Date: July 24, 2021
‘So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.’ (2 Corinthians 4:16)
When we’re confronted by suffering, Paul encourages us to lift our gaze to heaven and fix our eyes on Jesus, where we find the strength to press on in prayer. Hold on to this truth as we keep praying over recent developments in Cuba, Nigeria, and Myanmar/Burma.
Cuba: a crackdown on protests
Nationwide protests that began on 11 July in response to Cuba’s economic crisis and a record surge in coronavirus cases were met with violence and arrests. Pastor Yéremi Blanco and Pastor Yarian Sierra are among several religious leaders who were detained.
Their families have had little news and are desperate for answers.
Yarian’s wife Claudia said that the men have been ‘incommunicado, practically kidnapped, disappeared’ as she publicly denounced their inhumane treatment. Now, she and her young son have been forcibly evicted from their home.
Nigeria: kidnappings and death threats
On 12 July, Pastor Gideon Agwom Mutum discovered a handwritten death threat outside his home in Kaduna state, where he lives with his wife and young children.
The two-page letter accused the pastor of insulting the Fulani tribe in the media, and threatens: 'We will kill you like goats and your family. We know your house, your church and even your family.' The family left hurriedly. When a friend went to their house a day later, he found another note stating: ‘You can’t run forever. We must kill you and your family.’
That same week saw six days of assaults on one area of southern Kaduna, which left 46 people dead, at least 215 homes destroyed, and around four churches razed to the ground.
Myanmar/Burma: Church supports COVID-19 response
Citizens are suffering under a new surge in COVID-19 cases, with the impact intensified by the ongoing military coup. Hospitals and health workers have been targeted by the military, leaving them ill-equipped to deal with the outbreak, and there is a dangerous shortage of oxygen.
The Church has stepped up to fill a gap in the crisis response: one diocese in north-western Myanmar, Kalay Diocese, has established a medical clinic which provides COVID-19 tests among other assistance. The diocese is one of the hardest hit regions in the country.
Read more about the situation in Myanmar/Burma.
In summary, please pray:
- For the immediate release of Pastor Yéremi and Pastor Yarian, as well as all those detained for exercising their right to peaceful protest in Cuba.
- For the Spirit of God to be a shield around Pastor Gideon and his family.
- For swift, powerful intervention to end the epidemic of abductions, killings and destruction in Kaduna state and throughout Nigeria.
- Protection over citizens and health workers in Myanmar – not only from the virus, but from violence and arrest from military forces.