embrace the earth the ends of

Unreached, Unengaged People Groups of Europe

FIVE-WEEK PRAYER CALENDAR

| imb.org | europeanpeoples.imb.org

» INTRODUCTION «

When people think of Europe they envision cathedrals and castles, bridges and cobblestone streets, but beyond the landmarks, many lost souls are searching for some meaning in their post-Christian culture. It is imperative that our Southern Baptist churches recognize the need and ask God how they can be a part of the Great Commission in the 21st century. Europe is on the brink of returning to its pagan roots, with approximately 500 unreached, unengaged people groups (UUPGs). Churches must go beyond adoption of a people group and commit to embrace them with a love that commits to reach them no matter what the cost. To whom is God sending you? This calendar will guide you through the top 31 UUPGs, which represent almost 70% of the total UUPG population. As you lead

your church through a month of learning and prayer, you will discover the task God has for you. This tool will help you become more informed about the need, and aware of what might be required to meet it. It is our prayer that your church would embrace one of these European peoples with the Gospel, leading them into a future of hope in Christ. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” What are the works God has prepared for you and your church? Please prayerfully consider the information provided and ask the question, “To whom are we sent?”

» WEEK ONE «

Roma, Vlach in Brazil (354,000) Gypsy—the word brings to mind a colorful people with a history of traveling from place to place. More properly known as Roma, this “people without a homeland” are usually thrust into a low social status where their spiritual needs are as great as their physical ones. Although government efforts are in place to improve social attitudes toward them, no known evangelical witness exists. » Intercede that the Vlach Romani will have opportunities to hear how much the Lord loves them, so that they can find an eternal home in His kingdom. « Italians in Germany/Switzerland (1,613,561) Over 1 million Italians reside in Germany and Switzerland, where they form one of the largest immigrant groups. Culture and family play an important role—Italian is their main language and frequent visits to extended family in Italy are common. Spiritually, many, especially in Switzerland, have become involved in New Age, Spiritism, and the Occult, so few of them worship the one true God. » Pray they will understand what it means to be in God’s family. « Hutsul/Rusyn of Ukraine (521,024) The remote and rugged Carpathian highlands overlap portions of Romania, Ukraine, Hungary and the Czech Republic and are home to the Hutsul, an Eastern Slavic ethnic group. The Hutsul belong to a larger people group known as the Rusyn. They are affiliated with the “Uniate Church,” and consider membership to be a vestige of national character. The rugged terrain and strong national church identity present special challenges for reaching these people with the Gospel. » Petition the Father to call out hearty Christians to share the Good News with the Hutsul, who can identify with the hardships that they have encountered. « Poles in Germany (326,835) Labor shortages, war and displacement from the past century have led many Poles to reside in Germany. Still more have come in recent years by choice, making Poles the largest immigrant population in the country. Polish immigrants are most common group to adopt German citizenship,, but there is also a trend of “pendular” migration with

many coming for seasonal work and then returning to Poland. » Intercede that Christians in Germany will share the Good News with the Poles and invite them to join God’s Kingdom. « Abkhaz in Georgia (94,606) Georgia and Abkhazia have been involved in an ongoing feud relating to the political status and independence of autonomous region. Police corruption, criminal activity and many other factors have led to an uneasy peace between the two states. Smuggling is endemic and even includes radioactive material, weapons, drugs, and human trafficking. These and other conditions severely limit access to the Abkhaz. » Much prayer is needed to break down barriers and to open doors for a Christian witness. Intercede that the Father will send the Holy Spirit to bring His peace to the Abkhaz. « Italians in France (1,162,878) The number of Italian businesses in France have increased in recent years, as owners seek to take advantage of new economic opportunities. Even before this trend, France had been a popular destination for Italian immigrants since the Middle Ages. Despite the long history and mixed ancestry of such notable leaders as Napolean, the Italians are often looked down on as being inferior or dirty. » Intercede that Italians will discover far more than good business opportunities in France. Pray they will encounter the Lord that will lead to eternal paradise in His Kingdom. « Poles in France (208,600) Have you ever been told, “You are not welcome here?” That is the type of reception Poles sometimes receive when they arrive in France seeking a better standard of living. This attitude was accentuated in 2005 during the run-up to the failed European Union (EU) constitutional referendum when the “Polish Plumber” became a stereotype for the lowpaid workers who were considered an economic threat. » Intercede that strong evangelical work will begin among the Poles in France, so that they will receive a warm welcome, when they arrive at heaven’s gate. «

» WEEK TWO «

Poles in Lithuania (252,553) The Poles in Lithuania have a long history dating back to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which existed from 1569-1795. During that period, it was the largest country in Europe. After several decades of prosperity, it entered a period of decline and, during the late 18th century, was divided up among its more powerful neighbors. Today, Poles are well integrated into Lithuanian society. Nearly all of them speak Lithuanian, have Lithuanian citizenship, and marry Lithuanians. » Intercede that workers will be called to sow seeds of the Gospel among the Poles of Lithuania that will take root and yield a rich harvest. « Italians in the UK (200,000) Early Italian immigrants to the United Kingdom (UK) formed “little Italy” communities in large cities. However, later arrivals, who were recruited to cover areas of labor shortage, settled near their workplaces in medium-sized industrial towns across the UK. These immigrants often maintain strong ties with their relatives and make yearly trips to visit extended family in Italy. » Ask the Father to raise up workers to share the Gospel with the Italians in the UK. Pray that the Italians will become members of God’s family and establish their eternal home in His Kingdom. « Ukrainians in Poland (167,000) A shared border and a long history make Poland a popular destination for Ukrainians. Two distinct groups of Ukrainians are found in Poland. One claims Ukrainian ancestry, but due to wars or land disputes, they found themselves on the Polish side of the border. They live in rural areas and typically work the land. The other group resides abroad from 3 to 12 months and finds seasonal employment. » Intercede that Ukrainians in Poland will be exposed to the Gospel, and that one day they will share citizenship in heaven with believers from all nations. «

Tosk in Turkey (100,000) Consider what it’d be like to grow up in a foreign country, but ensconced in a community that was safe and familiar. The “Tosk,” better known by the name Shqip, are Albanians that live in such tight knit communities throughout the major cities of Turkey. It is in these neighborhoods with a strong Albanian presence, where life takes place for the Shqip. » Intercede that Christians will be able to penetrate these neighborhoods and establish friendships with the Shqip. Pray that the Shqip will find new life in Christ and that Christian churches will be established in each of their communities. « Armenians in Azerbaijan (272,842) Most ethnic Armenians in Azerbaijan are located in an internationally-unrecognized enclave known as Nagorno-Karabakh, where a recent (2009) law bans all unregistered religious activity, including openly sharing the Gospel. The major human rights monitors agree that the status of Armenians in this enclave is “extremely grave.” The likelihood of ethnic strife and violence between Armenians and Azeris is extremely high. » Intercede that Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh will have a personal encounter with the Lord and that He will become a strong tower and a place of refuge for them. « Albanians in Italy (400,000) Imagine moving to another country, where the people look just like you. You learn their language, eat their food, embrace their culture and act like the locals, but are still rejected because of your heritage. This is the plight of Albanian immigrants in Italy, who have arrived after 1991. Academic studies have examined this peculiar “Albanian Assimilation Paradox” because it is so unusual. Normally, when a people of similar skincolor whole-heartedly take on the new culture, there is little opposition by the host country. Instead, the newly arrived Albanians are the most rejected people group by Italian society. » Pray that this rejected group will have opportunities to hear the Good News of Christ’s love for them and find acceptance in Him. «

» WEEK THREE «

Germans/Bavarians/Austrians in Italy (483,885) South Tyrol, Italy, one of God’s masterpieces, consists of a beautiful collage of mountains, valleys, and lakes. This Italian province once belonged to Austria and continues to be populated by German-speakers from Germany and Austria. Scattering the countryside are farms, orchards and vineyards, as well as castles and churches—many of which have become museums and stand empty on Sunday mornings. Despite God’s awesome handiwork in plain view, these inhabitants don’t know the Creator. » Intercede that the beauty of creation will penetrate the hearts of these people and open their eyes to His salvation. « Serbians in Kosovo (110,195) The winds of change have blown against the Serbians in Kosovo. Once part of greater Serbia, the Republic of Kosovo declared independence in February 2008, transforming Serbians living there into a small minority. These Serbians stand resolutely against the declaration of statehood for Kosovo and continue to see themselves as part of a panSerbian state. Most are strong adherents of the Serbian Orthodox Church Very few have a saving faith in Christ. » Pray that a new wind will sweep over the Serbians in Kosovo—a wind stirred by the life-giving breath of the Holy Spirit. « Greeks in Albania (165,693) “South Albania,” “Northern Eprius”—two names, one location. Greeks in Albania are concentrated in “South Albania” (the Albanian designation) or “Northern Eprius” (the Greek preference). Religious and ethnic tensions, combined with land disputes, have created a history of constant conflict between these two nations and have led to an intense fear that Greece might attempt annexing South Albania. Many resources are being poured into the area to promote Islam, which is being well-received, but an attempt of a Christian worker to show the JESUS Film was strongly opposed. » Ask the Father to break down the barriers that are preventing the Greeks in Albania from experiencing His love and accepting the gift of salvation. «

Armenians in France (452,000) If you are Armenian, you are welcome in France! The historical relationship between them is complimentary and Armenians have little difficulty fitting into French culture. In fact, France declared 2006 to be the official “Year of Armenia” with major cultural exhibitions and exaltations across the country. Armenians in France are close-knit, urban, professional, and highly successful. Their ties to each other, their culture, and to France run deep. » Ask the Father to burden French believers to reach out to their Armenian neighbors. Pray that effective methods for developing relationships and sharing the Gospel with this people group will be discovered and implemented. « Portuguese in Venezuela (110,000) Life was once good for Portuguese landholders in Venezuela, but in recent years, it has turned into a nightmare. The government of this once hospitable country has recently begun redistributing land and estates once owned by Portuguese. Violence and intimidation are common as the state gains more and more control. Many Portuguese are seeking to leave, but a strong presence remains. Those left need to meet the Prince of Peace, who can grant them peace that is greater than the uncertainty, upheaval and unrest that they are facing. » Pray for believers in Venezuela to share this Good News with them. « Dutch in Germany (134,850) A home away from home is what many Dutch have established in Germany. A housing shortage has led them to move across the border, but they continue to work in the Netherlands and send their children to school there. Most Dutch understand German, but are reluctant to speak it. This language deficiency, their daily commutes, and cultural differences cause many Dutch to live as strangers in the land. One Dutch woman stated, “Sundays…are terrible. The place is dead, nobody does a thing…you don’t hear anything, and you can’t do anything.” » Intercede that the Dutch in Germany will find a friend in Jesus and that their Sundays will then be filled with meaning, as they worship and fellowship with other believers. «

» WEEK FOUR «

Lombards in Switzerland (334,701) Switzerland, a small country renowned for its Alpine beauty, is home to thousands of Lombards, a people group originating from the lower Elbe Valley in present-day Germany. Historically referred to as “Suebi” or “Swabians,” they later intermarried with Italians in Lombardy, an area in northern Italy and southeastern Switzerland, and became known as Lombards. Most speak Italian, but also continue to speak and read their own dialect. » Intercede for evangelical work to be established among the Lombards in Switzerland. Pray that these people, identified by various names, will learn the descriptive names of the Lord and develop an intimate relationship with Him. « Greek Cypriots in the UK (208,400) Adapting to a new culture without losing ethnic identity is a challenging issue for immigrants. Greek Cypriots in the United Kingdom (UK) believe they have successfully achieved this delicate balance. English is the preferred language for most of their children and many of them consider it their mother tongue. However, their Greek Orthodox religious heritage remains strong and acts as a source of ethnic identity. Miracles, dreams, release from bondage, and the casting out of evil spirits have brought some to faith. » Petition the Lord to speak to Greek Cypriots in attention-getting ways. Pray that they will have the courage to turn from their cultural beliefs and find a new identity in Christ. « Dutch in France (84,000) The Dutch often vacation in France, where they like to camp out. In addition to these campers, another group of Dutch have come to France—those who have decided to live there. In 2004, the Dutch purchased more homes in France than in any other country except Spain. They typically mingle with other Dutch rather than with the French. Their physical needs are being met, but not their spiritual ones. » Intercede that the Dutch in France will hunger for the Lord and will soon be partakers of the feast at His banquet table. «

Slovene in Germany (81,700) Slovenes have been immigrating to Germany since before World War I, with the latest immigrants coming for better wages. For most Slovenes, religion is a private matter, not to be discussed with strangers. The burdens of life and, for some, an outright rejection of God, have led to elevated levels of alcohol and drug addiction. » Intercede that Slovenes in Germany will become “addicted” to God and that they will lift their beautiful voices in praise to Him. « Arbereshe (Albanians) in Italy (80,000) From 1399 onwards, Italy has had an Albanian minority known as the Arbereshe, who live scattered across the southern part of the country. The Arbereshe have moved away from the use of their native language and now prefer Italian. They appear to be well assimilated into the Italian society and, yet, maintain a strong social presence and ethnic cohesion. » Intercede that the Albanians in Italy will have opportunities to hear the Gospel and that they will quickly be assimilated into God’s Kingdom. « Spaniards in Switzerland (79,049) Spaniards of all ages and professions currently reside in Switzerland, where they and other Spanish-speaking peoples have strong and lengthy ties. Top professionals have even taken Swiss citizenship to advance their careers, giving Spaniards a visible presence in this country. Many appear happy and successful, but are surrounded by a wall of spiritual darkness. A barrier that only concerted, unified prayer can penetrate. » Will you join in fervent intercession that this wall of spiritual darkness will come tumbling down and that the hearts of the Spaniards will be opened to embrace the loving Savior? «

» WEEK FIVE «

Plautdietsch in Mexico (76,558) Have you ever thought about how languages change - sometimes even into new forms – still related, and yet very different? This is the case with a German-based language called Plautdietsch. First used by Mennonite communities, this language has evolved into different strains. Many of those living in Plautdietsch communities in Mexico read the Scriptures in High German, but few, especially the young, fully understand it. Recently, a Plautdietsch Bible translation has become available. » Intercede for Christian workers to sow the Good News among Plautdietsch-speakers, who may have heard a little, but need a fuller understanding.« Portuguese in Belgium (62,880) The Portuguese in Belgium maintain a long-established community that is proud of both their heritage and their newly adopted home. Portuguese bookshops, trade unions, and cultural associations exist in Brussels. A bicultural people, the Portuguese in Belgium love to work, raise their family, and play hard. With some of the highest online usage per capita in Europe, they are greatly affected by pop culture, video games, movies, and the Internet. » Intercede that Christian workers will explore new forms of evangelization through social media and online presence to reach this group. Pray that the Portuguese in Belgium will fall deeply in love with God and channel their energy into worshipping Him. « Croats in Austria (62,038) Centuries ago, the Austro-Hungarian Empire invited Croats to an area called Burgenland (now Austria/Western Hungary). Many Croats willingly accepted since their homeland was under Turkish control. By the beginning of the seventeenth century there were over 120,000 Croats living in 200 villages. Later, the Croats faced a change of attitude from the local population due to nationalism, but a plan in 1943 to forcibly return them to their native land failed. » Intercede that the 62,000 Croats currently residing in Austria will establish an eternal home in God’s Kingdom. «

Ukrainians in Romania (60,908) The Carpathian Mountains, Black Sea, and Danube River form natural borders for Romania, but they haven’t prevented Ukrainians from migrating into the country, from Roman times until the present. Sharing common values with the Romanians that emphasize family ties and relationships, Ukrainians have integrated well into their culture. » Intercede that no barriers will exist that will prevent Ukrainians in Romania from hearing and receiving the Gospel. « Vlach in Albania (56,341) Vlach comes from a Gothic word meaning “Roman.” Vlachs, also called Arumani, have Jewish, Slavic, and Greek roots, so their culture is more defined by their language than their ethnicity. The Vlach are some of Europe’s last semi-nomadic pastoralists, and Arumani shepherds are often known for a distinctive black cape they wear. The Vlach span both Albania and Greece creating complex relationships across the borders. » Pray that the Vlach will soon place their faith in Christ and learn to follow the Good Shepherd. « Danes in Germany (51,630) For over half a century, Danes in Germany have enjoyed state-recognized rights and have received millions of dollars a year from the government to build and maintain schools, libraries, and language newspapers. In one of the northern states of Germany, they even have their own political party and representation. This historical relationship, however, may be facing some challenges. In May of 2011, Denmark tightened its border with Germany against “drugs, weapons, illegal money, and people smuggling.” » Intercede that these current changes and uncertainties will cause Danes in Germany to trust in God, who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. «

embrace the earth the ends of

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