Ivory Coast

IVORY COAST – Republic of Côte d’Ivoire

Ivory Coast is country on the west African coast between Ghana and Liberia. Geographically the country lay out on 322,463sq. km big area.  Rainforest in the south and savannah/highlands in the north. Capital of the Ivory Coast is Yamoussoukro. Population of the country is 21,570,746 The large and undocumented population of migrants from Burkina Faso, Mali and other surrounding countries means that all figures are estimates.
Official language is French and Jula is the most widespread indigenous language. Generally we can say that there are 93 different languages in the country.

CHALLENGES FOR PRAYER

The country has been essentially divided between Muslim north and multi-faith but predominantly Christian south. At the moment there is no peace is established. Pray for political leaders who are visionary, non-partisan, free of corruption and able to boldly take the nation forward and past this unfortunate episode in Côte d’Ivoire’s history. Pray also for a satisfactory solution to the remaining challenge – how to handle the millions of immigrants from neighbouring countries.

The Catholic Church has made a deep impact through an extensive educational system. Catholics are a large minority in the south and among the upper and middle classes as a result. Nominalism is common in the Catholic and Methodist denominations, two of the country’s largest. But there are significant numbers of genuine believers in both as well as a vibrant charismatic movement.

Animism is still strong in Côte d’Ivoire, despite apparent numerical decline. Although evangelical congregations outnumber sacred fetish groves for the first time in the nation’s history, animism’s power remains unbroken and penetrates deep into the worldview and practices of both Christians and Muslims. Many believers are affected by the power of African traditional religion,especially through fetish charms and ancestor worship,compromising both their witness and their own life in Christ. Pray that all who have not fully left behind this past might be completely delivered by the power of Jesus. Pray that believers might withstand temptation to revert to old practices of animism.

Pray for evangelicals and their ministry in Côte d’Ivoire. Partnerships and teamwork are on the rise, but more progress needs to be made if the growth as the protestant and evangelical network had been in the country nearly 50 years, there is little to show for its efforts. Also pray for the national strategy for evangelisation as they have a long way to go before the task is even close to being finished.

Knowledge and understanding of the Bible are low, partly a result of rapid church growth, but also from a cultural lack of regular Bible reading. This naturally affects the maturation and discipleship of believers and whole churches. Nearly every denomination has at least one Bible training institute.The quality of these varies greatly; pray for a greater level of partnership in theological education.

Evangelical agencies had a late and slow start compared to otherWestAfrican lands. The number of mission personnel shrank drastically due to the outbreak of violence in 2002 and has not recovered to former levels.This has in turn cast greater responsibility onto the indigenous church, but foreign missionaries are still welcomed and needed in most aspects of ministry. Evangelism,church planting and Bible translation ministries only scratch the surface of possibilities.

People that are unevangelised and without a major church planting breakthrough abound, especially in the north.The perception that Côte d’Ivoire is reached, because of the popularity of Christianity and presence of missionaries in the south, is a false notion that delays the gospel reaching millions in the north. Pray for the the Mande and Malinke people clusters of the northwest and the Gur people cluster of the north and northeast.

Islam spread and grew rapidly during the 20th Century, from 5% in 1900 to near 41.8% today.Tribal groups in the north and pockets of tribes all over the country are becoming Muslim. Urban concentrations of Muslims are high as are conversion rates among new immigrants to the cities. Pray that Christians may be zealous to win non-Muslims while they can and to show humility and love for them. Pray for the healing of the north-south ethnic divide created by politicians, which is making outreach to Muslims even harder than before.

Demographic sectors of society needing the gospel:
AIDS is a major problem in the country, although HIV prevalence rates have gone down to 4.7% of the population – still nearly one million people. The large majority of those HIV- positive are women. Both the government and many Christian ministries are doing good work in terms of awareness, education and care for those infected.
Young people are responsive, and wherever churches minister specifically to them, there is fruit – denominations are increasingly introducing student ministry to their work. Liberty to teach Scripture in public schools is an exciting but under-used opportunity through lack of qualified personnel. Pray for a vital contribution in school evangelism and discipleship.

Christian media, literature and Bible translation are one of the most pressing and demanding ministries for Christian workers. Pray for the bookstores and depots of various missions. Currently, many books are printed in Asia or elsewhere.Well-intentioned efforts by outside ministries to sell their literature at subsidised prices keep African authors from publishing more relevant Christian works – because they cannot compete with these lower-priced books. Also needing prayer: lack of qualified staff (especially French-speaking), financial pressures and lack of good distribution outlets and marketing strategies. Pray for a wider distribution of Bibles and NTs already translated. Relative poverty and a negative attitude toward reading, especially in one’s tribal language rather than in French, are challenges that must be addressed.

OUR PROJECTS IN IVORY COAST

http://www.emmaus.name/ewc/content/view/30/75/

LIST OF USED LINKS AND BOOKS

Jason Mandryk; Operation World, The definitive prayer guide to every nations; Printed in the United States of America; 2010; 978p.