Thursday, June 21, 2007

Psalm 121: Prayer update

"The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore." (Psalm 121.8)

1. Please continue to pray that the Nigeria-wide university strike may be settled amicably. Pray that the important meeting with government officials scheduled for next week, June 26, may lead to reconciliation. At the University of Jos the vice chancellor of the university has called students back to register for the new academic year, but the situation is rather confused, since the faculty are not yet ready to back down from their positions. Please pray with us for an atmosphere of dialogue to replace growing confrontation.

2. Although U. Yar'Adua, the new president of Nigeria, has promised to make stable provision of power a priority, his intentions are being tested. Our supply of electricity has been low the last weeks, and we experienced problems with our backup systems at the same time. As a result we faced some real challenges in doing our work. Please pray with us for a resolution of related problems of infrastructure.

3. We thank you for your prayers for our daughter Pauline who suffered from a nasty bacterial infection in May. The symptoms have not totally disappeared, but she has recovered her energy significantly. Please pray that tests to be administered when she comes off the remaining medication in a few weeks may show that the bacteria have really gone.

4. We ask your prayers for safety in traveling as we will soon be on our way to Canada. Pray for the Lord's protection. At the moment a nationwide strike has been called, largely a protest over increase in fuel prices, which was a parting 'gift' from former President Obasanjo. We pray it will not cause too much upheaval. The Abuja airport is still open, but we do not know how air traffic will be affected by the time we leave on Monday.

5. Please pray also for constructive participation in a number of conferences. Wendy hopes to join a conference in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, and another in Oxford, the United Kingdom, before returning to Canada. Adrian plans to join the annual IICS Vision conference in Kansas City early in July.

We thank you for praying with us! We know that your prayers make a big difference!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Romans 8: Prayer update (Pentecost 2007)

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express." Romans 8.26

1. We are grateful for Pentecost, for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Christian church. During this season of Pentecost, please pray with us for Christian churches with which we are acquainted throughout the world. Pray that they may remain as living witnesses of the ascended Lord who calls us now to bring salvation to the ends of the earth in His name. Pray especially for missionaries who continue that work, often in difficult circumstances.

2. Please continue to pray for peace at the beginning of a new political term in Nigeria. We praise God for relatively peaceful elections, even though there were reports of irregularities and violence. In light of the incredible tensions of the weeks of preparation for elections, we are grateful that the April elections in Nigeria proceeded as well as they did. We are also grateful for the ‘normalcy’ of the installation of Umaru Yar'Adua as president (May 29); the opposition had promised strikes and demonstrations, none of which materialized. Democracy in Plateau State even has a success story of a senator who had a bad reputation, and was voted out in spite of his extraordinary efforts to remain in power.

3. The strike at the university continues. Pray with us that it may end soon so that we may finish our post-graduate courses, and that the new academic year may begin for undergraduates.

4. Please pray with us for our youngest daughter Pauline. For some weeks already she has been battling very serious intestinal bacteria, which did not respond to numerous attempts to get rid of them. Last week she ended up in hospital; there are now signs of improvement in her condition, and she has been discharged. Please pray with us that the type of bacteria has been identified correctly, and that she can begin the road of recovery from this debilitating attack. Pray also for Greg and the children, Gracie and Chris who have experienced the stress of these weeks. We are grateful that Sharon, our oldest, could join Pauline and her family this past week, to help out.

5. We are grateful for your prayers for us as we traveled to South Africa in early May. We enjoyed a very warm reception during the two busy and productive weeks at three universities (North West University, at the Potchefstroom and Vaal Triangle campuses, Bloemfontein and Stellenbosch) where we gave lectures, led workshops and held discussions with faculty, administrators and students. It really seemed to us as if the Lord had prepared the way for the message we wanted to convey, to foster cooperation (mainly at the graduate level, in research, and exchange lecturing) between universities in Nigeria and South Africa, especially in the area of philosophy and theology. Please pray that these preparatory talks will result in blessings for our students and respective institutions.