Background: About a year or so ago, there was an Important Fulani religious man who lived in another part of our country. He was hired by a M. project to propagate their religion in that area. One day he was given a Bible and as he began to read and compare, he began to have big questions. He went to the one who had gifted him and over a period of discussions, he decided to follow Jesus. He knew he needed discipling, so he contacted some miss’y friends of ours in the city and asked if he could come be discipled. They agreed, and along with other Fulani believers, this man, whom we will call Henry, grew in the faith. When he tried to return to resign, he had to flee for his life. Another time he moved back to his village, which is down near our area, but when other family members and contacts began to accept Christ, he and his family had to leave again. They have settled in the city. But his heart is still burning to share the gospel with his people.
Recent Past (2-3 wks ago): At my clinic in the bush, we see as many Fulani people as we do Gourma. As the people are waiting for their consultation, they are listening to evangelistic media which have been prepared specifically for the Fulani of our area – their dialect and religious background. Many of them have expressed much interest and have actually asked our Clinic evangelist if they can come back and listen…which they do.
About a month ago, I asked my colleague, Lucy, if she and Henry would be willing to come out and take a look at the number of Fulani who come…and if Henry would be willing to talk to them to see if there is a genuine interest. They came, and on that day, Henry, Lucy and myself met some interesting contacts. One of those was Dan, a High Religious Leader, for our whole area among the Fulani, a very friendly older man, who had studied his religion abroad for 20 yrs., and had learned basic French as well as Arabic. As he and Henry talked, it was clear that there was an openness to talk about spiritual matters. Lucy had brought along a copy of the book of Genesis, which was different. She had recently taken the Fulfulde translation of Genesis and put it into Arabic script, which now allowed an Arabic reader to read in their own mother tongue. Since most boys of this religion learn to read in Arabic, and never their own language, this allows them to be able to read with understanding!
So when Lucy gave Dan a copy, he immediately began to read, thinking it was Arabic, but as the words came out, it kept coming out in his own language…and as it dawned on him, a huge grin began to spread over his face! Now he read voraciously…and then declared to us, “This is the truth!” As we prepared to leave, Henry asked if we could pray together. Immediately Dan dropped to his knees; the rest of us followed suit. Dan asked Henry to start and he would finish. I can’t describe to you how deep and beautiful the prayer was that Henry prayed…(Lucy was translating for me), but in it he managed to pray for Dan and his family, their health, peace and that they would know the way to Heaven…and he prayed the gospel in a subtle way. He prayed like one who has known Jesus for years!
Before we left, the Fulani requested that Henry return again soon.
When I shared the above story with my colleagues who had prepared the listening media, they were excited too and helped me to acquire a locally available radio, which also has a USB port. They loaded three USB sticks with evangelistic material: with over 100 Bible stories in Fulfulde, portions of Scripture and songs…all which have been prepared for the Fulani of our area. The next week when I was at clinic, Dan was back to bring his wife to get her ulcer meds. I asked him if he would like to listen to these programs and tell me what he thought. He and a friend sat and listened for nearly two hours! Dan and others declared them to be "sweet."
When I saw him crouched down to work on his motorcycle, preparing to leave, I brought out the radio I had brought for him. I told him that Lucy and Henry and the people who prepared the programs and I, all wanted him to have this, and I handed the radio to him. He was speechless. I asked if I could take his picture, so I could show my friends that he had received it. He agreed, so I asked if he would like to stand up for the picture, but he replied, "No, it is fitting that I receive this on my knees, because I am grateful."
Dec. 3rd: While visiting at a social event, Lucy and I decided to plan a date for her and Henry to return. We could let the 5-6 men who had expressed interest know the day, and they could meet together with them and discuss what they had been listening to and answer any questions. We prayed that God would send those who were seeking to know Him and that He would direct that meeting.
Present: That meeting took place this past Thursday. When Lucy, Henry and I arrived, I immediately had to begin my work in the clinic. Our Gourma evangelist, Moses, had let the Fulani men know, and over the next half an hour, they began to arrive. Moses had swept out under a thorn tree and placed some bricks and a few benches for them. It was a small distance from the clinic so it would give them some privacy. Dan showed up and so did some other religious leaders, who had been coming to listen to the clinic radio (Fulani media). Later I heard all about it from Lucy. Since we had expected a handful of guys, we were surprised when over 20 showed up! They listened to Henry talk for over two hours. He started by quoting some of their familiar prayers in Arabic, brought out what is good in Islam, and asked them what happens when they fall short of the ideal and are left wondering if they can make it to heaven. Then he went to the Old Testament and explained how it points to Jesus. They asked lots of questions!
Several of them stayed around for another two hours, asking questions and discussing the Scriptures. Then they asked Henry to come back and explain more to them. One man said to Mary, "Can you come to my village? My people need to hear this."