Thursday, November 23, 2006

Mali trip

Hey all,

Yannick asked in a comment from a previous post if I had some pictures from my recent mission trip to Mali. Here is a little of the story of the trip and some pictures.

About a year ago, I had a dream in which a man from Mali asked me to come to his country to help him. (Just prior to this, I had been reading in Acts 16:6–10 about the apostle Paul's vision of a man from Macedonia.) When I woke up, I forgot about the dream until I got to my friend's house that morning. On his dining room table was a book report on the country of Mali. He informed me that his son had done it as an assignment for school. I told him about my dream, and he told me that the night before, his wife was telling his son that God would use his book report somehow. With that and many other confirmations, I began pursuing how I might minister in Mali.

Meanwhile in Mali, there was a pastor who oversees 26 churches in the capital city of Bamako. He and a group of pastors wanted to have an evangelistic campaign in their city. They had been praying about who would speak at the campaign. Not long after that, I emailed this pastor and told him I felt God was calling me to go to Mali to preach the gospel, pray for the sick, and minister to believers. We marveled at how God orchestrated everything.

I went with a guy named Steve from my church and a pastor named Thomas from Ghana, whom I had "met" a couple of years ago by email. I had never been to Africa before, and Steve had never even been on a plane before! The Lord provided all the funds to cover the trip, the campaign, and then some.

The four-day evangelistic campaign was held on this soccer field in Daoudabougou, a section of Bamako.

Here's a picture of the worship band. Most of the songs were sung in Bambara, one of the national languages (besides French). Worship went for about 2 hours each night. Saturday night was a real celebration. Lots of dancing.

The Worship Dance team had about 50 members.

I preached three of the nights, and Thomas from Ghana preached the other night. The guy in the background is translating into Bambara.

According to official demographic estimates, Mali is 90% Muslim, 9% animist and 1% Christian. About 100 people made first-time commitments to Christ and about 20 recommitments were made over the four days. Altar workers were on hand to gather information from new believers so that local churches could follow up with them. One instance that occurred the last night of the campaign stood out for me. Because of an impression the Lord gave me, I said, "There is someone here who was thinking about suicide, but you came here as a last hope. God loves you. Please come forward." A man of about 40 walked to the front with his young son with him. I asked him, through a translator, if he had accepted Christ. He hadn't, but he decided to do so.

We saw God heal a number of people of various conditions. This woman was healed of a stomach ailment. One young man who could not walk was able to walk unassisted. One young woman with poor eyesight was healed. A man who had difficulty walking because of foot pain began jumping up and down after the Lord healed him.

There was also a 2-day seminar for pastors and leaders held in the morning hours. Thomas taught one day and I taught the other. After the seminar, we had lunch together. We ate in the traditional way: everyone eating by hand from a common bowl. The food was awesome!

On Sunday, the three of us spoke at different churches. We were blessed by the depth of faith of the Christians we met. They have a strong desire to see the good news of Jesus spread in their country. The Malian pastors we worked with were wonderful men of God.

The rest of the trip was spent sightseeing, fellowshiping with the believers and ministering to people one on one.

I loved the people and the country, in general. We all agreed that we needed to do something similar in the future. I'd like to go back at some point and assist those who will plant churches in Mali. We'll see what the Lord has in store.


Blogger Brian said...

Sorry about the crazy formatting!

11:42 AM  

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