Mauritius
Republic of Mauritius
August 10
Africa


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GEOGRAPHY

Area 2,040 sq.km. One larger and three smaller islands east of Madagascar in the western Indian Ocean. One of these, Rodrigues Island, is 500 km to the east of the others. Mauritius also claims Diego Garcia and the Chagos archipelago, which comprise the British Indian Ocean Territory.

Population Ann.Gr. Density
2000 1,156,498 +0.79% 567 per sq. km.
2010 1,254,018 +0.80% 615 per sq. km.
2025 1,377,463 +0.52% 675 per sq. km.

Capital Port Louis 145,584. Urbanites 44%.

PEOPLES

No indigenous peoples; all immigrants.

Indian 66%. Bhojpuri 336,000; Urdu-speakers 69,000; Tamil 31,000; Panjabi 26,000.

Creole 27.5%. Mixed African and European.

Chinese 3%. Majority are Hakka.

European 3%. Largely French, controlling sugar plantations and big business.

Other 0.5%. African immigrants.

Literacy 83%. Official Language English. All Languages 5. Languages with Scriptures 4Bi 1por 1w.i.p.

ECONOMY

The once-dominant sugar and textile industries are being eclipsed by highly successful diversification and industrialization. Tourism, offshore banking and the use of Mauritius as a tax haven have become the main revenue generators. One of the most successful African economies. Unemployment 7.1%. HDI 0.764; 59th/174. Public debt 26% of GNP. Income/person $3,870 (12.3% of USA).

POLITICS

A French colony between 1715 and 1810, and then British until independence in 1968. The only African parliamentary democracy to have uninterrupted stability since 1960. Party politics are dominated by ethnic and religious divisions. The Hindu Indian bloc is in the majority, but this is resented by the other groups.

RELIGION

Freedom of religion compromised by strong tendency for Indianization and, by implication, Hinduism at the expense of Muslims and Christians. All religious and missionary activity directed to evangelizing Hindus or Muslims is regarded with disfavour. Persecution index 72nd in the world.

Religions Population % Adherents Ann.Gr.
Hindu 49.44 571,773 +0.9%
Christian 32.86 380,025 +0.5%
Muslim 16.30 188,509 +0.8%
non-Religious/other 0.60 6,939 +9.3%
Baha'i 0.50 5,782 +0.8%
Buddhist/Chinese 0.30 3,469 +0.0%

Christians Denom. Affil.% ,000 Ann.Gr.
Protestant 9 6.90 80 +4.3%
Independent 11 0.91 10 +11.9%
Anglican 1 0.61 7 +8.8%
Catholic 2 24.16 279 -0.4%
Marginal 2 0.29 3 +6.9%

Churches MegaBloc Cong. Members Affiliates
Catholic C 50 150,838 279,050
Assemblies of God P 110 25,000 59,000
Ch of God (Cleveland) P 46 10,350 15,000
Anglican A 25 4,545 7,000
Indep/Charismatic [9] I 28 2,500 5,500
Jehovah's Witnesses M 17 1,317 3,200
Seventh-day Adventist P 25 1,542 3,083
Voice of Deliverance I 82 1,650 2,500
Christian Church I 6 1,300 2,500
Presbyterian P 6 662 1,000
Evangelical Ch of M. P 6 460 700
Other denoms [8]   17 710 1,480
Total Christians [27]   416 200,900 380,000

Trans-bloc Groupings pop. % ,000 Ann.Gr.
Evangelical 7.9 91 +5.2%
Charismatic 10.9 126 +3.5%
  Pentecostal 6.7 77 +4.6%

Missionaries from Mauritius
P,I,A 9 in 5 agencies to 6 countries.

Missionaries to Mauritius
P,I,A 23 in 8 agencies from 5 countries: South Africa 14, Canada 6.



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Challenges for Prayer

1 Evangelism is a challenge in this complex, multi-ethnic and multi-religious society. Pray for much wisdom and discernment. The Hindu-ization of government and culture, as well as strong ancestral and ethnic ties make it difficult for Indians to become believers. Nevertheless, large numbers of Hindus are coming to Jesus through the bold witness of evangelical/Pentecostal churches.

2 Most older churches are in gradual decline, and are traditional and nominal. Many Catholics are affected by the infiltration of Hindu beliefs and practices into the Church. The charismatic movement has made a big impact on Catholics, with many coming to personal faith in Christ. Many of those impacted have now formed their own independent groups. However, the Catholic Church is experiencing a move back to Bible reading, and they run several active ministries on the island.

3 Among Evangelicals, growth has been most rapid within the Pentecostal and charismatic groups. Other evangelicals and independent house groups are also experiencing more modest growth, but not without opposition. Subtle discrimination when applying for official permits, as well as more open hostility towards those who share the gospel is common. In this hyper-ecumenical atmosphere, proselytisers are painted as imperialistic and intolerant. The Church has often suffered from internal division, but the formation in 1995 of the Fellowship of Christian Churches in Mauritius was a major step forward in promoting Christian unity. Pray that Evangelicals might be united in their presentation of the gospel to non-Christians.

4 The training of leaders is of prime importance. The AoG School of Ministry offers programmes ranging from correspondence through to degree-level courses. TEE is being utilised by most denominations and there are several correspondence schools, one being the Emmaus BCC. The most exciting development is the birth of the Mauritian Bible Training Institute, an evangelical Bible school. MBTI, sponsored by SIM, has around 50-60 students with several satellite campuses. Praise the Lord for the development of Bible training, but pray also that Mauritius might receive more teachers of the Word who are well-trained models of godliness.

5 There is a great openness among young people. They are less bound by ethnic loyalties, but many are held back from open commitment by family pressures or liberal church leaders. Opportunities for ministry in schools and campuses are limited (the university is non-residential), but YFC, IFES and SU are seeking creative ways to reach students.

6 Missionary work in Mauritius is limited due to the difficulty of obtaining long-term visas and lack of appropriately trained personnel. Evangelical missions with personnel present: Presbyterians, AoG, SBC, SIM (2 each). Missionaries sent out from Mauritius are limited due to isolation and lack of missions vision. Pray that Mauritian believers may become more active in supporting world evangelization. Five Mauritians are serving overseas, 4 with WEC.

7 Specific unreached minorities:

a) Muslims. The number of converts is insignificant compared to their population size, and there are only two Christians actively working among them.

b) Rodrigues Islanders (35,000) are poor, isolated, and 97% Catholic. The Anglicans and several Pentecostal denominations have started churches on the island.

c) Speakers of major Indian languages, Bhojpuri, Hindi and Urdu, all representing large unreached groups in India. The JESUS film and literature distribution are being used to reach them.

d) The Chinese community. Most Chinese have become Catholic. Evangelical believers number only around 600 in four or five congregations. Pray for the removal of the combined barriers of demonic powers and the drive for wealth that keep many from a full commitment to Christ.

e) The Chagos Islanders were evacuated to Mauritius from the British Indian Ocean Territories 1,700 km to the northeast in 1966-70, but have won the right to return. Almost all are Catholics. Pray for the return, resettlement and continued opportunities of these 5,000 Chagossians to hear and respond to the gospel.

8 Help ministries:

a) The Bible Society has a vital role in distributing Scriptures in all the island territories of the Indian Ocean – Seychelles, Réunion, Comores and others.

b) Christian bookshops have grown from two in 1990 to nine in 2000. Despite this, Christian literature is not getting into the hands of unbelievers. Pray for the provision and distribution of appropriate Christian literature.

c) Scripture Union distributes daily Bible reading materials and also coordinates various short-term outreaches.

d) Christian radio broadcasts from FEBA-Seychelles are beamed to Mauritius – almost 2 hours/week in French. The Catholics, Baptists and the SdA are all allotted time on the government station. An inter-church committee has been formed to produce programmes in Creole.

e) The JESUS film is available in Bhojpuri, Creole, French, Panjabi, Tamil, and Urdu.

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