The Church in Burkina Faso: Troubled and Growing
If you are attentive to world news, you know what has been happening in Burkina Faso. Armed militants (jihadists) have made attacks on Christians in several parts of the country. In one community (Arbinda), 19 Christians were killed in attacks which have taken more than 60 lives in recent days. One observer now says that, because of these killings, “there are no Christians anymore in this town.”
One of the areas that has seen an increase in armed conflict and the persecution of Christians is the East Administrative Region where Fada N’Gourma is the capital. That area is populated primarily by people from the Gourma tribe. Last year, at the request of SIM, and with their assistance, Clear and Simple Media (CSM) translated the book Simple Truths for the New Believer into Gourmantché (the local language) and delivered 5,000 copies to the SIM Headquarters for distribution to their churches.
Pastor Nebié Badiou, who represents CSM in Burkina Faso, spoke with the SIM President last week about the project. The President reported that, while most of the books have been delivered to more than 100 churches connected to SIM in the region, many of the books are yet to get to their destination as terrorist activity has made travel in certain regions unsafe. At the same time, the trouble in the region has had an unexpected impact. Many new people have shown interest in the gospel and several churches have experienced an increased number of people coming to Christ.
As a result, the “little book” has been an especially useful tool in the churches. To illustrate that point, Pastor Nebié tells of a conversation he had with a pastor from near Fada N’Gourma a few days ago. He writes:
One pastor there told me that he uses the books for teaching new believers before baptism. Last year, he used the books with 28 people and four gave their lives to Jesus. This year, he is teaching 41 people with five conversions. He told me that the book is so helpful because it is so simple and people can easily understand it very well. He said that he has found it so helpful for new believers.
While the church in Burkina Faso is increasingly under pressure, God is at work in the lives of people who are searching for hope. We are thankful, and humbled, that we can help the church there help new Christians take their first steps in following Jesus.