This complex multi-ethnic and multi-religious society makes evangelism a challenge; pray for great wisdom and discernment among Christians. The Hinduization of government and culture, as well as strong ancestral and ethnic ties, make it difficult for Indians to become believers. However, large numbers of Hindus are coming to Jesus through the bold witness of evangelical/Pentecostal churches. Pray for continued church growth - may the body of Christ in Mauritius reflect the beautifully multi-cultural nature of God's Kingdom!
Most older churches face slow decline and are nominal in faith. Roman Catholics are seeing Hindu beliefs and practices make their way into churches in some places. But the charismatic movement is making a big impact on Catholics, with many coming to personal faith in Christ. Many of those impacted formed their own independent groups. The Roman Catholic Church is experiencing a move back to Bible reading, and now runs several active ministries on the island. Pray for a greater spread of this spiritual vitality among traditional churches in Mauritius.
Among evangelicals, growth is most rapid within the charismatic groups. Other evangelicals and independent house groups experience modest growth, but not without opposition. Subtle discrimination when applying for official permits - and more open hostility when sharing the gospel - are common. Proselytizers are painted as imperialistic and intolerant in this atmosphere of hyper-ecumenism. The Church has suffered from internal division, but the 1995 formation of a Fellowship of Christian Churches in Mauritius (FCCM) was a significant step forward, drawing together a wide range of churches and ministries. A similar group serves Pentecostals specifically. Pray for unity among Christians to deepen, to inform ministry and strategy, and to shape a positive testimony to non-believers.
Ministry to young people is met with encouraging openness. While they are less bound by ethnic loyalties, many are held back from open commitment by family pressures or liberal church leaders. The challenges they face have intensified in recent years: violent crime, sexual immorality and an erosion of traditional values. Intravenous drug use is second highest in the world; some ministries have opened work to help drug users. Opportunities are limited for ministry in schools and campuses (the university is non-residential), but YFC, YWAM, IFES, Cru, SU and CEF reach students and children by creative means. Praise God for government recognition of these ministries, and pray for their fruitfulness.
Missionary work in Mauritius is limited due to the difficulty in obtaining long-term visas and lack of appropriately trained personnel. Valuable ministry could be done if expats and locals work together in effective partnerships. Missionaries sent from Mauritius are few due to isolation and lack of missions vision in local churches. Five Mauritians are serving overseas, four with WEC. Pray that Mauritian believers and congregations may become more active in supporting world evangelization.
The Chagos Islanders were evacuated to Mauritius from the British Indian Ocean Territories 1,700 km to the northeast in 1966-70. For the last 10 years, they have been forced to go through courts of law to uphold their right of abode in their homeland, the Chagos Archipelago. Law courts repeatedly affirm their right to return; the government repeatedly quashes the rulings. They live in very difficult conditions with high rates of poverty and unemployment. Almost all are Catholic. Pray for their return and resettlement, and for continued opportunities for these 8,000 Chagossians to hear and respond to the gospel. Mo Pense Toi ("I Think and Care about You") is a Bible-based NGO seeking to bring the Chagossian community relief, comfort and hope through holistic application of the gospel.
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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.