May 28 - Pray for: The Gambia

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Thank God for the mostly friendly relationships between Muslims and Christians in Gambia. Christians have more religious freedom here than in most Muslim countries. But most Christian work has been in the Greater Banjul area (coast). Few reach out to the Muslim majority, especially those who live upriver in the less-developed inland area. Pastors who serve inland struggle to maintain financial support. Pray for continued religious freedom and peace. Pray for Gambians to have a vision to reach their own nation, and for creative ways to support those who move into more isolated areas.


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Islam is dominant, but the traditional Gambian expression is a gentler version rather than the more strident edition from Libya and Saudi Arabia seeking to exert influence over the education and economic systems and the political process. Most Christian work and presence have been near the coast, with few involved in reaching out to the Muslim majority, especially those living upriver. Pray for continued ability to minister to all peoples and for Christians to take advantage of the religious freedom to share and demonstrate the gospel to all parts and all peoples of the Gambia.

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Unreached peoples in the Gambia:

  • Mandinka. Ninety-five percent of all Mandinkas are Muslim, believing in a mixture of Islam and traditional customs. Due to tremendous social and family pressures, few Mandinkas leave Islam. Those who have converted to Christianity are viewed as traitors to their families and their heritage. The entire Bible is now available in Roman-scripted Mandinka.
  • Fulani. Largely sedentary in the Gambia despite traditional associations with nomadic pastoralism, the Fulani are considered to be custodians of Islam in West Africa. There is some response to Christian witness in the region from the Fula, but their unique culture requires a different expression of church from the sedentary majority.
  • Jola. The majority of Jolas are from an animistic background and are beholden to the spirit powers they revere. Jolas in Gambia are increasingly being Islamized, with a small number of Christians. Only some Scripture portions are available in their language. Pray for more Jolas to come to freedom in Christ, and pray for effectiveness in the medical, translation and church planting ministries in their areas (WEC, IMB).
  • Wolof, Serahule, and Serer - all more prevalent in neighbouring Senegal, all very much unevangelized and with little outreach or mission directed toward them. There are probably fewer than 10 known Christians among the 180,000 Serahule of Gambia. Medical work has opened doors in some villages. Pray for more groups of believers to be formed who can withstand the pressure from family and society to return to Islam.
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Young people have flocked to Banjul and are increasingly subject to Western culture at the expense of their traditional values. Ministries include GAMFES(IFES), with several groups meeting, SU and YFC. The first YWAM DTS took place in 2008. Pray that God would raise up a new generation of Christian young people who will lead their peers into a lifestyle of godliness. Most youth work is in the capital and outlying areas, though WEC also has ministry inland.

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Content taken or adapted from Operation World, 7th Edition (2010) and Pray for the World (2015). Both books are published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.