1. For peace in Ukraine. No analysts seem to truly understand the motivations driving Russia or its leader, but the increasing tension and military buildup are unmistakeable. Invasion and warfare in the region could easily draw in European and American powers at one level or another, and will be destructive both locally, regionally and relationally. This kind of fighting will disrupt Gospel access, although such wars have been used in the past by God to increase spiritual hunger. I am praying the “hearts of kings” will turn to peace.
2. For believers to minister to Afghan refugees. Thousands are attempting to flee to other places in search of a better life, and often suffer badly along the way. Many have suffered severe trauma. They are often unwelcome in the places where they arrive. Pray for believers to extend charity and peace to them.
North Africa + West Asia = NAME (570m)
Sudan: mass marches continue, some protesters killed by soldiers. Dabanga
Haunted by conflict, Syrian mother tries to heal mental scars. Reuters
… “deep-rooted trauma remains unaddressed… a mental health crisis looms large…”
Turkey’s inflation rate hits nearly 50%, highest in two decades. CNBC
… “lira lost 44% of its value in 2021”
East Africa (520m)
‘We pray for rain’: Ethiopia faces catastrophic hunger. Guardian
… north plagued with warfare, while drought plagues south/northeast. The cattle die.
Seems a good analysis of the history & current state of the fighting in Ethiopia. Brookings
… other first-hand reports I’ve heard suggest the fighting is mostly limited to the north
… Ethiopia cabinet approved lifting of six-month state of emergency. Reuters
West + Middle Africa (600m)
Burkina Faso coup: new leader gives first speech. BBC
… promises eventual return to constitutional order
… current focus to ‘recapture rural areas’ from militants
In Congo, floating pastors follow mobile flocks along busy river. NYT
… life is based around the river that gives the country it’s name,
… so it’s on the river that many pastors go fishing for souls.
Attempted coup in Guinea-Bissau thwarted. Al Jazeera
… three countries in West Africa have suffered coup in last 18 months.
Nigeria: hunger crisis looms in ‘food basket’ amid conflict. AP
… more than 1 million farmers displaced due to intercommunal violence
… across north, 13 million face funger amid a lean season
… violence has disrupted food sales, roads unsafe for transporting crops
South + Central Asia (2b)
Over a million flee as Afghanistan’s economy collapses. NYT
… thousands trying to sneak into Iran, Pakistan each day
IranWire will be hosting a Youtube event on persecution of Christians, 2/8. Link
How uptick in anti-Christian violence threatens Indian democracy. CSM
… “documented attacks against Christians jumped 81% from 2020 to 2021”
Mixed feelings as Kazakhstan looks back on a bloody January. Diplomat $
… “they fight among themselves for power, and ordinary people suffer.”
Pakistani priests on a fearless mission in Balochistan. UCA
… though obviously told from the perspective of Catholic mission work,
… lots of little bits of insight about the state of this province can be gleaned.
… Balochistan was on my 2019 Top 40 Least Reached provinces list.
The killing of a Christian priest in Peshawar reignites fear. Reuters
Eastern Asia (1.6b)
China’s finely crafted web of digital surveillance for the Olympics. WPost $
Living by the code: in China, Covid-era high-tech controls may outlast the virus. NYT $
… “part of a mostly successful effort to stop the virus, may endure long after.”
Many Chinese are missing their 3rd Spring Festival reunion in a row. Sixth Tone
8 ‘largest lesser-visited Chinese cities’ that should be on your radar. Matador Network
… Many of these ‘smaller’ cities still dwarf Western megacities.
In this part of China, hands—not machines—define the rhythms of life. NatGeo
… scenes from Yunnan remind us that rural life remains in many places.
Another take: awe and solitude in China’s vast, empty West. Radii
… “home to less than 5% of the country’s population, and a diverse spread of ethnicities.”
North Korea tests Hwasong-12 ballistic missile, biggest since 2017. Reuters
Southeast Asia (700m)
Myanmar’s military turns to Buddhism in a bid for legitimacy. Al Jazeera
… “to try and win respect in an environment where ‘almost everybody hates them.’”
Arakan rebels “cement control over Rakhine state while junta distracted.” SCMP
… residents pay rebel administration taxes, use its courts
Multiple crises spiral in Myanmar one year after the coup. NewHum
… “there is an atmosphere of fear everywhere.”
The Battle for Myanmar. Diplomat $
… “without greater international support, the situation will likely continue to deteriorate.”
A silent strike emptied the streets on the anniversary of the coup. Guardian
Thailand brings back quarantine-free entry for the vaccinated. SCMP
… ‘visitors of any nationality can apply, provided they are fully vaccinated’
Indonesia will open Bali to all foreign travelers on Feb. 4. Diplomat
Russia vs. Ukraine:
… US threatens sanctions, Russia threatens gas exports to Europe. NBC
… 2,000 US troops moved to Germany. AP
… satellite imagery shows buildup of Russian military around Ukraine. CNN
… Deep look: how Russia has increased its military buildup around Ukraine. NYT $
… and a look at the importance of two rival denominations between Russia, Ukraine. Link
… how people in Kyiv are preparing for the possible war. New Yorker
Covid global case data
… 2/03: 384.8m (+26.0m/wk) cases, 5.69m deaths
… 1/28: 358.8m (+18.5m/wk) cases, 5.64m deaths
… 1/21: 340.3m (+20.1m/wk) cases, 5.57m deaths
… 1/14: 320.2m (+22.4m/wk) cases, 5.52m deaths
… 1/6: 297.8m (+8.5m/wk) cases, 5.46m deaths
Trackers: Johns Hopkins, NYT
Global Missiology’s January 2021 issue focuses on Kingdom Movements. Link
I’m reading On Looking: A Walker’s Guide to the art of Observation. A journalist takes 12 walks around her city block with 12 different people (representing 12 different perspectives). I was keen on this book because it promises to bring out skills and suggestions for observing better what’s around us.
Tech & Futures
The last Internet dealers of rural Mexico. Rest of World
… fascinating little story that highlights how some are disconnected
For the first time, Facebook lost daily users last quarter. Verge
… and lower-than-expected ad grow sent stock plunging 20%.
We can fly drones from a world away. Now we can drive forklifts, too. Wired
… physical jobs are going remote.
“But this long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us that when the storm is long past the ocean is flat again.” John Maynard Keynes
“I’m like a big tree, and I had to move because nothing grows under a big tree. And I wanted things to grow.” Heard from a movement leader at a recent meeting.
“Every dependency creates drag.” in Working Backwards.