African Mission’s Anniversary Celebration “Foretaste of Heaven”
March 13, 2012
By Andrew and Esther Schaeffer, the Alliance field leadership couple for Burkina Faso
Several weeks ago, the stadium in Burkina Faso’s capital city, Ouagadougou, was nearly filled to capacity. But this was not a football game. Although there was a sea of blue in the stands, it was not the colors of New York Giants fans. Stallions and their dare-devil riders were there, but this was not a rodeo.
Worship, Unity Mark Celebration
What attracted the huge crowd was the 50th anniversary celebration of Burkina’s Federation of Evangelical Churches and Missions, known as the FEME. (It’s equivalent to the U.S.’s National Association of Evangelicals.) The “sea of blue” was the result of celebrants wearing clothing made with the FEME’s 50th anniversary commemorative blue. The white stallion, Burkina’s national mascot, and his rider were a reminder of the rider who is called Faithful and True (Revelation 19:11).
Even more impressive was hearing the worship team and 2000-member choir sing praises to the Lamb who was slain and who is worthy to open the seal (Revelation 5).
What really gave [us] a foretaste of heaven was listening to Bobos, Gurunsis, Mossis, Samos, and dozens of other people groups worshipping King Jesus together! (Revelation 7:9) It was indeed a super celebration!
Alliance Impact “Huge” in Burkina
Shortly after Burkina gained her independence in 1960, five evangelical churches and missions, including The Alliance, formed the FEME. Their goal was to cooperate in preaching the gospel “where Christ was not known” in order to not build on “someone else’s foundation” (Romans 15:20).
Over the past 50 years, the church in Burkina has experienced explosive growth! According to some estimates, Burkina’s evangelicals number more than 1 million—more than 5 percent of the population.
In doing research for a seminar organized by FEME recently, we learned something interesting about the history of the evangelical church and missions in Burkina. Many of the other denominational leaders in Burkina were trained in our Burkina Alliance Bible schools. C&MA impact in Burkina Faso has been huge. We praise God for the great things He has done!
Yet there are still so many walking in darkness in this West African nation. More than 10 million people, 60 percent of Burkina’s population, recently celebrated the birthday of the founder of the majority religion here.
Shortly before His death, Jesus prayed for His disciples and “. . . for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:20b-21).
Our unity is undoubtedly our most powerful witness!
What You Can Do
Praise God for the explosive church growth in Burkina. Pray for Alliance workers the world over; join the Schaeffers who request prayer “for the unity of Christ’s Body here in Burkina Faso and around the world.”
Learn about the Great Commission Fund and make a donation today. Partner with dedicated Alliance workers worldwide who are working to create unified partnerships to effectively spread the good news about Jesus in word and deed.
Read how Alliance people in Burkina are reaching out to Tuareg (an Arabic term that means “abandoned by God”) refugees, demonstrating Christ’s love in practical ways.