•Population – 395,650
•Percentage of Evangelicals – N/A (0.1% Christian)
•Total Number of People Groups – 9
•Number of Unreached People Groups – 5
•Language Spoken – Maldivian Dhivehi
•Major Religion – Muslim (Sunni)
•Human Development Rank – 95
•Persecution Index – 5
Maldives became a republic in 1968. It had previously been under the hands of the British and the Dutch before them. After its independence, the political scene in Maldives was dominated by a president who stayed in office for 30 years. Recently, reforms have been made and another president has taken office. Maldives is predominantly Muslim. It is a collection of over 1,000 islands which provides a great environment for their tourist industry. However, tourists are only allowed to visit certain islands and stay for short periods of time as to reduce their influence on the Maldivian population. All Maldivian citizens must be Muslim, and converts lose citizenship. Expatriates comprise the percentage of the population that is not Muslim. Expatriates also make up the “reached” people groups. Several human rights organizations name Maldives as one of the world’s worst in regard to religious freedom. The few believers in Maldives suffer ostracism and cannot openly meet together nor read the Scriptures. The barriers to the spread of the Gospel and inability of outsiders to interact with locals create a difficult situation that is in need of much prayer.
•Ask the Lord to work in the hearts of the Maldivian government.
•Pray that the gospel will spread through and in spite of the barriers that are present.
•Pray for our Maldivian brothers and sisters that they will hold fast to the faith and the Lord will grant them perseverance.
•Pray for those being persecuted that the Lord will show Himself strong in their lives.
•Pray that the Lord will continue to grow and strengthen His Church there in Maldives.
Our summer tutoring ministry came to an end tonight with our getAhead graduation celebration. It was an incredible evening! Over 50 kids graduating and getting cheered on by their getAhead family, the Springs of Grace Church family, and many of their parents. Many of the students don’t get cheered on very often. Parents stood and yelled with joy when their child got a prize. Some sat and cried afterwards because it was so sweet to get to cheer their child on instead of getting a report about a problem to be dealt with. Interns cried (so did I) when kids they have prayed for and loved expressed so much joy!
How must our heavenly Father feel about our small spiritual successes! He came to us when we were His enemies and with sinful pasts and hopeless futures and made us His Bride! Amazing Grace!
I can’t imagine someone seeing the work of God tonight and not wanting to be a part of the Lord’s work here. What a privilege it is to get to be a part! Thank you Jesus
A Great Graduate - Soleo
One Hope Room Fun
The getAhead Band
Student of the Summer
•Population – 1,919,552
•Percentage of Evangelicals – 8.2%
•Total Number of People Groups – 6
•Number of Unreached People Groups – 1
•Language Spoken – Sesotho, English, Zulu
•Major Religion – Christian (80%), indigenous beliefs
•Human Development Rank – 156
•Persecution Index – N/A
In 1966, the Kingdom of Lesotho gained its independence from the U.K. After two decades, Lesotho fell into political turmoil that included military mutiny, the king’s exile and return, military mutiny, and a disputed election that resulted in international intervention by South Africa and Botswana. Some stability was restored after reforms took place. However, today the threat of instability looms. In addition, Lesotho suffers from declining food production which has resulted in serious hunger conditions. Around 42% of children under the age of 5 suffer from stunting. Lesotho is home to 180,000 orphans. About 450,000 people who will need humanitarian assistance before next harvest. For generations the people of Lesotho have been predominantly Christian. This tradition however has created a complacency in the church.
•Pray for the church in Lesotho to seek Christ and remain faithful to the Gospel.
•Pray for the church in Lesotho to demonstrate the Gospel by caring for these children in need.
•Pray for God’s providence for those in need.
•Ask God to establish the believers in Lesotho in the Scriptures to live changed lives.
I love the stories of the ministry and wish everyone could hear them first hand. The blog provides a little more insight into the ministry. Check it out and sign up for updates as a friend of One Hope.
gives a tremendous picture of the ministry of One Hope that is wed together with the faith life of Springs of Grace.
Exponential has posted an adaptation of Francis Chan’s message he gave at their conference. May his exhortation to trust in the Holy Spirit and strive for authentic, loving, and a true Biblical community sink deep.
Here is an excerpt:
“A little over a year ago, we baptized this guy who came out of the gangs. I remember loving his fire and passion. A while later, someone came up to me and said that this guy had stopped coming to Cornerstone and had told him, “I had the wrong vision of church. I thought that when I got baptized and joined the church, it was going to be like when I got jumped into the gang. Immediately, we became family. They had my back 24 hours a day. If I was sleeping in the street, they were sleeping there with me. We didn’t get together just once a week; it was all the time. I guess I just didn’t understand church. It’s like Satan stole God’s playbook, and people are attracted to gangs because they’re doing things biblically—except for the killing part.”
That kills me! It’s so sad that gangs are a better picture of family than the body of Christ. And it just makes me say that it’s not this guy, it’s us—we are the ones who don’t understand church.
And I’ve heard the arguments. I know people say that even though it’s biblical, you can’t pull off that kind of bold community in today’s culture. And to that, I ask, Have we forgotten who the Holy Spirit is? If Jesus could look at 11 people and say, “You’re going to get the message to the whole world without Internet access,” then we can grab 11 people and reach these three or four blocks. It’s the same Holy Spirit. I’ve got to believe that the Holy Spirit still can and will do these amazing things. We’re going through this as a church right now. The leaders of our church are my best friends. I trust them. I know that if I die tonight, these guys will take care of my family. They’ll treat my kids like their own. We’re seeing that type of bond happen. Today’s Church can foster bold and authentic, 24/7 community.”
Springs of Grace is becoming more and more of this kind of community. Tonight in our small groups we prayed that relationships that are personal, deepening, supportive, and faith-building might abound more and more in our church family to the glory of God. Love must not stay in some sanitized form but must be exercised in relationships. I believe this is happening this summer in our church family and I trust that people coming into Springs of Grace might never again feel what Francis Chan describes this former gang member feeling.
Telling people that being part of the local church is optional for the health of the Christian, is like telling a married couple they can replace living together with being friends on Facebook to grow closer and become One as God intends.
– Carlos Griego
Pray For…The Kyrgyz of Kyrgyzstan
•Population – 2,800,000
•Percentage of Evangelicals – N/A
•Language Spoken – Kyrgyz
•Major Religion – Islam (Sunni)
•Human Development Rank of Kyrgyzstan – 120
•Persecution Index of Kyrgyzstan – 49
•Global Evangelical Status – Level 2, Less than 2% Evangelical. Initial church planting in the past 2 years.
The Kyrgyz are related to the Kazakh and other Turkic people but are most closely resemble the Mongols. The Kyrgyz more than other Central Asian peoples have clung to their nomadic heritage. Until the time under Communist rule, almost all Kyrgyz were nomadic and lived in rural areas. However once under Soviet rule, many Kyrgyz settled into towns and cities as their population grew to four times its original size. Despite this, the majority of Kyrgyz still live according to their tradition. The Kyrgyz were introduced to Islam in the 17th century; and by the 19th century, almost all Kyrgyz had become Muslims. The Soviets attempted to change their beliefs but were not successful. In fact, almost 2,000 mosques have been built since Kyrgyzstan achieved its independence in 1991. The Kyrgyz believe a mixture of Islam with some Shamanistic practices. Despite the purity of their beliefs, the Kyrgyz hold to them and consider them a part of their cultural heritage. Conversion of a Kyrgyz is seen as a betrayal of both ethnic identity and family. There are few Kyrgyz Christians and only initial church planting among them. Most Kyrgyz do not know the Gospel of Christ and adhere to Islam due to tradition. In addition to the spiritual poverty, Kyrgyzstan is an underdeveloped country with almost 40% of the population living below the poverty line. Its terrain and geography do not make international trade easy and food production difficult based on weather.
•Ask God to work in the hearts of the Kyrgyz and draw them to Himself.
•Pray for those who trust in Christ that they would persevere.
•Ask God to raise up His church among the Kyrgyz.
•Pray that God would show His provision through His church that many would trust in Christ.
Jesus told the story about two sons who were told to go work in the vineyard (Matt. 21: 28-32). One said he would go and didn’t, and the other said that he wouldn’t go, and then did. Thus far the parable is a familiar one. But I was recently struck by how the son who said he wouldn’t go did so. As soon as He is done with the parable, Jesus tells us the meaning. Those who said they wouldn’t work in the vineyard were the ones who did so by betraying their country and by selling sexual favors for money (Matt. 21: 31). Pretty bad, but a life of prostitution with repentance is far to be preferred than a life of theology without it.
Pray For…North Korea
•Population – 22,757,275
•Percentage of Evangelicals – 1.5%
•Total Number of People Groups – 5
•Number of Unreached People Groups – 4
•Major Religion – autonomous religious activities now almost nonexistent
•Human Development Rank – N/A
•Persecution Index – 1
Korea has been autonomous for much of its long history. However, Korea was occupied by Japan in 1905 until after World War II at which time it was split. The North came under Soviet-sponsored Communist control. The South was able to fend off attempts from the North to incorporate the South during the Korean War. Afterward, founder and leader Kim Il Sung adopted a policy of diplomatic and economic “self-reliance”. Since this time North Korea has been known one of the most repressive and isolated regimes in the world denying almost every kind of human right to its citizens. Almost all religious activities that were once practiced by the Korean people are now almost nonexistent. In particular, North Korea is one of the worst perpetrators of persecution against Christians in the world causing Christians to have to practice their faith in deep secrecy. Instead, North Koreans are led to adhere to “Juche” which centers around worship of the country’s leaders. But despite persecution, Christians are quietly adding to their numbers daily, though the exact number is unknown. Due to decades of mismanagement of resources, North Korea has relied on the international aide to help feed their people since the mid 1990′s. In addition, tensions have grown over the past several months between North Korea and its neighbor South Korea due to an incident at sea. This tension could result in devastating repercussions for either country and also some in the international community who may become involved.
•Pray for the Lord to work in the hearts of North Korea’s leaders.
•Ask God to strengthen our brothers and sisters in their time of affliction.
•Pray for God to establish His church in North Korea in His Word.
•Pray to God that He would redeem many to worship Christ.
•Ask God to have His hand over this sensitive situation between North and South Korea.
•Population – 29,671,605
•Percentage of Evangelicals – 0.1%
•Total Number of People Groups – 33
•Number of Unreached People Groups – 33
•Language Spoken – Arabic, Kurdish, Turkoman
•Major Religion – Muslim (97%), Christian, Other
•Human Development Rank – N/A
•Persecution Index – 17
Home to the ancient Babylonians, Iraq has a long, rich history. After the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, Britain occupied Iraq until it gained its independence as a kingdom in 1932. In 1958, it was declared a republic, but in actuality it functioned like a dictatorship being ruled by a series of autocratic leaders until 2003. Iraq has been in economic decline and conflict for about the past 30 years which has affected education and health services among other things. Conflicts have not only arose outside Iraq’s boarders, such as with Iran, but also from within between ethnic groups (i.e., Kurds and Arabs), religions, and amongst religions (i.e., Sunni and Shi’a). In 2005, a constitution was approved and representatives were elected to a Council democratically. However, Iraq has been plagued with uncertainty even since the installation of a national government. Many Christians have fled Iraq since 2003 due to instability and persecution. Those remaining still face widespread persecution. The number of known Christians are few. All 33 of Iraq’s people groups are unreached of which 30 do not have any known Gospel witness. There has been progress made with the country and within the church, but there is much still left to do. (Sources: CIA World Factbook, World Food Programme, Operation World, IMB Global Research)
•Pray for the people of Iraq who have endured over 7 years of war that God would work in their hearts and bring stability to their country.
•Pray for the future of Iraq as a country and the spread of the Gospel within it.
•Pray for the peoples of Iraq that God would send laborers to share the Gospel of Christ.
•Pray for God to strengthen our brothers and sisters as they endure in the name of Christ.
•Population – 126,804,433
•Percentage of Evangelicals – 0.4%
•Total Number of People Groups – 18
•Number of Unreached People Groups – 15
•Language Spoken – Japanese
•Major Religion – Shintoism (83.9%), Buddhism (71.4%), Christianity, Other
•Human Development Rank – 10
•Persecution Index – N/A
After World War II, Japan underwent major rebuilding, turning itself into one of the largest economies in the world. Japan’s long history of culture and innovation remained strong through the recovery and subsequent prosperity. Japan’s culture has also contributed to difficulty in the spread of the Gospel. The Japanese are one of the largest unreached people groups in the world with a population of over 127 million. The church in Japan is small and in need of strength. Over the last 7 or 8 years, God has used instabilities in Japan’s economy and political system to show people their need for Christ. There is still great difficulty facing the church. Although there is not widespread persecution of Christians, many who profess faith in Christ receive intense pressure from friends and family to renounce their faith and return to Japanese culture of ancestor worship and other beliefs.
•Pray for God to work in the hearts of many so they see their need for the Gospel.
•Ask God to strengthen His church and give a vision to national church leaders.
•Pray that God move amongst the Japanese and bring them to saving faith in Christ.
•Pray for Christians in Japan who are experiencing pressure to abandon their faith to stand strong in the faith while showing God’s grace to those around them.