PICTURE Edition 16: The Church in Guinea: Small And Introspective

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1. History

Guinea (an ancient Arab term for black people) is a smallish Muslim-majority country on the south west coast of Africa. Climatically it ranges from savannah in the north to deep tropical rain forest in the south. It is one of the wettest countries in the world and spawns four major rivers. It was part of the Arab trade routes for centuries and fell in an out with the prevailing empires of that region including the Ghana, Songhai, and Mali kingdoms. By 1235 its rulers were making a Hajj to Mecca. Along with most countries on the west coast, it was a source of slaves for the new world. The French took the area in 1890 and gave it its independence in 1958.

2. Today 

In recent times Guinea has made headlines for all the wrong reasons. After independence it was subject to coups, strong-arm leaders and a terrible two decade experiment with Marxism which saw the infrastructure collapse and the people impoverished. In 1970 some 50,000 people were executed after yet another attempted coup. Then in 2104 Guinea was the epicentre of an Ebola outbreak that grabbed world headlines. Literacy is a mere 45%, almost half the population is under 15, there is virtually no infrastructure and the average income is just 1% of the USA. However, under the current president democracy and economic growth has finally taken off in a big way with Chinese investment.

Guinea’s relationship with Islam is mixed. The three dominant people groups are all strongly Muslim. However, for many people the animistic spirit world is the daily priority with witchcraft very common. On the other hand almost all women suffer genital mutilation. Religious tolerance was common practice until a recent push for more Islamisation. The country hosts hundreds of thousands of refugees from neighbouring war-torn countries and many of these are former rebels stirring up trouble in the predominately forested, Christian south east

3. Evangelism Highlights

The picture doesn’t look good. Only 3% of the country profess any type of Christianity and the Catholic Church is the dominant expression. The true church of Jesus has not yet reached 1% of the total population but it has quadrupled in the last 50 years. After growing strongly in the hard years, there was some falling away after 2000 as nominal Christians departed. The church is currently growing more slowly than the population and is yet to significantly penetrate the Muslim majority in the culturally dominate Fulbe and Mandinka people groups. Scripture translation is an urgent need. Of the 34 languages there is only one full Bible translation and 10 New Testaments. Translations are underway in 10 more.

4. Prayer Points

This is a lost country and God passionately loves every one of them so…

Pray for missions to the youth: IFES, YWAM, CMA and the likes

Pray for more Bible translators

Pray for the breaking of demonic strongholds. As they break people will be set free

Pray for the Holy Spirit to embolden the local church

Pray for more missionaries from surrounding countries, especially from Nigeria where there over 50 million followers of Jesus (yes you read that correctly!!!)

Pray for key Muslim leaders to meet Jesus

Pray that the church can break out of its ethnic limits and reach the Fulbe and Mandinka people groups.

Pray for miracles, signs, wonders, healing and deliverance (Luke 9:2)

Pray for more harvest workers

Next Week: Guinea Bissau


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