So, I left you hanging… Well, shortly after that post, I actually traveled 7 hours by bus and went to Banfora, then took a moped to the base of the cliffs/domes of Fabedougou. From there we basically walked the other 2-3 kilometers up to the village. God is doing something amazing there! But I’m getting ahead of myself.
This is where I’ll need some help to get all the details straight. When Colin went to El-Hadj’s house with the players, he was shocked to see how the family was suddenly receptive to the Gospel. I believe it begun when the village elder asked him how his wife’s health was and Colin explained that there was little improvement. The village elder went on to tell Colin he should then offer a sacrifice to the local idol since this was where she got sick. Colin explained that we no longer need to make those kind of sacrifices since Jesus provided for everything in His sacrifice.
This piqued their interest. They began, for the 1st time, to criticize their islamic religion, and they started asking questions about Colin’s faith. I don’t remember the entire conversation (maybe someone remembers more), but at the end, Colin asked “who would like someone to come to their house, bring God’s Word and explain it?”. That day, to Colin’s utter shock, 3/4 of the village families (including El-Hadj), raised their hands. The impenetrable wall was crumbling.
Since then, the Turka evangelist, Jeremie, has been visiting the village once a week, bringing new stories, songs and scriptures on the players to very eager listeners, started a kid’s club for over 50 kids and held a 3 day evangelistic outreach. I was at the 1st kid’s club, and that day the village elders declared “you have our blessing. If you want a church, we will give you land. We will allow our wives and children to become Christian.”
At the evangelism, God performed an amazing miracle! A head of a family, his wife and children decided to receive Christ. After Jeremie prayed for him he explained that he had one more daughter who has been suffering for 3 years with mental illness. Jeremie asked if he could pray for her. When they arrived, Mariam refused to come out of the house. She was unable to speak and would not look anyone in the eyes. Jeremie prayed in faith, but nothing really happened. A week later he returned to the village and greeted the family. Mariam came out, greeted Jeremie and began serving him water!!! The family explained that she was completely healed! She answered questions, looked people in the eye, was completely restored! She also received Christ. This happened before the eyes of the entire village.
Today there are 90 believers in Fabedougou. Most are children, as they accept Jesus with joy. But at least 3 or full families are also coming faithfully to the weekly gatherings. But Fabedougou has around 2000 people, and we are believing that the majority will become followers of Christ.
We will be in Fabedougou on the 30th of May, bringing shoebox gifts to all the schoolchildren, providing a medical exam for each one as well. Then that night we will have an evangelistic outreach with skits and drama, all in Turka.
Will you pray? We are believing that this village will become a shining light for Christ among the Turka, that a strong and healthy Turka church will be born and that God will raise up leaders to reach the other Turka villagers.
Glory to our God!
Starting tomorrow we will begin our 7 days of prayer for the Turka, but I wanted to give you 1st some background about what is happening among this people. I told Dr Peter just yesterday that this is a missionary story that should be made into a book.
About 2 years ago Dr Peter remembers having the Suggetts, Wycliff Bible translators, in their living room pouring out their frustrations. The Suggetts have sacrificed 20+ years of their lives to translate the Bible in the Turka language and make it available to all the different villages. To do this they lived in a secluded village on the top of the famous Fabedougou cliffs (pictured here with the Hayslip boys) for 9 years with their 2 girls, learned the language, laboring over every syllable to get it just right. The culmination of this effort was that several books of the Bible had been translated and recorded.
But in all that time, only 2 young men came to faith in Christ, and the village promptly kicked them out. And even when the Suggetts provided the Bible on hand-cranked cassette players, the villagers gave them back saying “it’s just too much work to turn that little crank”!!
The Turka are fiercely proud and individualistic and seemed completely hardened to the Gospel. In Fabedougou, the families are mostly animist (worshiping idols), but some had recently converted to Islam (while keeping most of their idol worship as well). The family that had given land to the Suggetts was muslim, and the family chief even changed his name to “El-Hadji”. For the 9 years the Suggets lived with them, they seemed unmoved by the love and sacrifice made by this missionary family.
Eventually the daughters graduated and moved to Canada and the wife began having some serious health issues. They decided then to return to Canada and they continue the translation work there, with the husband traveling back every few months to see the work and to meet with his translation team. On one of these trips, he returned to Fabedougou to see El-Hadji and to present some new players that were solar-powered. He was in for the shock of his life!
I’ll stop there – is that a good cliffhanger? Did you catch the witty play on words? Cliffs?
If any of you know more of the background (without giving away the next bits), please add/correct!!
Want the Rest of the Story? Here it is…
OK, so we’re not “On Air” yet, but we are VERY excited about having started with:
#2 Radio – Adventures in Zoulounga!
We have been talking for a long time about starting a radio program for children here in Burkina Faso. For those of you in a big hurry: Bottom line – we’ve taken the 1st baby steps!
For those of you who are a bit more curious, here are some details:
Our Goal – To share a clear evangelical message through each episode, focused on the Glory of God and our personal relationship with Him. In other words we will be less focused on teaching good behavior, and more focused on helping children build a relationship with God.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be without your phone, internet, to be unable to communicate with friends or family? Did you think “ah, it would be nice just to have a week-end without all the gadgets”? Well, after a weekend of complete communication blackout, I can tell you that it was a mixed bag. It was kinda nice that I had an excellent excuse to put off those daggum reports and watch “Gulliver’s Travels” (We all liked the last scene where the giants were dancing to “War – what is it good for”.)
But after a month of insecurity, it made us feel a bit vulnerable to be unable to know what was happening in the country (no internet). Of course it didn’t help that it came as a complete surprise and that there were rumors spreading about the reasons. But in the end, everything came out fine – it was a major cable that was cut by a boat anchor and it is getting fixed. So we’re back online, at least for now.
Back to the reports.
#1 – Outreaches!
The 5 outreach teams have started organizing evangelistic outreaches for kids all over Burkina Faso.
- Today a team left for Tebele, a village in the south that has a new church amongst an animist people called the Kasena. (2 days)
- Next week we have a VBS with the flood victims (from 2 years ago) along with a medical clinic and a big concert. (5 days)
- Also next week: a group is going to Manga, again in the south. This will be with the Mossi – the largest people group here in Burkina. (3 days)
- Of course at the end of the month we are going to the Turka, but we will have a bunch of information on this outreach. (8 days)
What I LOVE about these outreaches is that they are all self-funded. Meaning that the evangelism teams and the receiving pastors work together to provide the gas, the food, the water, etc.. We simply provide the van and the evangelism tools (speakers, projector, puppets, etc).
“The Crisis is Over”
These are the words of Blaise Compaore, the nation’s president, right before the 1st major rioting by the army. They came out, guns blazing, looting shops, stealing cars, and much worse. We were very fortunate to have spent the evening with some very dear friends and neighbors. As the gunshots could be heard outside, we had a nice meal, watched “the Incredibles” and kept sane.
Because of the rioting, the shopkeepers followed suit 2 days later, burning buildings and public buses.
We were assured, once again, that “the crisis is over” after Blaise sacked his government and gave in to nearly all the demands of the rioters. Is it really?