On September 8, 2022, Queen Elizabeth II passed away. She had dedicated her life to the service of her people and the United Kingdom. With 70 years as monarch, she surpassed every other British ruler in the duration of her reign. The dignified and kind manner in which she presented herself made her well-loved, not only by her own people but also worldwide. Her passing initiated a period of mourning throughout the nation extended for a week after her funeral.
On Monday, September 19, in a funeral service at Westminster Abbey, much was said about the life and service of Queen Elizabeth II. An emphasis was placed on her promise made and kept to faithfully serve the people of her kingdom. It was implied that she believed her role as both a Christian and a monarch was to follow Jesus’ example of servant leadership. This belief is one that should be shared by all Christians no matter their sphere of influence.
In the United Kingdom, which was once a vibrant hub of Christianity, only 8% of the 68,207,114 inhabitants would claim to be evangelical Christian. The Church of England is the national church, however, it is not particularly a growing religion. Knowledge of the God of the Bible and Jesus Christ is shallow at best and in many cases, non-existent. This country is in desperate need of a revival and missionaries to carry the good news to the millions. Please pray for the United Kingdom as many mourn a beloved monarch. As millions of people watched the funeral and heard about the faith and hope of the Queen, perhaps this will lead some to seek after the Truth that is Jesus Christ.
This summer’s intense heat wave in Europe is continuing to leave a mark. Spain, not a stranger to hot summers, experienced record-setting heat that has greatly affected the Mediterranian regions responsible for mussel crops. Water temperatures soared, reaching 86° F, with the heatwave lasting 42 days–three times the average over the past decade. With the higher-than-normal water temperatures, the mussel farmers in the area are taking a big financial hit. It has been estimated that 150 tons of commercial mussels have been destroyed along with 1,000 tons of young stock for next year. The producers of the mollusc industry in this region estimate that they will lose around $1,000,000 between this year’s crop and purchasing next year’s young molluscs from elsewhere.
Whether heatwaves in the summer or freezing days in the winter, so much of life is unreliable and can be daunting for those depending on something as unpredictable as the weather. How blessed it is to depend solely on the One Who is completely reliable! While historically Spain was very Catholic, today less than 17% of the population attends mass. With a population of 46,745,211, 77% still consider themselves Christian, however, few are practising. A tiny 1% claims to be evangelical. Please pray for the country of Spain. Pray that the Christians there would be bold witnesses; for the hearts of those unsaved to be softened to the Gospel; and for missionaries to reach those in darkness.
Turkish President Erdogan has been claiming that Greece has been positioning its military in demilitarized zones on some Greek Aegean islands. At the beginning of September, it is alleged that Turkish fighter jets had been targeted by Greece. During a reconnaissance flight, Erdogan claims that Greek air defence systems were locked onto Turkish jets in order to harass and threaten them. Erdogan’s advice to Greece was this: “do not forget Izmir”; a reminder of the Greek withdrawal from the city of Izmir [Smyrna] in 1922.
Turkey was once a bastion of Christianity. The first-century church spread the gospel throughout the land, and it was strong in this faith for about 1,000 years. The decline has been extreme, and today, 0% of the population are evangelical Christian. This directly correlates to the political climate, where today many are persecuted for opposing the current leadership.
Historically, Greece was the very first nation in Europe to be evangelised. Today, a high majority of Greeks would claim to be Orthodox Christians, however, of those, it is estimated that less than 3% regularly attend church. Only 0.4% of the population claims to be evangelical.
The political and financial uncertainties facing both Turkey and Greece no doubt give the citizens of both countries great concern. Much of what happens politically and financially is completely out of their hands. Please pray for the Christians of both countries to be vocal in their belief. Pray also for labourers to answer to call to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to these nations. Only in Christ can they find peace from the troubles of this world.
During the month of August, Montenegro accused Russia of conducting cyber-attacks on governmental servers. The first series of attacks reportedly took place on August 22, but the government claims to have taken quick action to ensure no damage was made. According to outgoing Prime Minister, Dritan Abazovic, the first attack came just hours after the parliament took a vote of no confidence. Montenegro’s once-healthy relationship with Russia has taken a turn within the last decade. In 2014, Montenegro, vying for NATO membership, joined the EU and US in imposing sanctions on Russia for annexing the Crimean peninsula. Later in 2016, Montenegro accused Russia of a failed coup attempting to prevent its joining NATO. On March 1, 2022, Montenegro again imposed sanctions on Moscow leading Russia to add Montenegro to its list of ‘enemy states’ on March 7. While the Montenegrin government accused Russia of the cyber attacks in August, investigations must still be made. The Minister of Defence, Rasko Konjevic, has asked the authorities to investigate and provide evidence for the Russian cyber-attack claims.
Montenegro is a small, beautiful country in the Balkans bordering the Adriatic Sea with an approximate population is 628,000. Orthodoxy is the main religion with only 0.1% of Montenegrins claiming to be evangelical. There is typically much animosity in the Balkans between religious and ethnic groups, and Montenegro is not immune to it. The trouble with Russia serves to show that even the smallest of countries have enormous problems and that will never truly end despite organisations and unions such as NATO and the EU. The lasting change that can be made is on an individual level. A missionary can share the Gospel with a Montenegrin; that person can then have a personal relationship with the God of the universe; that soul can be changed for eternity. Please pray for missionaries who will answer the call to go to Montenegro so that the 0.1% will increase for the glory of God.
July was the hottest month in Spain since 1961 when the meteorology register began keeping track. Due to the extreme temperatures, wildfires have been a much more serious threat this year. The yearly average of 70,000 hectares consumed by fires increased to 270,000 this year. In Valencia, the eastern region of Spain, hundreds of firefighters are working to contain the blaze of two wildfires and many people have been evacuated from their homes. Portugal is battling fires as well. The Serra da Estrela national park in central Portugal has been engulfed in flames since August 6, and 1,100 firefighters and thirteen waterbombing airplanes have been working nonstop to control the fire. The smoke from the wildfire in Portugal has reached Madrid, which is 250 miles away. This caused much concern for Madrid residents who were worried a fire had ignited in the capital city.
The imminent threat of an approaching wildfire is enough to cause panic and requires quick action. Even more looming and ominous is the reality of eternity for anyone who has not trusted Jesus as Saviour. In Spain, a heavily Roman Catholic nation, only 1% would claim to be evangelical Christian. While Portugal has a similar Roman Catholic leaning, 3% are professing evangelical Christians. In both countries, practicing religion in general has heavily decreased. Please pray for Christians who will answer the call to take the Gospel to two spiritually dry countries that are in desperate need of the Living Water.
During the month of June, the Bulgarian government collapsed, prompting quick political action. Bulgarian president Rumen Radev called for the country to vote in a snap election for a new prime minister after former Prime Minister Kiril Petkov was ousted. When Petkov left office, none of the four political parties was capable of gaining a majority vote, meaning that this will be the fourth parliamentary election in just two years in Bulgaria. In the meantime, the parliament will be led by Galab Donev, the former minister of labour. There is a possibility that the upcoming snap election will produce yet another split parliament.
Bulgaria is no stranger to political division. It was a nation dominated by communism from the 1940s until 1989, and today, political and racial tensions undercut the society. It is the poorest country in the European Union, forcing many citizens to emigrate; however, a new government is not the answer to the problems in Bulgaria. It is a very religious nation, but only 1% of the 6,896,655 people are evangelical Christians. Someone needs to take the Gospel to the other 99%. Will you pray for labourers for Bulgaria and ask if God wants you to become one of them?