September 3, 2014
It was a whirlwind trip for members of a short-term youth team from Salem (Oregon) Alliance Church. Because our work is based in Burkina Faso and Mali, we wanted to give them a snapshot of ministries in both countries. That meant many miles of travel—about 1,300 in two weeks, to be exact.
The team assured us the journey was worth it as they heard international workers share their hearts for the lost. The youth also observed a variety of creative methods to reach out to those around them with the love of Jesus.
The ministries to which they were exposed were numerous—medical care, fish farming, kids’ outreach, serving young women at risk, orphanage work, church planting, Bible schools, and teaching English.
Gordon and Cheryl Roedding organized an afternoon at Go Global Mali, a community center where students come to learn English. The ultimate goal is to develop relationships that open doors to share Christ.
At Go Global, the team split into groups of two. Each pair organized an English game, with students rotating every 20–30 minutes to the next class. There was a lot of laughter and conversation.
“As usual, Salem Alliance sent an excellent team,” Gordon said after our visit. “Our students loved the English experience. What really impressed us was seeing how each visitor greeted the participants on their way into the center—they communicated a spirit of friendliness that Malians deeply appreciate and which uniquely gives us opportunities to share the gospel.”
Following their time at the center, Gordon took the team members up a hill overlooking Bamako, the capital city. As we gazed over this bustling city of roughly 2.5 million people, amid the constant blare of taxi horns and seeing minarets in every direction, Gordon stated that fewer than 2 out of every 100 people believe in Jesus. Of the remaining 98, many probably do not have a connection to someone who could tell them about Jesus.
The team then spent time praying over the city, asking God to reach and redeem these lost people and that His powerful work in Bamako would extend to regions beyond.
While in Burkina, the Salem team helped to construct two open-air churches in villages with recent church plants. One of these was in the village of Sayaga, where Pastor Francois recently moved to begin work among a group of 30 new believers.
After the team left, Francois reported that three new people had accepted Christ one Sunday. The following Sunday, 50 new believers showed up at the church as a result of evangelism that had taken place during the preceding weeks. The congregation grew from 30 to 80 in less than a month after the open-air facility was constructed.
The Holy Spirit is at work. We look forward to hearing further reports of how God will move. If history continues to repeat itself—as it has in the Kenedougou so far—that group will grow and soon start planting churches in surrounding villages.
The students’ hearts were touched deeply during their time in Mali and Burkina. “One of my most memorable experiences during my time is West Africa was the day we spent helping with the English camp,” Madeline Bahner said. “I had an amazing time talking and laughing with all the students, most of whom were of the majority religion. It opened my eyes to the truth that God loves these people and wants them to love Him, yet they chose a different path. It made me want to do something—even simply praying. Prayer is powerful, and that was one of the main things I took away from this trip.”
—Bonnie Oberg, serving in Burkina Faso
Join the Alliance family in praying for our international workers in West Africa and worldwide, who are taking the good news to some of the most spiritually dark places on earth. Use the Weekly Alliance Prayer Requests to assist you.
Read about the various ministries of Salem Alliance Church in the September 1 issue of Alliance Life magazine.
Give to the Great Commission Fund (GCF) and support Alliance workers, like the Obergs, who are creating access to the gospel where none previously existed.