Sénégal gained its independence in 1960 after three centuries of rule by France. The strong control of conservative Muslim religious leaders is being questioned as the youth press for change.
Current SIM Ministry
Sénégal was France's earliest and most favoured colony in West Africa, remaining under French control for 300 years. Some of the Sénégalese were converted to Islam in the 11th century. Today the nation is 92% Muslim, but there is tolerance for other religions. The Wolof people group comprise 42.5% of the population, and more than 80% of the Sénégalese speak the Wolof language.
It was to reach the Wolof that International Christian Fellowship (ICF), which later merged with SIM, entered Sénégal in 1984. SIM missionaries are engaged in various health and development projects, friendship evangelism, Bible studies, theological education, chronological storying, literature and tape distribution, radio broadcasts, literacy, and facilitating song writing in Wolof. Their goal is to plant churches, and they are praying for more missionaries to help in these efforts. Ministries to the Wolof, thus far, have resulted in a small number of converts.
SIM's Partner Church
Although SIM partners with no single church, approximately 45 evangelical churches now exist in Sénégal, and four of them are among the Wolof.
Unreached People Groups
Twenty people groups in Sénégal are still without the knowledge of Jesus' love and forgiveness.
History of Christianity
Roman Catholicism was first introduced in Sénégal soon after the Portuguese arrived in 1444. The work was sporadic until 1819 when the French St. Joseph sisters arrived. Converts have come mostly from the Serer and Diola people who are concentrated in the southwest but are also found in the capital. The Roman Catholic church is by far the largest church in Sénégal.
Protestant missions date from around 1863 when the Paris Mission began work. Its largest following is among the Europeans in the country. Christian and Missionary Alliance entered in 1933 and began work in Casamance. The work influenced a young Canadian to bring a team in 1936 called the West African Evangelical Mission. World Evangelisation Crusade began work in 1935.
Since World War II, several smaller missions, mainly from the United States, have begun work. New Tribes Mission entered in 1954 and began work at Ziguinchor. In 1957, the Assemblies of God started work in eastern Sénégal at Tambacounda. Of the newer missions, the Assemblies of God have had the greatest response.
Since independence in 1960, Sénégal has had a liberal-minded Catholic President even though the country is predominantly Muslim. Between 1960 and 1980, several missions were allowed to enter the country. United World Mission, Conservative Baptist International, Brethren Assembly, and Finnish Lutheran Mission all arrived during this time.
The International Christian Fellowship (ICF), which later merged with SIM, entered Sénégal in 1984 to reach the Wolof people.
Please pray for
- that our missionaries will be led and empowered by the Spirit.
- for the new believers in the Kaffrine area to grow in their faith. for more workers so that we can enter new villages.
- Praise God for the villages that are requesting missionaries to come.
- for clear direction from the Lord for the work in Thies.
- for the many Wolof in Thies who have heard the Gospel but have not yet responded.
- for the many in Khombole who no longer have a Gospel witness among them.
- that the Lord will plant his church among the Wolof and that the 5,000,000+ Wolof will have a chance to hear and understand the Good News.
- for wisdom for the missionaries in Kaffrine as they seek effective health and development project strategies that will have a lasting impact on villagers’ health and daily lives.
- for God to bless the Institut de Théologie Evangélique du Sénégal in Dakar, and to use it to train up leaders for a strong national church.
- for God to guide and use Life Challenge — West Africa in their work of training Christians in local churches around West Africa to reach out to their Muslim neighbours.