Introduction / History
The Jula (aka, Dyula) peoples were traders of gold and kola nuts for hundreds of years. They were also skilled craftsmen. They had high status as merchants. As time went on their trading posts morphed into market villages and cities. Like many other African peoples, the Julas held slaves, usually prisoners of war from other tribes. Some of the Jula people were part of a prestigious warrior class called tuntigi.
Today the Jula are in subgroups, one of which is the Odienne, which is also the name of a town in northwestern Cote d'Ivoire that has its own airport. This has long been a trading center.
Where are they located?
Most of the Odienne Jula people probably live in the town that bears their name, Odienne.
What are their lives like?
Their traditional hierarchical society involved nobles and vassals, but that is eroding in today's world. The people whose ancestors were kings and generals do not always have higher status than those whose ancestors were farmers. Some Odienne Jula people today are farmers like most of their neighbors, though most are still involved with commerce.
The Jula peoples are fiercely loyal to their clans, making one wonder if any disciple making movement might need to be done at the clan level. They maintain their cultural history through the oral traditions of dance and storytelling. These mediums are probably the best for presenting the gospel as well, since the people already have an affinity for this way of communicating.
Their social structure is patrilineal and patriarchal, which means that older males hold the highest status and most of the decision-making power. Men and women reside in separate homes, which are made of mud or cement. Some men have multiple wives, though this is frowned upon.
What are their beliefs?
The Jula peoples, including the Odienne Jula, have been Muslim for hundreds of years. Today the more prestigious members of this people group send their sons to Islamic schools where they become more entrenched in Islamic theology. Like most Muslim peoples of Africa, they have maintained pre-Islamic beliefs which involve amulets, charms, and a complex spirit world.
What are their needs?
The Odienne Julas have put their faith in the spirit world and the mercy of Allah instead of the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. They need someone to show them the way to the cross so they can experience God's forgiveness.
* Pray for believers to go as His ambassadors to the Odienne Jula people of Cote d'Ivoire.
* Pray for the Lord to give the gift of faith to many within this people group.
* Pray for a disciple making movement to emerge in their homes, villages, and even in their mosques.
Text source: Keith Carey