What would Jesus do?

Reflections from Leonard Tapiwa Makoni, Director Scripture Union, Zimbabwe

Chipo (not her real name) is 12, the second daughter and third born in a family of four. She shares one grass thatched hut with her mother and two brothers (14 and 7). Typically they have one major meal a day made from boiled barley. The mother is frail, pale and wasted more by outside pressures than the infirmities of her body.

This family was returned to their rural home after spending just over a year on the streets in one of our major cities. When drought struck their area, the father could not help but take everyone to the city to survive. After about two months of visiting a Scripture Union contact centre where they accessed food, clean water, a safe place to play, Chipo and her little brother led staff to the rest of the family. These four were helped to return home while the father remained with a new wife from among the women living on the streets. Their first daughter (16) was found to be pregnant from one of the boys on the streets.

On enquiring about the family’s welfare it came out that almost no support came from the community, including the church. With teary eyes Chipo’s mother explained that she is forced to sell some of their monthly food assistance so that she can pay her monthly US $ 10.00 dues to their church. This was to be sure that their church will assist her children to bury her when she dies!

Chipo’s case is one of many untold stories of suffering made worse by their church.

While the church is swelling in numbers, it is shrivelling in love and compassion. To many church leaders “church” has become a business venture that pays no taxes and absolute power is not questioned. More resources are spent on elaborate high tech buildings at the expense of God’s people. Many leaders are “mini-stars” to be served instead of ministers who serve in love and compassion. We have become salt that has lost its saltiness.  
God invites us to the true “fast”: “Isn't this the fast that I have been choosing: to lose the bonds of injustice, and to untie the cords of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Isn't it to share your bread with the hungry, and to bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him with clothing, and not to raise yourself up from your own flesh and blood?" Isaiah 58:6-7 (ISV) 

1. Do we sometimes boast and magnify our performance in serving God? We often share and communicate about the good works we do – the real challenge is though: do we see the poor and needy around us and stop to help?

2. Who is the poor, oppressed, homeless, naked and imprisoned in your community? Matthew 25:34-36 presents us with a challenge – will our church be amongst those who have been found caring for the poor?

3. Develop a plan of what you will do as an individual, group or church to practically meet the needs of the people in your family, church and community at large who need to see God through your lives.

Let’s pray that God would use the local churches in cities and rural settings to be the present and supportive of their communities, responding in love to all in need.

Standing with Pakistan

From the Consultative Group for Development Cooperation (CGDC)

Risk of floods in 2012:
In July 2010 Pakistan faced heavy rains and flooding caused one-fifth of total land area under water and severely affected around 20 million people. 
In August 2011 again heavy rains in Sindh & Baluchistan province caused flooding and affected 5.1 million people. Infrastructure, livestock, standing crops and irrigation system got severely affected.
Now in 2012 there is a threat that if a monsoonal rain comes it can cause flooding again. CGDC requests to please pray for the flood affected people for full economic recovery and heavy rains and flood do not come this year. As rural people are already under debt because of subsequent losses and frequent disasters can cause food shortage, poor health and bad livelihood conditions in rural areas.

Please pray with us that the weather would not harm the recovery of those affected by floods.

Pakistan already facing a hard time due to high food prices, routine electricity breakdowns, political instability and terrorism.  Please also pray for these problems which every person is facing each day.

VAW (Violence Against Women) Alliance Project:

CGDC requests you to pray for its Violence Against Women Alliance project in which 40 – 50 Christian organizations are expected to participate.  We also plan to mobilize 10 churches in 2012 on VAW prevention initiative. CGDC is also trying to seek funds to hold a conference at the end of this year on VAW in Pakistan.

CONTACT US at: for more information.

Affected Children

Nisar Gul from Dar ul Sukun Quetta Centre has asked us to prayer for their work amongst marginalised children. Please pray that each child will feel loved and cared for.

Syria – Christians targeted

News coming out of Syria reveals that a number of churches and Christians have come attack, with accusations of choosing sides.

Please pray for strength and protection of all caught up in this civil war and that the church would be seen to caring for those in need, irrespective of their political position.

Micah Network Cambodia

From Chandara Ket, National Coordinator

Micah Network in Cambodia invites you to pray with us regarding the following:

1. Our consultation on the 7th May: Theme: The challenges faced  by churches and Christian NGOs in Cambodia. Please pray for all participants – that we may have wisdom from God sas they share their opinions in this consultation.

2. Workshop on Trafficking: We will be holding a this workshop from the 25th to 26th October. Please pray for more participants, especially for pastors and NGO leaders to attend. We are also inviting a speaker from the Cambodian government – please pray for this time together.

3. Please continue to pray for the Christian Council in Cambodia and the various denominations – we long for unity and greater cooperation as we work together as the Body of Christ.

Prayer Points in Brief

1. Uganda: please pray for us as we gather together on the 16th May in Kampala for a conversation on Integral Mission and the Community, hoping to feed into the Global Consultation later this year in September.

2. Côte d’Ivoire: please pray for the team there preparing to run a Training of Trainers  on Healing Ethnic Wounds from the 18th to 22nd June, followed by an Integral Mission Conversation and Reconciliation Workshop from the 24th to 28th June.

3. CLADE V: preparations are under way for the Latin American regional consultation being held in Costa Rica from the 9th to 13th July. Please pray for the organisers as they work hard to facilitate this. Pray too for the Micah Network coordination group who will be meeting and presenting at this event.

4. Missional Church Workshop: please pray for this up and coming workshop in Delhi from the 11th to 14th May.

Note from Sheryl

Apologies for missing 2 weeks of prayer focus mailings – it was a busy time at the two conferences (Spain – ECMI and Germany – CCD). Please pray for all those who participated in these conferences that God would help them to develop the thinking shared in action! Pray for the speakers who gave so much of themselves – may God restore and continue to inspire them.