Area: 377,801 sq km
A 3,000 km arc of four large islands (Honshu, Hokkaido, Shikoku, Kyushu) and 3,000 small islands in NW Pacific. Mountainous; only 13% can be cultivated.
Official language: Japanese
Largest Religion: Buddhist, 88,376,107 Christian 1,955,729 Evangelicals 596,498
Answer to Prayer
Uncertainty about the future has prompted spiritual searching. This is partly in response to many economic and social changes that threaten the status quo in Japan. The constant threats of a major earthquake, of economic decline, the widening generation gap and the feeling of social isolation that so many suffer provoke widespread soul-searching.
Challenges for Prayer
· Pray for the Goings as they serve in Japan. Pray that God continues to bless their ministry to the ULS students (only about 5% being Christian) and their fellow teachers (only about 30% being Christian). Ask God to continue giving their family good health and enthusiasm to serve. Ask Him to give them the energy and patience to share the Gospel. Pray for Megumi and Isaac as they study the Japanese language in their homeschool lessons and as they adjust to the Japanese culture. Pray for the Japanese people that their hearts and minds are open to learning more about Christianity. Ask the Holy Spirit to remind them of the Gospel and the love and grace God has for them, as well as His ability to break the bondage they feel under their ancestors.
· Spiritual openness is mitigated by hindrances to the gospel. There are several ways in which the eyes of the Japanese are blinded to the good news. The spiritual powers and principalities that exercise authority in Japan have never been decisively challenged. The Bible is alien to the worldview of the Japanese – the concept of a Creator God is foreign to most. Socio-economic life. The sincere, polite, hardworking Japanese are too busy to give heed to the gospel. Materialism, very much on the rise, dominates the ambitions of most younger people. Only 10% believe in the existence of a personal God; only 50% have ever even desired help from God or gods. New religions. The Japan-based Buddhist lay movement Sokka Gakkai has grown to include 10 million affiliates. Scores of new religions are started each year.
Gail and Kenneth Horvath
International Educators from Missouri District
Area: 331,653 sq km
Long, narrow country occupying the entire eastern and southern coastline of Indochina.
Largest Religion: Buddhist: 46,722,283 Christian: 8,395,410 Evangelicals: 1,576,889
Official Language: Vietnamese
Answer to Prayer
· A growing, witnessing Church is emerging from years of persecution. Catholic and Protestant, new expression and old, a significant turning to God is occurring in different places, in both registered and unregistered churches, and among different people groups. The Vietnamese diaspora is also seeing many become believers. These converts then bring the gospel back to Vietnam with them.
Challenges for Prayer
· Please pray for Ken and Gail as they teach at Concordia International School in Hanoi. They ask for prayers that “God would give us safe travel to and from Vietnam and that He would bless Concordia.” Please pray too that the Lord would grant the Horvaths positive relationships with their students, students’ families and fellow teachers and staff. Pray that their adjustment to life in Vietnam would be smooth and that they would glorify Him through their teaching ministry.
· One of the few Communist nations in the 21st Century, Vietnam faces new challenges. Repression of all types of freedom continues, but at the same time, social ills are on the rise. Drug addiction, AIDS, prostitution and exploitation of children are all too common. Pray that the ideological and moral darkness over this nation might be banished by the light of the gospel.
· Economic progress continues to open up the country. Most of the population was born after the Vietnam War, and younger generations have more interest in wealth and the outside world than they do in Communist ideas or teachings. Pray that Christians might clearly proclaim the Truth, particularly among the masses of young professionals.
· All open Protestant missionary work ended in 1975. Pray for Vietnam to become fully open to Christian workers, and for many to respond.
· Suffering and persecution dominate the story of Christianity in Vietnam, together with faith and perseverance. Pray for hundreds of Christians that endure harsh conditions in prison. Registration of churches remains difficult and registered churches must deal with strict regulations, while unregistered churches face police interference. Pray for a solution to this issue that best unifies and builds the Church of Vietnam.
· Pray for the unreached. Many lack the Word of God in their language, but praise God the government recently allowed printing of the Bible in 4 minority languages and Vietnamese!