Africa Journal: Day 13 – January 8, 2009

From my journal:

” … it’s our final full day of ministry in Mali … tomorrow morning we pack up and head back to Bamako.  God, You’ve done amazing things this week, continue today …

Habakkuk 3:2-4 ‘Lord, I have heard of Your fame, I stand in awe of Your deeds, O Lord.  Renew them in our day, in our time make them known, in wrath remember mercy.  God came from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran.  His glory covered the heavens and His praise filled the earth.  His splendor was like the sunrise, rays flashed from His had, where His power was hidden.’

Father, make Your fame known in our time here in Bangassi.  Allow the Malian people to know that this is a very personal decision, one that they don’t need permission from anyone else to make.  Give them courage and boldness to choose You!  God you are good and Your glory endures forever, continue to reveal Your splendor!

… We’re showing the Jesus film in Marena tonight after a warm reception from the chief and the villagers this afternoon.  I’m running the tech. stuff tonight, so hopefully everything runs smoothly, and that there are no technical problems.  Bring glory to Your name tonight Father, I love and trust You…

Just returned to Bangassi from Marena, and I wish I had more to say … WHATEVER!  God showed up HUGE, after the film we had 58 people stay to pray and receive Christ!  58 new Malian believers!  When we got here, there were only 12-15 known believers from the past trip in this area.  Approximately 61,000 Fulanke people in Mali, and 58 new brothers and sisters in Christ tonight! Praise you God!  All honor and glory go to You, nothing that we could have said or done could have accomplished what You did tonight.  God, with this excitement and exhilaration, my heart is breaking for these new believers . . . we leave in the morning, our trip is over, what follow will happen?  What discipleship will there be?  Pastor Andre has already said that he would come back to visit, but for him, on his motorcycle, it will still be a several hour trip, and he can’t continue to do that.  God, I beg that You send a pastor to come to Bangassi and Maurena.  These people need an indigenous pastor to be called and raised up to come to this area to shepherd these believers …”

What an amazing day.  We did get to have the community health clinic today . . . actually we did it twice, once at the clinic in the village for a handful of men and women, and once in the school while the kids were in class.  Hopefully they took it all to heart and are taking the steps necessary to keep their drinking water clean.

In the early afternoon we loaded the bush bus and headed toward Marena to greet the chief and ask permission to show the film that evening.  As with every village we pulled into, when we arrived we were immediately surrounded by swarms of children and interested adults. We took the short walk to the chiefs courtyard, and had a very pleasant visit with him and the village elders.  They had remembered that a group had come last year, and wanted to show the film during their festival, and had hoped that we would come back to show it.  We also found out that there had been a “white man” who had come and built a house and lived with them for 2 years with the Peace Corps.  We don’t know anything about this man, or know of any Malians that may have come to Christ while he was there, but this Peace Corps volunteer had to have been a Christian, and had to have planted some major seeds!

I clearly remember that evening … not sure I’ll ever forget it.  It was the end of our ministry in Mali, and we were exhausted.  I remember several of the girls staying in the bush bus during the film to get some rest.  We arrived back in Marena just before sundown to set up the projector and screen and began playing some Malian music about 20 minutes before the film was going to start.  We also showed a Popeye cartoon as a “preview”, they loved it.  Every evening that we showed the Jesus Film, Pastor Andre would introduce the film, and then toward the end, right as the guards came to the garden to arrest Jesus we would pause the film and Pastor Andre would share with them . . . from what we gather, He was asking them questions about if this man, Jesus had done anything to warrant being arrested and mistreated like this.  That night, although I couldn’t understand a word he was saying . . . I could tell he was “bringing it.”  He was speaking with such boldness and passion, it was really a neat experience.  Well, toward the end of the film, after the death and resurrection, there is about a 6 minute “recap” of the film, and in previous nights, most people began to leave during this part of the film, but here in Marena, nobody moved.  Pastor Andre came back up after it was finished, and people started to filter out, but there was a crowd that remained.  Myself and the rest of the tech. crew went to work getting everything torn down and packed up, and when we finished, we saw what was happening . . . there was still a crowd of people talking with Andre and Michele, our interpreter, and Randy.  As I walked over to see what was going on I realized they were taking down names … names of all of the people who had just prayed to receive Christ!  What an adrenaline rush! These people were so excited and hugging us and shaking our hands as if they somehow knew that we were now connected through the common bond of Christ.  It was awesome.

The hard part was driving away from Marena that evening knowing that we wouldn’t be coming back, and another group probably wouldn’t be here for another 6-12 months.  Continue to pray for those believers that God will do a miraculous work in their lives, that they will have an impact on the other villagers that they encounter everyday, and that God will send them a Pastor/leader.

-E

Pictures of the health class, set-up for the film, a night shot of the film, and a few shots from the Marena film:

Teaching the community health class in the school:

teaching-health

Setting up the screen for the film:

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film-set-up

Great night shot that Aaron took:

film-at-night

Getting names from some Marena villagers after praying to receive Christ:

maurena-believers

The morning after Pastor Andre transferred the names of the new believers in Marena to an emerging leader in Bangassi:

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