Inflation Soars in the Netherlands

Inflation Soars in the Netherlands

Supply chain disruptions and increased energy prices have become a source of steep global inflation in 2022 and many people are struggling with the long-reaching effects. In the Netherlands during the month of September, inflation increased by 17% making it the highest it has been in decades. This comes after a leap of 13% one month earlier in August. The surging energy costs are astounding, with an increase of 114% since September 2021. In an effort to reassure its citizens, the Dutch government has pledged 18 billion euros in assistance next year. In addition, electricity and gas prices have been capped.

Despite governmental promises and efforts like those made by the Dutch government, uncertain and fearful times grip the world and there is no comfort or peace to be found outside of Christ. The Netherlands, once a Christian nation, now leads the world in secularism and New Age views. The evangelical population numbers 4%, and the largest “religion” is non-religious. As dire the circumstances may be, hope is not lost. We can pray that this may prove to be a fruitful time for the Gospel to reach those living in the shadow of fear and stress over the future.

Elections in Italy

Elections in Italy

General elections took place in Italy during the last weekend of September. The turnout for voting was 64% — the lowest in nearly fifty years. In a speech on Sunday night, Giorgia Meloni, head of the elected leadership party, thanked voters who showed confidence in her party and emphasised her goal of uniting citizens. Meloni is set to become Italy’s first female prime minister but is facing criticism for her “far-right” conservatism. The elected party, Brothers of Italy, was formed by supporters of Benito Mussolini after World War II. Supporters of the modern Brothers of Italy party and Giorgia Meloni emphatically claim that they are not fascists. Despite these claims, some are concerned that although the modern party may not be fascist, their conservative leanings may influence them to implement policies that will lead the country into an illiberal democracy.

Beginning more than 2,000 years ago, this region has greatly contributed to world history through law and legal processes, the origin of many modern languages, as well as culture. In more recent history, the Italians suffered under the fascist dictatorship from the 1920s-1940s, and it is no wonder that many are wary of any government party with historical links to such a dictatorship. While Roman Catholicism has a strong foothold in Italy, it is more cultural than an active belief system with only 3% of professing Catholics practising the religion. Evangelical Christianity has even fewer followers with 1% of the 60,000,000 population. Please be in prayer for the following:

  1. the missionaries in Italy to be faithful and effective witnesses in sharing the Gospel
  2. that those who are seeking will find the Truth
  3. more missionaries to reach the millions in Italy
A Life of Service

A Life of Service

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.

Residual Effects of Heat in Spain

Residual Effects of Heat in Spain

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.

Friction Growing Between Turkey and Greece

Friction Growing Between Turkey and Greece

Turkey and Greece have had a strained relationship for years, going back over 100 years. In 1922, Greek forces occupied the city of Izmir [Greek = Smyrna], but it was liberated by Turkish forces a century ago. Despite the neighbouring countries being members of NATO, peace has been fragile. Most disputes between the two originate over sea and air boundaries.

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.

Cyber-Attacks on Montenegro

Cyber-Attacks on Montenegro

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.