WEC in Cote d'Ivoire
Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) was once a stable and prosperous nation in West Africa. However, an initial coup d'état in 1999 began a spiral of growing instability culminating in an armed rebellion in September 2002. Since then the country is divided into several zones. The south, including Abidjan, is controlled by government loyalist forces. Other parts are held by various rebel factions.
A French and West African military contingent have been preventing the conflict from escalating into total war. Negotiations sponsered by a group of African heads of state and France helped to seek a resolution to the crises. A peace agreement was signed in 2003 and reinforced during a summet in Accra and needs now to be followed through. Since June 2004, United Nation peace keeping forces are present with 6000 troops to observe the process of peace and disarmament.
One third of the territory of WEC's daughter church, the AEECI, has come under rebel control resulting in large numbers of refugees fleeing from those towns.The AEECI church is since the crisis involved in relief work among displaced people. Nine crises centres are set up for this purpose. Many of our pastors have had to move with their families to safer areas in the central or southern areas of the country. But during 2004 several had gone back to their post of service.
As a result of the situation, WEC's work in Côte d'Ivoire was seriously disrupted, as has that of most missions. All WEC missionaries based upcountry had to leave their bases.
A small team based in Abidjan continued to work with the AEECI leadership, to help and manage the AEECI Relief Fund. You can contribute to this fund by contacting AEECI Relief FundThe Pastoral Institute Hebron remained open to teach and train pastors. Funding from the supporting churches became a big problem during the crisis and still continues to be.. The Pastoral Institue as well as the Evangelical Technical Training College face tremendous challenges to remain open. We value your support in this.
As things have stabilized, mission personnel have been able to move back to re-start their ministry. Currently, one couple is working with the church in Abidjan and another couple in Yamoussoukro.
The Field Leaders are back in Bouaflé together with a couple on the teaching staff of Hebron Pastoral Institute and a lady working with the church department of literacy. In the northern town of Seguela, in the rebel zone, one couple has restarted the work and is seeing much interest in the gospel message.
6 September 2004 was a highlight for the team when Vavoua International School for missionary children (VIS) restarted. During the summer holidays, the school relocated in the capital Yamoussoukro rather than to stay on the old campus which is still in rebel held territory. A small dorm is set up for children whose parents do not live close to the school side. The new school year started in collabaraton with the New Tribes Mission, on their campus with 30 children from different mission.
More workers needed
All team members have expressed a desire to see others come and help them.
Please pray for:
• A solid solution to the crisis in the country and a return to stability and security
• Protection and God's anointing for WEC missionaries and AEECI pastors
• For courageous, stable people to join us in the work.