By Randall Blackmon, Pastor, Faith Fellowship, Cambridge, Md.
Last January, while on a discovery mission trip to Mali, West Africa, Scott Mills and I were approached by a young boy who welcomed us with the words, “Welcome to the ends of the earth.” An earlier acquaintance quipped, “You’re going to the ends of the earth…and a little farther.”
Our church is trying to be faithful to our Lord Jesus’ command, and the church’s purpose statement; “Go and make disciples of all nations.”
Working with International Mission Board (IMB) missionaries and other Great Commission partners in the West African region of Timbuktu is part of fulfilling Faith Fellowship’s Acts 1:8 strategy.
Scott Mills, chairman of the church’s Acts 1:8 missions group, jumped at the opportunity to lead the church to partner with IMB missionaries, Brad and Sally Womble, and share the message of Christ with people who had little or no access to the gospel.
Almost two years ago, Faith Fellowship entered into a “PrayerPLUS Partnership” with the IMB to pray for the gospel to penetrate the spiritual darkness of the 3.5 million, almost all Muslim Songhai people of Nigeria, one of the least evangelized regions of the world. Through much prayer and God’s leading, the Wombles, strategy coordinators for the Songhai of West Africa, directed the outreach to take place in Mali, instead of Niger, more specifically to the villages of Gourma-Rharous and Bamba, a three-hour, desert road trip from Timbuktu.
In a place where there is no electricity and no running water, we were privileged to be among the first to introduce people to the Source of Life and the Water of Life, Jesus Christ.
January’s mission objectives were to prayerwalk and to distribute cassette tapes of biblical stories translated in the Songhai language.
One of the most memorable miracles occurred in Rharous, a village with a population of approximately 25,000 people. The day after we arrived in the village, the local solar-powered radio station began broadcasting the cassette that we distributed. The radio station was co-sponsored by the United Kingdom Islamic Relief Co-op. So, for an hour, God used that Islamic-supported station as a mouthpiece for the gospel.
The Lord knew that we wouldn’t be able to visit the village of Bamba. So, He arranged to beam the gospel by radio to Bamba instead.
Though the travel was long and expensive, we planted the seed of the Word and we trust that others will be obedient to water the seed.
This trip wasn’t just two men going on a safari. Faith Fellowship Church partnered with many others, including IMB and BCM/D.
We attribute the success of the mission to the Mustard Seed Prayer ministry of the church, which began shortly before we left for Africa. Many in our congregation continue to fast and pray one day each month for the salvation of the Songhai people.
Faith Fellowship is partnering with other churches in Texas and South Carolina to plan return trips to the Songhai villages.
For more information and to learn more about the efforts of sharing the gospel with the Songhai, visit the web at www.seekingthesonghai.net.