Where in the world ...?

At Last Count, there were some 193 countries on the planet (depending on your source, it could be 189, or 191, or 194 ...). I recently heard that the newest one is the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, located between Indonesia and Australia in the Timor Sea. Invariably they all have unique strengths and resources—the spirit and customs of indigenous peoples, the beauty of landscapes, the richness of individual histories. But just as certainly, there's no spot on this globe where life is perfect and where the interaction between nations and peoples isn't in need of some type of betterment.

If you're a frequent reader of these pages, you know many issues of the Sentinel have been watching for signs of God's healing influence on the world stage—as well as pointing out places that need to see that influence in greater measure. Because we're convinced that one person's prayer can make a meaningful difference—even if he or she is thousands of miles from the physical location of conflict, disease, hunger, disaster—we've been encouraging readers to pray for peace in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, for repatriation in the Sudanese province of Darfur, for improving the lives of young women in a village in Togo. Contributors in Australia, India, Iraq, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have all made us aware of how the Christ—the influence of God in human lives—has in some way replaced misery with hope or illness with health.

September 13, 2004

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