Beloved People Of Mali
Sévaré, by bus 11 hours northwest of Bamako...
The moon was shining brightly which allowed me to see the faces of the
people sitting in front of me - the little boy Boubakay they wanted to send
to Bamako with me, Koumba the older sister and Ada, their Mom, holding the
baby practically every Malian Mom has at all times. And there were a few more
women and men. Most of the men were milking the cows which were closeby,
easily visible today thanks to the moon. There were also sheep and goats, and
the "house" was clearly visible as well. These people lived
together with their animals, having basically nothing (certainly no
electricity), in a village outside of Sévaré. But the little they had they
shared with me. One of the men came with a calabash of freshly milked milk
and handed it to me. I took a few sips of the warm milk and said "it's
good" in their language. They told me to take the rest with me. I
understood. Their language - Fulfulde - had been my second African language
at university. And I had always had a special love for this people, the
Fulani. They have a special place in my heart.
I couldn't prevent the sigh that escaped my lips. Nearly every night I had
seen them. And nearly every day I had gone out on the street in front of
Emmanuel's family's house to be with the people, especially the kids. Kids
spend most of their time in the street. Seeing them, I walk over and smiling
faces surround me. I start asking their names in Bambara, and they laugh. A
whiter person, and she even speaks Bambara! They tell me their names, and
laugh when I mispronounce one. Finally they continue their game, or singing
and dancing. I sit down on the side of the road, children all around me
(sorry, no picture of that!). They clap, sing and dance. I try to catch the
song's words, but it's to fast. I only get one word and keep repeating it.
The kids laugh. I ask them to teach me the song, but unfortunately they never
did. A little girl comes by, looking at me with big eyes. The other kids push
her closer to me, but she runs away screaming. There is still many kids who
are afraid of white people. I talk to the other kids, asking if they go to
school. One boy tells me with pride he is in an Islamic school. Those
students copy and memorize chapters of the Koran and beg for money the rest
of the time. I saw a lot of them in Sévaré, and every time I see them it
tears my heart apart. Oh Lord, how? How to reach them with Your love? How?
These were my most cherished moments last week. I also enjoyed the time with Emmanuel's Dad and Mom and brothers and sisters. I had stayed 3 weeks with this family 5 years ago, and it was great being back with them again - the kids having grown up, more or less.
And then we went on a one-day trip into Dogon country, which I had so been looking forward to. In 1999 I had only been there for a few hours and not seen anything but a few dances. We were five - Emmanuel and his best friend Jean, as well as two other friends of theirs, as well as myself. Emmanuel borrowed his Dad's car and off we went. We had a wonderful time! With each other, as well as the beautiful countryside and villages we saw. I took a lot of pictures - make sure to look at them!
Saturday night, my French colleague Alice and I started on our long and "courageous" journey back to Bamako, taking a bus we'd be the only white people on. But, I just love being with the Malians, and doing things their way.... I was still glad to finally arrive home at 3 a.m. after minor incidents. Thank you for your prayers - they were answered.
And in Bamako....
Yes, and it seems the Lord revealed some more steps through divine appointments and events, which are pretty exciting. It would be premature to share them with you at this point, but I'd ask you to pray that I would clearly know the Lord's will and recognize what He is preparing and setting in place. I know start feeling that time is getting short, with me leaving Mali in less than two months. Escpecially with those things in the making...
I have not written much over the last two months, as outwardly, not much seemed to happen. However, the Lord is at work. Simeon is growing rapidly and God is putting even the same vision He has put in my heart into his. Simeon is eager to "do stuff" and share the good news. His mother is visiting from Benin in two weeks, and he intends (for me?) to share the gospel with her and bring her to a saving knowledge of Christ.
Simeon also moved into a small apartment/room of his own last week. He could not bear being with the Unification cultists any more. He is now eager to be a light there and having prayer meetings at his place. If you could only see those few square feet - and his few possessions fitting into a big bag. There wasn't even a mattress to sleep on there!
Our Friday meeting this week will be our Easter celebration. Simeon is
inviting his two Muslim colleagues Abraham and Abdoul who have been wanting
to come. I am going to invite all my students, praying a few will come, as
well as other people. I'm planning on preparing something to eat first, and
get to know people. Then share what we celebrate at Easter, including the
full gospel, and finally ask if anyone has a prayer request. Please pray that
those with open hearts will come and be drawn into God's kingdom.
Could you be one called to Mali?
Are you a teacher?
PLEASE, pray for the Lord to send workers into the harvest in Mali. If only a few people loving God could come be a light in this dark place, this country would be different. If only a few would lay down their lives for the many who haven't heard in Mali, this country would be different. If only a few would come share the good news and heal the sick, this country would be different. If only a few would come make disciples, this country could be saved. It only takes a few... He is looking for the few.... Who will answer His call? Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?
The second big need is a car which will allow me to get around, and go into the villages surrounding Bamako. Not far from the capital you find villages like up in Sévaré, including villages with the Fulani people. I have been gathering some information with the result that it will take about 9000 USD (7000€) to purchase a suitable car. I'm praying for this amount to come in by the time I get back to Mali end of September, and trust completely it will. He provides when He calls...
As I said earlier, there is so much in the making that I can't share yet. But I can tell you that the Lord loves Mali, and that He has sent me here for a purpose. Far too often the enemy tries to overwhelm me with the task, or the loneliness, but then I cling to the Lord, hiding myself in His love, where everything else becomes unimportant. And as long as I'm hidden in Him, walking in His love and presence, Holy Spirit in and around me, angels accompanying me, He will take care of everything. I simply walk like a child holding his Daddy's hand and saying and doing what He tells me to.
Please keep holding me up in prayer, espcecially that I will never allow anything to keep me from my sweet times of communion with HIM. The battle is fierce, and tiredness comes easily.... the rising heat contributing (May is the hottest month of the year).
Please remember also Emmanuel and Simeon. Pray that they will get more and more hungry for the Lord, that the grow and be a light.
If you want to sow into the Lord's work in Mali by giving, please look at the details below. There is now also a "buy postage" link in the email for those who'd like to contribute to the costs of sending these emails.
I value your partnership and support and cherish every email I get. In reality, I'm not alone in Mali because you are here with me.
May you know His love and presence and glory in ever greater measures, for the perishing world to see and crave what you have....
For my Beloved,
Tel. (+223) 220 0311
Cell (+223) 636 6727
IMPORTANT: Don't write my name on
the check, but add a note that it's for me.