Unrest In The Ivory Coast
Ivory Coast

The number of people displaced by the fighting in Ivory Coast has grown to almost a million, as residents flee to rural areas and to neighboring countries. Recent disputed presidential elections further divided this country, which has been struggling to peacefully reunite after a short civil war in 2002. Sporadic fighting has continued since the election results late last year, and tension remains very high. The country is on the threshold of another civil war, and the lives of thousands of believers are in jeopardy.

We have been in regular contact with our representatives in that country to check on the wellbeing of the 20,000 Ivorian believers. We continue to encourage them that they are not alone, but the Bride of Christ around the world is praying for them. The following is a report from a VGR employee in Ivory Coast. Names are being withheld for safety reasons.

On my own behalf, and on behalf of all my brothers and sisters of Ivory Coast, I would like to thank all our brothers and sisters around the world who have called and emailed us in order to let us know they are in prayer for us. Since the crisis erupted, brothers here in West Africa (Ghana, Togo, Nigeria, Sierra Leone), and in Central Africa (Brazzaville and Kinshasa), Southern Africa (Zimbabwe), Europe, Trinidad and Tobago, and especially in North America have continued to tell us they are praying for us.

From the bottom of our hearts, we would like to say thank you all. Your prayers are comforting us much. I am sure that through your prayers, the brothers here have escaped the worst situations that could throw them before time into the grave. We really appreciated your prayers.

The situation is very difficult. More than one million people (approximately eight hundred thousand in Abidjan) fled their homes because of fighting with heavy weapons, to take refuge in safe places. In fact, in Abidjan and in many places now, there is no more place that can be called safe. The danger has become permanent and the occasion of falling so numerous that we can only live by faith in relying on the grace of God.

Our brothers and sisters who are in the western regions of the country also need your attention, your prayers too. It's sad to inform you that many families had fled the fighting in Abidjan and went to take refuge in the western regions that were their hometowns, such as Duekoué, Toulepleu, Bloloquin, and Daloa. At the present time, heavy fighting is taking unfortunate place in these regions, pushing people into the streets to leave once again the region in search of places of refuge to shelter.

I would like to point out that Daloa is a large city in the western part of Ivory Coast, with a little over 1.2 million inhabitants. In this city and in neighborhoods, we have about 43 churches of the Message and over 1,500 believers. (Daloa is the location of recent fighting and a strategic position for the country's leading export: cocoa.)

In conclusion, since the beginning of the crisis, many churches have been affected and our precious brothers and sisters in Christ have been scattered. In Abidjan, the economic capital, as well as in other places, we are trying wherever possible to have service at least every Sunday. Sometimes it is possible, but sometimes it's impossible to do so. Speaking of life, things are not easy at all. Prices soared on the market badly. The population is severely affected by the crisis. Banks are closed; companies are closing one after another. Drugs in pharmacies start to run out. In some areas, continuing to exist is a miracle.

However, our God is a miracle working God. We are resting on that. Thank you for praying for us.

Brother (gives his name)

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