Feature

Jesus Is the Way

A story of healing and courage

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“I will never follow any other way . . . not ever . . . except Jesus!”

I was sitting outside the pediatric ward with a West African nurse, talking about Jesus and the gospel with the women gathered there. After explaining to the other women that she had accepted Jesus, Sétou blurted out those powerful words. Sétou and her son, Oumar, have been living at the hospital off and on since 2014 while Oumar has been treated for a large tumor.

Though they are not native speakers, the mother and her young son attended our Bible story-telling sessions as much as possible to hear about Jesus. Their own story is a remarkable testimony of redemption.

Oumar’s father, Abu, sold traditional African medicine in their village. Last February an evangelism team of West African pastors and lay leaders went to his village for a weeklong evangelism campaign. They showed the JESUS film at night, and during the day they visited various neighborhoods, talking and praying with people.

Abu saw the film one night and thought, “Perhaps this Jesus can help my son.” He brought his six-year-old boy, Oumar, to the team of church people. The child had a large tumor growing on his chin and jaw that consumed the lower part of his face. He kept the tumor covered with a cloth wrap, but village kids refused to play with him because of the bad smell and the flies that always followed him. Abu had done everything to help his son but nothing worked.

The family had never sought medical treatment for Oumar because they thought he was cursed. Oumar’s neighborhood is known for dark animistic practices, and many of the boys never reach adulthood. The evangelism team prayed for the boy and suggested that he return to the Alliance’s Koutiala Hospital with another international worker, who was also on the trip. The villagers thought Oumar would die in Koutiala since he had four other brothers who had all died of satanic curses. In their minds, Oumar was on the same path.

When Oumar joined us at the hospital, his mother, Sétou, came with him. They were prayed for countless times and heard Bible stories and the gospel. Oumar accepted Jesus as his Savior. “His mother told me that all he ever talked about was Jesus,” reported my colleague. “She said that’s the first word out of his mouth when he wakes up in the morning.” In response to her son’s testimony, Sétou decided to accept Jesus as her Savior as well.

After Oumar had been treated with chemotherapy for several months to shrink the tumor, our pediatric surgeon removed the growth last June, along with two-thirds of Oumar’s lower jaw. Several days before the surgery, Oumar’s dad came to stay with the family. My colleague went to see how they were doing, and his dad declared, “If this surgery goes well, I will also follow Jesus.” The day before Oumar’s surgery she visited them again. They had scarcely finished the traditional West African greeting when Oumar’s dad blurted out, “I couldn’t wait—I had to accept Jesus now!”

Oumar has healed wonderfully. Even with a tracheostomy and a feeding tube, he has blossomed into a wonderful boy with a sensitive heart for Jesus. The village pastor reported that Oumar’s two younger sisters have also accepted Jesus. Oumar is scheduled to have another surgery in May with a visiting oral-maxillary surgeon who will reconstruct his jaw. Please pray for his continued recovery.

I visited Oumar’s village last fall to hear Abu’s testimony. He said that he used to practice animism, worship many gods, and make sacrifices to them. But now that he follows Jesus, he quit selling traditional African medicine and is farming to provide for his family. Abu said that he has found grace and peace in his new faith in Jesus.

Please pray that many other people in this village would see Oumar’s healing and claim, as Sétou did, “I will never follow any another way . . . not ever . . . except Jesus!”

6 responses to Jesus Is the Way

  1. LOOKING FOR A STORY FOR OUR “MISSION MOMENTS”
    AND FEATURING C&MA YEAR END OFFERING AND SAW “A BOY IN MALI” AND JUST READ OUMAR’S STORY. IT WAS THE ONE FOR OUR CONGREGATION. THANK YOU AND THE ALLIANCE MEDICAL TEAM FOR HELPING OUMAR!
    WHAT JOY WHEN A LIFE IS CHANGED! AND ALSO OUMAR’S FATHER AND MOTHER ALONG WITH HIS TWO SISTERS. AND YOU KNOW WHAT OUMAR WAS PRECIOUS IN THE LORD’S SITE EVEN BEFORE THE OPERATION.

  2. Wow, what a thrilling testimony of God’s Holy Spirit working through the dedicated Koutiala Hospital team. May God strengthen and encourage each of you as you expend yourselves in such a valuable ministry.

  3. Beautiful! What a wonderful testimony to the saving grace of our Savior and the faith of a little child. Praying for continued healing and spiritual growth for this family! Thank you for serving Jesus faithfully in Africa—may Jesus continue to work through you and do amazing things, like this story here! Praying for you!

  4. What a heart-warming story! Praise the Lord! I also saw the prayer request in this week’s C&MA prayer requests to pray for Oumar’s surgery – and I am praying!
    Praise God for this incredible work in Mali and the souls that are being saved.
    Soli Deo Gloria!

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