Adventist Frontier Missions

Poni Province

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript



Series Code: AFM

Program Code: AFM000009

00:02 Hi, I'm Jay Wintermeyer, editor and producer for AFM
00:04 digital productions. Adventist Frontier Missions began work in
00:07 the Poni Province in southwest Burkina Faso in 1993.
00:12 When we left the project in 2000, there were 135 baptized
00:15 members in four villages.
00:17 Today, there are more than 400 baptized members in 20 villages.
00:22 In fact, Adventist membership is growing faster in this region
00:25 than in any other part of Burkina Faso.
00:27 So what makes this growth possible? How do we take
00:30 someone beyond their initial baptism and foster a lasting
00:32 relationship with Jesus Christ that motivates them to
00:35 evangelize their friends and neighbors?
00:37 Let's take a closer look.
01:04 One of the first steps toward a lasting gospel movement
01:07 involves discovering how to communicate the gospel in
01:10 ways that speak directly to the needs of a particular
01:13 people group.
01:14 Former AFM missionary Kurt Unglaub shares how one of the
01:17 local Bible workers he trained is doing this.
01:20 Falstan and his workers have an ability to present
01:25 Christianity in a way that makes sense to animist people.
01:35 Falstan and his workers begin with the creation story.
01:40 They explain how things were in the beginning, which agrees
01:44 with Lobi and Agari traditions.
01:47 The first part of the Lobi
01:49 tradition, of course, we
01:50 believe in. That there is a
01:52 creator God and He did create
01:54 things in the beginning in seven
01:57 days and that it was very good.
01:59 And we agree with the Lobi tradition that there was a fall
02:03 of man that made a separation between God and man.
02:07 So we are on common ground with the Lobi tradition and
02:11 the Agari traditions, but here is where our stories differ.
02:15 We have a remedy to the fall of man, a remedy to sin.
02:21 And it's not the fetishes. So, Falstan explains to the
02:25 people how, through their system of endless sacrifices
02:30 to the fetishes, it is only creating and exacerbating
02:34 the problems that exist here.
02:35 For example, we have poor people who, whenever there
02:40 is a problem, whenever there is a worry, whenever there is
02:43 something that goes wrong, they have to go to the
02:46 diviners and find out where the fetishes have been offended.
02:50 What spirit has been insulted, and what is the price to appease
02:55 these spirits?
02:56 The price is going to be in the form of animal sacrifices.
03:00 So they are obligated to give of their precious few chickens
03:05 and goats and cows to appease the fetishes who are never
03:10 satisfied. If they don't have any animals, they are
03:14 obligated to sell off their food supply, their grain,
03:17 in order to be able to buy the animal and make the sacrifices.
03:22 As Falstan is telling the people this story, they are all nodding
03:26 their heads, "Yes, we've all been there, and we've all
03:28 done that. "
03:29 Falstan poses the question to the group, "How much have
03:34 you spent the last two years to appease the fetishes?"
03:39 One man volunteered to say that if he could calculate all
03:42 of the money that he had spent in the last two years
03:45 to satisfy the fetishes, it would be enough to buy him
03:48 a big motorcycle.
03:50 And Falstan asked them, "Are the fetishes ever satisfied?"
03:56 "Is there ever an end to these sacrifices?"
03:58 And they all say, "No. "
04:00 And Falstan explains to them, "I have a better way.
04:04 There is a better way. Jesus is the sacrifice.
04:08 He is the once and for all sacrifice for all of our sins.
04:12 So, if we believe and accept the sacrifice of Jesus,
04:16 there is no more need to make these animal sacrifices. "
04:20 And when the hope and the logic of that appeal sinks in,
04:24 the people are very interested.
04:31 When people understand how the gospel meets their specific
04:34 problems and worldview, they begin to experience the
04:37 freedom that comes from serving Jesus. The results are
04:40 amazing. Take, for example, Palé Pinyalé.
04:43 Palé Pinyalé came into Loropeni one day and asked the first
04:48 person he saw, "Where are the Christians?"
04:50 And he was directed to our house. He basically told us
04:55 that he was tired of worshiping the spirits and being a slave
04:59 to the fetishes, and he wanted out. And he wanted to learn
05:03 to be a Christian.
05:04 So, over the next months, we had Bible studies with him, and
05:09 he faithfully rode his bicycle or walked the 17 kilometers from
05:13 his village to the Loropeni group. He was baptized
05:18 along with another man from his village.
05:22 Whenever somebody steps out of the traditions, it creates a
05:27 fear and problems for the other villagers because they don't
05:32 want to incur the anger and wrath of the fetishes.
05:36 So any misfortune that would happen in the village would be
05:40 blamed on Palé and Yuel, the two believers. Of course, when
05:45 good things happened and blessings would come,
05:47 all people would rejoice. But whenever anything
05:50 bad would happen, they were the scapegoats.
05:53 Once I remember when Palé was returning to his village
05:57 from Loropeni at night with two children and his wife, his wife
06:03 was bitten by a snake. These are deadly vipers.
06:07 He put his wife on the bicycle, strapped one of his
06:11 children on his back and took the other one in tow,
06:15 and pushed his wife on the bicycle all the way back to
06:19 his village. Of course, there is no antivenin, there is no
06:24 help there. People from Loropeni came out and prayed with him.
06:29 Miraculously, his wife recovered from the snake bite.
06:34 Which, in itself, was a big testimony to the villagers.
06:39 Palé Pinyalé's story is one of perseverance.
06:41 There is beginning to be an interest in his village.
06:44 We are in the midst of constructing a chapel for
06:47 them in their own village so that they will have the
06:49 option of staying there and worshipping.
06:58 The village of Loropeni was home to the Unglaub's for
07:01 six years. One of their helpers was a man named Palé Togo.
07:05 Palé owns and operates a flour mill and loves to help
07:09 people as a way to spread the gospel.
07:22 While attending a trade school, Palé began sharing his faith
07:25 with a fellow student by the name of Dossier.
07:28 Before I became a Christian, I drank a lot. I don't know
07:32 what I would have become if Palé Togo had not introduced
07:35 me to Jesus Christ.
07:37 Palé would share with him about Christ and about the
07:42 Adventist beliefs, and Dossier was very interested.
07:47 Palé invited him to come to church in Ouagadougou, which
07:52 they went to church together. And then when they returned
07:56 to the village, Dossier visited the Gaoua church and
08:00 the Loropeni church. Palé invited him to come and
08:03 to work with him as an apprentice to learn more about
08:07 the flour mill business.
08:09 So Dossier moved himself and his wife into Palé's home.
08:18 After I was baptized, my wife and I went home to our
08:20 village to start our own flour mill. The villagers
08:23 tried to influence my father to force me to give up
08:26 my faith. I started sharing my faith with others, and we built
08:30 a little grass church. The witchdoctor told everyone
08:33 in my village, "If you don't get rid of the church, it will
08:36 change the whole village. "
08:37 A group of youth even threatened to burn down
08:40 the grass chapel next to the Mango tree.
08:45 Dossier and his wife persevered. They knew they were on
08:49 the right road. Today, Dossier is appreciated by many people
08:52 in his village, and the little grass church still stands.
08:56 Today, there are nine baptized members and about 20 others
09:00 who are attending their Sabbath worship services under the shade
09:03 of the large Mango tree.
09:05 The Holy Spirit is working in the Poni province to convict
09:08 people and lead them to freedom in Jesus.
09:10 When the members of the Kampti church experienced this freedom,
09:14 they began witnessing in the neighboring village of Perigban.
09:17 Perigban was a project of the Kampti church.
09:22 Perigban is a village that lies halfway between Kampti
09:26 and Gaoua, the two principle villages in this province.
09:30 So it was natural for the Kampti workers to be interested in
09:34 evangelizing Perigban. They passed through there very often
09:37 on their way to Gaoua.
09:45 So, many times on Sabbath afternoons, a group of them
09:49 would go out on their bicycles - three or four or five or more -
09:52 and they would spend Sabbath afternoon singing with the
09:55 people and telling Bible stories. Any way that
09:58 they could attract a crowd, they would try and get a group
10:01 of people together and share with them Christianity and
10:04 share with them our Seventh-day Adventist message.
10:11 Finally, their efforts paid off. A married couple named
10:15 Nestor and Bridgett accepted the message and were baptized.
10:18 They also wanted to share the good news with others.
10:21 They carried on the missionary work of the Kampti believers
10:26 who continued to come on a regular basis and support Nestor
10:30 and Bridgett.
10:32 Marcelan, one of our leaders and baptized members of Kampti,
10:37 decided to move to Perigban. He found his own little hut, and
10:43 he stayed there for about nine months working with Nestor to
10:48 build up that group.
10:50 Today, Nestor is working as a fulltime evangelist in Perigban
10:54 and 29 surrounding villages.
10:58 One of the things that was very gratifying to Margaret
11:03 and me was to see the local members sacrificing for
11:07 each other.
11:09 So often the case is that they wait for the missionary to do
11:13 something, and they feel helpless because of their
11:17 poverty to do anything for themselves. But one of our
11:21 members in Kampti, a young man by the name of Eric,
11:25 who is a baker, he invested his own money
11:30 in building a chapel in Perigban.
11:34 The Perigban members made all the mud bricks.
11:38 They constructed the wall. And then, Eric donated
11:42 the materials to put on the roof and the door.
11:53 Jerome was an elderly gentleman in the village of
11:57 Lucura, and he has the distinction, the honor, of
12:02 probably being the first Lobi Seventh-day Adventist.
12:06 He was converted at an agricultural school outside
12:10 of Ouagadougou and was baptized and returned to his home
12:15 village in Poni Province as the only Seventh-day Adventist
12:19 for hundreds of kilometers.
12:21 He faithfully kept the Sabbath with his children under a
12:26 shade tree in his yard for years.
12:33 One day, three of Jerome's neighbors traveled the 30
12:36 miles to the Unglaubs' home in Loropeni just to see if
12:39 there really were other people that believed as Jerome did.
12:42 The Unglaubs shared a large supply of Bible studies and
12:45 other materials with them to take back to their village.
12:48 Eventually, Jerome's neighbors were baptized and
12:50 began meeting together in a little church they built.
12:55 There are now 23 members in four villages in that area.
12:59 Jerome is no longer worshiping alone.
13:01 And it all started because of the persistent faithfulness
13:04 of this lonely gardener, who cherished the Advent
13:07 message and lived out his faith openly.
13:23 The story behind the Tantou group is a story of one
13:27 person telling another person telling another
13:29 person the message.
13:44 A young man named Theodore used to come
13:46 every Sabbath to the Gaoua church for Bible studies.
13:49 He came from Tantou, a distant village in an
13:52 almost inaccessible part of the province.
13:54 Theodore absorbed everything like a sponge and began
13:57 sharing what he learned with his friend Dah Faustan.
14:01 Faustan was impressed with what he heard and asked
14:04 his village elders, who were all animist, if they would
14:07 approve of the Adventist missionaries coming to
14:09 their village for a visit so they could tell everyone
14:11 what they believed.
14:13 His request was granted.
14:14 Several of us went out one Sunday morning and met
14:19 with - the whole village was there - all the elders
14:24 the young people, the children, the women...
14:26 they were all there to sit and find out what this
14:30 was all about.
14:32 So we gave them a sketch of the history and the
14:36 diversity in the Seventh-day Adventist church, our various
14:41 ministries, our various emphases, and some of
14:44 our core doctrines. After hearing this, the
14:48 village decided that they would allow us to come.
14:51 In fact, they were wanting us
14:54 to come to install in their village.
14:57 We came back for a second visit to meet with those who
15:01 were truly interested in becoming Seventh-day
15:04 Adventist Christians. There was a group of about 15
15:07 people that were very interested in taking the
15:11 next step. So, we had some meetings with them and left
15:15 them a lot of literature, Bible studies and books,
15:18 which they devoured.
15:20 After several weeks, we received word again that
15:24 they were ready for another visit, and in fact
15:28 they were wanting to be baptized. So we continued
15:32 studies with them. The first group of baptisms
15:37 included 12 individuals.
15:39 Faustan and Will emerged as the leaders of that group
15:43 in Tantou, and that group has actually grown to be
15:48 the largest group in the entire province.
15:51 They had their sites on other villages.
15:55 And Faustan and the other believers began visiting
15:58 other villages like Zumulucun and Topar and
16:02 Womi. They found interested people in all of those villages,
16:06 and groups have sprung up in each one.
16:09 They each have constructed their own chapels, and
16:13 those three villages have gone and spread the message
16:17 to others. They are going to Tobo. They are going to
16:21 Ponta Leon. And they are going to Tanyo, where
16:25 believers are being organized into churches, and people are
16:30 being baptized.
16:31 As I mentioned, the story of Tantouo - the story of one
16:34 person telling another person telling another
16:35 person - and this is especially true in how the group in
16:40 Zumulucun was planted.
16:43 Faustan had a friend by the name of Patrice.
16:46 And Patrice was married to Bridgett. So Faustan began
16:51 sharing the faith with Patrice and Bridgett
16:54 who both accepted the message, and they were baptized.
16:58 During my visits with Patrice and his family,
17:02 Patrice's mother was always there.
17:05 She was an elderly animist
17:08 lady who seemed to be totally uninterested in what
17:11 we were talking about, but she was always sitting
17:15 around the fire as we sang and prayed and talked
17:18 together. She never said anything and never showed
17:22 the least interest in what was going on.
17:24 But it turns out that she was listening.
17:27 And one day, out of the clear blue sky, it seems that she
17:31 announced to Patrice and Bridgett that she, in fact,
17:35 was very interested in what she was hearing and wanted
17:39 to follow their way. She had seen the beneficial
17:42 changes, all the positive things that were happening
17:45 in their family because of their newfound faith,
17:49 and she wanted to have a part of that, too.
17:51 So, after Bible studies, this elderly lady was baptized.
17:57 She became an instant evangelist. She returned to
18:02 her village of Zumulucun and began sharing with all
18:07 of the people of her generation, anybody who
18:10 would listen, the wonderful things that she had discovered
18:13 and the wonderful things that God had done in her life
18:17 and how she had been set free from the fetishes and fear
18:21 of the spirits and that she was rejoicing in the Lord.
18:27 Freedom in Jesus is contagious.
18:30 Just like the grandmother who shared her faith, young people
18:33 are also sharing Christ in spite of persecution.
18:36 The Depayo group started with a boy by the name of Bossico.
18:41 Bossico came into contact with Marcelan, one of our members
18:45 in Kampti, and they began talking about Christianity
18:50 and the Bible together. Bossico was a believer.
18:54 And so when Marcelan shared with him our Adventist
18:58 beliefs and gave him books to read, he became very
19:01 interested. He saw that there were differences in
19:04 what we believed and what he had believed.
19:06 And as he compared the two,
19:07 he came to realize that what we believed was
19:11 closer to the Bible. So he began asking more
19:15 questions and requesting more literature and visiting
19:18 our churches in Kampti and in Loropeni.
19:21 He was eventually baptized along with one
19:25 of his brothers. They were students in high school.
19:30 Here in Burkina Faso, they follow a different
19:35 system where the students are required to go to school
19:39 Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday... They have Thursday off, and
19:44 then they go to school Friday and Saturday. Well, Bossico
19:48 and his brother, they were firm believers in the Sabbath
19:52 and they would not go to school on Saturday, which
19:56 brought them into conflict with their teachers and the
20:00 school authorities.
20:02 Fortunately, Bossico and his brothers are also very
20:06 smart, and they were able to get such high grades that
20:10 even with the zeros that they got on Saturday, they were
20:14 still able to be at the head of their classes.
20:16 Even through this persecution and trial, Bossico and his
20:21 brothers were faithful. During the school year,
20:25 they would attend church in Gaoua or Loropeni.
20:29 During the summer vacation, they went back to their home
20:32 village of Depayo. There is no church or group
20:35 in Depayo except for these two believers. But they
20:39 began sharing their faith with their friends and their
20:43 other brothers and sisters. And so now there
20:46 is a group of believers that is there in Depayo.
20:49 And during the summer, they build a little
20:53 hut that they call their chapel, and they meet
20:56 for prayer meeting and church there every week.
20:59 During the school year, they
21:00 go back to school and attend other churches. But every
21:03 summer, there is a group that meets in Depayo.
21:06 Now, they are sharing their faith on a wider scale
21:09 and we hope that there will be a permanent group there
21:12 for everybody.
21:15 In addition to direct evangelism, Adventist members
21:18 are also using medical outreach as a key to people's hearts.
21:22 Well, what's most gratifying about the medical missionary
21:26 aspect of the project was that the local people
21:32 took to it so enthusiastically and faithfully.
21:37 They were eager to learn how
21:39 these natural remedies, these simple remedies, could help them
21:43 because there are a lot of medical problems and health
21:45 problems here.
21:47 They can't afford the medicine sometimes, and so simple
21:52 remedies are their only recourse.
21:55 Certain people enjoyed doing these simple remedies and were
21:59 excited about being able to help their members, and one
22:03 of them was a lady by the name of Solange who worked
22:06 a lot with Margaret. And Margaret gave her
22:10 special training in hydrotherapy and left her instructions so
22:16 that after we left, she would be able to carry on
22:18 this ministry.
22:19 Solange shared her training with several more women in
22:22 the Loropeni church. Together, they have used
22:25 their simple remedies to bring hope and the gospel
22:27 to several women in their village.
22:37 Ahdowa is one of the women they helped. When they first
22:41 began visiting her, she was completely paralyzed.
22:44 Her condition was most likely the result of a bout with
22:47 spinal tuberculosis. For more than three years,
22:50 she had lain in her hut in a fetal position, completely
22:53 dependent on others for everything. When Solange
22:56 and the other women first began visiting Ahdowa,
22:59 she turned down their offers of help. The women persisted,
23:03 however, and finally Ahdowa allowed them to pray for her
23:07 and began hydro and massage therapy.
23:40 Slowly, Ahdowa began to regain the use of her limbs.
23:44 It took more than six months, but finally she was able to
23:49 begin walking on her own again.
23:50 Today, Ahdowa attends church and gives God the praise
23:55 for restoring her health.
24:06 The Prandles and Unglaubs brought the seed of the
24:09 gospel and God's end-time message to these unreached
24:11 people groups in the Poni Province.
24:13 But once that seed was firmly planted, the Holy Spirit began
24:17 using the local people to carry it to others.
24:20 Students, old people, literate and illiterate,
24:23 men and women have all been used by God as lights
24:26 in the darkness and as messengers of salvation
24:29 to the remotest places all because someone cared
24:32 enough to go and find ways to communicate the good
24:34 news in relevant ways.
24:39 I think, probably, there are three reasons for the
24:43 success of the project.
24:47 One reason may be the fact that we continue to remain
24:53 involved through annual visits. I think especially
24:58 in the first few years after we left, those visits
25:03 were important for the support and encouragement
25:07 of the members.
25:09 I think another reason why the project has been
25:13 successful is because of the way our church is organized.
25:17 These are not independent congregational churches.
25:22 These churches are part of a much larger
25:25 organization, part of a global movement.
25:28 But finally, I think the real reason, the biggest reason
25:33 for the success, the ongoing growth, is just the work of the
25:38 Holy Spirit - the Holy Spirit working in the lives of
25:42 people who are open to God. We see the Holy Spirit working
25:47 in many ways where members like Eric and
25:51 others are sacrificing and giving of their own
25:54 means to build chapels and to support the work.
25:57 We see the Holy Spirit working in the lives of
26:00 members who go out and do simple remedies,
26:04 who visit people, who pray for the sick, who minister
26:07 unselfishly to each other, who give of their means
26:11 for this.
26:14 Also, their willingness to endure persecution
26:18 and hardship is a demonstration of a
26:21 living faith in a living God.
26:25 The Poni Province mission project was spearheaded
26:27 by Adventist Frontier Missions.
26:29 AFM seeks to build up vibrant gospel movements among
26:33 people groups with no Adventist presence.
26:35 We currently have church planting projects in 16
26:38 different countries among people groups who would
26:41 never have heard the gospel without a missionary going
26:43 to live with them.
26:45 So what does it take to make an AFM project successful?
26:48 First of all, we need committed men and women willing to give
26:52 their lives in service.
26:54 We need people dedicated
26:55 to lifting up the missionaries in prayer. Time and time again,
26:58 we have seen how prayer plays a vital role in what
27:01 we do every day.
27:04 And, finally, we need financial support to enable
27:06 our missionaries to carry their work forward.
27:09 AFM is entirely supported through private donations.
27:14 If you would like to find out more about mission
27:16 service or how you can get involved with Adventist Frontier
27:19 Missions, come visit us online.
27:35 Hi, this is Jay Wintermeyer
27:37 with an editor's note.
27:39 The Poni Province video was a challenging shoot.
27:41 Not only were we working in tropical conditions,
27:43 we were visiting some very remote parts of
27:46 Burkina Faso.
27:49 There was no electricity, so we relied on natural light.
27:53 Our work frequently took us deep into the bush to
27:56 interview people like Palé Pinyalé and the
27:58 Tantou members.
28:01 If you have enjoyed the Poni Province video,
28:03 you can get your own personal copy on DVD
28:05 by visiting...


Revised 2014-12-17