faced the press to field the consequences of these brutal incidents and the release of these damaging photographs.

Pray for the way the consequences develop in the aftermath; for those who perpetrated the outrage; for the vast majority of army members who are innocent of such things; for the soldiers who will be obliged to carry on their duties tarnished by what their colleagues have done – perhaps with a diminished sense of pride in what they are doing – in short, for the Lord to be at work in all people's hearts in that most troubled region.

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Pastors ruled to have vilified Islam
he two Australian pastors accused by the Muslims of vivifying their faith have lost their case.


You may remember that Pastors Daniel Scott and Nalliah were charged under section 8 of the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act of Victoria State (which states that a person cannot engage in conduct that "incites hatred against, serious contempt for, or revulsion or severe ridicule of, that other person or class of persons." 

Though the law outlines exceptions for religious purposes, Judge Higgins ruled that these exceptions did not apply, since the actions of Nalliah and Scot were not "reasonable and in good faith."  In the five-page summary of decision,[1] Higgins stated that Pastor Scot had "failed to differentiate between Muslims throughout the world, that he preached a literal translation of the Quran and of Muslims’ religious practices which were not mainstream."  Interestingly, the statements of Scot ruled to be most offensive were nothing other than direct quotes from the Quran!

This ruling came as a result of a seminar held by Catch the Fire Ministries to educate Christians on the beliefs of Islam.  Three Muslims present took offence at what had been said and instigated action against Nalliah and Scot.  The penalty is to be announced in later January, after both parties have had time to evaluate the decision.  Previously, the Islamic Council asked for an apology, compensation and costs, which could amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Pray for Nalliah and Scot, as they face the consequences of this ruling. We have been asked to pray for an attempt to have the Racial and Religious Tolerance act revoked in Victoria. (Source:, the Voice of the Martyrs).

My great concern all along has been that this could become a benchmark case. We were also aware that the defence was naively put together. What made it worse, was that as in a similar case in Canada that was also lost, there were legal teams available that could have been called on by people who knew what they were talking about, and who could have mounted a more professional defence. In the event, the judge branded Daniel Scott a ‘liar.’ The outcome has potential seismic repercussions and is further evidence that however the war against terror may be proceeding on the physical front, the biggest casualty may be in terms of the freedom of the gospel. There has been a great deal of reaction to this ruling around the world. I enclose two initial reactions from Australia itself. But first, a helpful overview from

Many evangelical Christians in Victoria fear that the Islamic Council of Victoria is using the case to stifle all criticism of Islam or Muslims, in effect bringing in a pseudo-blasphemy law to protect Islam.  Similar legislation against religious ‘hate speech’ is currently before parliament in both New Zealand and the UK and is prompting serious concern from libertarians and supporters of free speech who fear the similar misuse of such laws. 

The fact that one of the defendants is Pastor Daniel Scot is bitterly ironic.  Scot, a Pakistani Christian, became one of the first victims of Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws when in 1986 he was charged with insulting the Islamic prophet Muhammad, which under Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code carries a death sentence.  The blasphemy laws have attracted widespread condemnation from human rights groups and the international community for their harsh punishments and the way they have been misused to target vulnerable religious minorities.  Scot had been threatened by the council of the college in Okara, Pakistan, where he worked, that a charge would be brought against him unless he converted to Islam.  The charge was brought after he refused to do so and explained his belief that his spiritual salvation could come only from Jesus Christ, and not Muhammad.  Political pressure meant that Daniel was never prosecuted.  However, he was forced to flee to Australia with his family to escape the threat of Islamic extremists who have since murdered four Christians accused of blasphemy in Pakistan. 

Now seventeen years later, having fled religious discrimination in Pakistan, Scot again finds himself accused of a similar crime in Australia, the country in which he originally found refuge. This is an indication of the growing trend to place Islamic teaching and Muslim actions beyond the bounds of criticism, not only in the Islamic world, but also, as a result of misguided ideas of political correctness, in the West as well.  It is a bitter twist that Scot, an Asian Christian, should face this accusation from three white Australian converts to Islam who unannounced attended the March 2002 seminar (intended for the religious instruction of Christians only – and as such should fall outside the remit of the Act) and took offence resulting in the complaint.  In a painfully ironic reversal a law designed to prevent racial and religious abuse under which the Equal Opportunity Commission operates is being used by three white men to attack an Asian. 

Freedom of Speech
It is clear from the charges brought against Danny Nalliah and Daniel Scot, that both may well have been unwise in their choice of words, and over-the-top in some of their criticisms of Islamic teaching.  However it would be a travesty of justice should their statements be found illegal in a country, which claims to be a strong advocate of freedom of speech and expression.  One of the grounds of the complaint is that Pastor Daniel Scot mentioned in a seminar that Muslim fundamentalists have the responsibility to “kill” apostates from Islam.  This was cited in the complaint as unlawful vilification of Muslim believers.   

This is despite the fact that the death penalty for apostates from Islam is an extremely well documented part of Islamic law (shari’a) and is well attested by Muslim sources both historically and today. Furthermore it is not merely a matter of language or legal niceties but a very real problem for thousands of converts around the world today which has resulted in many deaths attested to by numerous creditable human rights organizations.  Nevertheless it seems that merely drawing attention to this problem may be considered a vilification of Islam; in future converts may have to suffer in silence and those who seek to draw attention to their plight may face prosecution for offending Muslim sensibilities. 

However Muslims in Victoria may, in the future, find this law being used against them.  For if drawing attention to the more unpalatable teachings of one particular religion is to be regarded as religious vilification, surely the actual expounding of those teachings will certainly attract prosecution under this law.  The next time Qur’anic verses such as the famous sword verse, “But when the forbidden months are past, then fight them and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them and beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war)” (9:5  A. Yusuf Ali, The Holy Quran: Text, Translation and Commentary and Meaning) are quoted in a mosque, there may be anonymous pagans in the audience who take offence and bring a case against them for ‘unlawful vilification’.  Could the unpalatable verses of the Qur’an (together with those of the scriptures of other religions) be effectively banned in Victoria? 

The two Australian pastors are seeking the support of international experts in sIslam to assist in their defense.  Inquiries about the case can be sent to Mark Durie (

This case continues to be watched by Christians and governments nationally and internationally – the British government is currently considering similar legislation to Victoria’s law.

 Remedy or Penalty?

There will be a further hearing in late January 2005 after both parties have had time to consider the full verdict, to decide possible remedies (penalties). In their formal complaint to VCAT, the Islamic Council asked for an apology, compensation and costs. 

This could amount to many hundreds of thousands of dollars - on the other hand they could be very ‘nice’ and simply ask for an apology. There is no monetary limit set out under this legislation for ‘compensation’.

 There is no prison term applicable under this section of the Racial & Religious Tolerance Act.  (Unless the two pastors fail to comply with any terms imposed by VCAT  - this could be a maximum term of three months). Pray not only for the specific outcome of this case, but all that comes from it.

In an article entitled ‘Is This the Death of Christianity in Australia?’[2] Bill Muehlenberg wrote that the Judge said that Pastor Scot "failed to differentiate between Muslims throughout the world, that he preached a literal translation of the Quran and of Muslims’ religious practices which were not mainstream". Most Muslims would of course object to this, arguing that they do adhere to a literal understanding and translation of the Quran. And how does a secular judge with no expertise in religion make such decisions, when Islamic scholars themselves are divided on such crucial questions of theology, interpretation and exegesis?

Much of what the Judge considered offensive was simply quotations from the Quran itself. To argue that quoting a religious book makes one guilty of vilification would put 98% of religious discussions out of bounds. The whole tenure of the ruling is that one religious group cannot frankly and openly speak of another religion, for fear of vilification. Or in this case, it amounts to shutting up Christians who dare try to criticize Muslims or any other religion. The exclusive claims of the Christian gospel, in other words, are directly at threat here. We mounted a determined fight about this law when it was first introduced in 2000. We said it would put at risk freedom of speech in general and would act as an anti-Christian law in particular. This is exactly what we are now seeing. Christians should be greatly concerned about this decision, as should all who value freedom of speech.

The truth is, probably the majority of what any Christian has said or written about other faiths will be found to be vilifying, based on the decisions of the Judge.

All Christians should be concerned by this decision. Unfortunately not all are. The Uniting Church in Victoria and Tasmania put out a media release immediately after the decision, welcoming it! They said they were concerned about "small Christian extremist groups in Victoria that are damaging the reputation and good name of the broader Christian community"!

Of course if your gospel is one that makes no distinctions and offers no exclusive truth claims, then sure, we can all share one big religious bandwagon. But if you believe that the claims of Christ are distinctive and exclusive, that truth is important, then this decision is alarming . . . Now is the time for people of faith to stand up and be counted.

[1] The full 100-page publication will be posted on the Internet shortly.

[2] Frankly, this sounds over the top when you consider what God is doing through movements such as Hillsongs in Australia – but it is rather like seeing a tsunami building up power. It may still be some way out to sea, but it has great destructive potential.

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President Putin and the Caucuses The more one considers the background from which President Putin comes the less easy I feel. He is rooted in the KGB, with its long history of cruelty and corruption. Now that the Kremlin’s archives have been opened the extent of the cruelty is gradually becoming known. See in particular Stalin and His Hangmen: an authoritative portrait of a tyrant and those who served him (Donald Rayfield, Viking). All of Moscow’s Boy’s Scouts were executed in 1919 and all members of the lawn tennis club in 1920. Coupled with the chilling television broadcast of the fate Hitler had prepared for many classes of society in Britain, we can pause once again to thank God for what we have been spared from in the past: and to be sober about the suffering we may yet face in the future.

Vladimir Putin has preferred to draw a veil over the past rather than attempting to face the past and learn from it. Instead of turning to younger people to inject some flexibility into the system he has turned to men in their fifties, largely drawn from the old foreign intelligence service, and too thoroughly soaked in Soviet ways to bring about effective change. And he is abrogating more and more power to himself and towards grater 'centralisation.'

Anders Anderson, director of the Russian and Eurasian Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (Washington) warned that ‘the state-dominated media in Russia is swiftly losing its integrity.’ We saw this in spades during the Beslan crisis, when Tass pronounced many things that were manifestly false – and when the president replaced the editor of Izvestia it all felt horribly reminiscent of the old Soviet ways. Pray form the Lord to make good use of the corridor of freedom in Russia that does exist – and for what happens next.

We have felt the need to pray for the Lord to contain and channel the anger that so many in Russia (and especially in Beslan) are feeling. The government wants it to be directed against the terrorists, but the people have reservations about their president and his security forces. Russia’s special military units have, yet again, bungled a rescue operation and worsened an existing crisis.

Commenting on their heavy-handed approach, Dr Jonathan Eyal, Director of Studies at the Royal United Services Institute (London) wrote on the bbc web site, ’The percentage of those who died was higher than in any previous hostage crisis. If there was ever a surer way of encouraging further terrorism, the Russian military has invented it.’ He went on, ‘In every previous mass hostage situation, Russia’s special forces used too much firepower, and used it inefficiently. In all such cases, a huge percentage of the hostages perished; sadly, the Russian concept of rescue usually comes in a coffin.’ This disregard for life was best seen in the ten years of the Chechnyan war, in which countless young Russian conscripts were thrust into a war they were completely unprepared for, many of whom were instantly slaughtered. The Russian reaction was predictable, carpet-bombing towns and villages, which are now inhabited only by the elderly, the young having taken to the mountains to continue the struggle. The Russian troops are equally as demoralised. Blandishments from the president about strengthening security in the region mean little in the face of such enormous challenges.

While Putin seeks to minimise the fallout from the school siege, over the border in Georgia things are also tense. Georgia’s young new president, Mikhail Saakashvili, came to power in a bloodless revolution in November 2003. He has been largely successful in tackling large-scale corruption and in reorientating Georgia toward a Western-style democracy, but he is having great difficulty “reintegrating” Adzharia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia – the beautiful region where the best beaches in the Black Sea can be found! The history of the Caucuses is complex, but these are three regions that either refused to join independent Georgia in the 1990s or which have subsequently tried to break away. There has been violence and atrocities on both sides, with more than 200,000 Georgian civilians being forced to flee Abkhazia. They now live, survive might be a better word, as homeless refugees in Georgia.

Just to add fuel to the fire, the Caucuses are an oil-rich region. Just as they attracted the Nazi greed for oil during the war, so they still have a strategic significance today. Pray for more stability in the region, and for the Lord to walk amongst the hurting and the demoralised and spread abroad the fragrance of Christ. It is amazing how regularly Russia comes to mind about this time of year. It may be the weather, or a throw back to Soviet Union days . . . or it may be the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Many Christians have been sensing that the corridor of freedom may be shrinking in Russia. Pray for the Lord to fill and flood the Lord while there is still daylight – and may the Lord fill us with love for that vast country!

A good deal is being made of President Putin’s hugely increased majority in the Duma. The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe described the elections as marking a ‘regression in the democratisation process in Russia.’

One of the most visible struggles taking place in Russia is Putin’s increased willingness to challenge the power of the oligarchs. The first that many in the West knew about the existence of these billionaires was when one of them made bought a Premiership football league. These oligarchs are some of the richest men on earth. By means best not delved into too deeply, they bought up the state assets of the former Soviet Union and made prodigious fortunes as a result.

Seventeen billionaires (most of them under forty) now control well over half of the Russian’s economy. With Putin showing signs of wanting to increase his grip on power (he has been developing the state security services again) it is no wonder that confrontation has happened. Basically there was a pact: Putin wouldn’t upset the oligarchs if they kept out of politics. But some of them have invested considerable sums into the coffers of opposition parties.

The populace at large have less than no love for these super-rich oligarchs. Although they most of them lead not only immensely rich lifestyles, they are also the chief public philanthropists. But their excessive wealth alienates them from people, and the fact that many of them are of Jewish origin makes them still more a target of hate. There is also intense rivalry between the oligarchs themselves. In the mid 1990's alone, fully one hundred executives in the aluminium industry were murdered.

Recently, Putin moved to arrest the most flamboyant of these oligarchs, Mikhail Khordorkovsky. Nobody is defending this man’s record – he has been ruthless in business and was almost asking for a show down with the Russian premier – forgetting that in the entire history of Russia virtually no individual has ever succeeded against the state. His arrest may make investors question the stability of the nation and ponder twice before going ahead with fresh enterprises in Russia.

A source close to the old Yeltsin group, which has fared poorly in recent months, warns: ‘This is Stalinism with a capitalist face'. Putin himself remains popular with the Russian people. They trust him to give them what they want. They recognise that he is adopting strong-arm tactics, but at the same time they feel that that is what their country needs. Russia is so short of democratic experience that it still feels it is not ready for full-blown democracy.

The make up of the new Duma (Parliament) includes a reduced number of communists but an increased number of the strangely named Liberal Democrats. Fuelled by nationalists such as Dmitri Rogozin, a well-educated and influential man who tilts as far to the right as the far from peaceable Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the fear is that these parties are known to support the violence and intimidation that have made Russia such a dangerous place in recent years. They also nurse an active desire to restore the glories of the former Soviet Union, but it is at home that their presence will be most keenly felt.

Historically, it is hardly surprising that Poland and East European countries are worried. And the ‘failed’ economies of the countries just outside Russia, including Moldova and Belarus – even Ukraine itself – remain highly vulnerable. They too could be said to have ‘tested the West and not found it best’ – so where does that leave them, politically, except to look back to Moscow?

Pray for a great awakening and harvest the length and breadth of Russia and its surrounding countries. But pray too against the making of scapegoats at home. Many believe that this is where the real danger lies from Rogozin and Zhirinovsky: gangs of skinheads and neofascists taking revenge on those who are typecast as being the cause of the nation’s woes. Jewish groups are particularly at risk.

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Why is the Ukraine so important to Russia?

Year on year, the Lord brings Russia to the front of our minds during the winter season. The dramatic events surrounding the Ukrainian election have made this particularly poignant this year. It was particularly moving to see believers flocking onto the streets of Kiev to provide prayer and hospitality tents, dispensing soup and prayer in equal measure. They made a real impact for the Lord during those bitterly cold days when ‘people power’ forced a rerun of the presidential elections.

On the strategic front, countries that were once at the heart of the Warsaw Pact, (Georgia, for instance, where the Americans now have military personnel in place) are now looking more to NATO and to the European Union than they do to Moscow. In strategic terms, Ukraine is crucial. Not only was Kiev at the heart of the founding of modern day Russia, but that nation’s sustainability as a world power is to a large extent tied up with a close relationship with it. Not only is the Black Sea Fleet, Russian’s main naval projection, based in Sebastapol on the Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, but three quarters of all Russia’s vast exports of gas pass along pipelines through this country. It also imports food from Ukraine.[1]

President Putin has no desire to see the Ukraine being swallowed up by westernising tendencies. He campaigned actively for Yanukovich to be elected, and his defeat is a matter of some considerable personal humiliation. In terms of East-West relationships, there is, at present, a largely unspoken treaty at work. The West agreed to tone down its criticism of Russia’s utterly unsavoury treatment of Chechnya in return for Russian support in the War against Terror. 

All is not well in the land of Russia itself. Most alarming of all, the death rate remains nearly double that of the birth rate. With HIV and tuberculosis so rife, the future of the country appears bleak indeed. 

This is why it is time to pray for God to break though still more in Russia. Hudson Taylor had a remarkable prophecy at the end of the 19th century, that Europe will be evangelised one more time before Christ returns –by evangelists from Russia and the east! That is why the ministry of men like David Hathaway is doubly strategic at this time. David is planning to culminate many years of ministry in Russia with the largest evangelistic crusade ever mounted in Russia this Easter, before returning to direct more of his efforts to Europe.

Returning to the political focus, Putin has effectively focused power around himself and the institution of the Kremlin in a way that Yeltsin significantly failed to do. Little by little he is regaining control from the mega rich oligarchs – but this has required so much effort, that while he is has been so busy at home, Kyrigistan and Georgia, along with the Baltic States, have all moved much closer to the West. Russia has lost influence it once had in Serbia. Even in the extreme Far East it is losing out to the increasingly resurgent China. This has effectively reduced Russia’s ‘allies’ to little more than poverty stricken Moldova[2] and the autocratic and xenophobic government of Belarus, which has never really laid aside its communist pedigree. 

Rather than expecting democratic changes in Russia along western lines – an increasingly distant likelihood – it is important to realise that Russia is periodically seized by wracking disturbances – rather as happens when giant tectonic plates grind against each other. From time to time the tensions become unbearable and quakes and volcanic lava are let loose, causing widespread loss of life before the upheaval brings about a change of order. Thus it has been through the centuries. Peter the Great, Ivan the Terrible and Joseph Stalin all remind us of what happens when strong men come to power in Russia. The present leader showed himself ruthlessly tough and resolute in invading Chechnya, and in gassing the hostages in the theatre in Moscow Theatre, but in all probability he does not quite belong in that super league of tyrants. He may, however, unwittingly be paving the way for one who does.  There is everything to pray for here.

[1] We should never forget either just how volatile the North Caucuses are either. Tension between Russia and the Ukraine would be liable to augment the already strong separatist tendencies at work in those regions. The Chechens are by no means the only discontent people here. Elsewhere, the Tartars and the Baskirs are also unhappy ‘minorities’ within Russia’s borders. Pray for all who are reaching out to these numerous ‘minorities’.  

[2] Patrick Johnson (Operation World) traces the USSR’s seizure of Bessarabia from Romania in 1940 as the root cause of present day tensions. Although independence was gained in 1990, Trans-Deniester, a Russian army controlled enclave still aggressively insists on its own independence. The situation remains tense with no obvious solution in sight. Moldova remains the poorest country in Europe, and heavily dependent on Russia.

Back to Contents

Pray for the Ukraine (Posted 29/11/04, revised 13/12.04)

Ukraine is a gateway nation, a bridge between west and east, between orthodox, Catholic and evangelicals. Its close trade and political ties with Russia explain why President Putin has allied himself so clearly with the {theoretical} winner of the elections. The last thing Russia wants is a Ukraine that is turning its face more fully to the EU, which, amazingly, it now borders. Apart from anything else, there is the little matter of what would happen to the once much-vaunted Black Sea Fleet. (Remember the days when East Germans Mig fighters suddenly found themselves on NATO runaways without moving an inch)?

Since EU observers reported extensive rigging of the election results, huge numbers of people have taken to the street to protest. How cold must that be! The scenes are reminiscent of those emotional days when the Lord used ‘people power’ to bring down the communist regimes in Romania, Czechoslovakia and East Germany. This time, members of the police and army are reportedly siding with the demonstrators. Yesterday there was the extraordinary sight of the state-controlled television service giving its version of affairs while the sign language woman in the wings of the picture was telling viewers not to believe a word of the official account that they were hearing!

Rumours are bound to proliferate at such a time. Talk of eastern Ukraine staying true to Russia whilst the west looks to the EU is premature, but there is undoubtedly much corruption in the eastern half of the country. We must certainly pray with some urgency that the determination of the huge majority of demonstrators that this remain a peaceful protest will be upheld. Christians were highly active 'on the street' handing out soup and praying for the thousands of demonstrators who were grateful to come to tents that had been set aside for prayer and hospitality.

In one sense, this appears to be a rerun of the popular uprisings that brought down the Berlin Wall and overturned an authoritarian regime. It is already becoming known as the Chestnut Revolution on account of the numerous chestnut trees in Kiev. But there is still a real chance that the eastern half of the country will want to secede to Russia if the second round of elections overturns the original results. Mark Franchetti, in the article quoted above, compares the relationship of the Ukraine to Russia as being similar to England’s with Scotland. Perhaps Ireland would be a more telling image since President Putin was originally said to be prepared to back the use of force by the Ukrainian authorities.

Now that Yuschenko has won the run-off, the real work is beginning. Pray for him to be able to lead a bitterly divided nation. May He be spared personal bitterness as a resulty of being so horrifyingly posioned, but work for the well being of th ewhole country. We do not know what his stance will be on religous issues, butr pray thta this may lead to an opening up of the Ukraine - more to the Lord than just to the West!

Historical Context behind the present Dispute

Ukraine has a long history of being dominated and fought over by a succession of powers. Persecution of the numerous believers in the Communist era was intense. Millions of believers lost their lives. It goes without saying that many scares remain from the manipulation, domination and betrayal.

Politically, much of the old state apparatus and bureaucracy survived intact when Ukraine acquired independence in 1991. (see There is widespread poverty, and damage is still being caused from the fallout of the Chernobyl disaster. The birth rate is falling, and is further threatened by the rise in AIDS. Family structures are under increasing threat as promiscuity mushrooms, and violent crime becomes more and more a way of life for many. 

The number of evangelical Christians has spread quickly since then, however. The Ukraine remains a key nation to pray for. There is a huge battle for souls in this land, but it is still open for Christian missionary work, and for Christian television. Pray for God to raise up inspired men and women to take advantage of the doors that are still open. May the Lord’s blessing be on the Ukraine, and the troubled nations that surround it.   Back to Contents


24 Jan 05
Prayer fueled Orange Revolution


‘Yushchenko’s victory in the controversial presidential elections in the Ukraine was fueled by the fervent prayers of Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant believers alike’. This is the view of Sunday Adelaja, the pastor of Europe's largest church with a membership of over 25,000. Between five and ten thousand church members prayed and showed support every day on the streets for opposition candidate Victor Yushchenko.

While much of the world's attention was diverted by the tsunami disaster in Asia on the day of the election re-run, December 26th, thousands of Christians continued their vigil in Independence Square in downtown Kiev. Many camped overnight in tents right up until last week's announcement by the Supreme Court that the election results were valid, despite the objections of the sitting prime minister and rival presidential candidate, Victor Yanukovych.

YWAMers reported having the 'time of their lives' moving among the crowds passing out hot tea and blankets, and talking with the supporters of the Orange Revolution. Local media reports described the daily gatherings in Independence Square as resembling revival services rather than political protest rallies. Pastor Sunday said that his people reported an average of fifty people making decisions for Christ each day during the rallies.

Pastor Sunday's charismatic church was open every night for up to a thousand people to change, rest, get warmed and refreshed before returning to the cold Kiev night air. Several members of parliament are also members of Sunday's church, as is the president of the Christian Liberal Party, Leonid Schermozetskiy, a presidential candidate in the first ballot. Schermozetskiy later signed a coalition treaty with Yuschenko and supported him in the final election. Pastor Sunday explained that Yuschenko was a believer, although was not an official member of any church.

A CBN report cited Yushchenko's wife as thanking those around the world who had prayed for them: “We received letters from people around the world saying that entire churches were praying. Praying groups were getting together. I had a small prayer group of women here in Kiev who prayed for us every day. I really want to thank them, because I think that's what saved my husband, and that's what made Ukraine free today.”

A strong Christian flavour was present in the demonstrations as Christians from many churches–Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant–united for prayer each morning from 8am to 10am before the political speeches began. Hundreds of pastors from all over the country joined in the square daily, praying into microphones with the gathered crowds and preaching about the need for the Ukraine to choose for Christian values. Evenings also closed with an hour of prayer from 9pm to 10pm.

Pastor Sunday said such united prayer created a very peaceful atmosphere. Despite the high number of alcoholics in the Ukraine, he reported that there was no broken glass, no vandalism, no violence, and no drinking.

Yet the prayer did not just start with the elections. The 37-year-old Nigerian pastor, who came to the Ukraine after studying journalism in Belarus, credits persistent prayer for the revolution. For the last five years, his church has held daily prayer through the night from 11pm to 6am for revival in the Ukraine. Pastor Sunday's public support for Christian involvement in politics was an exception among Ukrainian clergy.

What may have been the consequences if Yushchenko had lost the elections? Sunday believes much was at stake. When the Wall came down, evangelical Protestants numbered 250,000. Today Sunday claims they are 3 million strong in the Ukraine. Putin had expressed concern that the Ukrainian authorities were losing control, and so his candidate, Yanukovych, had promised to deal with the growing 'cult' and 'sectarian' groups if he became president. This would have meant a return to the old conditions of the communist days, and churches would have been closed down.

Parliamentary attempts had been made to deport Pastor Sunday and close down his church, as he explains in the following letter of thanks for those who supported the election of Yushenko in prayer, posted on his church's website []:

I would like to use this opportunity to thank you for the support, prayers and e-mail that we have received since the beginning of the political crisis here in Ukraine. Just as we prayed, hoped and believed, the Lord granted the victory! The man we all expected to win, Victor Yushenko, a pro-Western, Christian believer, actually won the re-election as president of Ukraine.

This battle was definitely a spiritual fight, before it was ever political. As we all know, the spiritual realm decides what happens in the future. Even the president elect, Victor Yushenko, during his interview with the Christian television crew, admitted that first and foremost, we gained a spiritual victory. Up to this point, our greatest problem was that the nation was ruled by ungodly men. But, the “Orange Revolution” brought an end to such reign. This has really brought about a sort of renaissance to Ukrainian society. Now, everybody is proud to be a Ukrainian, and we can see a unity spreading among the people, unheard of in the history of our country- especially among Christians.

As to my opinions on the benefits of the Orange Revolution, I can best state them in this way:

1) Everyone admits that what has taken place is more a Spiritual Awakening than simply a social or political movement.

2) Thousands of unbelievers, who visited the demonstrations on Independence Square, left with testimonies of healings as well as amazement at how similar the demonstrations were to a revival meeting rather than a political rally. Believers said the presence felt on the Square was like that of an anointing service at a Charismatic church.

3) Our church was able to erect a tent with a cross right in the heart of the Square, where we daily gave out between 10,000-50,000 newsletters and tracks. We were also able to pray for onlookers and give consultations, bringing an average of 50 people to the Lord with numerous healings every day.

4) Christians are no longer arguing about the need to be involved in the political process. It is like an eye-opening awareness has come to the church, stretching from border to border and proclaiming the truth of the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20, that we must reach into every sphere of politics.

5) Every individual now sees how important his or her voice is in deciding the destiny of the country.

6) I believe that for the nation of Ukraine, the greatest victory is that the communistic and mafia hold has lost its grip and has been totally broken.

7) Last, but not least, is the hope and faith in a brighter future that the nation and people of Ukraine now feel. They are able to walk in a liberty and freedom that is completely new to them.

To me personally, the changes that have taken place over the past few weeks are a welcome sight and mean a new time of peace for the church and me. Over the course of the past month, there have been two instances where the parliament has completely stopped proceedings to discuss how to deport me and stop our church from functioning. The last thing resolved was to send a Parliamentarian Mandate to the Attorney General to investigate the church. However, now that we stand with the presidential victory, and most importantly, with God on our side, we will surely finish well!

If you wonder why they are so particular about our church, it is very simple. Our church supplied 1,500 people for the Electoral Commission and 4,000 people to volunteer as observers, to make sure that there would be no falsification during the re-elections. We also published over ½ million newsletters with the Seven Principles of National Reformation. Besides this, thousands of our people marched on the streets in support of Victor Yushenko and the demonstrations held on the Square. This is the reason for the opposition against us. Thank God our people stood together in support of the leadership and myself. They knew that we must pay a price to be history makers.

May the Lord bless you and lift you up upon His eagle’s wings!

Yours in Him,
Pastor Sunday Adelaja
Embassy of the Blessed Kingdom of God for All Nations
Kyiv , Ukraine

Now that's truly amazing news we don't hear from our secular media!

Till next week,

Jeff Fountain
YWAM Europe

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Revival in Russia – April 05

David Hathaway is currently conducting a remarkable series of crusades in Russia. He will be with us for a part of the ‘Fire from the North’ conference. These excerpts from his latest report are a stirring call to share in what God is doing through what may well be David’s last (and certainly his largest) outreach to the former Soviet Union, where crowds met in Barnaul, Siberia, over our Easter period (the Russian Easter is at the end of April).

‘The hall was crowded, morning and evening, with no believers allowed in the evening. Thousands repented, hundreds were miraculously healed, the blind, the deaf, the cripples, cancers removed, broken bones restored – a wonderful demonstration of the power of God, despite the continuing opposition.

‘Earlier, in March, in the Penza crusade, the opposition meant that we were refused the use of the advertised venue – the circus. So the crowds had to pack into the only available hall – the numbers were double the seating capacity. The actual viewing figures for the TV broadcasts were over one million people!

‘The whole city of Penza was stirred and shaken by the power of God. The authorities attacked us daily in the newspapers and in hour-long TV programmes. After they stopped us using the circus, we were headline news on TV, with all the journalists supporting us and demanding to know why we were being hindered from ministering to the poor and the sick. This created even more publicity, causing more to come and find out why we were being attacked.

‘Earlier in this year, I said that if God gave me a second million, I would begin to move back into Europe, beginning with Romania. One pastor in Germany had received a substantial gift for his church. He was asking the Lord what he should do with it. (His church is not large). The same day he received my letter. The Lord spoke to him and confirmed that he should pay all the cost for the first crusade in Romania. This is now booked for Bucharest in July. Look what one small church in Germany is doing!

‘We need desperate prayer over Russia right now. The authorities in Moscow are afraid of the spiritual revival that is spreading. Pray for our Nationwide Easter Crusade in Russia, which begins on April 22nd.

‘One hundred different networks and TV channels will be spreading this mes-sage to the whole of Russia. This is a big operation that is taking both time and money to complete. Please pray for the finance we need. We will evangelise till our last breath – our last drop of blood! The people of Russia are crying out to God, there is no hope for them other than Christ. I believe with all my heart that this last great revival is coming from Russia, and will spread [as Hudson Taylor once prophesied that it would] from there into the rest of Europe. Nowhere else in Europe is there such opposition, and yet such real desperation for Christ amongst the people.’  For more on this story, or to contribute to David’s ministry, go to, 41 Healds Rd, Dewsbury, WF13 4HU  01924-453693




Kyrigistan after the ‘Tulip’ Revolution: What next?
April 05

May Kyrigistan not become like the situation described in Isaiah 3:5:

  People will oppress each other--

     man against man, neighbor against neighbor.

        The young rise up against the old,

             the base against the honorable.


Area: 198,999 sq km (76,834 sq mi)
Pop: 5 million
Capital: Bishkek 600,000

Acting President: Kurmanbek Bakiyev
Religion: Muslim 75%, Russian Orthodox 20%, other 5%
Life Expectancy: 68
GDP per capita: $1,600

We are blessed to receive some French, German, Spanish and American television channels as well as British ones. I noticed that the immediate reaction on all of them was to assume that was what happening in Kyrgyzstan was a knock on effect from the ‘pro-democracy’ revolts that have swept through the former Soviet Union nations over the past 18 months. These have swept away the old order in Georgia, (The Rose Revolution) the Ukraine (The Orange, or Chestnut Revolution) and now in Kyrgyzstan, through what has come to be known as ‘The Tulip Revolution. But Kyrgyzstan is different.

Ø      It consists of a series of inhospitable mountain ranges.

Ø      It is closer to the autocratic regime of China than to the more ‘westernised’ Ukraine. 

Ø      Its five million people now, much to their surprise, find themselves in need of being led in a positive direction.

Ø      There may be some danger of the unbeloved president returning.

Ø      Kyrgyzstan’s new leadership team, a tenuous alliance of former politicians who have little track record of cooperating with each other, have an immensely difficult task ahead of them.

Ø      Pray for Kurmanbeck Bakiev to ensure peace and order on the streets and to provide positive leadership.

Ø      If the country ends up with a weak government, Islamic radical groups may find themselves a new safe haven for international terrorist operations. Pray that Islamic radicalism does not emerge as the ultimate winner in this revolution.

Ø      The next few weeks are critical. Please pray for Kyrgyzstan.

Ø      There are real opportunities for the gospel in this country, in which the economic situation affects and depresses everyone. The footnote below provides in depth analysis.[1]


[1] Justin Burke, the director of reports that Georgia and the Ukraine both had ‘well-managed anti-government protests, in which highly organized student groups functioned as shock troops, acting under the direction of cohesive opposition political leadership. Those two revolutionary efforts also benefited by having clearly defined and charismatic leaders (Mikheil Saakashvili in Georgia and Viktor Yushchenko in Ukraine) who espoused relatively clear political programs. These factors ensured a relatively smooth transition of power.

‘In sharp contrast, change in Kyrgyzstan is being led by a far less disciplined force, with no widely recognized leader and no clearly defined program. It should thus not be viewed as another in a string of "velvet" revolutions. Events in Bishkek are shaping up to be revolutionary in a more classic sense, meaning that it could take months or even years for the country to regain a sense of political equilibrium. The unleashed fury of the Kyrgyz mob may prove not easily contained.

‘Inter-ethnic tensions, as well as North-South sectional differences, have long been features of Kyrgyzstan’s social and political life. Those tensions and differences are coming under strain as the revolution plays out.

‘Allegations of vote-rigging served as the catalyst for the Kyrgyz revolution. But it was pent-up frustration among the population over persistent poverty and pervasive government corruption that packed the revolution with its explosive power.

‘Many supporters of the revolution aren’t necessarily interested in democracy; they are preoccupied simply with providing for themselves and their families.

‘With a climate of fear still prevailing, most residents remained indoors. Reports of people continuing to stream into the capital from other regions, looking for opportunities to loot, fuelled anxiety in the capital.

‘Now, suddenly finding themselves thrust into power, the political leaders could again start pulling in different directions. On the one hand, they need to cooperate in order to foster a sense of order. At the same time, they will doubtless experience competitive pressure in the coming days and months, as many of them – Bakiyev and Kulov in particular – jockey to position themselves for the presidency.

‘Preliminary discussions in Bishkek have raised the possibility of a presidential election being held in late spring, with a new parliamentary vote to follow in the fall.

‘Former President Akayev has further clouded the situation by not formally resigning. In a statement, distributed by the Kabar news agency, he characterized events of March 24 as a "coup," adding that "rumours about my resignation from the presidential post are deceitful and malevolent."

‘The economic devastation caused by the looting rampage has severely eroded support for the provisional government among the Bishkek business sector.

‘The reality of the revolution has rendered many entrepreneurs penniless literally overnight. Thus, a natural and key constituency for democratic change has evaporated. Considerable effort will be required for the provisional government to regain the trust of Bishkek entrepreneurs.

‘If the provisional government does not manage to quickly restore order, there exists the potential for the Kyrgyz revolution to become a contagion that spreads to other parts of the country, and even beyond Kyrgyzstan’s borders. The immediate danger is that the riotous instinct that now grips Bishkek could transform into more organized violence that pits Kyrgyz against Kyrgyz.

‘Many in Bishkek are blaming the March 24 looting frenzy on people from outside the capital, specifically on southerners who arrived to participate in the anti-government protest. This assumption, regardless of whether it has a basis in fact or not, is greatly exacerbating pre-existing North-South tension. A continuation of disorder would raise the odds that newly formed Bishkek self-defense groups could take justice into their own hands, venting their anger on anyone in the capital identified as a southerner.

‘The actions of neighbouring Central Asian state demonstrate that their authoritarian-minded leaders are profoundly worried by the spontaneous combustion of popular discontent in Bishkek.

‘As in Kyrgyzstan, widespread poverty and corruption, along with unresponsive government, are prevalent in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. All of Kyrgyzstan’s direct neighbours – Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – have sealed their borders. State-controlled media outlets in neighbouring Central Asian states remained virtually silent about the events in Bishkek.

‘Unity will be needed for Kyrgyzstan to move forward -- for genuinely democratic tendencies to take root, and for a sense of hope about the country’s economic future to spread beyond a relatively narrow segment of Kyrgyz society. So far, the Kyrgyz revolution seems to be stoking divisions in society. The provisional government with its reliance on elements of the old regime to provide security will be hard-pressed to repair the damage already done, let alone put the country on a path forward.

‘It is not too early to start worrying about the nightmare scenario of the Kyrgyz revolution -- one in which early hopes for a democratic transformation mutate into anxiety about the spread of Islamic radicalism.

The experience of Afghanistan underscores that Islamic radicalism thrives in uncertain political environments. Islamic radical groups have long been present in Kyrgyzstan, mainly in southern areas, but also in the North. In 1999 and 2000, the country faced incursions by armed bands belongs to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.

‘In recent years, an extremist group that espouses non-violence tactics, Hizb-ut-Tahrir, has intensified activities aimed at overthrowing all the existing regimes in Central Asia and establishing an Islamic caliphate.

The next few weeks are critical. If the provisional government can harness the revolutionary forces and keep political infighting to a minimum until new presidential and parliamentary elections are held, Kyrgyzstan will stand a chance of establishing Central Asia’s first genuinely pluralistic political system. However, there is no guarantee at this time that the provisional government can accomplish these tasks. If it falters, and if Kyrgyzstan is saddled with a weak central government, Islamic radical groups may find themselves a new safe haven for international terrorist operations. (Principal Source:


A Voice for North Korea April 05

`This is the nation that has not obeyed the LORD its God or responded to correction. Truth has perished; it has vanished from their lips. (Jer. 7:28) Pray for North Korea. 

Ø      North Korea is at the top of the newly published update of Open Doors' World Watch List ranking of the world's 50 worst persecuting countries. Susan Scholte, the President of the Defense Forum Foundation, strikes me as being something of an American equivalent of Baroness Cox. She says that North Korea has systematically targeted Christians for elimination. "People don't know this, she added, but at one point the Christian faith was so strong in Pyongyang that it's nickname was 'the second Jerusalem'.

She wrote in 2001: North Koreans have no human rights. The most serious manifestations of this are three-fold:

d)     the political prisoner camps, where as many as 200,000, and perhaps many more, innocent people are incarcerated and subjected to forced starvation and horrible abuse;

e)     the treatment starving North Koreans receive from both their own government and the government of China for fleeing over the border to China and other countries in search of food;

f)        the misuse and diversion of humanitarian aid by the North Korean government from the people for which it is intended that has caused massive starvation.[2]

When we provide humanitarian aid we should insist that aid organizations distribute the aid directly to the people needing assistance. In other words, these agencies should be allowed to stay in country to see that the aid is not diverted, so that those starving and suffering will be fed.

Ø      A General Accounting Office report on the World Food Program's work in North Korea, found that the WFP could not account for 90% of its food aid. We also know from testimony of North Koreans, that immediately after the aid workers leave, the army comes in and takes back all the food that has been distributed. I fear that 100% of all international aid is being diverted by the government and given only to the elite members of Kim Jong Il's regime and the rest sold to maintain the massive North Korean military and maintain the lifestyle of the elites.

Ø      If we continue to provide aid, and not insist on monitoring its distribution and consumption by those in desperate need, then our aid simply becomes a tool to kill and further suppress the North Korean people and to maintain the regime that caused the starvation in the first place.

Ø      We should insist that China, Russia, Mongolia and other countries recognize the North Koreans who have fled into their borders as refugees. We should ask that these countries allow humanitarian organizations, such as Doctors Without Borders, Action Against Hunger, Oxfam and others who have left North Korea in protest to provide assistance to these refugees so that no burden would fall upon the host country.

Ø      The Chinese government refuses to allow the UN High Commissioner on Refugees to travel to the China-North Korea border to assess the situation. Hence, there are figures that vary widely between the number of North Koreans in hiding. It is appalling that the world is allowing this inhumane suffering to occur.

Ø      We should also explore creative policies that would allow North Koreans to learn more about the outside world and vice versa. This is a regime that teaches elementary students learn maths by using equations based on how many American GIs have been killed by a grenade. It also issues postage stamps depicting North Korean peasants bayoneting American soldiers. The North Korean people have a completely distorted and warped view of us and of our ally, South Korea. This can only be changed by increasing the flow of information, so that North Koreans will realize what South Koreans and Americans are really like.

Pray for human rights to come to North Korea; that the political prisoner camps be shut down, and that freedom and democracy come to the entire Korean peninsula.

Why should the West be involved with human rights for North Korea?

It is our moral obligation. To whom much is given, much is expected. The North Koreans are our brothers and sisters who deserve the same basic human rights that we take for granted. It is our moral duty to do all we can to help them.


What is your advice to anyone interested in helping?

First, they should launch their own letter writing campaigns: write to President George Bush, and to the Secretary of State Condoleza Rice and their own elected Senator and Representative (or national equivalent) and ask them to work for human rights for the North Korean people. We underestimate the effect that our letters and phone calls have on our elected representatives, but these letters and phone calls have an impact. Most people do not take the time to do this basic action. One Congressional staff person told me that it takes just four individually written letters from the constituents to get an issue on their Congressman's "radar screen."

Ø      Other people to write would include officials from the United Nations, China, and Russia to request that they grant refugee status to the North Koreans who have fled North Korea.

Ø      Things are happening every day more North Koreans escaping over the China border, others showing up seeking asylum, children dying of starvation, innocent people being imprisoned, tortured and executed every day. This North Korean regime is responsible for the deaths of millions of people, and every day we do not act more people die.

Ø      Third, they should decide the best ways to use their own talents and then decide to do some or all of the following: work with us in sponsoring visits by North Koreans to the West, help raise funds for organizations like the Aegis Foundation, Exodus 21 and the Ton-a-Month Club that are helping the North Korean refugees; sponsor their own showing of documentaries on North Korea to their civic groups, churches, colleges, etc., write letters to the editor about the issue, send petitions to the UN, China officials, and our government, those are just a few ideas.


[1] Sadly, the policy of the Clinton administration was to ignore the human rights situation for fear of offending Kim Jong-il in trying to set up talks between U.S. and North Korean officials. The Clinton administration actually blocked a radio commentary on the political prisoner camps from airing on Voice of America.

[2] Sadly, the policy of the Clinton administration was to ignore the human rights situation for fear of offending Kim Jong-il in trying to set up talks between U.S. and North Korean officials. The Clinton administration actually blocked a radio commentary on the political prisoner camps from airing on Voice of America.

Tension is rising between China and Japan - April05

We have warned many times before about the risk of China launching a pre-emptive attack to regain control of Taiwan. The ownership and the right to exploit oil around the Senkaku islands in the East China Sea is another acute source of dispute as tensions soar between China and Japan, following the publication of a text book in Japan which glosses over the appalling atrocities Imperial forces committed against Chinese people during their occupation of Japan from 1931-1945.


Whilst it is true that Japan has never faced its past in the way that Germany has, there is a high degree of hypocrisy in this. China glosses over its own atrocities with equal dexterity, and discourages students from probing for any details concerning the Cultural Revolution or its invasion of Vietnam in 1979.[1]


Whilst there is a degree of posturing, there are also serious grounds for concern. Both countries are acting defensively and belligerently, and are rearming fast. The Americans are furious that the EU is poised to resume arms sale in a big way to a country that has not hesitated in the past to use its weaponry. Far more lies behind this brief news item than we can unpack here, but please remember this volatile and potentially mega-dangerous situation – and pray for those who are at the forefront of keeping relationships open between two countries that have such a poor record together. 


[1] South Korea displays a similar ‘selectiveness’ in its treatment of history. As part of its attempt to reach out to North Korea it glosses over the existence of such things as concentration camps and famines in the northern nation.



"Because of the oppression of the weak and the groaning of the needy, I will now arise," says the LORD. "I will protect them from those who malign them." . . . O LORD, you will keep us safe and protect us from such people forever. (Ps. 12:5,7).

Where is Mammon openly revered? Where could 200,000,000 soldiers, at a pinch, be put into the field? The answer of course is China, commonly touted as the supreme superpower of the twenty-first century. Yet its attitude towards human rights remains abysmal. Chen Yunsheng, a law professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Shanghai has had the courage to report that torture is still routine in police stations and prison. Pray that the publication of this book will trigger a serious process of reform rather than incite further clampdowns.

Beijing remains the capital, and Shanghai the fast developing financial centre, but it is in the southern province of Guangdong, adjoining Hong Kong, (population: a trifling, 80,000,000) that the economy is most noticeably moving into top gear. As the media centre of the nation, it regularly pushes the strict official censorship to the limit. It was from Guangdong that news of the Chinese cover up of the SARS epidemic was promulgated, as well as where much official corruption is exposed.

Predictably, Rupert Murdoch has gained the lion’s share with the largest Mandarin-language cable station – but pray for the God Channel as it too begins to broadcast into China. May the word of God reach many Chinese people over the airwaves.

America speaks about ‘jobless recoveries’ but it is China that enjoys the advantage of virtually unlimited cheap manpower. In purely monetary terms, its economy accounts for less than three per cent of the world’s GDP – but when those figures are adjusted to take account of lower prices in China it rises to ten per cent. China’s massive middle class (already up to 200,000,000) makes it set to become the world’s top importer by 2005, five years earlier than it is expected to become the world’s biggest exporter. The World Bank says that Chinese demand is already powering ‘an amazing expansion in trade in the whole region, and providing ‘a partial buffer against recession in the rest of the world.’ (Newsweek 23/6/03)

How will this affect the world at a time when the German, Japanese and American economies have all slowed down? Many see as many opportunities as well as dangers, because China is becoming a great importer as well as an exporter. The internal market is so cut-throatedly competitive that companies are obliged to slash their prices to a point that leaves negligible profit margins. When the Chinese currency, the renminbi, is allowed to float free of its artificially low pegging, it will mean that China will have up to 50% more capital with which to pay for more imports: which is decidedly good news for the other boom economies in the SE Pacific region. Meanwhile China, like America, is planning to inspire national pride by increasing its space programme.

From a spiritual perspective, the Church in China has seen a scale of growth that is unparalleled in world history. Out of intense suffering it has shone forth and has witnessed countless miracles along the way. In places, it continues to be intensely persecuted, whilst in other regions it is more or less tolerated. Fewer Christians were arrested during the SARS outbreak – but it looks as though this horrible process may now be resuming again. A mass arrest of 170 Christians in Nanyang, Henan province in September. Most were fined and released, but fourteen leaders have been held, giving the lie to the thought that persecution is at an end in China. (For an overview assessment of the situation, see 'The Truth about China'

Is the Chinese economic Bubble about to burst?

Finally, here is something to be aware of for the longer term. Repression against the Hong Kong Community is spreading as the special dispensations Beijing promised the colony are being systematically ignored and eroded: a potentially very serious trend. Pray for Hong Kong, and particularly for the believers there. But something is also going on in China at the moment. Is it any coincidence that running parallel to this repression, rumours are emerging of a sharp decline in China’s business prospects? For details of just how severely the Chinese banking system may be coming under pressure, see (Stratford Weekly Intelligence Briefing, 30/4/04, “Euphoria, Meltdown and China’s Economy”). This article suggests that there is a real possibility of this turning into an economic meltdown on a scale comparable to that which afflicted Japan, in which impossibly high western expectations were replaced with economic disappointments and local suffering.

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The Heavenly Man (The true story of Brother Yun, Monarch)

This book is blessing so many people we can do no better than to quote from its back cover:

The Heavenly Man is the intensely dramatic story of how God took a young half-starved boy from a poor village in Henan province and used him mightily to preach the gospel despite horrific opposition. Instead of focusing on the many miracles or experiences of suffering (Yun suffered prolonged torture and imprisonment despite his relative youth), Yun prefers to emphasize the character and beauty of Jesus. Prepare to be deeply encouraged as well as rudely awakened. An absolute must for the sleeping churches of the West.

Pray for the protection and fruitfulness of men such as Brother Yun. Pray too for the printing and safe distribution of Bibles to those most in need, and who will use them best. May neither persecution nor growing wealth nor the prevailing spirit round them cause Chinese Christians to let go of their hope. And what we pray for them – may it also be true for each one of us. (The following links will keep you posted with news of Brother Yun’s ministry and the house church movement in China : and )

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The Back to Jerusalem Vision:
God's Call to the Chinese Church to Complete the Great Commission

For decades we have prayed for God to impact China. But have we ever thought of what would happen when Chinese believers begin to impact the rest of the world? Here are a few background details to a vision we need to be aware of and to get behind. (See their web site:

The Back to Jerusalem vision is something that thousands of Chinese Christians are willing to die for. When many people first hear about “Back to Jerusalem” they misinterpret from the name of the movement that the Chinese Church wants to evangelise Jerusalem.

‘Back to Jerusalem’ does not mean the Chinese want to rush to Jerusalem with the Gospel. The vision is much larger than that.
It is the driving force of our lives and ministries. Many feel it is God’s ultimate call and destiny for the Chinese Church, the very reason they exist!

Back to Jerusalem is not some kind of end times theory. We have no plans to rush to Israel. Rather, BTJ refers to a call from God for the Chinese Church to preach the Gospel and establish fellowships of believers in all the countries, cities, towns, and ethnic groups between China and Jerusalem. This vision is no small task, for within those nations lie the three largest spiritual strongholds in the world today that have yet to be conquered by the Gospel: the giants of Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism.

More than 90% of the unreached people groups in the world today are located within the 10/40 window – more than 5,100 tribes and ethno-linguistic groups with little or no Gospel witness.

Of the world’s 50 least-Christian and least-evangelised countries, all 50 are located within this region! Right now there are already hundreds of Chinese missionaries working outside China in the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, and Southeast Asia. Thousands more are in training, learning languages such as Arabic and English that will be put to use on the mission field.

A team of thirty-six Chinese missionaries departed China in March 2000 for a neighbouring Buddhist country. They were the first contemporary team of ‘Back to Jerusalem’ missionaries, the first-fruits of a great flood to come. Few people around the world knew of this event, but their going was the result of years of prayer and planning. On that day China once again became an active participant in worldwide mission.

During the training and orientation for those 36 pioneers, each one was asked to give their testimony. Many tears flowed as they told their stories. All of them had suffered much for the Gospel in China. Most had been arrested, imprisoned, beaten and tortured because of their testimony for Jesus Christ. They had all faced extreme hardship, separation from family, forced starvation, sleepless nights and perils on every side.

We can’t afford any big programs or fancy Gospel presentations. All we have to give people is Jesus. In a similar way, we pray God might use the Chinese Church to help the Western Church rise up and walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s almost impossible for the church in China to go to sleep in its present situation. There’s always something to keep us on the run, and it’s very difficult to sleep while you’re running.

We have seen thousands of times that even though an evangelist or missionary may be poor and uneducated according to the standards of the world, this is no deterrent at all. All that matters is if the hand of God is on that person or not.

Despite tremendous opposition, all 36 of these house church missionaries had faithfully preached the Gospel throughout China for years, establishing churches and seeing more of God’s power manifested through their ministries each month than most Christians see during their lifetimes.

As the Back to Jerusalem vision unfolds, its leaders believe that we will start to hear reports of Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists coming to Christ in places where the Gospel has long struggled to make an impact. When this happens, don’t be amazed at the Chinese Christians. They are just sinners saved by grace and undeserving of any attention. Rather, be amazed at the wisdom and manifest beauty of God’s plan. “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.” (1 Corinthians 1:25).

We hope you will be encouraged and challenged by the Back to Jerusalem vision, and moved to prayer and involvement in the fulfillment of the Great Commission in these last days, until “the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15) (Source:

For more information contact P.O. Box 23132, Jerusalem 91230, Israel.


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