A recent report from the US State Dep. raised more concern about the situation around the world concerning Religious Freedom. Along with other countries like Burma, China, Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, Nigeria was added to the list of countries with the worst religious freedom violations.
They have seen thousands of churches burned, children massacred, pastors beheaded and properties destroyed simply because of their Christian faith. The Bible is clear that in the ends times things will get worse and worse. While I am not a gloom and doom type person, I think we can clearly see how the world is getting worse all the time. Even in the US, Christians are quickly becoming the minority, and the only ones that are not considered when it comes to rights.
During this time we must realize that we have to stand firm, and true to the Word of God, and who we are as Christians. We must also realize that our hope is not in the government, or any man for that matter, except the Lord Jesus Christ. We must strive to get the gospel to a lost and dying world, otherwise there will be no change. This also alerts us to the fact that the Lord’s return could be any day, and we must do what we can, while we still have time, for the day is coming when no man will work. Lord please set a fire in our souls to do the work you have called us to do.
Featured Article: A recent shipwreck off the coast of Libya has taken the lives of 74 migrants with close to 50 survivors having to be rescued. Reports show that there have already been over 900 drownings and more than 11,000 migrants that have been stopped at sea already this year, as they attempt to cross the Mediterranean, to make it to Europe. They are willing to risk such great danger, many times, seeking freedom, and in hopes to make it to a better life for themselves and their families. Although such desperation and sacrifice often turns into disaster and tragedy, there is a tragedy that is much greater taking place as these people are also in a shipwrecked spiritual condition.
Most of Northern Africa would be considered closed to the gospel and often there is very little to no mission work allowed. The tight grasp of Islam makes it even difficult for those who are Christian to live out their faith. So while it truly is a tragedy to hear about these migrants who lost their lives trying to make it to freedom, it is a much greater tragedy that thousands of them die without ever knowing the freedom that can only be found in Jesus Christ. Would you pray for laborers, and open doors, to be able to send a rescue team to reach those who are spiritually shipwrecked without hope and that otherwise will never make it to freedom.
Having been missionaries in Bolivia for 14 years, we have seen the gradual shift all over Latin America to this type of socialistic government and its dangers. The irony of this is that when you observe other socialist countries, like Venezuela and Cuba, the results have never been what the people truly wanted. In Venezuela today, they are facing a humanitarian crisis due to the lack of basic necessities. In Cuba, where socialism had much of its start, the average wage for a doctor is only twenty dollars a month. Even more concerning for us is the effect socialism has on the work that God has called us to do. Socialist governments are almost always anti-church and do much to control religion. Though we have not faced any direct opposition in Bolivia, the government has consistently passed laws to control churches and make things more difficult for foreigners.
In all this, we continue to trust the Lord and His will for both Bolivia and Latin America. Our prayer has been that the Lord would use these political changes to further the gospel and strengthen churches and Christians in Bolivia. We know that even though we must prepare for battle, safety and victory is of the Lord (Prov 21:31). However, it does give us a sense of urgency, knowing that our time in Bolivia could be limited and that we must work while we can. Please pray for us. And please pray that the Lord will raise more laborers to go to Bolivia and reap the harvest before it is too late.
The political situation in Bolivia, South America has been anything but stable over the past year. This time last year, the previous president, that represented the socialist party, was ousted by the people, because he was attempting to run for a third term that the constitution did not allow for and there was also suspected fraud. Because of Covid, the elections had been postponed, until this past Sunday when they were able to vote for who would lead the country for the next five years. The vote was between the former leftwing socialist party and a group of different political parties that represented the rightwing conservatives. To the surprise of many, the socialist party won by a large margin and will begin the transition to regain power over the next few months.
As missionaries working in Bolivia, we were concerned about this election, but all the time praying and trusting the Lord. Our desire, whatever the results, was that it would lead to the progress of the gospel and His work in Bolivia. In the past we have been able to continue doing ministry in Bolivia, but with increasing control over the churches. With our government being very similar to that of Venezuela, we have been praying that it would not affect us in our ministry there. As we move forward, we continue to trust the Lord, that He will indeed use all this for His honor and glory, and for the progress of the gospel in Bolivia. It does however give a sense of urgency as we know, the same as anywhere else, that our time is always limited for what we do for the Lord. It also gives us an urgency to pray for more laborers to Bolivia and many countries in Latin America that are quickly headed towards socialism. Please continue to pray with us, that Christ might be lifted up in Bolivia and around the world.
Many South American countries have suffered tremendously over the past few months due to the Corona virus, on top of other political and sociological issues that already existed. One country that has suffered more than most is Venezuela. In 1998, Hugo Chavez was elected as president, and began a radical shift towards a socialist government and a socialist ideology. After becoming president, It wasn’t many years before things began to go south and in 2010, just a few years before Chavez’s death, the country had reached crisis levels. Since then, things have just continued to get worse, and has resulted in the majority of the population living in extreme poverty, lacking the basic necessities like food and health care. They are having as many as seven hundred protests a month, but there doesn’t seem to be any hope that things will get better. Beyond their physical crisis there has also been a spiritual crisis for many years. During Hugo Chavez’s presidency, the government began to put restrictions on missionaries that resulted in making it almost imposible to stay in Venezuela or go to Venezuela as a missionary. It is very sad to see how all of this has resulted in so much suffering and turmoil, all with having very little hope that comes from the gospel. Would you pray for Venezuela and it’s wonderful people that have been suffering so much. Pray for their government, that they would have the change they need, to see the churches there prosper, and that missionaries would be allowed to return so that the gospel can be taken to every man , woman, boy and girl.