Area: 622,436 sq km
A landlocked state in Africa’s geographical centre. Variation from tropical forest in the southwest to semi-desert in the northeast.
Population: 4,505,945 Annual Growth: 1.90%
Official language: French and Sango (trade language used by most of the population Languages: 82 All languages
Largest Religion: Christian
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The less-reached. The CAR was one of the worlds most evangelized nations (at least on a superficial level), but the upheavals here and in Chad and Sudan have spelled backward progress in several regions.
a) The northern lobe is increasingly volatile and dangerous with churches and missions looted and burned. Pray specifically for the Runga (90% Muslim, 26,000), Sara Kaba (50% Animist, 17,000) and the Gula/Kara (65% Muslim, 16,000). AMI, BMM, Eglise Coopération Evangélique and the Apostolic Church work among these groups, and there is some breakthrough among the Kara. Pray also for the groups filtering in from neighbouring countries.
b) Muslims are increasing numerically on a modest level, but are seeing massive growth in influence and visibility, especially in cities. They have a disproportionately large control over trade and business, including imports and exports. Relatively little outreach is directed specifically at them, and few Christians feel equipped for this. Pray specifically for:
i The influential urban Muslims (Arab, Hausa) and the nomadic Shuwa Arabs and Fulbe/Fulani. The Mbororo are the major Fulani subgroup in CAR. GBIM, Nations en Marche and others are working among them.
ii The increasing Muslim minorities among Christianized peoples. Sudanese influence and Libyan and Saudi money in the form of free education and medical care draw many nominal Christians into Islam.
iii Converts from Islam to Jesus are very influential within their community. Pray for these believers their potential impact is great.
c) The forest areas. The need is great for adequate research, but there are pockets of unreached among the Bayaka (Pygmy) and other smaller-numbering peoples. Officially, there are 13,000 Bayaka, but some believe they may number several times more. They speak six languages. At least 10 agencies work with them in various ways.
Mission agencies play an important role in education, health and work with children at risk as well as in planting churches, translating the Scriptures and other areas. The largest are BMM, Grace Brethren, InterAct, ELCA, RG. Pray now for greater partnerships between the emerging national mission movements and foreign missions. Both have great talents and gifts to bring to a partnership.
a) Mission vision and interest in unevangelized peoples are growing in CAR and spreading to neighbouring countries. Adonai Missions runs a Bible school in Bangui with an emphasis on cross-cultural missions. Nations en Marche founded a polytechnic school for missionary training and a newly opened Bayaka Bible training school in the forest. These two ministries plus Mission dEvangelisation Pour le Salut du Monde and others contribute to sending missionaries. Pray that all denominations will send students to be trained as missionaries and that those so trained will not be tempted to become city pastors.
b) Church planting movements. Church Planting Institute (CPI) and PIEVCA encourage church planting movements and local church initiatives all across the sub-region. A stronger emphasis on training indigenous church planters now bears great fruit. Pray for greater involvement by denominational leaders.
For an additional 7 Challenges for Prayer see Operation World book, CD-ROM, or DVD-ROM.
The Operation World book, CD-ROM, and DVD-ROM provide far more information and fuel for prayer for the people of Central African Republic.