Ivory Coast (MNN) — There’s more to the Ivory Coast than being the world’s leading cocoa producer. And it’s not all as sweet as chocolate.
A rebellion in 2002 tore the nation as northern Muslims felt they were being politically discriminated. Thousands were killed.
Fighting ended in 2004, but a buffer-zone was placed to separate the Muslim north and the southern government forces.
After a lot of tension, Ivory Coast elections were held in 2010 and President Alassane Ouattara became the internationally recognized winner.
Through it all, churches experienced some backlash. David Shibley with Global Advance explains, “Because the Church has really despaired in the aftermath of a terrible time of internal strife that most there would call a civil war, many of the churches are far smaller than they were 10 years ago. There’s been a great amount of despair and disappointment in the nation.”
Next month, Global Advance is planning to “equip the equippers” with a Pastoral Training Conference in Abidjan, Ivory Coast on August 1-4. This conference will give pastors the help they need to continue spreading the Gospel in the Ivory Coast.
The goal? “We’re going to encourage, to equip, and to resource these wonderful men and women who are standing firm for Christ in the midst of a very challenging situation,” says Shibley.
Currently, Ivory Coast has a three-way religious split. 40% of the population is Islamic, 34% Christian, and around 25% follow ethnic religions.
However, Shibley says despite the Church’s struggle, there is hope for revival. “There have been encouraging signs. There have been open evangelistic meetings in recent months where many people have made professions of faith in Christ. We believe the tide is turning and that it’s now time for us to strengthen the hands of those who are in charge of the movement of the church in that very important nation.”
Shibley explains, “Our methodology is the method that the Apostle Paul gave to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:2, ‘And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.’”
Pray for Global Advance’s ministry and for the pastors at the training next month. Click here to learn more about getting involved.