Réunion
Department of Réunion
September 23
Africa


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GEOGRAPHY

Area 2,544 sq.km. Rugged, mountainous volcanic Indian Ocean island 700 km east of Madagascar. The largest of the Mascarene Islands which include Mauritius.

Population Ann.Gr. Density
2000 699,406 +1.32% 275 per sq. km
2010 777,722 +0.98% 306 per sq. km
2025 879,761 +0.72% 346 per sq. km

Capital Saint-Denis 140,000. Urbanites 68%.

PEOPLES

Creole 59.4%. Afro-European, etc.

South Asian 28.2%. Tamil 171,000; Gujarati 18,000; Panjabi 3,000.

European 4.4%. French and Réunionese; also 4,000 military personnel.

Other 8%. Chinese(3) 20,000; East African 14,000; Malagasy 10,000, Comorian 9,000.

Literacy 91%. Official language French. Common language French Creole, which is replacing minority languages.

ECONOMY

Dependent on production of sugar and tourism. Rum, vanilla and light industry provide some export earnings. Heavily dependent on French and EU subsidies and aid and also income from the military bases. Exports are 8% of imports. Unemployment 40%. Income/person $8,880 (13.7% of USA).

POLITICS

Uninhabited until French settlement in 1642. Overseas department of France since 1946. The level of dependency on France means there is little incentive to seek greater autonomy.

RELIGION

Freedom of religion, but Catholicism is culturally dominant. French anti-sect legislation is putting pressure on smaller religious groups and denominations.

Religions Population % Adherents Ann.Gr.
Christian 84.90 593,796 +1.0%
Hindu 6.70 46,860 +1.3%
non-Religious/other 6.18 43,223 +6.3%
Muslim 2.15 15,037 +0.9%
Baha'i 0.07 490 -1.3%

Christians Denom. Affil.% ,000 Ann.Gr.
Protestant 10 5.53 39 +3.4%
Independent 5 0.49 3 +8.2%
Catholic 1 84.36 590 +0.6%
Marginal 2 0.91 6 +1.3%
Doubly affiliated   -6.39 -45 n.a.

Churches MegaBloc Cong. Members Affiliates
Catholic C 76 329,609 590,000
Assemblies of God P 160 20,000 32,000
Jehovah's Witnesses M 30 2,701 8,500
Seventh-day Adventist P 18 1,238 2,900
Evangelical P 10 830 1,300
Reformed P 4 580 900
Other denoms  [12]   42 3,601 5,900
Doubly affiliated     -28,000 -44,800
Total Christians  [18]   340 330,600 594,000

Trans-bloc Groupings pop. % ,000 Ann.Gr.
Evangelical 5.2 37 +3.8%
Charismatic 8.3 58 +2.5%
  Pentecostal 4.9 34 +3.8%

Missionaries from Réunion
n.a.

Missionaries to Réunion
P,I,A 18 in 8 agencies from 6 countries.



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Answers to Prayer

1 Praise God for dramatic initial growth since 1966 when the French Assemblies of God and then from 1970 AEF/SIM missionaries arrived. Many churches have helped people to be freed from occult bondage. The March for Jesus contributed to a greater networking together of Reformed, charismatic and evangelical congregations. Pray for growth in grace, numbers and spiritual understanding in these young and enthusiastic churches.

Challenges for Prayer

1 The dark legacy of slavery which was abolished in 1848, overshadows the present. The Creole population are descendants of those slaves. Poverty, unemployment, alcoholism, dysfunctional families and high illegitimacy have marginalized this large underclass. A deep work of healing and laying to rest the legacy of the past is still far from complete. Pray for the whole population to come to terms with the past - only really possible through faith in Christ.

2 Although Catholicism is the professed religion of over 80% of the population, the Malabar religion - a synthesis of Hinduism and African witchcraft - is the real faith of half the population and probably 90% are involved in some way. Since Vatican II, Bible reading has been promoted in the Catholic Church, and there is now a vigorous charismatic renewal movement. Pray for the eyes of many nominal Christians to be opened to their need and to the Saviour.

3 Mature leadership for the young, growing churches is a priority. Most leadership training is informal or must be pursued outside the territory.

4 Young people need prayer:

a) Christians in the churches - that they have high standards of holy living and that spiritual leaders for the future might be raised up.

b) The disadvantaged - the gap between them and the sophisticated, educated youth is widening. There are many challenges for reaching them effectively.

c) YWAM have a good ministry in motivating youth for evangelism and missions. CEF have a significant ministry to children through camps and Good News Clubs.

5 Christian media. Pray for impact through:

a) Christian literature and Bible distribution. There is only one Christian bookstore, nevertheless much literature has been distributed around the island.

b) Radio. There are private radio stations run by the Catholics, SDA and AoG. There is an encouraging response to FEBA's daily broadcasts in French from Seychelles.

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