Champions in West Africa
Every endeavor needs a champion.
What is a champion? A champion is someone with a deep belief in the value of a project or cause, which generates in them a personal passion, which results in a tenacious commitment to that cause’s success, and whose influence on others puts the wind in the sails necessary to see that cause or project succeed. And often, these people are outside of the power structures of organizational authority.
While I am not certain of the precision of my definition of a champion, I am certain that in Burkina Faso, we have two of them.
I have mentioned in previous posts my first introduction to my friends Dieudonné and Nebie in Burkina Faso. Both are men of character with a passion to reach people with the gospel and to see the church strengthened. It is their enthusiasm for our books, especially Simple Truths for the New Believer, that has caused it to be so widely used in Francophone West Africa. But the book, through their efforts, is not limited to distribution in French, but in Jula (Dyula), Mooré, Bwaba, Cerma, Dagaare, Gourmanchéma, and Pougouli. We had hoped to launch the Lobiri translation in March of 2021, but complications from the Covid Pandemic caused multiple delays.
Now that, in some places in Africa, some of the pandemic restrictions are being lifted, both Nebié and Dieudonné are reconnecting with end-users to assess needs and begin conversations about new translation projects. Over the past two weeks, both have written with updates.
Nebié sent a series of WhatsApp messages (WhatsApp is the most popular social media app in Africa) to tell us about a call he had received. When we printed the first set of 5,000 French editions of Simple Truths, we attached Nebié’s telephone contact information. He wrote to say, “Someone saw my phone on the books and called me. He said the book helped him very much.” Good news! Then he added, “We need now to see how we can get the books to Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, and Guinée (Guinea).” After we asked some clarifying questions, Nebié began the work of finding a reputable printer in each country to assure that the books are “strong (durable) and correct”. This Nebié will do – in addition to his role as country director for CRU in Burkina Faso and his responsibility as leader of all of the Southern Baptist work in the region. The extent of his connections and his belief in Clear and Simple Media material assure that we will remain busy in West Africa for some time to come.
Within a few hours of receiving the news from Nebié, we received a series of messages from Dieudonné. He had recently returned from a trip to Ghana, where he shared the “little book” with pastors there. What resulted was a new set of projects that Dieudonné will oversee that will: 1) complete the Lobiri translation project 2) initiate a translation project in the Dogossè language 3) print an additional 500 books each for the Pougouli and Cerma languages 4) print 1,000 English books to be used in Ghana 5) begin research for a potential Frafra translation for southern Burkina Faso and northern Ghana.
We are thankful for all of you who have been so faithful in supporting Clear and Simple Media. We marvel at what God is doing with what we have offered him. God has done, and is doing things that continue to humble and surprise us. And one of the most remarkable things is that he has led us into relationships with some truly remarkable people – champions – like our friends Nebié Badiou and Dieudonné Somé.