|Republic of Ghana|
Area 238,533 sq.km. Grasslands in north, farmland and forest in south. Centre dominated by the 520 km-long Lake Volta, Africa's largest man-made lake.
Most of the population live in the southern provinces.
Capital Accra 2,250,000. Other main cities: Kumasi 992,000; Sekondi-Takoradi 400,000; Tamale 270,000. Urbanites 37%.
About 100 ethnic groups.
Kwa 71.1%. Five major groups in centre and south.
Akan 48.1%. 26 groups; largest: Ashanti 2,890,000; Fante 2,447,000; Brong (Abron) 765,000; Akyem 623,000; Akwapim 481,000; Nzema 416,000; Kwahu 403,000; Wasa 249,000; Anyi 179,000; Ahanta 135,000. Most speak dialects of Twi.
Ewe(3) 11.5%. 2,333,000 in southeast.
Ga-Adangme(3) 7.3%. 1,476,000 around Accra.
Guang(14) 3.4%. Gua(4) 280,000; Gonja 194,000; Awutu 168,000.
Central Togo(14) 0.8%. A medley of small peoples on the eastern border.
Gur 25.4%. 34 peoples in 3 major sub-groups in the north. Larger groups: Dagomba 766,000; Gurenne (Frafra) 728,000; Dagaaba 616,000; Konkomba 480,000; Kusasi 373,000; Mamprusi 350,000; Sisaala(3) 324,000; Mossi 324,000; Bulsa 191,000; Gurunsi (Nankana) 169,000; Wala 144,000; Kasena 113,000; Bimoba 102,000; Birifor 87,000; Nafaanra 80,000; Kotokoli Kulango 76,000; Dega (Mo) 25,000.
Mande 1.1%. Largest of 5 peoples: Busansi 173,000; Jula-Malinke 115,000; Ligbi 13,000.
Other 2.4%. Fulbe 100,000; Westerners 50,000; refugees.
Literacy 70%. Official language English. All languages 72. Languages with Scriptures 8Bi 20NT 9por 17w.i.p.
Main exports are cocoa, gold and timber all susceptible to market fluctuations. Earlier government overspending, mismanagement and corruption reduced this once-prosperous land to poverty, thereby greatly reducing living standards. Since 1984 there has been a slow, but steady improvement through greater government discipline. HDI 0.544; 133rd/174. Public debt 75% of GNP. Income/person $400 (1.4% of USA).
Independent from Britain in 1957. Nkrumah's 'socialist' experiment was a disaster from which the nation is taking years to recover. There have been five military regimes and three short-lived civilian governments since Nkrumah's overthrow in 1966. The revolutionary military government of Rawlings eventually opened up the way for multi-party elections in 1992, and again in 1996 but as a presidential democracy with autocratic leanings. In 2000 there was a successful democratic election and change of government.
Secular state with religious freedom since 1992 following a period of some restrictions. Increasing tensions between Christians, Muslims and Traditionalists have brought in some limitations.
1 There has been a spiritual upsurge in Ghana. The leavening work of literature, Scripture Union (SU) in the schools, the New Life for All Campaign of the 1980s and the evangelistic zeal of many churches and agencies as well as economic hardship have brought thousands to new life and invigorated many traditional Presbyterian and Methodist churches. Numerous evangelical, charismatic and Pentecostal groups and fellowships have sprung up all over the south. In some of these denominations there has been rapid growth, but the overall growth of Christians as a percentage of society has not increased much.
1 The rocky first decades after independence were not good soil for developing stable, fair, democratic institutions. Pray for those in government that they may subject themselves to God rather than human ideologies or demonic influences and seek the best for the diverse peoples and religious groups of Ghana. Since 1995 there have been both tribal wars and inter-religious violence.
2 For years, Christianity has had a large following in the more developed south. Over 64% of Ghanaians call themselves Christian, but only 40% have any link with a church and only 12% are regular church attenders. African traditional worldviews and practices have gone hand-in-hand with the claim of being Christian. The deadness and formality of many older churches have stimulated rapid growth of the African Independent Churches, which offer excitement, involvement and miracles, but not always salvation by faith. The number of these denominations may be in the thousands! Pray that the true gospel may shine into the hearts of those who call themselves Christian but who are not born from above. Pray that a decisive break may be made from all fetishism and occult bondages, and true liberty in Jesus be found.
3 Vision for the 1990s. A nation-wide survey 1985-89 conducted by the GEC was studied in regional and national conferences involving most denominational leaders. The results revealed the spiritual need of Ghana.
b) To plant 2,000 new churches for northern peoples in the East and West Upper regions, the Northern region and for northerners in the South. That goal has yet to be attained, but at least eight churches and agencies are actively and vigorously planting and multiplying churches in each of these regions.
Pray that these goals might be achieved by 2010.
5 Mature Christian leaders are in short supply in this time of rapid growth, economic stress and doctrinal confusion. There are two diploma-awarding schools Christian Service College (CSC) in Kumasi started by WEC and Maranatha Bible College (SIM). Trinity College awards degrees predominantly for mainline churches. There are over 30 other accredited denominational and inter-denominational Bible schools as well as a range of TEE and lay training programmes run by different denominations and agencies.
6 The missions vision of the Ghanaian church has grown, with agencies and workers increasing in numbers. Gradually the reluctance of more sophisticated southern Christians to go to the 'backward' north is being overcome. There are a number of significant movements worthy of prayer:
7 Young people are in the forefront of the move of the Spirit. Praise God for the impact of SU on the secondary schools; GHAFES(IFES), Navigators and CCCI on the universities and colleges; and CEF with 30 workers among young children. Pray that the influence of converted young people may be decisive in church, mission and national affairs. May many hear God's call into full-time service. Very few churches have an effective programme for young people or children youth under 15 comprise only 30% of the church-going population but 45% of the total population.
8 Missionary personnel to serve as Bible teachers, translators, media experts and pioneer evangelists are still needed in this day of opportunity. A key area for prayer is that there might be healthy, helpful partnerships between indigenous church leaders and missionaries. Pray for missions serving the Lord in this land; the largest: GILLBT/SIL (69), SIM (34), IMB-SBC (30), WEC (25).
9 The less evangelized peoples of Ghana have, generally, never been so receptive as now. Ghanaian and expatriate workers are needed for the reaping. Of the more than 35 peoples of the north, only one is even nominally Christian the Dagaari who are 60% Catholic, and the Sisaala, Kulango, Mossi, Konkomba, Nankana, etc., are over 10% Christian. In most, less than 2% are Christian of any variety, though few have no Christians. Churches have often been small, weak, largely illiterate with many leaders having basic training only. Pray specifically for:
a) The traditional peoples of the Upper East and West regions adjoining Burkina Faso. Pray for greater church growth among the Sisaala (SIM), Kasena, Mamprusi, Nankana and Bulsa (SIM) with 20 churches and Frafra (SIM, AoG, WEC). Response is slow among the Bimoba, Kusasi and Tampulma (AoG). Some smaller groups are unoccupied by Christian workers.
b) The traditional peoples of the Northern region are a complex medley of small groups that are scarcely touched by the gospel; over 30 peoples are resident in the region, but there are viable evangelical churches in only 6-7 of these. ECG/WEC is planting churches in this area. Response is growing among the Birifor and Konkomba but, though targeted by ECG/WEC, there are not adequate labourers for the Nawuri, Nchumburu and others. The 1995 war between the Konkomba and eastern peoples and the more structured and dominant Gonja and allied Dagomba, Nanumba and others caused much destruction of life and property and has left a legacy of bitterness and division which hampers Christian ministry especially to the Muslim groups.
c) The Islamized peoples of the North have responded only minimally to the gospel, and more input is needed. Examples include the dominant Gonja with only 300 believers (WEC), the Dagomba (AoG, SIM, IMB-SBC, WEC) with 1% Christian, the Kotokoli with 0.2% Christian and the Wali (Baptist Mid-Missions). Converts to Christ have often suffered verbal and physical persecution, and are often thrown out of their homes and villages. There is a new openness among the Dagomba in the SIM areas with new churches being planted. The 100,000 Fulbe are scattered throughout the north there are now 3 small fellowships with 50 believers.
a) The cities which have grown by absorbing many ethnic groups. The 2.5 million northerners in southern cities easily turn to Islam; little has been done by Christians to reach them until recently. Pray that both Ghanaian and expatriate workers may be used of God to increase the number of northern-language congregations in the southern cities.
b) Southern traditionalists are especially strong in the Volta Region and among the numerous Ewe people and their sea and river-fishing colonies all over Ghana. The 20,000 trokosi (women enslaved by fetish priests) gained international attention in the 1990s and pressure to end this wicked system has yielded fruit. Pray for the liberation of all in bondage to the fetish system. The Ghanaian Volta Evangelistic Association has significant outreach in the area.
c) Islam has grown significantly through Muslim men marrying non-Muslim women, and through migration to cities. Now 63% of Muslims live in the non-Muslim southern seven provinces. Confrontations and violence between Muslims and Christians have escalated. Pray for peace, a lessening of animosities and for the Lord Jesus to be so lifted up as to attract Muslims to Himself. A number of Muslim imams have turned to Christ one factor provoking Muslim ire against Christians.
a) Bible translation has made great strides over the past 20 years, GILLBT/SIL and The Bible Society are presently working on 17 language projects. There are still definite NT translation needs for 10 languages, and research required for a further 18. An increased use of Bible cassettes is bearing fruit especially in illiterate Muslim peoples such as the Ligbi.
b) Literacy programmes have often been too slow, too late and too limited to make good use of newly translated Scriptures. Pray for many programmes now under way that they may inspire both young and old with zeal for reading. Pray also for:
i) Use of Bible cassettes in over 17 languages where literacy is low. This has proved effective, but needs to be increased.
ii) The Bible League's church planting literacy project which has been successfully used to help plant churches in some areas.
c) Literature. A chronic shortage exists due to lack of foreign exchange and printing materials. Pray for the importation and economic distribution of Bibles (UBS) and Christian literature by agencies such as Book Aid in the UK and Challenge Enterprises, an indigenous organization backed by SIM which handles 90% of all Christian literature in Ghana. There are 13 Christian bookstores in Ghana. Africa Christian Press publishes a range of good Christian books for distribution throughout Africa. Problems in running an economically viable, indigenous publishing ministry are enormous. Bible Correspondence Courses have been most successful (SIM, ICI/AoG).
d) Christian films (SIM) are used with great effect. The five mobile 'cinevans' of Challenge Enterprises have a total audience of over 1.5 million annually and over a period of 14 years an estimated ¼ million have responded to an invitation to come to Christ. The JESUS film is being widely used in 20 languages and a high proportion of the population has seen it. A further 19 language versions are in preparation.
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