This week I learned that a Fulani pastor whom we support has made the decision to move his family out of Djibo, a town in northern Burkina Faso. This was hard for me to hear. Let me tell you why.
Djibo is a small town in northern Burkina Faso where the dominate people group are the Fulani. The Fulanis are a nomadic tribe that spans multiple countries in West Africa. For most Fulani, to be Fulani is to be Muslim. The Fulanis were one of the first groups in Africa to convert to Islam, and their nomadic ways have allowed the religion to spread to new areas over many generations. Today more than 99% of the Fulani follow Islam and less than one percent have come to follow Jesus.
In 1972 an Australian doctor named Ken Elliott moved to Burkina Faso along with his wife Jocelyn. The couple set up a medical clinic and surgical hospital in Djibo and served faithfully for over 40 years. This is the only clinic of its kind in a region of about 2 million people.
On January 15, 2016 Ken and Jocelyn Elliott were kidnapped. A group known as the AQIM, a local division of Al-Qaeda, took credit for their capture. Jocelyn was released in February but Ken’s whereabouts remain unknown.
Ken has remained on our prayer list now for over a year. Occasionally we pray for him in our services on Sundays or Wednesday evenings. Maybe some of our members still pray for him. But my fear is most of us have forgotten. Sometimes I forget.
Don’t get me wrong, if at any point you over the year you came to me and asked if I remembered, I would have certainly remembered. But if you hadn’t asked me? I wouldn’t have prayed. I wouldn’t have even thought about Ken or Djibo or even the Fulani believers I met personally in 2014. You see I bring this up because it shows the shortness of our prayer memories. Sometimes in one season we pray intensely for a person, or a ministry, or a region. And then we forget.
I’m glad I now remember. I remember because the pastor whom our church has sponsored for years is moving out of Djibo in fear. He is fearful for the safety of his family.
So let’s think about this for a second. Who continues to preach the life-saving message of the gospel in Djibo? Ken Elliott? Jocelyn Elliott? My friend? None of those witnesses remain in this city.
So will you pray? Will you pray for the gospel of Jesus to be proclaimed in Djibo? Will you pray and earnestly ask God to bring people to Himself in this area? Will you pray for Ken? Don’t just pray for His release, pray for his ministry. Pray Philippians 1:13, that Ken’s captors would know the truth.
Will you pray for the ministry to Fulani believers in Burkina Faso? Will you pray specifically for this family being uprooted out of their home because it is no longer safe for them?
What else has touched your heart and one time and then been forgotten? What other forgotten prayer requests need to be remembered?
- Tim Chaney