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Moussa, Burkina Faso

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Moussa, an old hunter in Burkina Faso, accepted Christ a year and a half ago. At the time of his conversion, Moussa owned many amulets and animistic fetishes (idols and articles of protection). He believed they shielded him from harm and evil spirits and caused blessings to happen in his life. It is hard for those of us with a “Western mindset” to believe that articles like this actually do what they are believed to do, but there is definite spiritual power associated with these fetishes. In these cultures there is a strong temptation for people who have come to Christ to hide their fetishes, afraid that harm will come if they destroy them.

Since Moussa came to Christ, Pastor Marcel and other believers in the church talked with him about the importance of getting rid of his amulets and fetishes, but Moussa just couldn’t do it. Part of him believed there was still power in them, and he was afraid of what might happen if he burned them.

An elderly relative of Moussa’s talked with Pastor Marcel and surrendered his life to Christ. This man was one of the strongest animistic leaders—what we would call a “witch doctor”—in a nearby village. People testified that this man’s spiritual power was so great they had seen him stand in fire and not get burned. His conversion was powerful, and he immediately decided to burn all of his fetishes and idols. Moussa watched, wondering what would be the result. We serve a God who is more powerful than Satan, and as you can guess, nothing bad happened to this new believer.

This was the turning point for Moussa. He saw that no harm came to this man and felt ashamed that he was still trying to serve two masters. He arranged with Pastor Marcel to burn his fetishes and idols. This was no small decision. Moussa testified that when he was contemplating getting rid of everything, someone offered him $1,000 for the articles. (Moussa makes much less than Burkina Faso’s annual per capita income of US$424.) He refused to sell, convinced that the idols needed to burn.

One Sunday several months ago, Moussa dressed in his special clothes and amulets for the last time. He wanted pictures to be taken as proof that he did indeed own these articles and that he had burned them. The church members gathered around and built a fire. The clothing, amulets and fetishes were placed on the ground, and in a final moment of surrender, Moussa untied two amulets that he had kept hidden under his new clothes and added them to the pile. Pastor Marcel read several Scripture passages, and as the church members danced in celebration and sang songs of victory in Christ, the clothes, amulets and fetishes were destroyed.

After the ceremony, the believers gathered around Moussa and prayed for his protection and that God would use his example to help others struggling to give up their fetishes. Please join them in praying that Moussa would have no temptation to return to his animistic past and that he would continue to experience victory in Jesus with each passing day.

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