by Lesley de Blieck, Echoes International Communications Manager
We are called to ‘pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people’ (Eph. 6:18). At times we may feel overwhelmed, particularly when we are inundated each day with worrying news and pleas for help. Yet, our Saviour reminds us, “Do not let your hearts be troubled…” (Jn 14.1). In a sea of need, we trust the Lord to guide us as we lift up the lost to His saving grace.
An essential part of the work of Echoes International is to inform and guide prayer for the Lord’s work around the world. While you are reading this edition, our team are already busy gathering news and requesting articles months in advance for future editions. Perhaps one of our directors heard a talk at a conference or church service, or they spent time with a mission partner on the phone or over a cup of tea; it could be a line in a newsletter that caught our eye, or we might look for writers to share about a particular country. Whichever way an idea begins, we are always searching for interesting and informative articles and it can take time for them to come to fruition. We know that authors are trying to fit in writing between everyday tasks and there can be difficulties with translation or getting photographs. Each article needs to go through the editing process before it is ready for inclusion in our magazine. We are grateful to the many writers who give of their time and energy to help us to share what is happening in mission globally.
Our magazine team read through letters looking for news that we can share with you. We contact mission partners for updates and prayer requests – not an easy task, when some are based in remote regions where communication is difficult. The team look for photographs, gather and check information about events, request tributes from bereaved family and friends, commission devotions and decide on adverts to be featured, while keeping an eye open for the next story.
‘Beautifully presented book with wonderfully written articles – full of information and a guide for prayers’
~ magazine reader
Every Word Matters
Once our first draft has been collated, a small group of proofreaders spend time checking every word, full stop and comma for mistakes. Then we send it all off to our designer. It is always exciting when we get the first design proof back the following week. After months of work, we see articles come to fruition, with beautiful pictures bringing the words and places alive to us, or heart-breaking photographs reminding us of the desperate need for prayer. Aware of our responsibility to provide an accurate and trustworthy prayer resource, it is proofread again by a number of staff and directors to check that everything is just right.
Circumstances can change and in the few days before the magazine goes to print, it can be a rush to make last-minute amendments. Whatever we need to do, there is always a noon sign-off time marked in our calendars when the final proof is sent to the printers. A week and half later, fresh magazine copies are in the post. If all goes well, they should arrive with you before the final Sunday of the month. During lockdown, it has been an answer to prayer that our printers have been able to continue working in a socially distanced way and keep magazine production going.
‘As a family, we all find your DPG and magazine most helpful. It gives us a great understanding of world mission – plenty to pray for.’
~ magazine reader
We are grateful for readers who faithfully pray for those serving around the world, spreading the gospel message. In response to our magazine survey in July 2020, most people indicated that they use this magazine and its companion Daily Prayer Guide (DPG) regularly to inform prayer and, particularly through the articles, to learn about the needs. As we look back over our history of supporting mission, we are greatly aware of our responsibility. Our prayer is that this magazine will continue to inform people of mission needs and encourage Christians to seek God’s call on their lives.
Each of our mission partners spends time working with us to help shine a light on the Lord’s work. Corrie, our Magazine Team Leader, and Annabel, our Magazine Coordinator, are responsible for editing, proofreading and liaising with all the contributors, ensuring that the magazine is ready to go each month. Our directors and managers agree on the priorities and themes for the year and consider which articles should feature each month. We are thankful to all those who contribute to and support the magazine, and to the Lord for His guidance as we lift His work up for prayer.
‘I find Echoes International magazine one of the most stimulating mission magazines to read.’
~ magazine reader
Your Questions & Suggestions
Thank you to everyone who was able to respond to our magazine survey. We were delighted to receive so many encouraging comments about the Echoes International Mission Magazine and Daily Prayer Guide. We equally appreciate your questions and suggestions; this feedback is helpful in guiding where we might make changes and improvements. Below we would like to share a few answers to those questions.
More Information – Some survey respondents wish to hear more details about mission partners and others associated with Echoes International. Due to increasing security concerns around the world, we have had to omit certain details about mission partners. For example, those who serve in ‘various areas’ are not always welcome in the country where they serve. They need our prayers, even if we cannot share the details. However, we have a growing selection of articles and profiles, videos and blogs to help you get to know more about their work. In our letters section, each excerpt is chosen to help you better understand the ministries. We follow ongoing programmes, pray for those we read about and give thanks for answered prayers. As the situation may have changed since they last wrote, we offer weekly prayer updates by email that you can sign up for at the address below.
Prayers for Each Day – Every year we review the details and layout of the DPG. Assigning the right number of people and places to each day of the month is a delicate balancing act. Some areas naturally have more people than others and throughout the year mission partners may start, retire or move to other areas of service. While we aim to keep the number to pray for and the magazine letter lengths similar for each day, each person or ministry will not have an equal amount to share each month. However, guided by the DPG list, we trust that everyone will be prayed for regularly and that the Lord knows their needs even when we do not know all the details. Countries that are highlighted in yellow in the DPG and letters are areas where we either have no mission partners or where they are in much need of prayer.
Tips and Resources – As a few people struggle to read print on colour backgrounds, the 2021 DPG and magazine have more text on light backgrounds. However, those readers might appreciate our large print edition, which is available for no extra cost; just contact the office to amend your subscription. A brief explanation of how to use our DPG and magazine is included in the Preface and Introduction of your Daily Prayer Guide (see DPG p1). Keep an eye on our Events and Notices page for further tips and mission resources.
Prayerfully Supporting His Work
Echoes International magazine has, in various forms, been running monthly since the first publication in 1872. It has been a catalyst for prayer, a great communication of the Lord’s work and the means by which many in the UK have come to better understand cross-cultural mission. We are so appreciative of the many readers who join Echoes International to pray. We hope that this article has given you a glimpse of how we work to highlight missional needs. Please continue to pray for the Lord’s work and for direction for all those involved, as we seek to inform and encourage greater interest and support for global mission.