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Traditional Ritual Stuns Village Patriarch

April 26, 2018

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An elderly man in Burkina Faso never expected to be banished from his village at age 90.

Adama* had lived in his village in Burkina Faso his entire life – 90 years. Suddenly, he was banished.

A 6-year-old girl had mysteriously died, and Bwaba tribal leaders near Tuy, in the western part of the country, had undertaken a divination ritual to determine what had provoked local spirits to commit such an outrage. A shadow fell on Adama, and they accused him of employing witchcraft to bring a deadly disease on the girl.

He was so stunned he could hardly mutter that he had done no such thing. The traditions of the animist village called for him to be expelled for two years to verify his guilt; if he managed to survive in the wilds, he would be declared innocent and could return.

"The old man was at the end of his rope in despair
and had already planned to kill himself,"
the director of the ministry said.

For more than a month he managed to survive on leaves and grass, along with meat that a daring granddaughter snuck to him, and for shelter he'd attached a blanket to tree branches. But the solitude, the elements and the psychological trauma soon took their toll. Gaunt and broken, he was cursing some rocks when indigenous missionaries spied him.

For a few weeks they had tried to tell villagers how the Creator of world had come in the flesh to save it, and except for one family who put their trust in Christ, their message had been roundly rejected; local officials were escorting the missionaries out of the village when they first saw Adama shouting in the distance.

"The old man was at the end of his rope in despair and had already planned to kill himself," the director of the ministry said. "So one of the missionaries approached the old man to talk to him and invited him to his house."

After a few weeks of caring for him, the missionary invited the family who had become Christian to speak with him.

"He learned about the love of God for men from the family and decided to follow that God of love who gave his life for the salvation of humanity," the director said. "All our missionary training centers were praying God would completely restore his dignity. Two months later, the villagers discovered the real reasons for the death of the girl, and that it had nothing to do with him."

Village leaders admitted they were mistaken in putting blind trust in occult practices and invited Adama to return. He began leading a house church, and three village leaders put their faith in Christ.

"They were baptized four months ago," the director said. "The leaders of the village decided to abandon the divination practices, which had made so many victims. Now four families, including the family of the village chief, praise the Lord."

In spite of opposition from animists and a growing Muslim population in the 60-percent Muslim country, native missionaries throughout Burkina Faso are likewise bringing the saving message of Christ's love to their fellow citizens. Please consider a gift to help them establish God's kingdom.

*Name changed for security reasons

Evangelism and Discipleship in Burkina Faso
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