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CSW: Sri Lanka and Mexico

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Prayer needs for this week - Saturday 27 April

Dear Peter,

“Where, O death, is your victory?  Where, O death, is your sting?” 1 Corinthians 15:55
 
These verses from Corinthians may have been part of your Easter celebrations last weekend. They’re a famous declaration of the power over death that Jesus holds through the Resurrection. It is also a reminder that the death we meet in this world has already been beaten – as Paul goes on to write, ‘The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ 
 
Though it’s incredibly difficult, we pray in the knowledge of that victory following the news of multiple bomb attacks on churches and five-star hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday. The majority Catholic cities and towns of Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa were the main targets, though blasts were also reported elsewhere. The current death toll stands at over 200, according to the latest revised numbers from the Sri Lanka health ministry.
 
At the time of writing the investigation into the perpetrators is still ongoing, but Sri Lanka’s Defence Minister said the culprits are likely to be religious extremists. Religiously-motivated violence has increased since 2012, with most attacks triggered by hate speech.
 
In summary, please pray:
  • For God to comfort the families as they continue to mourn – due to the number of victims, many of the dead are still being buried.
  • For healing and swift recovery for the survivors, and time and resources to process what has happened to them.
  • For the perpetrators to be brought to justice quickly, and for no further attacks either inspired by this horrific act or in retaliation for it.

This week’s Prayer Diary: Mexico

Mexico’s constitution includes strong protections for freedom of religion or belief, but regular violations of this right take place in many parts of the country. In most cases this is a result of local authorities attempting to enforce religious conformity in their town or village. Designed to protect indigenous customs, Mexico’s Law of Uses and Customs allows many communities to self-govern; however, this law is often misused to force minority members of communities to conform to majority religious beliefs. Consequently, some members of villages in states such as Chiapas, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Oaxaca and Puebla, can have their access to basic supplies such as electricity and water cut off and their children denied schooling.

Sunday 28 April
Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, was sworn in on 1 December 2018. Pray that President López Obrador would continue his commitments to peace and unity, as well as religious freedom for all Mexicans.

Monday 29 April
In December 2018 Jorge Lee Galindo was appointed as Mexico’s new Federal Adjunct Director General of Religious Associations. We’ve partnered with Jorge and Impulso 18, the organisation he founded that responds to freedom of religion or belief violations in Mexico, for many years. Commit Jorge and his work to God in prayer.

Tuesday 30 April
On Mexico’s Children’s Day, pray for children travelling to Mexico City today as part of our Faith and a Future campaign. Pray for courage as they share their testimonies with government bodies and foreign embassies, that they would be taken seriously and that their stories would raise awareness of and result in action for religious minority children in Mexico.

Wednesday 1 May
The town of San Miguel Chiptic, Chiapas State, has a history of attempting to expel local Seventh Day Adventists from their homes. Most recently, two men were arrested in May 2018 and charged with ‘preaching the gospel’. Though the men were later released, six families have been forced out of San Miguel Chiptic to date. Pray that they would be allowed to return to their homes, that the hostility against them would cease and that the children would be able to resume their education.

Thursday 2 May
Pray for Alma, 17, and her family. They were forced to flee Tuxpan de Bolaños in Jalisco State in December 2017 after village leaders tried to force them to renounce their beliefs, and they refused. Everything they owned was destroyed and they had to escape from their village with only the few things they could carry. Now they live, along with several other families, in a temporary shelter. Pray that Alma would be able to resume her education soon.

Friday 3 May
Mexico is the most dangerous country in Latin America to be a Catholic priest, according to the Catholic Multimedia Centre (CCM). Ten religious leaders were killed in 2018. Most recently, a 78-year-old priest suffered burns to his hands and feet after being tortured during a suspected robbery attempt on 11 April. Today, pray for protection for Mexico’s religious leaders, and better reporting of attacks against them.

Saturday 4 May
Lord God, we ask for your protection over those who have been displaced from their homes and communities in Mexico. Grant them safety and a place to rest, Lord. Amen.

Download our Sunday school resource on Mexico at faithandafuture.com/sundayschool

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CSW is a human rights organisation specialising in freedom of religion or belief, and as Christians we stand with everyone facing injustice because of their religion or belief. CSW, PO BOX 99, New Malden, Surrey KT3 3YF. Registered Charity No. 281836


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Posted on 27 Apr 2019

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