Area: 1,240,192 sq km
Landlocked state. Dry southern grasslands merge into the Sahara Desert. The Niger River runs through the southern part of the country.
Population: 13,323,104 Annual Growth: 2.40%
Official language: French. Trade languages Bambara, Fulbe, Songhai Languages: 60 All languages
Largest Religion: Muslim
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Malis socio-economic quandary is sobering. It is one of the poorest nations on earth, with people making on average $1.5US/day. Cotton growing employs one-third of the population but is highly vulnerable to world market fluctuations and competing growers elsewhere. Functional literacy is low and secondary school enrolment is under 20%. About one-fifth of children will not survive to the age of five, and of those who do, one-third will be malnourished. Two-thirds of the land area is desert or semi-desert, and the threat of desertification is ever present. Pray that Malis leaders have wisdom and insight in knowing how to provide health, education, gainful employment and long-term stability to their people.
Christian specialist and support ministries for prayer:
a) Bible translation. Translation work is in progress for 18 languages. Nine languages have definite translation needs; another four have probable needs. Only eight Malian languages have a NT and only one has the entire Bible. Bible translation is a key ministry that must involve all confessions. Pray for effective partnership among SIL, the Malian Bible Society and all the churches and missions working with each people group in Mali.
b) Literacy projects to raise Malis low literacy rates are essential if Bible translations are to be useful. UBS (Alpha Project), World Vision and a host of others have projects that will help spread the Word and uplift the people.
c) Oral learning projects are much more in keeping with the strong oral traditions of Mali. One-story (IMB) and Listening to the World (UBS) are two initiatives that train believers to share stories from Scripture in a style that connects with Malians.
d) Media ministry is crucial in a culture where functional literacy could be as low as 15%.
i Audio resources. With such low literacy rates, cassettes, digital audio Scriptures and stories are greatly appreciated and highly effective. GRN has made recordings in 43 dialects and languages. FCBH, The Gods Story Project, and The Story of Jesus are all Christian audio resources available in several languages.
ii Christian programmes on Radio Mali have a wide audience. The 42 FM stations run under the auspices of the ACCM/Christian Association of Communication in Mali (but run by several different missions and churches) cover Bamako and six other states. Most of these stations broadcast many hours a day and in several languages: French, Bamanankan (Bambara), Pulaar (Fulani), Songhai, Tamacheq and others. IBRA, FEBA and TWR also broadcast in shortwave into Mali.
iii TV is another crucial medium with high-perceived value but only one national station. Pray for the biblical TV programmes produced by ACCM (70 minutes per week) to have great impact; pray also for provision of funds for production and broadcast expenses.
iv The JESUS film is a major instrument for opening whole areas and peoples for church planting. It is available in 17 languages. Pray for the effective use of this precious resource and for many to respond as they see and hear the gospel in their heart language.
e) Student ministry. GBEEM(IFES) began in Mali in 1980 and has 330 students in over 20 groups. YWAM also works among young people and students from six different locations.
f) Bible training and correspondence courses are beginning to be used, and TEE classes are helping to train Christian leaders. New seminaries and training centres are popping up, including Bethel Bible Institute, Global Mission Institute and, vitally, FATMES (Faculté de Théologie et de Missiologie Evangélique au Sahel).
g) Christian education is a potent tool to bless a country in need of educational development and to make clear the gospel to students and families alike. There are dozens of schools run by Christians.
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 Mali.