Tuesday, 21 August 2018
Photo credit: Rebecca Miller
The Fulani are a pastoralist people who prefer to live away from towns and cities. They are generally uneducated and therefore marginalised, with little representation at a government level. The Fulani are distinct from other surrounding people groups and their language is paramount to their identity as “Fulani”. A small minority have turned to Christ and see the immensity of the task of taking the Gospel to their own people.
The timeline below is a glimpse of God’s work through SIM Australia's workers amongst the Fulani in West Africa. As SIM celebrates 125 years of mission, join us in praising God for the fruit that has come from this ministry over many years of faithful sowing!
SIM’s founders land in Lagos, modern day Nigeria.
Famine forces 1000 Fulanis into close proximity to a SIM station and Agricultural Farm School. Station personnel give out famine relief and share the Gospel resulting in a significant movement towards Christ.
A Victorian family heads to West Africa to join a small team reaching out to the Fulani.
“When we first arrived, these pastoralist people were not interested in the Gospel. As we began to learn their language and live amongst them, we were amazed at how God began to open their hearts to the Gospel and to us – especially as we shared in their mother tongue. When we first went out, there were very few believers but now we thank God that there are many believers scattered across the Sahara Desert.”
SIM sponsors a Fulani regional conference to bring together Fulani believers around the country. At this conference, Fulani believers voiced their concern for the lack of Bible teaching and encouragement for followers of Jesus and a lack of trained people to teach, mentor and encourage people in remote areas.
“I was sitting with an older believer. As we were preparing to leave he said, 'we have serious trouble with our sheep. Many are weak and sick. They are hungry. We have lost many'. I looked at him and said, 'it has been a difficult year of famine, with many having lost animals.' As I talked with him, I realised that he was not speaking about four-legged sheep but people. He knew many believers who were spiritual weak, struggling because they didn’t have a shepherd to feed and care for them. This heart cry was heard, and two years later resulted in the establishment of the Fulfulde Ministry Training Centre.”
The Fulani Ministry Training Centre (FMTC) is started to equip Fulani believers with skills to become pastors, teachers and evangelists to reach their own people. The teachers are all Bible trained Fulani Pastors committed to using the maternal tongue.
“During the opening service, an older pastor shared a remarkable story. Thirty-four years earlier when this man was a young Bible School student, a Fulani man came and asked him to pray for his newborn son. The pastor took the baby in his arms and set him apart to become a man of God, an instrument for God to use in the spread of the Gospel. At the opening service, the baby he had prayed for 24 years ago, stood beside him. Today he is training believers to train more believers and is an outstanding Christian leader.”
The MP3 solar-powered Megavoice and SD cards replaces the cassette player and introduces a vast new possibility of disseminating teaching among nomads, and still unreached people groups. Hundreds have been distributed to Fulanis since 2010.
400 people gather to celebrate the dedication of the Fulani New Testament, the culmination of 12 years work by a SIM Australia missionary and his translation team.
A SIM Australia couple leads a two year internship for workers considering long-term service amongst the Fulani. Participants graduated in May 2018, including one Australian woman from Victoria.
“The TIMO team went to two Fulani communities, and were welcomed by the people they had come to live amongst. People who did not know of Jesus’ glory and were blinded to this truth. The team members showed the 'face of Christ' as they built relationships of trust, serving the community with acts of love and kindness, showing them how followers of Jesus care and have a heart for those who are hurt and in need. They also shared the message of God’s amazing love with anyone interested to hear. Now many people know who Jesus is, and why he came. They have heard of his love and humility, his willingness to lay down his own life, even for his enemies.”
The dedication of the Fulfulde New Testament in the Eastern dialect takes place – a significant moment for the Fulani translation team.
Would you join us in praying that the ‘desert tribes bow before him’ (Psalm 72:9)? You can request a copy of our West African Desert Tribes prayer guide at sim.org.au/pray.
GIVE: (NOT-tax deductible)
Your gift to the Fulfulde Ministry Training Centre (97820) will help train the next generation of Fulani pastors and evangelists in their mother tongue. Give online here!
Want to join us in supporting the growth of God’s church amongst the Fulani or another least reached people group? An internship is a great way to learn necessary skills and gain experience before launching into long-term service. Get in touch with SIM to find out about internship opportunities here.