In mid-February of 2006, CBN regional director for Francophone Africa Jon Cassel traveled to Burkina Faso to meet with the CBN national director there, Pastor Benjamin Miningou. On the agenda was a trip to the village of Nadjangwala, in the western region of Burkina Faso.
Pastor Miningou had made his first trip into the western regions on behalf of CBN in February of ’98. In April of 2004, the Pastor arrived in the village of Nadjangwala. The area had been unreached with the gospel, and the village of around 1,000 people was either Muslim or animist. Pastor, with a CBN-supplied truck and projector, presented evangelistic videos that evening. The attendance at the video projection was huge. According to Pastor, when the invitation was given to receive Christ, everyone present, nearly the entire village, accepted the Lord! Of course, these new believers needed a pastor, so Pastor Miningou arranged to have a young pastor, Somй Matthias, move to the village to set up a church.
I recently traveled to Nadjangwala to join Pastors Miningou and Somй for the first-ever baptism service in this area of extreme western Burkina Faso. Thirty-seven believers were baptized in the Lйraba River, which forms the border between Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire.
Pastor Somй is in the blue and yellow T-shirt, and Pastor Miningou is in the blue and white windbreaker. One-by-one, the candidates entered the water for immersion baptism. What joy there was as the baptisms took place!
Pastor Miningou returns several times a year, having become a father figure to many of the villagers. He brings the video projector with him each time, and encourages the population with CBN and other videos.
Pastor Miningou felt led of the Lord to establish a Christian school in the village. He started several years ago with the project, raising money in the Christian community in the capital city of Ouagadougou. Operation Blessing stepped in to help, and this past February, the very first Christian school in the westernmost part of Burkina Faso opened its’ doors. It is a beautiful facility that Operation Blessing can be proud of:
Pastor Norbert Bationo was brought in from Banfora to act as schoolmaster/teacher for the 98 excited students. The dedication ceremony was held on 20 February. As there was no school at all in the area, the villagers were just filled with joy as, for the very first time, their children would have a chance for a good education! Dignitaries attended from all over the region.
The village women had prepared a big feed, and after the ceremony and ribbon-cutting there was traditional dancing and music, and plenty to eat. I hadn’t seen such joy in an African village in years.
Ouattara Amadou is a life-long resident of the village, and a devout Muslim of long-standing. He has 2 wives and 12 children. He did not convert to Christianity with most of the villagers at the start.
He tells that he noticed a lasting, spiritual change in the village after Pastor Miningou’s campaign. Curious about this, he decided to test God. He told the Lord that, if he had his best harvest ever that season, that he would become a Christian. When that happened, he told the Lord that he needed to see if his family would be protected from sickness and evil spirits if he stopped his regular use of fetishes for ‘protection’. Indeed, six months down the road, the family was doing very well, and he was prospering. He gave his life to the Lord, and was one of the candidates to be baptized while I was there. He relates that some of his Muslim ‘friends’ are using fetishes against him, but he says that there is no power that can come against the power of the Lord!
Pastor Miningou is most excited about the ‘new’ Christian village, its’ church, and its’ school. As there was never a school in the area, all the students, regardless of age, are in the ‘first’ grade! In three years, they will need another school for secondary students. Pastor’s dream is to give the students a solid, Christian education, and to raise up pastors, teachers, and evangelists through the church and school in Nadjangwala!