Who are the last “pagans” of Europe? That would be the Mari – the majority of whom reside in the Republic of Mari El and neighboring provinces located east of Moscow. Although nearly 50% of the population adheres to the Russian Orthodox Church, less than 1% are Evangelicals. In some areas, Protestants have been prohibited from holding public evangelical meetings and in 2002, a Baptist church was evicted from its place of worship. Paganism is cited as a contributing factor that has made Mari El the world’s suicide capital; however, economic and cultural problems play a role in this as well. The republic is one of the poorest regions in Russia due to the fact that there are few natural resources and that their military industry, collapsed after the fall of the Soviet Union. In addition to this, forests, marshlands, climate and soil conditions make much of the land unsuitable for agriculture. High alcohol consumption is a serious social problem, as well as the exodus of educated young people, who leave the republic in search of better job opportunities. Intercede that these poor people will find riches through a relationship with Christ. Pray that their sorrow will be turned to joy, as they join together to worship the one true God.
Come with me to Werben, a small, quiet village in eastern Germany…But wait! What is all that noise? What are these young men doing on horseback, riding at breakneck speed and why is that poor rooster dangling from a gallows? We are just in time to observe an ancient Sorbian ritual called “rooster plucking.” The rider, who tears off the rooster’s head, will be named the new harvest king. This ceremony is an old fertility rite that is supposed to guarantee a bountiful harvest. Modern Sorbs attend, not so much believing that this will increase their harvest, but for a chance to socialize with fellow Sorbs. Today, 60,000 Sorbs reside in rural areas in the German states of Brandenburg and Saxony, where they have lived for over a millennium. This small Slavic nation without a country, is struggling to survive and preserve its traditional ways of life. Their language has been classified as endangered and they fear for their future as a people. Only 1% – 1.5% of these people have a personal relationship with Christ and no one is currently reaching them with the gospel. Petition the Father to send messengers to these people to proclaim the Good News. May their fear of the future be dispelled, as they accept His gift of salvation and the promise of an eternal home in His Kingdom.
There are 270,000 Portuguese descendants living in Venezuela, who are less than 2% reached. Intercede that God will send someone to carry the gospel message to them.
Join the DIASPORA CLUSTER in asking the Father to stir partners around the world to reach the Ukrainian and Polish People Groups (over 2 million) in Brazil – Embrace churches, national partners, and international missionaries are needed to reach these peoples.