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Singing the Gospel in Côte d’Ivoire

Edmond Assamoi directs the choir at a recently opened United Methodist church outside Agboville, Côte d'Ivoire. The church is so new that it has not yet been named. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.

Edmond Assamoi directs the choir at a recently opened United Methodist church outside Agboville, Côte d'Ivoire. The church is so new that it has not yet been named. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.

Exuberant worship, passionate prayer and unflagging ministry with all people — these are some of the ways the church in Côte d’Ivoire is drawing new people to Christ.

West Africa is one of the few regions where The United Methodist Church has seen consistent growth, and United Methodists in Côte d’Ivoire are a significant part of that.

Since officially joining the United Methodist fold in 2008, the church in Côte d’Ivoire has expanded from about 700,000 members to more than 1.3 million. In this country where slightly over a third of the population is Christian, building a church is an act of evangelism.

The church’s gains have come even as the country itself has struggled with recent civil strife and the growing pains of development.

“The most important thing to me is to be part of a big family — the family of Christ Jesus — and the big mission that John Wesley started,” said the conference’s Bishop Benjamin Boni.

Read the UMNS special report on The United Methodist Church in Côte d’Ivoire.
 

Jonas Assogba (center) grins as he tries to answer a question during a church version of the newlywed game at Nazareth United Methodist Church in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. The game marked the completion of a three-and-a-half month course on marriage. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.   Missionary: To boost church, boost marriages
   A missionary has started a course to help married couples  
   strengthen their relationships. Graduation featured a church
   version of The Newlywed Game.
 

United Methodist missionaries Francine Mpanga Mufuk (left) and the Rev. Jean Claude Masuka Maleka lead a Bible study at Nazareth United Methodist Church in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. The married couple are both from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.   Missionaries help growth in west Africa
   A married couple shows how United Methodists wed evangelism 
   and development in missionary work. They rely on support from
   a diverse church.

 

Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.   Audio slideshow: United Methodist missionaries in action
   The Rev. Jean Claude Masuka Maleka and his wife, Francine,
   missionaries for the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries,
   discuss their ministerial roles within the church.
 

Viviane Daho broadcasts from The United Methodist Church's Voice of Hope radio station in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.   Church's voice of hope endures amid violence
   The United Methodist radio station in Côte d’Ivoire has braved 
   gun battles to share the gospel. Others want to emulate its
   passion for evangelism.  
 

Children celebrate Mardi Gras at the United Methodist Koumassi School in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. Promoting unity across denominational and religious lines is a core mission in the country’s United Methodist schools where civil strife is a recent national memory. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.   Teaching Muslims and Christians for peace
   In a nation where civil war is a recent nightmare, United Methodist
   schools bring students together from various religious backgrounds
   with the goal of preparing future leaders.

 

A young girl arrives for Sunday worship at Nazareth United Methodist Church in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.

A young girl arrives for Sunday worship at Nazareth United Methodist Church in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.