There are currently about 41,000 Wolof in France. The Wolof originate from the West African countries of Senegal and Gambia. Many of the Wolof migrated to France in the 1940s when they were awarded French citizenship. Due to colonization by the French, Wolof culture is greatly influenced by European culture. Within the Wolof, there are three distinct classes: freeborn, artisans, and slave. The members of each class are usually born into their class, intermarriage between the different classes is not common. Wolof women are characterized by their beauty and elegance. They are known for wearing very sophisticated hats and ornate jewelry. The Wolof follow strict rules which dictate their public image. Though many are well-educated, they face unemployment and growing frustration. They make few attempts to integrate with the French majority and are completely closed to the gospel. The Wolof follow Islam but blend their practices with animism. They seek a marabout, leader with supernatural powers, to guide them in making life choices.
Engagement // What’s Happening Now
Currently, there aren’t any known Christians among the Wolof in France. In the article, Eternal Fruit in France, we read about summer camps which are held by Europe’s Children. These camps allow for students to be engaged with Jesus and community.
Elisabet, a global worker in France, states, “These children get frustrated by their marginalization in the French culture and this makes them want to drop out of school and separate themselves. It’s at this moment that these children are vulnerable to radicalization. They will be drawn to extremist behavior. By sending these children to camp, we separate them from their momentary frustrations and tell them of the love of the Savior.”
Click here to join the effort in reaching the Wolof in France.
Sustainability // The Bigger Story
One pastor previously led a large French church in Paris, but the members were resistant to immigrants joining their services. The pastor resigned, feeling the Lord’s call to reach the Wolof and other immigrant groups. In response, a few Wolof are coming to his church plant on Sundays for food, fellowship and an opportunity to hear the gospel.
Pray, asking the Spirit as to how he may use you to bring unity to the increasingly diverse body of Christ in France?
Partnership // Move Beyond
Please spend a few minutes in prayer for:
- Pray that a community of Wolof believers will be established that can bear witness to Christ, both in France and back in their homeland.
- Pray that social tensions in France would be resolved between existing communities of believers and the Wolof living nearby. Pray that as the Church practices hospitality.
- Pray for Wolof children and teens, that they may be the first generation of Wolof who knows Jesus.
Interested in more opportunities? Visit the Wide Open website.