Chinese officials locked down a popular resort city after 450 Covid-19 cases emerged, causing over 2,000 tourists to be stranded as the city conducts mass testing. China’s ‘zero-Covid’ policy puts immense pressure on regional leaders to eliminate the virus. Wuhan also has a lockdown over a case of cholera. Bibles for China’s Kurt Rovenstine said it was a local official who restricted travel. That incited some panic. Rovenstine said that churches and schools suffer the worst from lockdowns. One parent said her son could only attend school six weeks out of the seventeen in the semester. Churches can’t meet to offer the Lord’s Supper, and people can’t go to church to receive a Bible. There are many requests for Bibles around China. Despite the challenges, Christians throughout China remain committed to growing in Jesus. They want to share His story with their neighbours.

WHO has declared monkeypox a global health emergency. The first case was in a child in 1970. Since then, outbreaks were small and traceable to an individual returning from a country with monkeypox. But the current outbreak is different, with sustained person-to-person transmission of infection. By 22 July there were 16,593 confirmed infections in 68 countries (none having had monkeypox before). Most infections are in Europe. The majority of infections are in men who have sex with men, especially those with multiple partners. There are concerns of under-reporting of cases in some countries. On 28 July the US federal government allocated 786,000 vaccine doses to local authorities after the Food and Drug Administration cleared them for use by people aged 18 and older who are at high risk. See There is limited supply of the two-dose Jynneos vaccine, and infections could become endemic or be introduced into at-risk groups such as children, the elderly, and pregnant women.

Over 24 people were killed and 3,000 displaced this month as the nation battled a surge of election violence in the runup to choosing the next prime minister: either incumbent James Marape or the PM who preceded him, Peter O’Neill. Mr Marape promises to make Papua New Guinea ‘the richest black Christian nation on earth’, while Mr O’Neill’s campaign centres on healthcare, education and job creation. The government funds church programmes that provide health and education services through the Church-State Partnership Programme. Pray for peace to come to the island and for an end to politically-motivated violence. Pray for Christianity to take deep root on the island without being diluted and mixed with traditional and animist beliefs. Pray for God to help His Church overcome the attacks from those who practise sorcery and witchcraft. Pray that people would gain a true understanding of what it means to follow Christ.

On 27 July Mohammed Eslami, head of the national atomic energy organisation, announced that Iran is building a new nuclear research reactor at a facility in Isfahan. The reactor will be able to test fuel for other reactors and will be one of Iran’s largest nuclear facilities. Mr Eslami stressed that the main issue is to increase the capacity of domestic power plants, and that the country is examining sites, especially in southern Iran, which could serve as favourable locations for new plants. Last month 90% of Iran's uranium enriched to 60% fissile purity had been moved to Isfahan. Eslami said Iran intends to move forward to produce fuel for reactors and part of the fuel needed for power plants at the Isfahan complex. He dismissed claims that the programme has ‘non-peaceful goals.’

Tens of thousands attending ‘Festival Manchester’ heard the Gospel in the three-day event in Wythenshawe Park that was hosted by hundreds of churches, in partnership with The Message Trust and the Luis Palau Association. A sea of people came out each night to enjoy live music, worship, and prayer which resulted in thousands responding to God's Word. ‘This mission was on a scale not seen in a generation,’ said the founder of The Message Trust. Over 65,000 people heard about Jesus' love for them and over 3,400 responded to the good news they heard.

Iraqis, Muslims, Christians and those of no faith at all tune into a radio station vastly different from what is normally heard on Middle Eastern airwaves. ‘Saut al Salam’ or ‘Voice of Peace’ is broadcast from a tiny studio in Qaraqosh and reaches 150,000 listeners, living up to its name. The programmes have no politics or conflicts. The broadcasters tell stories about the church, Christianity and Christian life, dispelling many misconceptions in the Muslim world that are passed on from generation to generation. For instance thinking that Christians just like to party and drink alcohol. Saut al Salam is changing wrong perceptions with programs on raising children, Christian music, and reporting cultural church events. Their highest hope is that listeners, a majority of whom are not Christians, will hear a message of peace, consideration and love.

Following Boris Johnson stepping down as Conservative Party leader we can pray for God to move in the frenzy of political activity this summer. Pray for God to lead those who have a vote as they consider who should be elected. Pray for our next leader to be the person God uses to restore integrity to the core of our politics and a commitment to truth, honesty and public service. Before the current upheaval, the government had been reviewing several pieces of legislation. Now much of this is up in the air. Pray for our leaders and those who have a vote to take this opportunity to debate and discuss improved support for those facing financial hardship. In September the Public Order Bill and Schools Bill are scheduled to be updated. Pray that no government proposals or considerations on these bills will be lost during the summer recess.

John Harding moved to Ukraine in 2018 and has appeared in a video appealing for help from Boris Johnson. He is a captive of pro-Russian separatists in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) who told him he could face the death penalty. He was captured in May, while fighting with the Azov regiment of the Ukrainian National Guard, when Ukrainian units defending the south-eastern city of Mariupol were forced to surrender. Friends and family of Mr Harding confirmed to the BBC it was him in the video, and his family are being supported by the Foreign Office. He had been in eastern Ukraine's Donbas region to use his skills as a combat medic and help in the fight against pro-Russian rebels. Also, British aid worker Paul Urey, died while being held by pro-Russian separatists. DPR Officials said he died on 10 July from underlying health conditions and ‘stress’. Pray for the families whose fathers, brothers and sons are being held in appalling conditions.

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