Over the next two months, Christian leaders from Francophone Africa will be sharing prayer requests with the ScholarLeaders Prayer Community. Historically, the 21 countries in this region – where poverty, warfare, political instability, and syncretism remain urgent concerns – have received less attention and fewer resources than English-speaking African nations. ScholarLeaders collaborates with three key institutions in Francophone Africa through the Vital SustainAbility Initiative and has sponsored over 30 Francophone African leaders (including four, currently) through LeaderStudies. Learn more about the region here.
This week, please join us in prayer for Serge-Armand Yao in Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast).
Located in West Africa, Côte d’Ivoire is a religiously diverse republic with over 26 million people. According to 2020 data from Pew, 37% of Ivoirians are Muslims (mostly Sunni) who reside mainly in the north, while 44% are Christians (mostly Catholic and Evangelical) who live primarily in the south. Another 11% practice traditional African religions, while 8% are irreligious. After gaining independence from France in 1960, Côte d’Ivoire thrived economically due to abundant coffee and cocoa exports. However, global economic recession and drought in the 1980s led to economic instability, increased crime, and sociopolitical unrest. In recent years, Côte d’Ivoire endured two religion-fueled civil wars in 2002-2007 and 2010-2011.
Serge is pursuing his PhD in Old Testament at Université de l’Alliance Chrétienne d’Abidjan (UACA, formerly FATEAC), a client school of the Vital SustainAbility Initiative. For his dissertation, Serge is examining issues of ethnicity and identity in the Book of Esther in order to promote respect for cultural differences amid tribalism and division.
A pastor and teacher, Serge also serves as Academic Dean at Institut Supérieur de Théologie de l’Alliance Chrétienne in Côte d’Ivoire. Serge and his wife Rita have three children: Miaclundjé Christ-Hanniel (17), Miayrunyan Ira-Loïs (12), and Miaoundjué Anne-Doris (10).
Serge shares the following message:
I am the Academic Dean for Institut Supérieur de Théologie de l’Alliance Chrétienne (ISTHAC) in Cote d’Ivoire and Lecturer in Old Testament at Université de l’Alliance Chrtéienne d’Abidjan (UACA), where I am currently a PhD candidate. I also serve as a pastor in the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Cote d’Ivoire.
Côte d’Ivoire is located in West Africa with a population of over 26 million. There are more than 60 ethnic groups divided into four linguistic groups. From 1999 to 2011, Côte d’Ivoire underwent a deep sociopolitical crisis, which was, in fact, the manifestation of ethnic tensions, sectarianism, nationalism, and even xenophobia. Unfortunately, Christians in general and Protestant Evangelicals in particular have contributed to growing ethnic, sectarian, and nationalistic tensions.
My doctoral dissertation explores ethnicity in the Book of Esther using the interactionist approach. Rereading biblical texts according to current research on ethnicity is important for at least two reasons.
First, this enables African interpretive communities to understand the complexity of ethnicity in the Bible and to engage in in-depth readings of biblical texts on the subject. This is important because bad readings can lead to disaster.
Second, this gives African interpretive communities an understanding of ethnicity from a relational perspective in order to construct otherness in a way that favors peaceful cohabitation.
I am grateful to God, the ScholarLeaders team, the donors, and all who support me in prayer.
I give thanks for God’s love and providence for my family, and for peace in Côte d’Ivoire
I give thanks that it is possible to continue my studies.
I have submitted the first draft of my entire dissertation to my supervisors. Please pray for the corrections, completion, and defense of my dissertation.
Pray for balance between my studies, family life, and spiritual life.