Mali - Slideshow

A slideshow or worship in Mali, which is located in the West African savanna.

Mali is a landlocked state located in the West African savanna, a region connecting the southern rain forest inhabited by settled farmers and the northern desert dominated by nomadic livestock herders. Mali has a population of more than 11 million people (2000 stats), divided into 34 ethnic groups speaking 32 majority languages. Muslims make up 87% of the population, while Christians comprise only 2% and the other 11% represents traditional ethnic religions.

In the 1980s, over 20 missions began work in Mali, among whom were the Christian Reformed World Missions (1984) and the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (1985). Together, they formed a team to work among the Fulbe/Fulani people (population of one million; 2000 stats) in areas of evangelism and development. Traditionally, the Fulbe were nomadic cattle herders; in recent years increasing numbers are settling down to learn agricultural skills. However, in this subsistence agricultural economy frequently devastated by drought, famine and locust plagues, many people are left hungry for food, and thirsty for answers.

The missionaries in Mali are committed to living simple lifestyles in order to build friendships, gain trust, and identify with the people, most of whom have never even met a Christian. They believe that these friendships are the fertile soil in which the Gospel seeds are planted.

Almost all Fulbe are Muslims, but in the past several years a handful of Fulbe have become Christians. Several groups of believers are being discipled by various mission groups. In one village, the chief as well as two other elders of the village have publicly professed faith in Christ and been baptized.

Although many are open to the gospel, only a few have made their acceptance of the Christian faith public for fear of persecution from family and friends in these traditional, tightly-knit Muslim communities. The small, young church among the Fulbe firmly believes that He who began a good work in this hungry and thirsty land will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ. (Philippians 1:6)

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