With a Few Folds and a Staple
I am writing this on November 1 from the SIM Guesthouse in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
AFRICA Part Two
My friend Dieudonné and I sat together for two hours discussing the “petit livre.” Dieudonné has been the catalyst behind the broader translation and distribution of Simple Truths for the New Believer since he first translated the book into French in 2015. The topic of conversation yesterday centered on one language. Dogosé.
Approximately 46,000 speak the Dogosé language (alternatively spelled Doghose) in Southwestern Burkina Faso. While there is a New Testament, the Jesus Film, and some audio from Gospel Recordings available in the language, according to Dieudonné, these resources are not currently in wide distribution. One of the reasons, he explained, was that the people who speak the language live in an area near the border of Coté d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast). This area is currently one of the areas that are experiencing increased terrorist activity.
Since 2016, Burkina Faso has experienced increased activity from groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda, ISGS, and Boko Haram, so now, the government controls only about 60% of the country within its borders. These groups are Muslim and have committed many acts against Christians in multiple border areas. More than two million (some estimates are much higher) are internally displaced or have moved to neighboring countries.
In all this, Dieudonné has been visiting the Dogosé Christian leaders and had the little book translated into the language. Because it is very inexpensive and we have formatted the text so it can be reproduced on any copy machine and assembled with a few folds and a staple, the book is easy to distribute. And inconspicuous.
Dieudonné tells me that it is the only religious book in the language in many places. Some do not read in their language. So, church workers who can read go from house to house to read the questions and answers and discuss them. Those with a New Testament in Dogosé copy the verses that appear in the book to give to those who can read the Dogosé text one lesson at a time. For the Old Testament references, they copy the verses in French. These ‘one-on-one’ methods are the “best and safest” ways to work in that area. Because Burkina Faso generally has reliable telephone services, the leaders use WhatsApp (the most secure form of communication here) to speak to and sometimes have video conversations to teach.
When I asked how many people are being reached this way, Dieudonné gave me a “many, many people” response. And the pastors can also use the book with Muslims who have become curious about Jesus.
Burkina Faso has had many missionaries here who have done outstanding work. SIM has been in the country for decades and has seen many churches established. A dozen other missions have been active here as well. But the last decade has seen many mission agencies remove their personnel from the country. The good news is that up to 12% of the country consists of the fruit of that labor – evangelical Christians. Though there are still several million unreached people in Burkina Faso, over 50% have some access to the good news of Jesus. What Dieudonné is most interested in is those who do not.
We are so thankful to be a part of that.