LCMS World Mission sent its first missionary to Guinea in 1996 to work with West African refugees who fled to Guinea to escape civil war and persecution in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Today, the mission continues where it first began in the southern “Forest Region,” and is expanding among the largely unreached Maninka people group, with several missionaries ministering among this Muslim-majority people group in northern Guinea. Ministry among the Maninka includes Community Health Education, radio outreach, relationship building and narrative storying of Scripture.
In the south, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Guinea’s congregations have found ways to operate within their local capacity and now have more than 3,000 members. Under God’s blessing, the ELCG continues to open many more preaching stations among the refugees from other countries and Guinean people as well. However, the total number of members declined recently due to the fact that many Liberian and Sierra Leonean refugees returned to their home countries. In 2005, there were a reported 140 congregations and preaching stations in the Forest Region of Guinea. The church operates 16 primary schools with an enrollment of approximately 1,312. Eight of these schools are in Lofa County, Liberia, but are administered by the Guinean Church Council.
In 1997, LCMS World Relief and Human Care began mercy work in Guinea by supporting Lutheran day schools with desks. Ongoing support including grants for food and clothing distribution to displaced persons, literacy support, school construction, wells and toilet construction, building and repairing a security fence around a church compound, skills training (including skills such as soap making, baking, sewing, tie-dye), an orphan nutrition project, post-war reconstruction, medications and re-opening four clinics, chainsaws for building projects and agricultural project support.
LCMS World Relief and Human Care currently supports building wells and toilet facilities in 40 communities, literacy projects aimed at helping locals to read and interpret the Bible and share the Gospel with others, reconstructing five churches destroyed by heavy rains in October 2009 and assisting 35 families impacted by tribal violence in February 2010.
The Kansas District of the LCMS has been a faithful partner in supporting missionaries and mission projects in Guinea since 1997. The individuals and congregations of the district have provided prayer, emotional, spiritual and financial support towards sustaining God’s work in this mission field.