OSJ Prayers: January 31, 2018

Political Crisis in Honduras Continues

The general election in Honduras last November generated widespread unrest as demonstrators protested allegations of voter fraud in favor of the incumbent president, Juan Orlando Hernández. In the weeks that followed, over 30 people were killed and hundreds more injured in a violent military and police crackdown. On Jan. 18 the Honduran Congress passed a law that obstructs investigations into corruption of government officials. President Hernández was sworn in for his second term last Saturday amid the ongoing unrest.

God, for the people of Honduras, we lift our prayers. We pray for transparency, for an end to corruption, for accountability for leaders who have violated laws and public trust. We pray for all who grieve, who are afraid, and who face a future that looks more violent than before. We ask that you would empower the people who are working toward a more just future for Honduras—establish the work of their hands, Lord.

Over 95 Percent of Gaza Water Unfit for Human Consumption

According to the World Health Organization, United Nations officials, and local experts, as much as 97 percent of the drinking water in Gaza is unfit for human consumption, due to high levels of salinity and pollution from untreated sewage. Many residents are forced to purchase drinking water at six times the normal price of water. Excessive pumping of groundwater has led to a sharp rise in chloride levels in tap water, while an ongoing electricity shortage has affected the operation of wells and sewage treatment plants.

God, we lift in prayer the people in Gaza, beloved by you, created in your image, who cannot meet their basic need for water because of unjust policies and dehumanizing systems. We pray for peace in Israel and Palestine—and we are mindful that this requires justice, an end to the powerful policies that have created such oppression, and a way forward that protects the dignity of all the people of the region. For this we pray, Lord.

DHS Declares Haitians Ineligible for H-2 Guestworker Visas

After recently terminating Temporary Protected Status for Haitians, this week the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it will no longer accept applications for temporary work visas from Haitians. It cites high rates of fraud, abuse, and overstays by Haitian people who hold these visas. Haitians who have received this legal temporary work authorization can earn up to 15 times more per hour in the U.S. than what they could in Haiti. In other news, H-2 temporary worker visas were terminated for people from Belize and Samoa as well.

God, we lament the ways that U.S. immigration policy is so negatively affecting the people of Haiti. We pray for Haitians who rely on the wages, the legal protections, or the support from remittances that will now disappear because of these visa changes. We pray that leaders in the U.S. will use their power in ways that protect, not diminish, the inherent dignity of people from Haiti and other lands.

Canada Sees Success with New First Nations CMHC Program

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) new Housing Manager Certification Program for First Nations recently recognized its first group of graduates. The 14 new housing managers, representing 14 different First Nations, spent 18 months learning everything from budgets to managing tenant relations as part of an effort to equip First Nations housing managers with the skills and knowledge to tackle a broad range of housing issues on reserves. The First Nations infrastructure deficit, estimated at a high of $30 billion, has left First Nations communities facing an ongoing housing crisis.

God, we thank you for the work that is being done in Canada to right wrongs done to First Nations peoples over many, many years. We pray that innovative and effective ideas will bring new signs of hope for justice and flourishing for First Nations peoples. We pray for equitable policies that correct the many injustices that these communities face.

Ask Congress to Support Dreamers and Family Unity

Members of Congress are currently negotiating solutions to address the plight of DACA recipients. Join today’s national call-in day to ask Congress to oppose harmful anti-immigrant bills like the Securing America’s Future Act and support proposals that provide permanent protection for Dreamers and protect family-based immigration.

Ask Parliament to Prioritize Equity for First Nations Kids

For 150 years, Canada has provided lower-quality and improperly funded public services to First Nations children and youth. We need to speak up to ensure that First Nations kids don't face discrimination anymore. Ask your MP to have a heart for First Nations children and youth and to ensure they receive equitable public services!