Sayan’s story: ‘I am ten years old and come from a very poor family. My father was an alcoholic, and my mother worked as a maid to support our family. My father abused my mother and used the money she earned to buy alcohol. Life was very difficult for us. Thankfully, after a Christian lady met my mother and shared the Gospel with her, she repented and became a disciple of Jesus. I too have become a disciple. When she learnt of the power of prayer as a follower of Jesus, my mother began praying for my father. Soon he gave up drinking and has turned to Jesus as well. Today, I am very blessed and thankful to Jesus for bringing peace and joy into our lives. Please pray for others in our village and surrounding area who need Jesus also.‘
‘Every time your heart beats, someone, somewhere, has died without ever hearing the name of Jesus.’ In 1999, a small group of people read that statistic, and asked the question, ‘Am I willing to live a big life, with big Kingdom impact?’ They said yes and set out on a journey beginning in Iran and then crisscrossing the globe with the good news of Jesus Christ in a movement called Biglife. Biglife empowers believers worldwide to reach and disciple their own people for Jesus, so that God’s disciple-making movement grows, even in places where great faith is needed to be a Christian let alone share your faith. Now from Asia to Africa, Europe to the Americas, Biglife finds people of peace and empowers them to share the Good News where they live. They are reaching lost souls by shining Christ’s light into the world’s darkest places.
University students will get ‘advance warning’ if they need to have vaccines before moving to halls of residence, Dominic Raab has said. The foreign secretary said decisions will be taken in September - but he was keen to encourage vaccine uptake. Over 70% of adults have had both jabs, and Mr Raab said ‘We need to close that margin’. Currently, the Government plans to require two jabs to go to nightclubs and other crowded venues in England. The full details of the plans are yet to be seen, but the rule is set to come into force at the end of September. An NHS Covid pass - which you can obtain electronically or as a letter - will be used as proof.
The number of children eligible for free school meals in England has risen since the start of the pandemic. The holidays have begun, and over one in five pupils are eligible. Unlike last summer, the Government is not directly funding vouchers or food packages this year. Free school meals have traditionally been provided only in term time. But many councils have decided to create their own meal schemes during the holiday - not trusting parents with cash payments. These programmes will cover four hours a day, four days a week, but nothing for the other three days. They will be offered free to all children eligible for free school meals. Other children may still get places, but not for free. Pray for children who may have missed out on direct payments turning up at school hungry and with no money or food.
Police are appealing for information after 39-year-old Hatun Tash suffered a knife attack at Speakers' Corner in London on 25 July. The former Muslim, now a Christian speaker, was treated by the ambulance service then taken to a central London hospital. See Meanwhile Christian street preacher Joshua Sutcliff who was fined and prosecuted for evangelising in London on Good Friday 2020 was acquitted recently, but another judge upheld a Covid fine against Christian preacher Andrew Sathiyavan, who was out for the same reasons the same weekend. The Christian Legal Centre were pleased that Joshua was acquitted but are concerned that prosecution came this far. ‘We are seeing a lot of inconsistencies from the police and the judiciary in these cases. Christians have been easy targets during the pandemic while other groups gathering in significant numbers have not been targeted by the police.’
Mark 6: 31 says ‘Come with me to a quiet place and get some rest.’ May this holiday season be a season of rest, recuperation and restoration for individuals, couples and families. For those who are unable to take time off, we can pray for a supernatural season of rest and refreshment. Father, in that place of rest and relaxation, may Your people be in your presence, hear Your voice and know your ways, just as Moses encountered You in the wilderness. May this be a season of fresh encounters, restoration and breakthroughs, with Your Spirit brooding over this nation. May Your people forget what has gone before and press on toward the upward call of Christ Jesus. He is calling forth those who will lead in the days ahead, not because of title or position but because of the depth and obedience of their walk with God.
There is more flash flooding, partly caused by climate change. Parts of London and the south of England were left under water and roads became impassable this week. Just 30cm of water is enough to move a car. Infrastructure and transport networks were damaged. London hospitals asked patients to stay away after they lost power. Urban areas experience ‘surface water’ flooding because they have a lot of hard surfaces - paved front gardens, car parks, roads and high streets. On 28 July several towns in Scotland were flooded, with more to come. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-57970845 Reading University says urban areas could benefit from permeable pavements and green roofs which can help rainwater to soak away rather than causing floods. Weather and flood forecasting has improved rapidly, and it is now possible to forecast surface water flooding events in advance.
In a letter to Boris Johnson, cabinet ministers and the NHS England chief executive, the NHS Providers group says demands on staff are rising. Many chief executives are saying that the overall level of pressure they are now experiencing is different in shape, but similar in scale to what they saw in January when the NHS was under the greatest pressure in a generation. The letter calls on the Government to make ‘the right decisions’ as it finalises NHS funding for the second half of the financial year. Hospital pressures include going ‘full speed’ to address the backlog of mental health and community care services, and record demands for urgent and emergency care. There are growing hospital admissions for Covid, along with more than a million cases of long Covid and people suffering poor mental health. Hospitals are currently running enhanced infection control measures, leading to ‘significant loss of capacity’, with staff self-isolating or suffering stress and mental health issues.