Feature

A New Power

GCF in Action

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A farming town of about 5,000 people is nestled in a West African country’s southernmost region. The area is known for its cotton and potato crops. But this wasn’t always the case.

During the 1700s and 1800s, this region was the seat of spiritual and military might for the Kenedougou Kingdom—a precolonial state that resisted the French conquest until about 1900. Soldiers trained in this area were known for their fierce bravery and powers of magic bestowed upon them by powerful fetishes and idols.

The town’s name means “power” in the local language. A long tradition of gaining power through spirit worship succeeded in making area residents resistant to the gospel for almost 100 years.

But the Lord is doing a new thing in this ancient place.

In 2010, Ibrahima, a young Christian teacher, began instructing at the local school. He encouraged a group of local Alliance pastors to come and show the JESUS film. He hosted the evangelism team. And he followed up with the subsequent handful of new believers, discipling them into a mature core group—the first members of the new church.

Ibrahima was eventually assigned to teach in the region’s capital city, but he never lost his passion to see the town’s residents come to know the Lord. He worked with his church’s youth and evangelism teams to plan another outreach to the town in January 2016. I was invited to join the group.

By this time, the congregation numbered about 40 people. On the night we planned to show the film, the soccer field was full of spectators. The city church choir sang gospel songs that evening. After the film, in typical local fashion, they sang through the night—until 4 a.m.

Later that morning, a church service was held on land given to the small church. During the next two weeks, 21 people gave their lives to the Lord.

This exciting development, and the growing congregation’s lack of a permanent structure under which to meet, inspired the church district leadership and Alliance international workers to help the local body of believers erect an open-air church.

In February a visiting team from Christ Community Church in Omaha, Nebraska, and an Alliance international worker and I arrived in town to build the new structure. Our team was met with the happy news that about 60 people had given their lives to the Lord the night before after a showing of an evangelistic film.

Observed by crowds of curious children from the village, we built the open-air structure without much difficulty. After the work was completed, district pastors, the visiting team, and local church members gathered under the newly installed roof to pray for God’s continued work in this community.

The following Sunday, more than 100 worshipers attended the church.

The Lord is indeed opening new doors so that His power can be proclaimed. Visiting teams and evangelism campaigns are part of that work. In quieter, more profound ways, the Lord is transforming lives, and the town’s residents are taking note.

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