Invitation to Prayer ... TODAY
Thank you for joining me in prayer for the children of the world. If you can, we'd love to have you pray together with us this Wednesday - TODAY - at 11:30 a.m., in the gym conference room at First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas. The church is not currently offering lunch service. If you'd like to have lunch together, please bring a sack lunch and we can eat together.
Also, Faces of Children is now on Facebook! I invite you to like our page so that you can see regular stories, prayer needs, and updates from partner ministries.
All the best,
It's been a few weeks since the story first broke, but the first-hand accounts of witnesses and survivors of the chemical attacks in Syria still seem fresh in my mind. I didn't watch the videos showing the aftermath, but even the still images won't leave me... As I tuck my little girls into bed, I think of little bodies wrapped in white cloth. When I see the picture of my brother-in-law holding his new son, I think about the picture of the grief-stricken Syrian father, clutching the lifeless bodies of his twin babies to his chest.
This world is full of too much sorrow. Too much despair. Too much hopelessness. I'm writing this note as we begin the Holy Week walk to the cross. We waved our palms and said 'hosanna' last Sunday, but now we are on the eve of a betrayal; on the eve of despair and hopelessness. And it seems fitting because this is the world we live in... teetering on the edge of despair and hopelessness with every headline. I'm grateful for the journey to the cross. I'm grateful it doesn't side-step the sorrow, the ache, the seeming defeat at the hands of a world awash in anger, hatred, and violence. We live in a day when leaders from all corners of the world beat drums of war and we pray they lead to paths of peace. In the midst of all the chaos and fear and uncertainty, I'm grateful we know the end of this story. He is risen! And the hope and promise those three words contain changes everything.
This week, I'd like to invite you to continue praying for the children of Syria ... just when it seems things can't get worse, it seems they do. As we pray for them, please also join me in praying for:
NIGERIA // Three years after Chibok, Boko Haram deploys children as suicide bombers
Three years after more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls were kidnapped from their dormitory by the terrorist group Boko Haram, another sinister threat to the region's children is growing dramatically - they are being made to kill themselves and others with bombs. A total of 27 children have died so far this year after detonating bombs strapped to their bodies that they were ordered to carry into markets, checkpoints and other public places. The number is almost the same as the total who died over the whole of last year, according to a new report by Unicef. Most of the time, girls are used for these attacks, though girls and boys walking alone - even very young ones - are now regarded with suspicion.
• Learn more here ...
Pray for these children who fall victim to this terrorist group in such a horrific way. Pray for their families and communities as they grapple with attack-after-attack and try to find a way. Join me in asking God to protect other innocent children from being forced to end their lives and the lives of others.
AP Photo by Muhammad Sajjad
After being denied access by the Taliban for 15 months, health workers this week resumed a vaccination campaign against polio in parts of Kunduz province in northern Afghanistan. The Taliban block on polio vaccinations left an estimated 170,000 children without inoculation, endangering a campaign that has almost eradicated the disease in Afghanistan. Days before the Taliban allowed vaccinators access, a 14-month-old girl in the Afghan province of Kunduz was found to have been paralysed by polio. Until it was blocked, leaving about 170,000 children in Kunduz province without inoculations, the scheme had almost eradicated the disabling viral disease in Afghanistan. But polio can spread quickly, with even a single case potentially enough to widen the disease's footprint. When the girl in Kunduz's Dasht-e-Archi district became the third child this year diagnosed with polio, Taliban commanders relented.
• Learn more here ...
Please pray for these children who have been uprooted from stable, safe, and loving foster care homes and returned to government orphanages. Pray that the government recognizes that such broadly-applied regulations do not take into consideration the best interest of many children, especially medically fragile children. And pray for the directors and staff of these foster care programs who lost -- overnight -- children they've cared for and loved for many years. They are discouraged and uncertain what to do next.
As night falls in Hanoi, the crowds thronging around the Hoan Kiem Lake begin to dissipate. Do Duy Vi scans the crowds of teenagers hunting Pokémon on their phones, women dancing and street vendors hawking the last of their wares. "You learn to look for the signs," says Vi. "Sometimes they'll be dirty, or carrying bags of clothes. Sometimes you can tell from the way they sit." Vi is making his nightly search for destitute children sleeping on the streets of Vietnam's capital city. "They're seen as the lowest of the low. In Vietnamese they're called 'tre bui doi' - 'children of the dust'," he says. Vi, who's 29, is the chief outreach officer for Blue Dragon Children's Foundation, an Australian-founded NGO that has been working with street children in Vietnam since 2004. He has been in the job for seven years. "I used to live on the streets myself, when I was 14 and 15," he says.
• Learn more here ...
Praise God that all around the world, in pockets and corners we've perhaps never heard of, there are people fighting for justice!
Praying with you,
Carrie J. McKean
Faces of Children Director
First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas
(432) 684-7821 x153
If you have prayer requests about children, those who care for them, those who have authority over them, or those who harm them (the really hard prayers to say sometimes), please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org