In French-speaking West Africa, violence and unrest make life difficult. The region has experienced six coups in four different counties in just three years. Jihadist groups are occupying an increasing amount of territory, and terrorist attacks in the area have caused harm to hundreds of people. Many Western missionaries have had to leave some countries in the region because of the threat of harm and violence. There is a great need for churches and gospel witnesses in this area.

Urgent Need for Gospel Workers

Pastor Keo Kognon and his Lydie.

Eight countries comprise the Francophone West Africa region for Acts 29, including Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Burkina, Guinea, Niger, Benin, Togo, and Senegal. Christians in the area have a sense of urgency because many Western missionaries have left. In Niger last year, Westerners had less than 48 hours to leave the country.

Local churches led by local pastors are essential to moving the mission forward in French-speaking West Africa. The threat of violence and unrest lingers, but the need for more churches is top of mind for church planters in the area. Acts 29 is meeting this need by helping local pastors, like Kéo Kognon, with training, support, and recruitment. 

Local Churches Make an Impact 

Pastor Keo, the Acts 29 regional director for the Ivory Coast and French-speaking West Africa, is determined to mobilize local church planters for gospel work. In August 2023, he organized a training for church planters in Korhogo, a city in the northern part of Côte d’Ivoire. This training was centered on planting effective and healthy churches within their cultural context. They were able to help send two new church planters to cities with little to no evangelical Christian influence—which makes a total of five church planters now in the area. Some have already seen new converts come to faith despite cultural and familial pressure against Christianity. 

A church planter training was held in Korhogo, Côte d’Ivoire in August 2023.

The challenges in this region may be significant, but God is greater. Through the faithful work of local churches and pastors like Kéo, the gospel is advancing through Francophone West Africa and beyond. 

Please continue to pray for this region. Here are some specific prayer points directly from pastor Kéo: 

  • Pray for security concerns in Francophone West Africa and for locals to recognize the urgency of sharing the gospel with neighbors since many Western missionaries had to leave. 
  • Pray for the five church planters on the north of Ivory Coast. Pray for their protection and opportunities to share the gospel.
  • Pray for pastor Kéo as he travels frequently and is preparing to move to Abidjan, which is seven hours from where he currently lives. 
Written by: on octubre 24, 2023