Basque Country Prayer Points for Week of September 4, 2023

Prayer Points and verse for the week:

Prayers points:

  • The number of cases of sexual diseases in Basque country is on the rise, so much so that health care officials are concerned. The number of cases of syphilis and gonorrhea have gone up exponentially since 2018. The director of public health shared this was not a problem unique to Basque Country as similar increases are being seen in other parts of the world.
    • Pray for those who are sexually active with multiple partners and the health care workers that are treating them.
  • Basque country currently has ~5700 people who have some level of protection due to male violence. Most of the protection is directed towards women, though children and men are being protected as well. Four levels of protection exist with most of the cases falling in the basic level of protection.
    • Pray those who are being protected, those that are doing the protection and those who are the attackers.
  • The Basque Country budget has increased ~21% over the last 3 years. The three areas that have driven the largest part of the increase have been: health care, education and government services to help with employment and social services. Thankfully they have been able to address the increase with European grants and taxes.
    • Pray as leaders work to ensure these areas are well funded without neglecting the other areas.
  • Schools officially are scheduled to start on Thursday, September 8. New education rules were passed and were partially implemented for the last school year. This school year they are obligatory. The evaluation process is an area that is seeing considerable change as they move from a number grade system to be one that uses 5 different categories to communicate mastery of the material.
    • Pray for educators, parents and students as they return to school and as they work through the impacts of the new education laws.
  • The next steps are being taken politically after the July 23 elections. On Saturday, September 2 Pedro Sánchez was inaugurated as the leader of the PSOE party. He is also the currently functioning president of Spain. The legislature will vote on who will be PM on September 26/27. It’s expected to be a close vote between Sánchez and Feijóo (leader of the PP party). Puigdemont is also back in the news as his upcoming trial starts Thursday September 7 for his actions in the Catalonia separatist movement in 2017. Also, conversations have restarted about changes in how some regions interact with the Spanish government, with Basque Country being one region that is leading the request for this change.
    • Prayer for the political leaders as they begin the legislative session at the national and regional levels.
  • The employment market took a turn in August, and the impact was felt across several different sectors. It‘s much better than 2022 and they believe it’s part of the normal cycle that has been seen in previous years during the month of August.
    • Prayer for those who are seeking work, business owners and leaders as they work to understand the situation now and for the future.

The verse for the week:

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

Zephaniah 3:17 ESV

News for prayer for Week of May 2, 2022

Much appreciation to Jeff for writing an extra news for prayer while we were out for family vacation. Thanks also to Jeff for all the years of writing the newsletter and providing us all with information on how to be in prayer for the Basque people. Wishing you well as you move into the next season of your life after all the years of service here in Basque Country. For the future, my plan is to write these twice a month.

Headline News:
For COVID it’s been a little over two weeks now that masks have been removed from being required indoors. For numbers, it’s hard to share anything as it’s not being reported on any more. The COVID news has almost gone away and it is hard to find much about the current situation.

The president of the Bishop’s council is working to provide protection to health care workers who want to consciously object for reasons of faith to abortions and euthanisims. The bishops produced a document on March 25 that expanded on the theme. The president commented that even in the military it is possible to be able to serve with a conscious objection to carrying a weapon, the same should be the case for healthcare workers. I normally do not read/talk about opinion columns. However I’m including one this time. The title was about the future of faith and the Church (Catholic). The opinion talks about how the area is waiting on a new bishop. In it he talks about waiting patiently for the new bishop and the importance of connecting with the next generation of believers. He talks about the confidence they should have in God to provide the right person to help address these areas and others as the church looks to impact the area. (I’d add in a bit about how you responded to reading this… )

Last weekend was Mother’s day here in Spain. The Sunday paper included several pages highlighting different mothers and the appreciation for them. An article was also written about birthing in Basque Country. 30% of babies born are from mothers outside of Spain, ~40% are born to mothers who are not married and the number of mothers over 40 increased by ~1.5%. They also shared that only ~65% of Basque under the age of 30 want kids, a 17% drop in the last 5 years.

In Europe the unemployment numbers are at historic lows after the pandemic. The numbers in Spain however have not been recovering as well, they are also seeing high numbers (high unemployment rates?) for young workers.

This past Sunday the paper had an interview with a leader from the Central European Bank. Three key points from the article were about the current economic crisis and pensions. On the topic of pensions they said it was a political decision, though they have methods to help guarantee the system is sustainable. On the current economic situation, the comments were positive, though tough decisions need to be made to prevent a recession. A positive for Spain is they see it as a stronghold in the current situation versus a burden it had been in the past.

The IBEX35 ended last week on a downward trend closing at 8584.20, a 0.79% drop for last week.

The leader of the Basque government has not left Spain for almost 3 years. The last trip was in August of 2019, when he traveled to the Vatican. Over the coming months he has plans to visit Japan, Corsica and Paris. An objective of the trip is to discuss political strategy with other international leaders.

In 2016 CNI (National Intelligence Center) for Spain purchased a license for Pegasus. This is software that allows you to spy on smartphones. Two weeks ago it was reported that this software was initially used to spy on Catalonian political leaders. However that was expanded in 2019 until now to include several other people. The CNI is now under investigation and lots of push back on the government about who has been spied on.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to carry a large portion of international coverage. Immigration of Ukrainian refugees to Basque Country has been increasing. They are seeing that ~10% of them who came are starting to return home. The last number I’ve seen for immigration was ~3,250 in all of Basque Country. The paper also carried an article about the Roe vs Wade conversation with an article from a New York correspondent that shared a little historical context, current response and potential impacts. There was also a small article talking about the history of Roe vs Wade.

Real Sociedad has had a tough stretch the past couple of weeks. Last week they played to a draw, then last night they lost 2-1. They have 3 games left in the season and are currently in 6th place.

GBC has won 2 games and lost 2 games since the last news for prayer. With three games to go the team is trying to move up one place in order to qualify for the playoffs. They are currently 2 points behind.

Real Sociedad women’s team for the first time in its history qualified to play in the Europa League. The team has been playing well over the past couple of years winning tournaments against other women’s teams in Spain. This will put them in the next level to compete against other women’s teams in Europe.

Prayer Points and verse for the week:

Prayers points:
Those looking for employment
Catholic Church Leadership
Russian Invasion of Ukraine and the wide reaching impacts

The verse for this week was from a recent daily verse:

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.
Romans 8:26 NLT