We hope by the grace of God that you are well and safe from the COVID-19 pandemic. We would like to thank you for your support in prayer, your financial support, and your messages of encouragement.
Your prayers and gifts are impacting the lives of many Fulani in Burkina Faso and beyond. Because of your partnership, we are witnessing in our generation that Fulani are hearing the Gospel and coming to faith in Jesus Christ, and some are being trained as disciple makers to the Fulani!
By the grace of God, we and our church planting teams are well. We thank God that despite the ongoing security challenges now coupled with COVID-19, we are making disciples, baptising believers, planting churches, and seeing community transformation, to which we give God all the credit. As the word of God says: No one can come to me (Christ) unless the Father Who sent Me draws them... (John 6:44).
With gratitude we would like to acknowledge your generosity in giving for the fulfilment of each activity mentioned in this report.
A Fulani proverb says …
‘One finger cannot milk a cow’— we need all the fingers to work together!
Your faithful encouragement is ‘spurring us on to love and good deeds’ Heb. 10:23-24
Here in Burkina Faso, COVID-19 restrictions have been in place since early March, however from early May some restrictions were relaxed. For several weeks our family couldn’t leave the small town where we live without a day pass from the Governor’s office for ‘essential’ business. We praise God, however, that the church plants are still able to meet in small groups as usual. Though travel was restricted, the church planting training at the Jam Tan Centre has been ongoing, apart from a few modules with trainers who were not able to come due to travel restrictions. The restrictions have had the added advantage for us to see an acceleration in emerging trainers & leaders taking on their roles.
The restrictions imposed due to COVID-19 in the countries where we work have caused general fear and an economic downturn. Poorer families, who depend on their daily sales to bring just enough food home for one day, have become poorer as they are unable to meet their basic needs. Even now that some restrictions are relaxed in certain countries, there are still positive cases of COVID-19 reported in all countries, so business is slow; it is a matter of huge concern for many as there is very little help for their need. Please pray and give to provide food for families, and particularly for people to reconcile with God through Jesus Christ in this critical time (John14:6).
Please continue to pray for the security situation that is continuing to cause harm in the Sahel countries. In the last few months in Burkina Faso terrorists have killed and displaced more people than have died from COVID-19. We praise God that even in the areas threatened by insecurity, church planters are witnessing to Christ and people are turning to Him.
In this school year we have welcomed as residents a number of high school and upper primary school children at the Jam Tan centre; schools are closed in their areas because of terrorism threats and attacks. All schools were closed mid-March because of COVID-19, and are not due to restart until the end of May, however the high school students at Jam Tan have not been idle, as they have joined in the vocational training at Jam Tan for the church planting training, and have benefited from the computer skills, tailoring, carpentry and hairdressing training also happening at Jam Tan.
We are grateful for your prayers and contributions, your donations have bought 11 tons of corn flour which we distributed on your behalf to 470 families in need from 24 villages near Jam Tan on May 10th. This distribution was witnessed and appraised by the Mayor of our near by town, Traditional Chiefs, Pastors and Immans. Praise God! Please see the video and the TV report under the picture gallery.
We would like to thank God that we have been training Fulani Christians in discipleship, church planting and vocational skills for over a decade now; and sending these people out to places where there has never been a church before. We praise God that each year the number of trainees is increasing. This year we have 53 trainees; the largest intake of trainees we have had so far. These Fulani are emerging leaders from our church plants plus a few people from other denominations who expressed an interest in being trained.
We have increased the time of study from three to six months, in order to allow people to improve their vocational (tent making) skills. After the church planters are sent to the field, there are also refresher DMM trainings and vocational training skills from time to time. The skills we offer are: agriculture and animal raising, shop keeping, tailoring, restaurant, carpentry, hairdressing-barber, operation of grinding machines, and computer (secretarial) skills. This includes food, lodging, training materials, health care and mission trips. Also with your gifts, the trainees will be sent to their fields with tools to practice their trade: sewing machines, hair dressing/barber tools, goods for shops, carpentry tools, grinding machines, and personal support for the first few months of their ministry etc.
This year’s training started with three weeks of excellent practical training with electives in project management, business, tailoring and trauma healing, delivered by our ministry partners trainers. For many years we had taught aspects of these subjects at a grass roots level, but the team of trainers from our ministry partners brought additional expertise. This training brought extra confidence to those already engaged in these activities and gave them tools to organise and assess their work. Examples of this include:
M is an emerging leader in one of Jam Tan house church plants in the north. M, who has completed Koranic school, met church planter Y through the invitation of a man of peace to a DBS. Y and the man of peace discipled M who was so interested in knowing the Lord that he came frequently to Y’s shop to hear stories from the Bible. Y gave him an audio Bible in Fulani which he listened to faithfully.
‘I was previously nervous, bad tempered and frequently unhappy’ M explains. ‘A while ago I got a splinter in my toe while walking in dry stubble, and it became a festering wound which was destroying my big toe, despite having been to the clinic and healers. When Y started praying for me in the name of Jesus the wound started to get better until it is now healed. Also I couldn’t straighten my left hand, and it was painful. I still can’t straighten it, but now the pain is gone.’
As he grew in his relationship with Christ he felt healed from within, and started connecting more with people, where previously he spent much of his time alone. He was becoming, according to Y, a witness to his community through his increased confidence and peace.
Being from a conservative Muslim family where people are expected to perform their daily prayers, it was difficult for M; he was convinced that each time he prayed the Muslim prayers he was paying allegiance to Islam, so he decided to stop, and was finding other things to do outside the house at prayer time. His family and community then put pressure on him to recant, however he was encouraged to persevere by the support of the church planter.
M didn’t have any skills apart from being a shepherd, looking after cows, goats and sheep in the savannah. Y saw in him an emerging leader in his DBS group, and recommended him to come to Jam Tan. There, he is learning DMM and carpentry, and is making more friends. M longs for his family and community to know Christ. Along with 53 other trainees this year, he is being equipped to go to make disciples in places where there is no church.