| On the edge of the desert|
One of our Faithful Witness teams is stepping by faith into the world of a group of people on the edge of the Sahara. In spite of the long and draining journey, the team headed out on a fact-finding visit, only to discover that God had opened opportunities ahead of them.
The Hassaniya villages welcomed them, because they had seen God’s love as earlier Christian groups had provided famine relief, built wells and schools, showed the Jesus film and distributed tracts, held medical clinics and learned their language and culture. Not forgotten! – God had used these contacts to soften hearts; even the village leaders were delighted to have the team and publicly honoured them, happy for workers to live among them and learn their language.
The people of this region are mostly pastoralists and Tidjani Muslims. Among all the Hassaniya there are only four known believers – from a different region. No books of the Bible are translated into their language, though recordings of Gospel stories are available. The team received numerous requests for help, a sign to them that this is a field ripe for harvest and in need of harvesters.
Opportunities to join this team are in medicine, community health, teaching, adult literacy, rural development, engineering, sports, media, church planting, and anti-human trafficking.
Challenges to gospel work in this region include insecurity, a harsh climate, isolation and deeply held cultural beliefs. But SIM Mali Director Joshua Ngunta is optimistic:“We want to step into this land by faith.”
Ode and Jennifer from Jos, Nigeria, have taken a leap of faith to live amongst the Hassaniya. “We must confess that it was not an easy decision to make. But knowing that there are people dying without the opportunity of hearing about the salvation in Christ Jesus is enough reason for us. What good is a room with 100 lamps when another is in deep darkness?”
• God’s Spirit to prepare the hearts of these herdsmen to receive the Gospel.
• God to bring more workers to the team.
• Peace in Mali and other African states threatened by Islamic extremists.