The Moru of Côte d'Ivoire
The 23,800 Moru of Côte d'Ivoire live in the northeastern corner of the country. Scholars think they may be related to the Lobi, one of the larger groups in the nation. The Lobi and Wala groups share many similarities in language, geographic location, history, and culture; therefore, many researchers group them as one people. The Lobi-Wala occupy the Black Volta region where Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire, and Burkina Faso meet. Like the Lobi-Wala, the Moru speak their own dialect of the Gur language, which is from the Niger-Congo language family.
The Lobi-Wala migrated from Ghana to their present location in the late eighteenth century, due to pressure from other larger groups. The motive for the migrations was the need for more and better farm land and further hunting expeditions. Because of continued invasions and raids from other groups in the region, the Lobi-Wala developed their characteristic fortress-type houses and poison arrow weapons.
What are their lives like?
The Moru are primarily farmers and grow grains such as sorghum, millet, and maize. Yams, squash, beans, peppers, and a small amount of rice are also grown. Some of these crops, especially beer made from sorghum, are sold in local markets. Cattle, sheep, goats, and chickens are raised at each homestead. The men do most of the farm work, but the women help with the planting and harvesting. Women also cultivate their own vegetable gardens, collect forest products, collect firewood, draw water, and prepare the food and beer. Both the men and the women help build the houses. Wage-paying jobs have attracted many of the Moru farmers to other parts of Côte d'Ivoire or southern Ghana.
The Moru live in village settlements, which consist of several rectangular, fortress-like compounds. The fortresses are made of clay or mud, and have flat roofs and thick, high walls. The village settlements are widely scattered in order to leave room for farming and for each family's herds. Larger bush farms are located farther away from the settlements.
Children are cared for by their mothers and are breast-fed until they can walk. At that time, children are considered to have become human and are entitled to a proper burial. Toddlers are cared for by their older sisters. Young girls play house around the compounds and sometimes help their mothers carry water or grind cereals. The boys help their fathers herd the cattle.
Various ceremonies are held each year at the household shrines. For instance, at the end of the farming season, the abundance of grain is celebrated with dancing. Ceremonies also accompany events such as births, marriages, and deaths. The most important ceremonies, however, center around initiations into secret societies.
What are their beliefs?
The majority of the Moru (70%) follow their traditional animistic beliefs (belief that non-human objects have spirits). Most of the rest have partially adopted Islam. This "conversion" resulted from Dyula Muslim traders who were absorbed into the Wala state in the eighteenth century.
The animistic religion of the Moru centers around deceased ancestors and the earth, both of which are worshipped. The earth is believed to watch over the community and bring fertility to the soil. The ancestors are thought to watch over the lineage and to be involved with household matters. Also, spirits in animals and objects can be "caught," and a shrine is then built to them.
What are their needs?
There is religious freedom in Côte d'Ivoire, and the government is sympathetic to missions activities. There is one missions agency currently targeting the Moru, and 3% of them have become Christians. Unfortunately, however, there are no Christian resources available in their native language. Materials for Christian leaders and for the spiritual growth of the believers are important priorities to see the Church firmly established among the Moru.
- Ask the Lord of the harvest to send missionaries to live and work among the Moru of Côte d'Ivoire.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to grant wisdom and favor to the missions agency that is targeting the Moru.
- Pray that the Bible, the Jesus film, and discipleship materials will be translated into the Moru language.
- Pray that God will reveal Himself to the Moru through dreams and visions.
- Pray that signs and wonders will follow the Moru believers as they share Christ with their own people.
- Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that are keeping the Moru bound.
- Ask God to raise up intercessors who will stand in the gap for the Moru.
- Ask the Lord to bring forth a triumphant Moru church for the glory of His name!
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
- People name: Moru
- Country: Côte d'Ivoire
- Their language: Moru
- Largest religion:
- Christian: 3%
- Church members: 710
- Scriptures in their own language: None
- Jesus Film in their own language: None
- Christian broadcasts in their own language: None
- Mission agencies working among this people: 1
- Persons who have heard the Gospel: 6,700 (28%)
- Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 17,100 (72%)
- Country: Côte d'Ivoire
- Major peoples in size order:
- Major religions:
- Number of denominations: 36
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Bethany World Prayer Center
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