Jul21WedJuly 21, 2021 By the TWR Canada Team
Over the past several weeks, various countries where we minister and work have faced significant crises. Below, we give you a brief update of the conflict in each nation and provide you with a few prayer requests.
Early in the morning of July 7, President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in his home, and his wife was shot and hospitalized. The government declared a “state of siege,” one level higher than a state of emergency.
As U.S. troops begin to withdraw from Afghanistan, the Taliban has gained control of key border crossings. Thousands of people have fled their homes as a result. A partner ministry has had to pull their missionaries out and is relocating them to new fields of service.
Cuba’s largest protests in years have spread across the Caribbean island nation. Cubans want better medical care amid a COVID-19 surge. On July 19, there were more than 6,500 new cases and around 60 deaths. The entire country currently has the highest transmission of the pandemic with the most virulent new strains. Since the pandemic has stalled tourism, Cuba’s main industry, many people find themselves with financial struggles. Food and medicine have become scarce as well.
Riots have erupted across South Africa after former president Jacob Zuma was arrested for contempt of court. Crowds looting and setting alight shopping centres clashed with police in several cities on Tuesday, July 13, and continued to July 17. The military was deployed to try to curb the unrest, amid fears of food and fuel shortages.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has called it some of the worst violence witnessed in South Africa since the 1990s, before the end of apartheid, with fires started, highways blocked and businesses and warehouses looted in major cities and small towns in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces.
Main roads in both provinces were cut and supplies of food, fuel and medicine badly disrupted. A faltering COVID-19 vaccination program has been hit along with other health services.
In parts of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, the two provinces hit by the violence, vigilante groups and armed community patrols formed as anxious residents sought to protect their homes and businesses. Over the weekend, the situation was brought under control. People have begun to come together to clean up the streets and assist one another. Blockades have been erected to prevent looted goods from leaving the cities, and stores are beginning to replenish their food supplies.
The team in South Africa shared the following with us: “We pray that God will continue to restore unity and bring healing to our scorched land, and that we can start moving to become a strong and healthy society, which will ultimately benefit the rest of the continent.”
Eswatini police fired tear gas and a water cannon at anti-monarchy protesters in Manzini on Friday, July 16, as King Mswati III appointed Cleops Dlamini as the new prime minister of Eswatini. Mswati made the announcement at a public meeting at one of his residences, broadcast online and on state radio.
The announcement was made during a sibaya, a traditional forum for public dialogue. It was the first time the king had addressed the violent protests in the country that have led to the deaths of at least 50 people. The appointment of the new prime minister is made when Members of Parliament are said to be calling for an elected and more representative prime minister. While Eswatini citizens can elect a parliamentarian to represent their constituency in government, the king reserves the power to elect the prime minister.
On top of all this, fuel and food shortages are plaguing the country. “In all of this God shows us that we are in his hands,” said Greg Clarke, a TWR Canada missionary in Eswatini. “Gas stations all have huge queues to get gas. No containers are allowed to be filled without police permission. We called a police officer from Mafutseni (close to the transmitter site) and he was going to be directing traffic at one of the local filling stations. He told us he would give the station permission to fill a 220L barrel. When we got through the queue and were able to start filling, people in the queue were quite upset. When they were told this is for Trans World Radio to run its generator, everyone said it was ok.” Praise God that the team was able to secure fuel to run the generator.
James 5:16 says that “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (ESV) We urge you to join us in praying that the peace and justice of God will be made known in these nations. We praise the Lord for our ability to reach these nations with messages of peace and hope in troubling times.