The Islanders (Indian Ocean)
Pray for the Islanders hailing from the islands of the Indian Ocean, with sizeable communities also found in France and Madagascar. Nearly all Islanders are Muslims. Those who have chosen to follow J’sus tend to live isolated lives and many experience pressure and persecution from their families, villages and government.
2 Thess 3:1 “Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honoured, just as it was with you.”
Pray that God would move in power and reveal himself to Islanders- young and old, male and female. Pray that He would draw families and communities to Himself that they might support each other on the journey. Pray that believers would be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit and that they would be strong and courageous.
Location and background: Islanders live on a group of islands off the coast of Africa. They boast picture-postcard beaches, dramatic volcano peaks and an array of rare wildlife. Alongside these are found corrupt governance, political bickering, failing infrastructure, and a sputtering economy. Many seek a better life abroad, ending up living in high rise flats in dangerous neighbourhoods, working long hours to send back generous support to family members still on the islands.
History: The islands have a colourful history steeped in slavery and trade with the East African coast, Arabia and the Persian Gulf. More recently the Islands have suffered 20 coups or attempted coups since independence. Today it blends the warmth of its African location with the Arab traditions of its first settlers, alongside an increasingly strong Western influence.
Culture: Though people are increasingly moving to the capital and seeking opportunities overseas, an Islander’s identity is still firmly linked to their village. Islanders are proud of their religious and cultural heritage, and a strong marriage tradition featuring large, lavish weddings keeps home ties strong. Each island has its own dialect and though French is the language of education the local language is very much the language of the home and of the heart.
Religion: The Island National Anthem declares that they are one people, one blood and one religion, and with 99.9% of the population being Muslims it is not far from the truth. The Island’s spiritual roots intermingle the Islam of the early Arab traders and settlers with African spiritism. The combination plays out in a Muslim routine of life, while still seeking to live lives that appease the demons or “djinns” that harass them. Spirit possession and demonic affliction is common, especially amongst women.
Latest Prayer Updates:
V is a woman of such faith and energy. However, she is discouraged by her family – particularly by her sisters who were all brought up in the faith but none of whom are actively following now. She is persistent in prayer, bold in calling them out, and loving in the way she serves them. But she is disheartened at their closed ears. Not to be stopped though, she instead pours into her daughters and nieces. She is currently staying with her sister and every morning she and her two daughters (aged 13 and 5) all read the word, sing and pray together. Just recently, another sister has also started joining them. Pray for her as she disciples these ladies! Please also pray for her physical needs – she needs to find a new house and also a job that allows her to be a present mum for her two girls. Life is not easy for her, but her joy in the Lord is an inspiration and a challenge.
On the Island, cultural events have gone underground, with weddings and funerals being held quietly instead of community-wide events. Mosques are closed, a strange thing for Islanders. Pray that disruptions in the normal rhythms of life and worship would cause people to question the status quo. Pray for the brothers and sisters, both local and expat, that they would be people who resolve conflicts, forgive and work together with love and mutual respect.
VIDEO FEATURE: Walking in Shadow
A glimpse into the Muslim mindset of coastal Africa, and the church’s responsibility to pray, learn, and engage.