Pray for the Crisis in Catalunya, Spain

Pro-unity demonstrators wave Spanish and Catalan flags during a protest in Barcelona. REUTERS/Albert Gea

Pro-unity demonstrators wave Spanish and Catalan flags during a protest in Barcelona. REUTERS/Albert Gea

By a Pioneers in Europe Field Worker

Catalunya, one of Spain's 17 Autonomous Communities (as they are called - each community has certain authority to govern within their region under the Spain constitution) is seeking independence from Spain to become a Republic, and have recently officially declared it! This has driven the government to disband the Catalunyan government and begin the process of installing their own (under article 155 of the constitution).

Sadly, this has had some negative impact on unity between Evangelical believers and churches, so we invite you to join us in prayer for Spain and the churches and ministries involved.


  • Please pray for the Spanish government to make decisions with proper respect for their authority and responsibility, and that this situation would bring an awareness to them of their impotence and need for a sovereign God.
  • Please pray that God would allow this disruption at a national level to ONLY reach a point that unsettles people to consider where their trust, security and ultimately their identity lies. Please pray that local Evangelical churches would answer that clearly by proclaiming the true gospel and the impact it has on their lives and this situation. 
  • Please pray for unity between Evangelical Christians and Churches who have been publicly divided on this issue in recent months, that they will have, and display, a God-rendered unity that will serve as an example to Catalunya and to the rest of Spain. 

Why would anyone attend Messy Church?


One Pioneer family in the UK has been hosting Messy Church every second Sunday of the month.  The service is indeed messy—it includes crafts, conversation, and food and attracts families from the neighborhood who do not otherwise attend church.  At Easter four Muslim families attend Messy Church, along with several other local families.  The Pioneers are baffled as to why the Muslim families attend, but they are praising God. 

Pray that the Pioneers would have wisdom and boldness to help illuminate the differences between Islam and Christianity, as they see a trend in the community to minimize religious differences.  Please pray that Jesus would shine brightly through this Pioneers family!

Ministering to Muslims in Manchester


Pioneers in Manchester recently reported that when their team began prioritizing prayer about two years ago, ministry really began to open up to them.  They confessed that prayer seemed to unlock an openness in hearts of the Muslims in their midst.  A primary way that Pioneers are reaching out to Muslim-Background immigrants is through both food and a book stall at a local market.  The food and Christian books draw an interest from Pakistanis, Saudis, Iranians, Jordanians, and Kurds.  The Pioneers in Manchester have been thrilled to see roughly 50 Muslim-Background believers attending Discovery Bible Studies each week.  Please pray for ministry in Manchester, as in northern Manchester alone 10 mosques exist and an 11th is under construction. 

Making the Most of the Opportunities that Already Exist


Recently when Pioneers in the UK gathered to share their stories, they all agreed that they want to make more of the opportunities that already exist in their midst.  For example, rather than waiting for a new opportunity to arise to share the Gospel with someone, one Pioneer suggested: “Gossip Jesus right where you are!”  Heads shook around the room as each Pioneer chimed in with the opportunities that they have, but for which they need boldness.  

  • Pray for a Pioneer who senses that God wants her to share Christ with a friend on the sidelines of regular rugby games. 
  • Pray for a Pioneer who is distributing Bibles on a university campus.
  • Pray for a Pioneer who takes long runs through Pakistani neighborhoods—he stops frequently to chat with young men, asking about their lives, praying with them, and sharing the Gospel when he can.  Though these conversations are brief, they are an important step in seed planting. 
  • Pray that God would open the eyes of every Pioneer to share Christ when possible and pray that God would open the hearts of all those who hear! 


New Muslim-Background Believer's Conversion Follows Common Pattern

A new Pakistani believer in England is in jail following accusations by his estranged wife.  The Pioneer who shared Christ with him says that the new Christian has followed a very familiar pattern for Muslim-background believers.  This man heard the Gospel first when he was 17, but did not believe until he was 45, and then he immediately faced a significant trial.  The Pioneer says he's seen this pattern over and over: an initial gospel presentation followed by decades of unbelief, then when belief takes root, hardship or persecution immediately follow.  Pioneers in Europe say this cycle is a manifestation of the spiritual battle taking place for the hearts of Muslim-background immigrants across the continent. 

  • Pray for the seeds of the Gospel to take root and for new believers to persevere in the face of trials in their new faith. 
  • Praise God for prison ministry—the Pioneer spends hours each week discipling his friend behind bars.

9 Obstacles to Faith in the Former Communist Countries of Europe

Many Pioneers serve in nations that are currently communist or have been communist within recent history.  Current communist nations include China, Cuba, Laos, Vietnam, and North Korea.  Previous communist nations in Europe include Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and the Soviet Union. 

What happens to a people group that has endured communism?  What barriers does communism create for Gospel receptivity?  The list below was compiled with input from Pioneers located around the globe, serving in nations that are currently or formerly communist.  

  1. Communism creates a culture of secrecy.  Christians who survive communism are forced to hide their faith or be punished for it.  When communism falls, the believers have already developed a habit of hiding their faith and an unwillingness to share it—making evangelism very rare. 
  2. Relatedly, under communism Christians often become desensitized to compromise.  Many are forced to sign certifications that they do not practice religion or to register in some way that promises they do not have a faith.  These seemingly small compromises add up and lead to a worn down desire and drive to be obedient to the Lord. 
  3. Communism triumphs the material world, science, and intellect.  The spiritual world is completely rejected.  In order to be a true communist, one must be an atheist.  Any faith in anything other than science or what is seen, is viewed as weak. 
  4. People who live or have lived under communism find the concept of grace very hard to digest.  Communism teaches that you get what you deserve.  The compassion of Jesus is totally foreign.  Grace is too good to be true. 
  5. On the opposite side of the same coin, communism produces people who work to earn favor.  Work and productivity are highly valued.  People cannot imagine not working for their rewards on earth and in heaven. 
  6. In communist cultures leaders are not kind or trustworthy.  Examples of leaders who lead sacrificially are not existent.  Therefore, people cannot imagine a good God who is trustworthy.  
  7. Under communism the collective good of the people is considered far more worthwhile than the independence of individuals.  People do not think for themselves.  The culture does not value or promote freedom, unalienable rights, or personal responsibility.  Citizens are required to play their part in society and individual joy and ideas are squelched. 
  8. People under communism are very afraid of the repercussions they will face if they believe. Following Christ often means the loss of a job, community, family, and the possibility of imprisonment.  Even in countries where communism no longer reigns, people are very afraid of doing anything outside the norms of their culture.  People are mocked or shunned if they make choices that are different from everyone else’s. 
  9. Missionaries often find life in communist or post-communist cultures very difficult and oppressive.  Many are unable to stay due to government restrictions or personal trials related to their dark surroundings.  The high burnout rate of missionaries leads to a discounting of the message they have brought.  Additionally, many are taught that Christianity is a western religion that seeks to undermine the communist government. 

Pray for people groups around the globe who currently suffer under communism or have been raised under communism and have not yet shed its oppression.  Pray that the God of Grace would move hearts to believe and follow Him.  That His grace would be found sufficient for them (2 Corinthians 12:9) and that He would be exalted among the nations and in all the earth (Psalm 46:10). 

Pray: Refugee Ministry Training

This little girl from Syria, is now a refugee in Europe. 

Did you know that 80% of missionaries who work with refugees experience burnout within the first year? Pray for 25 missionaries this week as they receive training in ministering to people with severe trauma, understanding Islam, church-planting within a refugee camp context and learn how to thrive, not just survive, in ministry among people on the move. 

After the Quake: Six Ways to Pray for Italy

Today marks one week since a 6.2 magnitude quake struck a string of mountain towns in Italy, killing at least 290 people.  The powerful quake inflicted excruciating pain on those left behind—many people lost every member of their family or several of their dear friends. 

As the international media moves on may we be found interceding on behalf of Italians for weeks and months to come.  Below are seven points for focused prayer, based on the input of missionaries working in Italy right now.

1.  The province of Rieti, where the quake struck, is one of the least-reached areas of Italy.  In the whole province of 160,000 people, there are no more than six of Evangelical churches.  The lack of gospel witness in Rieti is a great tragedy.  Pioneers International has only three missionary families serving in Italy—none in the quake affected areas.  Pray that God would send workers to Italy for His name sake. 

2.  This past weekend over 40 Christian aid agencies within Italy gathered to strategize relief efforts for the quake victims.  Typically, both missionaries and Italian Christians report conflict within and between churches and amongst agencies.  It appears that this disunity was overcome on August 29 when all of the agencies signed a declaration, committing their prayers and unified efforts to help earthquake victims.  Praise God for this unity and pray that it would continue.

3.  Small church bodies near the epicenter have been earnestly pursuing ways that they can help.  One local pastor said, “We quickly gathered in prayer and we wondered how we could make ourselves useful.  Our community is tiny and consists of people who work for themselves and cannot take leave. However, as a church, we would like to be present, to show our solidarity and be put to work.”  The church commissioned a 17 year old member to go and work alongside the Civil Defence Civitella d’Agliano in the relief work.  Praise God for the faithful Italian churches who are giving their best efforts to their suffering fellow countrymen.

4.  Only 1.28% of Italy is Evangelical Christian.  Over half the population of Italy lives in towns with less than 50,000 people.  Most of these towns do not have a single Evangelical church.  Additional populations within Italy which are virtually unreached with the Gospel include: college students (230,000 in Rome and 180,000 in Milan without a substantial campus witness), the upperclass, and migrant communities and refugees.  Pray for the Light to shine in the darkness in Italy. 

5.  Comments from Italians affected by the quake reveal a belief in the divine or supernatural.   Additionally, statistics show that there are 150,000 practicing fortune-tellers in the country (three times the number of priests).  Pray for the spiritually hungry in Italy to have their eyes opened and for believers to be ready to share their only Hope.

6.  And, in moving forward in Italy, we must consider the past.  While in the past the Roman Catholic Church vehemently opposed any Protestant work in the country, there has been a recent shift toward ecumenicalism and focus on shared words such as Jesus, faith, and grace.  However, indigenous believers report that Protestants and Roman Catholics pour vastly different meanings into these words.  One missionary says, “Underneath the kinder, gentler veneer of the RCC, the dogma of meritorious works is still essential teaching... it is not gospel, it is works righteousness.”  Pray that Italy would embrace Grace and Truth