Christian believers in Northern Cote D’Ivoire are being persecuted by a group from the Sacred Forest, a local traditional animistic religion. The church shown in the featured image of this post was burned to the ground.
Linnea Boese, WorldVenture missionary, writes, “Horror and devastation right here in Nyarafololand. In Pisankaha (the village where the first Nyarafolos came to Christ back in the ’60s), persecution by those in the Sacred Forest (center of traditional animistic religious practices) has resulted in the church and pastor’s house being burned, and the Christians’ houses hacked to pieces, last night.”
“Last week it began with physical attacks that ramped up on Tuesday morning. Men in Sacred Forest masks chased Christians to beat them; when they entered their homes, they broke down the doors and beat men, women and children.
Yesterday afternoon the pastor brought two older people, a man and a woman, to our hospital for treatment, and alerted the area pastors. They all went to alert the gendarmes (state police).
“When the attacks began in the evening, there was a crowd of about 45 masked men armed with machetes who began the burning and destruction; the believers fled for their lives. It turns out the local Sacred Forest members had called on other such groups in the area who had come to help them in the attack.”
Local police are involved now and working with the believing community to plan how to move forward. The concern is that this is only the first incident, and that this could inspire animists in other villages to join.
Please pray for the Nyarafolo.
Cote d’Ivoire Christians recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of their Baptist churches, in conjunction with WorldVenture.