The Republic of Cote d’Ivoire is located on the Western coast of Africa and is slightly larger than New Mexico. French is the official language but Djoula is the most widely spoken of the 60 native dialects. Once hailed as a model of stability, Ivory Coast recently slipped into the kind of internal political upheaval that has plagued so many African countries. Religions are a mix of Christianity, Islam and traditional beliefs involving ancestor worship and magic. Religious persecution of Christians by Muslims is also growing in some areas.
CMF’s team in Ivory Coast works in the areas of church planting, leadership training, medical evangelism, Community Health Evangelism (CHE), and Muslim evangelism.
Seventeen churches have been started among the Agni and Attie people groups. The team also works in partnership with the Association of Christian Churches in Ivory Coast to plant churches among a new people group, the Baoule, in the Beoumi region of central Ivory Coast, and started four in the first three months of its efforts. The team also reaches out to Djoula Muslims through contacts in the community and in the clinic. One home church has been established in a Djoula family courtyard.
Ivorian church leaders are trained in basic Bible knowledge and ministry. Those who desire to serve as pastors, evangelists or church planters go through an in-depth pastoral training program at the training center in Abengourou.
The clinic in Abengourou meets the health needs of local children and expectant mothers, as well as providing antiretroviral medications, counseling and care for more than 2,500 HIV+ patients. A new lab was built in 2008 to provide better care for those living with HIV/AIDS. In 2012 the clinic added a new maternity and hospitalization wing. The maternity area is specially designed for the expectant HIV+ mothers so that we can help them and their newborns avoid mother-to-child transmissions.
Community Health Evangelism ministry empowers God’s people to rise up and work in the transformation of their communities. CHEs reach out to families in rural villages, urban slums and those living with HIV/AIDS in many regions of the country. The program now includes a new microenterprise initiative among HIV/AIDS orphans and vulnerable children. The CHE program is also an integral part of the HIV patient follow-up care, which has been recognized as one of the premier follow-up programs in the country.
Here are a few of the specific ways the team members serve in Ivory Coast:
- Outreach and ministry to Djoula-speaking Muslims in Abengourou, especially young Djoula women.
- Direct church planting activities.
- Teach and train Ivorian national church leaders.
- Coordinate clinic activities, lead CHE training and CHE programs.
- Facilitate and plan visits of short-term medical teams.
- Work with HIV/AIDS patients, orphans and vulnerable children.