An up and coming destination for eco-tourism, the extravagant beauty of Guyana lures explorers from around the world. Lavish tropical rainforests blanket more than 80% of this South American nation that has remained largely untouched. The northern coastline, where 90% of the population dwells, is well developed and radically different from the dense interior forests.
Originally inhabited by native tribes, Guyana experienced Dutch colonization towards the end of the 16th century. Under Dutch rule, many African slaves were imported to farm sugar plantations, and today one third of Guyana’s population is of African descent. In 1796, the British obtained control of Guyana and ruled for nearly 150 years. The British abolition of slavery created a large shortage of workers, and in response, thousands of indentured servants were brought from India to work the plantations. Between 1952 and 1970, Guyana established a constitution, became an independent member of the British Commonwealth, and elected a president. With political independence, though, came unfortunate racial tensions; African and Indian descendents compose the largest ethnic blocks and continually vie for political control.
Dominated by atheist thought until the 1980s, Guyana has been ignited by Christianity in recent decades, and many Guyanese have become open to the Gospel, especially those in minority ethnic groups. However, the Church is in desperate need of unity, as ethnic congregations struggle to collaborate interdenominationally. Increased partnerships among churches could radically affect the outreach to Hindu and growing Islamic communities. Religious syncretism, witchcraft, and Rastafarianism also challenge the advancement of the Gospel, and workers are desperately needed among these deceived communities. Pray for the formation of effective Christian ministries who spread the Good News to every tribe and tongue in Guyana.
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