Our first international short-term team of 2010 is heading to China at the beginning of this month. With participants from four different countries, we ask for prayer for team unity, as well as for good health in the very cold weather that usually hits large parts of China at this time of year. The team will be carrying Christian materials to believers in several different cities, as well as praying through the areas that they travel in.
In recent years, China's involvement in Africa has proved controversial. The Chinese have already invested a large amount of money in the continent and at the end of 2009 Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao pledged a further US$10 billion in concessional loans over the next three years.
"In a village on the outskirts of Beijing," according to a recent BBC report, "a red cross and the word ‘clinic' have been hand painted on a sign hanging outside a backstreet shop.
According to Open Doors, in just four months last year, 178 incidents were reported of abuse against churches, human rights lawyers and believers in 14 provinces in China.
The major safety issues with China's coal mines, as reported on several occasions in our prayer updates, still continue to cause numerous deaths and injuries. In the first half of 2009, 1,175 people died in officially recorded coal mine accidents.
As a new year begins, we want to take the opportunity to provide updates on some of the stories that we have featured in previous prayer letters. How has the Lord been answering our prayers? And how can we continue to pray into these challenging situations?