Adventist Frontier Missions

The Susu Chronicles -part 3

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript



Series Code: AFM

Program Code: AFM000014

01:09 Some say that some places in the world are just too hard
01:12 to reach with the Gospel. Guinea would probably
01:15 fit into the hardest to reach of this group.
01:17 Guinea is a land of paradoxes. Unsurpassed natural beauty
01:21 belies the grim fact that it has one of the highest child
01:25 mortality rates in the world. It is known as the water
01:29 source for West Africa because of it's many large
01:32 rivers. Yet, in the capital and around the country, water
01:36 faucets are dry. She is blessed with riches of gold and iron,
01:40 bauxite and oil, diamonds and wood, yet her people
01:44 struggle against grinding poverty. This is truly a story,
01:48 the story of the Gospel going forward in Guinea,
01:50 that only God could write.
01:52 Marc and Cathy Coleman founded the Susu Project of Adventist
01:56 Frontier Missions in Guinea in the year 2000. And after
01:59 several years of learning the culture and language,
02:02 launched into an active ministry of medical missions,
02:05 friendship evangelism, and development work.
02:07 As young people started to convert, education later became
02:11 part of this program. Now, many years later,
02:15 a thriving church and school, a lay training program,
02:19 and local leaders fill their places. God has shown once
02:22 again that no place is impenetrable, impermeable
02:27 to the Gospel, because God is bigger than all of
02:31 the challenges.
02:34 Hello, we are the Colemans. My name is Marc. I'm Cathy.
02:37 I'm Rebecca. And I'm Chelsea.
02:38 Got a puzzle for you. Here's a hard question.
02:42 What do you do when you are in a place and young people
02:46 are starting to come into the church by the 10s, soon maybe
02:50 by the 100s, but because the church is so small, there's no
02:54 educational system for them. If they stay in the national
02:58 educational system, they have persistent problems
03:01 with the Sabbath. They're not able to finish their school
03:04 and their studies and other problems with philosophies
03:07 of resistant religions. What do these young people do?
03:11 What do missionaries do? Come with us again
03:13 and let us share with you this exciting story of God's
03:16 wonderful providence.
03:39 Young people in Guinea face several real barriers to
03:43 completing an education.
03:44 Many young people come from polygamist families.
03:47 And what that means is a lot of children, and not
03:51 everybody can be educated. A country like this where
03:54 there is a lot of political and social upheaval,
03:57 that is another barrier.
03:59 Now, for a young person coming into the Church,
04:02 he may often have to come to the Church against the
04:05 will of his family. Now, suddenly added to all of
04:08 these is the fact that Saturday is a regular school day.
04:12 So how do they attend school and respect the Sabbath?
04:16 So there was our challenge. And it's for this reason that
04:20 we felt a strong burden to start a school.
04:23 We were able to solve one problem with the school.
04:26 But now the national exams are another problem.
04:28 When kids finish school, they have to take national exams
04:32 to go on to the university. And there's a national
04:36 exam also from tenth grade, which is the end of junior
04:39 high here, to high school, 11th grade. And there is another
04:42 national exam from sixth grade to seventh grade,
04:44 the end of primary into secondary school.
04:46 And you never know from year to year whether one of these
04:49 tests is going to fall on the Sabbath.
04:51 Usually, or many times, they do. We had one particular
04:55 young lady who twice failed one of those exams in the
04:59 high school level because she kept the Sabbath.
05:04 I used to be a Catholic.
05:06 One day, my mother's friend
05:08 came and told us about an
05:10 Adventist church she was attending.
05:17 The next Saturday, my mom asked me to go with her
05:20 to the church.
05:24 I liked how everyone had their own Bibles and
05:28 read out of them. So I said to myself,
05:32 I really want to know about this.
05:36 I had never read out
05:38 of a Bible before, and I wanted to learn more.
05:44 I had the ambition to know the Bible.
05:48 But I had a problem. It was the Sabbath. In the Guinean
05:52 school system, students are required to attend
05:56 classes on Sabbath. But what I was learning at the
06:00 church had an impression on me. So I would skip
06:05 classes to go to church. My friend and I were also
06:10 going to Bible studies.
06:15 When I was ready, I was baptized with my mother.
06:20 It was an awesome day for me.
06:23 When school started again,
06:26 I didn't know how I could
06:30 respect the Sabbath and still get good grades.
06:33 I asked myself, "How would my grades be if I went to
06:39 church instead of school?"
06:44 But I still made a firm decision to not go to
06:47 school anymore on Sabbath.
06:53 When I took my 10th grade national exams, I didn't go
06:56 on Sabbath, and I failed.
07:00 So I took it again and again, and I failed the third time.
07:07 My friends would ask me why I didn't want to go to exams
07:11 on Sabbath.
07:14 Why would you skip classes every day?
07:17 I tried to explain why to them, but they still didn't
07:22 understand.
07:26 They told me that God would understand and that one
07:30 day wouldn't ruin my relationship with Christ.
07:38 My friends started to constantly bother me.
07:42 Even my family and professors started to persecute me.
07:48 When that would happen, I would cry and ask God
07:53 "Why? Why me?" What could I do so that they
07:57 they could understand the truth? I thought that if
08:02 God didn't help me with my situation, everyone would
08:07 think that they were right.
08:12 But I can say that I truly saw the hand of God in my life.
08:18 The pastor of the church and the director of the school
08:22 came up with the BDIS test.
08:26 I took the exams, and God really opened doors for me.
08:31 I passed the exams, and I was accepted in the universiy.
08:35 When that happened, I was so shocked.
08:39 I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.
08:43 I didn't even know how to thank Jesus for what
08:47 He has done for me. When I started telling
08:50 people that I had passed my exams, they asked me
08:54 questions. "How did you pass your college entrance
08:57 exams when you didn't even pass your 10th grade exams?
09:01 How did you pass? What exam did you take?
09:05 Is it recognized by the government?"
09:08 I told them that I took an exam that was not only
09:11 recognized nationally, but internationally.
09:14 They said, "We don't understand."
09:17 I told them that I had been trying to tell them, but still
09:21 they didn't believe me. God has many ways to
09:25 provide for His children.
09:29 The school then proposed to have a graduation ceremony
09:34 for me. I invited a lot of people, and I was able to
09:39 wear a robe and receive my diploma.
09:46 I told my professors that God had opened up all
09:50 these doors for me.
09:57 He took away all my shame.
10:04 To all those who find themselves in a similar
10:08 situation, let them apply themselves and pray
10:11 continuously because
10:14 God always hears His children.
10:20 God showed me that He didn't abandon me.
10:23 He's always with me.
10:25 I am now a teacher at the Adventist school here in
10:28 Fria, Guinea. I teach second grade.
10:34 The school is attracting
10:37 more than just Christians.
10:39 But we have also Muslim
10:42 students and non-Adventist students. It is the only
10:45 Adventist school in the country that has from
10:47 grade one to 13.
10:50 Every morning at 7:45, we assemble the students
10:55 for devotion, both Muslims and Christians, and they
10:59 love to sing praises to God. And then after the devotion
11:03 they will go into their classes.
11:04 Since our school has been attracting a lot of Muslims,
11:10 we have Bible classes that are challenging and very
11:15 interesting to the Bible teacher. Most of the
11:18 parents send their kids to the school because they
11:22 are attracted with English and computer classes
11:25 and some Christian parents, Bible classes.
11:28 But at the end, you can find the kids having more interest
11:32 in Bible. And most of them will come walk into the
11:36 office and ask for Bibles, and some would ask for
11:39 puzzles, Bible puzzles, and some would ask for
11:43 little Bible stories, segmented Bible stories.
11:50 There is one student that I want to bring to your
11:53 notice. His father is one of the highest ranking Muslim
11:57 officials in their village, the chief imam.
12:00 He was going to our neighbor school,
12:03 Franco-Arab. It's purely Muslims. One day when we
12:06 first moved here, we were clearing this courtyard,
12:10 and Sylla walked up to me and asked me, "What are you
12:13 doing here?" And I told him, "Well, our school has moved
12:16 to this building, and we are preparing it for the
12:19 next school year. And so he took the hoe from me, and he
12:22 started to work with me. At the end of our work bee,
12:24 he came back to me and expressed his desire to be in
12:28 our school. And then I told him, "Ah, it's a Christian
12:32 school." He said to me, "I'm interested. I want
12:33 to be in your school."
12:36 The reason that I decided to come to this school,
12:40 everything started when I went to work for Uncle Joshua,
12:45 a collegue of the missionaries.
12:49 One day I asked him, "Uncle Joshua, I would like to
12:54 review all my past studies so that next year I can
13:00 go to a new school and to leave where I am
13:02 because I am starting to have problems there."
13:05 And he said to me, "Would you like to go to a new school?"
13:10 And I said, "Yes. That is what I would like to do."
13:13 I then asked him, "How would I take care
13:18 of my monthly needs because I don't have the
13:21 financial means to take care of myself?"
13:27 So he said to me, "Don't worry about that. You're
13:31 going to our school. You will continue studying
13:35 there until you finish your studies."
13:39 Uncle Joshua is really the one who helped me
13:42 get into the school.
13:46 Since his registration, Sylla has been visiting the
13:50 church, most times in the evening, and there are
13:54 times when he goes for Sabbath worship, too.
13:57 And during one of his visits, the church was doing foot
14:02 washing and having communion service. And Sylla wanted to
14:07 participate. And Pastor Coleman told him,
14:11 "You can't participate
14:13 because we don't know if you have accepted Jesus
14:16 as your Savior." And Sylla said, "I do."
14:20 And so he participated in the foot washing.
14:24 The Bible helps me to understand how to carry myself
14:28 and how to understand the teachings of God.
14:33 It also helped me understand about the day of ressurection.
14:38 The Bible helps me unerstand all these things,
14:42 so I thank God for that.
14:45 So what have I learned from the Bible?
14:49 Well, even before coming to the Bible, I heard it
14:54 said from the Koran that Jesus is the son of Mary.
14:59 So, now I come to the Bible, and I see that Jesus is
15:04 the Son of God.
15:09 So He is sent of God to take away our sins.
15:13 I learned that Jesus is the Son of God.
15:18 I really believe that, too. Because of all of His
15:23 suffering and the miracles He did.
15:26 If He is not God, or the Son of God, there is no
15:31 way that He could have done those things.
15:38 There is only one thing that I wish. I don't want
15:42 people to thank me. I don't want money.
15:45 The only pleasure I could ever gain from this is
15:50 if the student goes to someone and tells them,
15:55 "Yves showed me something that led me to know God."
15:59 That is good for me.
16:02 In conclusion, my vision is that each student
16:07 comes to the knowledge that they are precious to God.
16:15 They must also realize that they have talents that
16:20 God gave to them. These talents are to be used
16:25 to serve others. If I teach and have not
16:30 reached this goal, I know I am missing something.
16:36 The other point is that the Bible is the basis
16:40 for everything.
16:43 The educational component here is so important.
16:46 70 percent of the church here is young people.
16:49 You can't run a strong missionary work in a place
16:51 like Guinea without taking into account the
16:54 edcuational component of those who are coming
16:56 into the church and facing real difficulties because of
17:00 the Sabbath and the desire to serve and honor God
17:04 and His truth.
17:12 We had a little church right in the neighborhood.
17:16 We rented a house as our church right in our
17:19 neighborhood. And so we said, what do we want to
17:21 do to reach all the young people in this neighborhood?
17:26 So the team decided, "Let's do a vacation
17:29 Bible school." As we got started with the
17:32 planning, we realized that a battle was going on.
17:37 Satan seemed to be in all of the details. And it
17:42 seemed like no matter what was going on,
17:44 things were falling apart. And it was starting to
17:47 become discouraging for all of us. But we decided
17:50 that we were going to press forward anyway.
17:55 Well, I tell you, vacation Bible schools here are
17:58 nothing like in the United States. Here, you have
18:00 to do everything from scratch. Say, for instance,
18:03 you wanted to teach the children how to do a
18:05 sand sculpture. What we have to do here - you have
18:09 to go and get dirty sand. You have to clean it first
18:12 and sift it. Then you have to set it out in the sun
18:16 and let it dry. Then you have to go to the market and
18:19 get different colors, and you have to color the sand.
18:22 Then you have to let it dry. And then you have
18:24 to sift it again. And then you have what is necessary
18:28 to do a sand sculpture. All of our programs,
18:31 our stories, the play,
18:33 we had to create all ourselves.
18:38 Well, finally the day came for the registration.
18:41 We set the table up outside, and children started coming
18:44 from all over. They said, "We want to be in this
18:48 program." So we started signing them up, and
18:51 we said, "We can only take 50. We only have manpower
18:54 for 50 children and supplies for 50 children."
18:57 And we figured maybe we would get 50.
18:59 Well, we reached the 50 mark within one hour of
19:02 registration. What are we going to do now?
19:05 So many more children are wanting to come.
19:08 We told them, "We're so sorry. We've reached our
19:12 limit, and so you have to come next year."
19:15 The children started climbing the walls. They said,
19:18 "We want to be where those kids are. We want
19:22 to be where - whatever you are doing, we want
19:25 to be a part of it." And we told them,
19:27 "We're really sorry, but you have to get down
19:28 from that wall, and we cannot let you in.
19:31 We're really sorry." Well, even one man
19:34 knocked on our door, and he begged us.
19:37 He said, "You have to let my child in. I hear good
19:40 things are going on in there. I hear you're
19:42 teaching the children about kindness and
19:44 about how to treat others. And I want my kid to be
19:47 a part of it."
19:49 When we started our program, we decided that we were
19:52 going to do stories. So the children would gather
19:55 around, and we would teach them Bible stories.
19:59 They did arts and crafts. Some of the children had
20:03 never even touched a pair of scissors before. They
20:06 didn't even know how to use crayons.
20:08 And so it was just such a blessing to see these kids
20:10 maneuver the paper, cut out, and color and draw. And every
20:15 day they came. We were just having a wonderful
20:18 time together. We would have recess with them.
20:21 They would play soccer. By the end of the program,
20:25 we sent out invitations to the parents, because we
20:28 were going to do a big program at the end for them,
20:32 the grand finale, I guess you could say.
20:34 The children were excited. They had been working hard.
20:37 Because we decided to do a play. And so the
20:40 children were all dressed up in costumes. Some
20:43 were angels, some were wise men, some were shepherds.
20:48 And they had never done this before.
20:50 And I tell you, it was a riot just trying to get these
20:54 kids to practice every night. But in the end,
20:57 it was a blessing. The parents came.
21:00 They saw their children participate. We put out
21:05 an art and craft exhibit to display all of the things
21:09 the children had made. And it was just amazing.
21:13 The parents, as they looked, said, "Did my child do this?
21:17 Wow! Can we get our kids into your school?
21:22 We want our children to be a part of your school."
21:26 Several years have passed, and we can see that the
21:30 battle that was started for these souls - actually it
21:34 was well worth it. Because now we see
21:37 in our school some of those same children there learning
21:42 about Jesus, learning about God, praying to our heavenly
21:46 Father. And they are receiving a Christian education.
21:49 If we had to do it all over again, we would do it
21:52 all over again because we know in the end
21:54 a soul is being won for Jesus.
22:18 When we first came here to Guinea, we lived in
22:22 Conakry. And in the neighborhood we would see children
22:26 who had little owies and boo-boos and sores and
22:30 scrapes, and so we did a small type band-aid clinic.
22:34 I would take my little doctor's bag, as you would say,
22:38 and go around in the neighborhood and treat
22:40 the little children.
22:48 But then we left Conakry, and we moved here to Fria.
22:52 We knew no one here, absolutely no one.
22:57 And so we started to pray, what can we do to enter
23:02 into the lives of the people?
23:07 And the Lord just kept impressing, impressing
23:09 upon our minds to start a medical work there.
23:20 One day we were traveling to a village where they
23:25 have a Sunday market. On our way we were
23:29 behind this van-type vehicle
23:32 that was piled up inside
23:36 with people, people were on top with all of
23:38 their wares, their loads and everything. And they were
23:41 driving really fast down the road, speeding.
23:45 And right before our eyes, this thing tipped.
23:49 People from the top fell off. So we took as many
23:54 people as we could to the hospital and tried
23:58 to get them admitted. And it was there, actually,
24:01 that the ministry started because that was a way
24:05 we were able to get into contact with people.
24:08 Before, we knew no one. And so Isatta and myself,
24:11 we decided, you know what, every evening we're going
24:14 to go to the hospital, and we're going to pray for
24:17 these people. We're going to spend time visiting them,
24:19 making sure they are okay. After they were discharged,
24:23 we started visiting them in their homes. And there
24:27 was one particular lady named Fatumatu Kamera.
24:30 We visited her in her village called Atamasuria,
24:34 and she just welcomed us and her entire family
24:38 welcomed us. And the Lord just kept impressing,
24:42 impressing on our minds, start a medical work there.
24:46 And so we continued to pray, and we made a request for
24:50 a nurse to come, a student missionary. And once we
24:54 received a student missionary, we knew it
24:55 was confirmation that we needed to start the medical
24:58 missionary work. We asked the chief of the village,
25:02 who happened to be Fatumatu's father,
25:05 "Do you mind if we come to the village and
25:10 treat people?" He just welcomed us with open arms.
25:14 "Please come and help us." We decided to not only do
25:18 it in Atamasuria, but in another village, Tigae,
25:22 and also another village, Tuba. Every Wednesday, we
25:25 would go to Atamasuria, and on the other days
25:28 we would go to the other villages. And what we would
25:31 do is we just get medicines, and we would set it up
25:36 just on a porch, nothing spectacular, just a plain
25:40 old porch with a rickety table with a table cloth on it, and
25:44 there we would start treating patients. Treat them for
25:48 skin infections, malaria, diaheria, disentery,
25:51 lifestyle diseases, which are creeping in today,
25:55 diabetes, high blood pressure. Different things like that
26:00 we treat through lifestyle changes. And most of the
26:03 time, people are very receptive to change
26:07 because they are hurting and they are suffering.
26:10 And they can't afford all these pills and drugs like
26:12 we hand out in the United States. And we see a
26:16 difference in these people. Their blood
26:18 pressure gets lowered, they are able to control
26:20 their weight better, different things like that.
26:23 Here in Guinea when you go to a normal hospital,
26:26 a government hospital, the nurses and the
26:28 doctors holler at you. "What are you here for?"
26:32 they say. "Sit down! Stop crying!" What a difference
26:36 it is when they come to our clinic, and they see the
26:40 love and compassion that we have for them.
26:43 And they are starting to see a difference.
26:45 What is happening here? These people are different
26:48 than our people. One of them had seen down
26:53 in the bush - he said he saw a ghost. And when he
26:57 saw the ghost, he just became completely afraid,
27:01 and all of his vital signs went haywire. And he
27:06 was in the bed for several days because he could not
27:09 function because of fear. Well, we were able to go
27:13 in there. We asked the father, who was the chief
27:16 of the village, "Is it possible for us to go in
27:19 and pray with him so that the chains of Satan and
27:22 the demons can be broken?" He said, "Yes, please pray
27:26 for us." And so we went in there, bowed on our knees,
27:30 and we just agonized with the Lord in prayer so that
27:33 these bonds that Satan has on these people
27:36 can be released. And it was the next day
27:39 they came and told us, they said, "He's been relieved.
27:44 His vital signs are back to normal. He's up from the bed,
27:48 and he's walking around." And they just thanked us
27:52 but, in turn, we thanked God for the power to break
27:55 the chains of Satan in that man's life.
28:01 It starts out with friendship evangelism. And we have
28:04 found out that because the only way that you can share
28:08 Jesus with somebody is really if they know you
28:11 care about them. We try to follow Jesus' method
28:15 in treating their sicknesses and their diseases. And when
28:19 that happens, they are more open. They trust us. They
28:22 know we care about them, and they are more
28:24 open to the Gospel.


Revised 2014-12-17