10/40 Window Reporter May 2012
The Arab Spring — One Year Later
One journalist dubbed it “the most important story of the early 21st century.”
That story began in January 2011 when a street vendor set himself on fire to protest unfair treatment by the government. This drastic act ignited a wave of popular demonstrations that quickly spread across North Africa and the Middle East, shaking the Arab world.
Leaders were deposed in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and Yemen. Protesters in Algeria, Bahrain, and Oman demanded more freedoms, lower prices, and cried out for an end to corruption. In Syria, the result was a devastating, government-backed military attack against civilians as President al-Assad struggled to maintain control.
Nations were in turmoil and untold thousands died. One year later, the question many are asking is this: what lasting change, if any, did the Arab Spring accomplish?
For starters, according to the Arab Tourism Organization, the countries that were part of the Arab Spring lost a combined total of $96 billion in tourism.
The lives of many of the citizens in the Arab Spring countries were forever altered. Families lost sons, daughters, fathers, mothers… Libyans and Syrians fled the deadly warfare taking place in their nations, causing the total number of displaced people to reach a 15-year high. Countless refugees are still homeless today.
“The political uprisings that have swept the Arab world over the past year represent the most significant challenge to the authoritarian rule since the collapse of Soviet Communism,” writes Freedom House, a human rights group. “Yet even as the Arab Spring triggered unprecedented progress in some countries, it also provoked a harsh and sometimes murderous reaction, with many leaders scrambling to suppress real or potential threats to their rule.”
In elections held in Tunisia and Egypt, Islamists seized control. “None of this should be surprising,” says a researcher at the Brookings Institute. “Islamists are popular, they’re well organized. It was inevitable that they were going to win and dominate these elections.”
While the loss of income, the death toll, displacement of civilians, and the rise of Islamist control are negative developments, there is one very positive aspect to the Arab Spring: it presents an open door for the Gospel.
“There’s a large number of people who, in their heart and mind, have seen a glimpse of what they want,” writes a Christian worker. “They do not want to go back. Right now, the opportunity [to share the Gospel] is so great. We’ve never seen an opportunity like this. It is a window of opportunity that could close so quickly.
“We have been praying for revival in the ‘10/40 Window.’ God has opened up the window.”
SOURCES: International Missions Board, Arab News, NPR, The Guardian
The Global Day of Prayer — May 27, 2012
In July 2000, a South African by the name of Graham Power challenged Christians in Cape Town to spend a day in repentance and prayer. The following year, more than 45,000 churches were involved.
In 2002, Power called the entire continent of Africa to a day of repentance and prayer. By 2004, the concept had grown to a Global Day of Prayer. In 2005, 156 of the world’s 220 nations participated. In 2008, 214 nations were involved.
Now in its twelfth year, the Global Day of Prayer is inviting Christians around the world to join in this special concert of prayer.
“With its common language of humility and compassion, the Global Day of Prayer has become one of the most powerful expressions of focused Christian unity in modern history,” writes the Sentinel Group. “Every year, throughout the world, believers of all ages, colors and creeds gather for one purpose: to summon the presence of their great God.”
Power based the Global Day of Prayer on a vision God gave him of 2 Chronicles 7:14.
“If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
As the website explains, “The primary purpose we gather is for the glory of Christ and the blessing of the nations.”
Plan to gather with your family, small group or church on Sunday, May 27 to give glory to Christ and bless the nations.
For more information, go to www.globaldayofprayer.com.
Although Asia Bibi, the wife and mother convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to death, is still in prison, her accuser now regrets filing the charges. According to Missions Network News and Assist News Service, the man now realizes, “The case was not based on facts but on hyped religious emotions and personal bias of some village women, including his wife. Give thanks to God for the conviction of the Holy Spirit in this man’s life. Pray for Asia Bibi to be released from prison. Ask the Lord to use this situation as an opportunity for the Word to be preached in Pakistan.
According to Assist News Service, Christians in Indonesia have won a long legal battle for control of their village. In 2008, Muslims attacked and destroyed the village of Horale in Maluku province. At least 120 houses were burned to the ground, along with three churches. Four Christians were murdered and more than 50 others were injured. A week later, Muslims brought a legal suit in an attempt to take ownership of the village. “Despite evidence in support of the Horale Christians, the court ruled in favor of the [Muslims].” After appealing the verdict, the Christians were awarded ownership. Praise the Lord for this. Ask Him to help these Brothers and Sisters forgive their attackers and pray for those who mistreat them. Pray for their love to be a witness to Muslims.
In March 2012, three Christian converts were released temporarily by a court in Shiraz. They were arrested in the recent crackdown that involved raids on house churches in Shiraz, Ahwa, Kermanshah, and Esfahan. An unknown number of Christians remain in prison from these raids. Despite this ongoing persecution, Open Doors reports that the Church in Iran is experiencing “explosive growth.” Give thanks to the Lord for this. Pray for the Lord to minister healing and strength to these three Christians. Ask Him to encourage them and bring honor to His name through them in Iran. Pray for those who are still in prison. Pray for the Lord to be present with them and enable them to share His love with their fellow prisoners and guards.
SOURCES: Missions Network News, Assist News Service, Barnabas Fund, Mohabat News, Open Doors
Elections can change the course of nations. As you consider those sceduled to be held this month: pray for fair elections free from rigging and manipulation. Ask the Lord to raise up men and women who will serve with integrity, righteousness, and justice. Pray for an end to corruption and graft. Invite the Lord to appoint those of His choosing and fulfill His purposes in the nations of the 10/40 Window.
"He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. (The Bible, Daniel 2:21)
Saudi Arabia: Travel Abroad
The people of Saudi Arabia need to hear the Gospel. Most have never had the chance. And because of the nature of the government and the restrictions on religious freedom, ordinary missionary work is not an option.
Since we cannot go to the Saudis, how can we reach them? One of the ways God seems to be solving this dilemma is by bringing the Saudis to us.
Every summer, Saudis travel abroad to vacation in locations where the weather is less severe. (The average summer temperature is about 45C, with highs sometimes reaching 54C). In the summer of 2010, approximately 5 million Saudis left the country.
According to travel agencies, because of the Arab Spring protests in surrounding nations, Saudis are increasingly choosing Europe over the Middle East and North Africa as their vacation destination. “It is expected this summer that Europe will witness an increase in the number of Saudi tourists up to 20 percent, while the number of Saudi tourists to Arab countries will witness a sharp fall due to the current restlessness there.”
Another trend among younger Saudis is to travel with friends rather than their families. “While this ensures their personal freedom,” writes Arab News, “it might also cause them trouble or make them commit fatal mistakes.” The outside world looks very enticing to young Saudis, the news source reports. “This makes them an easy prey for organized gangs.”
SOURCES: Arab News. AlbawabaGo to Pray4Saudi.com for more prayer points.
Jordan, Middle East
Jordan, officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, is an Arab nation in western Asia that borders Syria to the north, Iraq to the northeast, Israel and the West Bank to the west, and Saudi Arabia to the east and south.
In public statements, the government of Jordan has continued to place a high priority on fighting extremism and terrorism. This commitment has been confirmed by the passage of new laws and security measures. King Abdallah II has also used international addresses and interviews to denounce extremists and promote a more tolerant, moderate brand of Islam.
Though the enemy has tried desperately to keep the people of Jordan shrouded in darkness, God is shining His light into the nation in inventive ways. Christian satellite broadcasts are now breaking through spiritual barriers, reaching hearts with the Good News of Jesus Christ.
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