Introduction / History Libya, which lies along the southern edge of the Mediterranean in North Africa, is country that is largely desert or semi-desert, and it borders Niger to the southwest. A large majority of Libya's population are Libyan Arabs or Arabized Berbers. They were mainly a nomadic society with a heritage of Bedouin traditions.
Libya became independent from Italy in December of 1951. The discovery of oil in the 1950s radically changed the people's way of life. Now most of the population, who once lived in tents, have settled down in towns and cities along the coast and live in apartment blocks or homes. Their old way of life is fading, and many engage in occupations in industry and services, with a small percentage still in agriculture.
Libya has much potential to develop a strong economy, especially given how much oil they have. However, the nation is riddled with destructive militias. Instead of moving ahead with a more productive economy after the death of dictator Muammar Khaddafi, they are fighting among themselves for control. For this reason, many Libyans are fleeing to safer lands.
Where are they located? Most Libyan Arabs are in Libya, but following the termination of the Khaddafi regime in 2011, Libyans have had to scatter if their lives are in danger. A small number have wound up in Niger, to Libya's southwest.
What are their lives like? Family life is a strong value for Libyan Arab families, and they still associate themselves with a particular tribe, even if they live in Niger.
Libyans in Niger face a number of alarming challenges. There is a thin line between human trafficking and transporting sub-Saharan Africans to move north to Libya on their way to Europe. There was a stockpile of weapons from the Khaddafi years that are being transported to places like Niger, and sold to the highest bidder. The government of Niger is increasing their military budget to address the new security threats.
What are their beliefs? Simon of Cyrene, who carried the cross of Jesus was from Libya, and Cyrenian Jews carried the gospel back to Libya after Pentecost. Islam replaced Christianity in 624 A.D. Today there are almost no known followers of Christ in Libya. That country is in turmoil, and it is not safe for anyone to "convert" to another religion, even if they live in Niger, which is also a Muslim country.
What are their needs? Libyans in Niger need safety and repentant hearts. They need safety from others, since those who live by the sword die by the sword. They also need to repent of any efforts to traffic Africans into Libya or to sell weapons to destructive militias.
Prayer Points * Pray for spiritual openness among Libyans in Niger that will lead them to the cross.
* Pray for Libyan leaders to have dreams and visions of the Savior that will cause them to give Him a chance to transform their lives and their communities.
* Pray for Libyans in Niger to form fellowships that are defined by discipleship, love, and obedience to the Risen Christ. * Pray for completion of Bible translation in this people group's primary language.