PRAY WITH US.
Join us in praying for the nations of Asia using the regularly updated prayer points below!
Join us in praying for the nations of Asia using the regularly updated prayer points below!
Following the government’s rapid capitulation to the Taliban, Afghanistan has been left in a state of fear and panic. The Taliban have declared that the war is over, but the fallout for the Afghan people is only just beginning. We urge all our supporters to pray for the people of this nation.
Each year in June, members of minority religions (including Christians) take to the streets of Bangladesh to protest against their persecution. At the heart of the issue is the 1988 constitutional amendment which established Islam as the state religion and has since led to Islamic fundamentalism and discrimination against non–Muslims.
Source: Christianity Today
Guided by exceptional leadership and collective solidarity, the nation finds itself amongst the few countries in the world to have successfully responded to the double threat of coronavirus and climate change. Not only did Bhutan have the world’s fastest vaccine rollout, reaching 90% of the population within a week, it has also committed to remain carbon neutral and ensure that greenhouse gas emissions do not exceed the level at which carbon is absorbed by its forests.
In a country which delights in being ‘free from troubles’, a recent spread of COVID–19 has caused alarm. Government departments are asking the nation to pray corporately over the situation, on top of the five times of daily prayer. Many are hoping that if they pray enough, Allah might have mercy and cure everyone of the disease.
Five years after the death of prominent political activist Kem Ley, Cambodia remains a nation where opposition to the government comes with significant risk. A 2017 crackdown quashed independent media and saw the dissolution of the only major opposition party, and three environmental activists are currently facing serious charges of plotting against the government and insulting the king after documenting river waste run–off in Phnom Penh. It is now widely accepted that the legal system is controlled by and for Prime Minister Hun Sen, a former Khmer Rouge commander who has been in power for over 30 years.
China is increasingly being seen as a threat by major economies around the world. High levels of innovation and productive power have seen the nation rise to economic prominence, with a debut of the world’s fastest train being its latest notable achievement. But of equal concern has been the nation’s aggressive approach to the rest of the world, seeking opportunities to seize influence across the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East and North Africa, whilst also being accused of hacking and directly threatening western industry and politics.
Support for the poor continues amid the repercussions of Covid–19 restrictions. A team in the south of the nation have been providing survival kits to families including rice, wheat, spices, cooking oil and soap. One migrant worker, carrying his two children around his waist, asked one of the workers why they were helping him. They replied, “Jesus loves you and we love you, and we want to help you”. At this, the man began to weep uncontrollably.
A portion of the funds raised through our ‘On Your Bike’ appeal are helping to provide four motorbikes to believers reaching fellow Indonesians. One couple on the island of Sumatra will use their motorbike to run a small business and engage with the local Muslim community, whilst another worker on the island of Java will use hers in the task of helping those who return to the nation having met with Christ whilst working abroad.
42 years after Iran’s Islamic revolution, the underlying resentment against the regime is increasingly boiling over. The latest catalyst for unrest is Iran’s current water crisis, with shortages in the south–west sparking protests across the nation. A video from the town of Izeh shows demonstrators praising Rezah Shah, the former monarch, whilst another showed women at a Tehran metro station shouting “Down with the Islamic Republic”. The nation’s frustration with its leaders has softened many hearts to the gospel, but also risks erupting into conflict.
A collection of 13 aid groups have warned that 5 million people in Syria and 7 million in Iraq are losing access to water amid rising temperatures and low rainfall. The shortage is not only affecting supplies of drinking water, but also the ability to undertake agricultural work, with some crop yields expected to fall by 70%. One NGO worker has claimed that this “will soon become an unprecedented catastrophe pushing more into displacement”.
Source: Al Jazeera
The Olympics are officially underway! After being delayed for a year and after much scrutiny over whether they would go ahead, the events have kicked off. The Opening Ceremony has finished and while there was no crowd inside the stadium, there was one outside, some of whom were protesting. Polls have consistently shown the majority of the Japanese public are opposed to the Games. These Games are costing approximately £11.5 billion and are at risk of becoming a superspreader event, with Tokyo already in its fourth virus–related state of emergency.
Since May, Kazakhstan has been struggling with drought, with one implication being that livestock farmers have had to resort to feeding their animals anything they could find, even cardboard. At least 3,000 cattle have died in one region alone, causing the agricultural minister to resign, whilst a six–month ban on exporting livestock fodder has just been announced. Locals say they have never seen a drought on this scale before.
After over a year of debate, a controversial NGO bill has finally come into force. In the name of financial transparency, reporting requirements for NGOs are being increased. However, many fear potential misuse of the bill. Similar laws elsewhere have hindered freedom of expression and the progress of human rights by limiting the ability of organisations to criticise governments. Some predict that the bill will be selectively enforced against Western–funded organisations which have long been accused of serving Western interests, undermining traditional values and threatening national security. Religious NGOs are exempt from this bill, for now.
Source: The Diplomat
China’s latest foreign infrastructure investment – the construction of a dam north of Luang Prabang – is causing concern on multiple levels. First, there is the risk of the scenic former capital losing its UNESCO World Heritage status. Perhaps more seriously, there is even a risk that the project could threaten the welfare of the local people. One commentator raised the concern that if owners of the various damns north of the city do not communicate sufficiently, serious flooding could result. Meanwhile, China also continues work on a railway connecting Kunming with the Lao capital, Vientiane.
Whilst having an ‘all–Malay’ government initially pleased ethno–nationalists, the poor performance of the current administration during the pandemic has led to a shift in thinking. Now, professionals from all races are calling for a government based not on ethnicity but on competence. Young Malaysians in particular are less afraid of speaking out, with the issues of inequality and rights coming to the fore. The pandemic has served as a breeding ground for new political thought, but whether these new narratives will supplant the old ones remains to be seen.
Whilst the travel restrictions of 2020 saw visits to the Maldives fall dramatically, the industry has picked up where it left off. One resort director explained that they were fully booked from December 2020 to April 2021. She told of one family who kept extending their stay over the course of two months to avoid returning home to the UK – a story which highlights both the attraction of such a beautiful location and the temporary nature of the pleasures of this world.
Source: NY Times
Facing a COVID–19 risk from neighbouring China, the Mongolia authorities acted shrewdly to secure significant vaccine supplies and now rank among the world’s most vaccinated countries as a result. With a healthcare system unable to deal with any kind of surge in cases, the government have been incredibly cautious since the pandemic began and have only recently begun to loosen restrictions on entry to the country.
Source: i News
Since the coup earlier this year, violence and conflict have forced our partners offering shelter to children and young people in need to move them into hiding among several trusted villages. These villages have been supported with secret food and supply drops in the jungle.
However, over 30,000 Burmese soldiers have moved into the area and heavy fighting has broken out. One team of volunteers who were bringing aid to local people were arrested over the weekend. An elderly man helping with the children was seriously wounded with a shot to the head. Local leaders fear that large–scale war against the minority people groups is imminent and our partners simply ask for us to pray the words of Psalm 91 into these unimaginable circumstances.
Sher Bahadur Deuba was appointed as Nepal’s prime minister for a fifth time in July. He now faces the challenge of keeping the government going amid tensions between various parties in the coalition government, all whilst conducting a recovery from the pandemic. The problem is only highlighted by the fact he had not compiled his cabinet at the end of his first month in office, and there seems to be little confidence in this government becoming the first to avoid collapse in over 30 years.
It is becoming increasingly clear that food shortages in North Korea are having a significant impact not only on rural areas, but also in the city of Pyongyang. The nation closed its borders in fear of coronavirus, but the resulting inability to trade with China has exacerbated the nation’s problems.
A boy whose family are enslaved in a brick factory was renowned for beating other children, to the extent that nobody would greet him. His parents were ashamed and asked a Sunday school teacher to invite him along in the hope that his behaviour would change. The worker developed a strong rapport with the boy, who enjoyed the Sunday school classes and has now come to faith. His attitude has been totally transformed and he now brings other children along each week!
Despite a record–high 22,415 COVID cases on Monday 6th September, the capital Manila plans to lift the stay–at–home restrictions which have been in place for the past month. This comes with the hope of reviving the economy, however hospitals are reported to be filling up quickly as many staff have resigned since the pandemic began due to poor conditions and low pay.
Sri Lanka’s President has declared a state of emergency on 30th August as food prices soar and the currency’s value plumets. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa claims that this will prevent the hoarding of essential foods, however the emergency law will also give more power to authorities along with immunity from lawsuits and in the past such legislation has been used by ruling governments to suppress opponents.
In addition to the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria due to the refugee crisis, the region has also been experiencing rising temperatures and “record low” rainfall in recent months, putting millions in danger of losing access to water, electricity and food.
One AsiaLink partner in the country has likened watching the Thai government handle COVID–19 to watching a horror movie. “Unintelligent, non–sensical decisions seem to be the norm. But unlike in the movies, people are actually dying”, he lamented. As a result, lockdowns continue to be imposed causing children to miss school, businesses to close, jobs to be lost and outreach ministries to struggle.
Despite refusing to acknowledge the coronavirus outbreak in the nation, the government has explicitly stated that mass public events should be avoided. However, the President’s recent lecture on the duties and responsibilities of the younger generation was delivered to a hall full of students, none of whom were wearing masks.
Meanwhile, concerns abound over the possibility of yet another food shortage in the nation this winter. The government continues to insist that farmers have been provided with all the help they could possibly need.
The Foreign Ministry has taken a hard stance on Afghan migrants, refusing visa requests and insisting that illegal border crossings will be harshly suppressed. This comes in line with historic policies, with the Uzbek government having refused to sign and ratify the Refugee Convention since the Taliban’s reign in the 1990s.
Vietnam has been tightening censorship in an attempt to control ‘anti–state’ activities on social media. The nation runs perhaps the largest social media influence network in South–East Asia, with many “influencers” in Vietnam being soldiers in an online warfare unit called Force 47 which creates and moderates online material. A Reuters study found that since it was created in 2016, Force 47 had set up hundreds of pro–government Facebook pages and groups, and has published thousands of pro–government posts and stories. A Cybersecurity Law is frequently cited when arresting and questioning Christians who post information about their groups on Facebook and other websites.
Two million children are currently out of school in Yemen, with conflict, poverty, and Covid–19 proving devastating for the education system. Not only does an uneducated generation threaten the future prosperity of the country, but today these children are at greater risk of exploitation. In 2013, 17% of children were engaged in child labour. Today, this is likely much higher. Around 600 children are recruited into armed groups each year, and over 70% of girls are married before the age of 18. These situations can all be severely harmful to the children and make a return to education much less likely.
Urgent prayer required as military troops draw close to our partners.Read more