Welcome to Burkina Faso, a small but densely populated nation in western Africa. Islam and local fetishism serve as the religion of choice for most people. Burkinabe and SIM missionaries partner together in seven locations. In addition to providing short-term Bible schools in each region, SIM is also committed to the task of translating the Bible into local languages, reaching youth and street children, clean water development, and developing HIV- and AIDS-related ministries.
Team's VisionBy faith, we see:
Country & Ministry ProfileBurkina Faso is blessed with religious freedom and with recent strong church growth in some areas. Some Muslim groups are responding to the Gospel but idolatry, fetishism, and secret societies continue to dominate daily life for many.
Improvements in education have caused restlessness and frustration among the youth. Churches struggle to provide appealing programs for children and youth. Many young people leave home for the city, where it is reported that many of them convert to Islam within a few months.
The church that partners with SIM has sent missionaries within Burkina Faso and to Benin and Niger. Burkinabé and SIM missionaries work together to reach the Fulani in several locations. Short-term Bible schools have been provided in some of these regions and there is now hope for a long term Fulani Bible school to be established. A missionary training center has been established, and two long-term Bible schools provide teaching in both French and Gourma, combining training in community development with biblical and ministry training. The entire Bible in Gourma was published in 2005. Bible translation for the Fulani people is in process. Media is a growing means of effective outreach. Ministries have been developed to reach street children and youth, and mission and church together are developing AIDS-related ministries.
SIM’s Partner ChurchIn 1962, the Association des Eglises Evangéliques de Burkina Faso was formed. This association, now called Eglises Evangélique/SIM (EE/SIM), SIM’s partner church, has 465 organized churches and 40 developing churches. Together they provide 11 vernacular Bible schools in seven locations throughout Burkina Faso. EE/SIM has sent missionaries within Burkina Faso and to their neighboring country of Benin. An estimated 8% of the nation's population is evangelical Christian.
Unreached PeopleThere are 32 people groups considered unreached in Burkina Faso, of which none were considered receptive as recently as 1987. Generally, the animistic people groups are more open than the Muslim people groups.
History of ChristianityRoman Catholic missionaries began work in 1900 and today the Catholic Church is the largest Christian denomination in Burkina Faso. It is presently experiencing growth at the rate of 12,000 converts a year, having its greatest success among the Mossi people (11% claim Catholicism).
In 1921 North American Pentecostals arrived in Burkina Faso, establishing the Assemblies of God denomination, which is now the largest Protestant denomination. The Christian and Missionary Alliance entered in 1923, followed by SIM in 1930, World Evangelization Crusade (WEC) in 1937, and the Southern Baptists in 1971.
SIM opened work at Fada N'Gourma among the Gourma people in the east. Two Bible schools have emerged out of SIM's ministry there. In 1962 the Association des Eglises Evangéliques de Burkina Faso was formed. This association, now called Eglises Evangélique/SIM (EE/SIM), has 465 organized churches and 40 developing churches among four people groups. There are also 11 vernacular Bible schools. An estimated 8% of the nation's population is evangelical Christian.
Burkina Faso is increasingly receptive to the message of Jesus, and missionaries are welcome. Practical ministry lends credibility, and a readiness to listen is more evident than in previous years. Work is slow, however, and only recently has the church experienced growth. Muslims are generally not receptive, but some groups like the Mossi, Bobo, and Gourma show increasing signs of interest.
Improvements in the nation’s education have caused restlessness and frustration among the young people, who are now better educated than their parents. Churches struggle to provide appealing programs for children and youth. Many youth leave home for the city, where it is reported that many of them convert to Islam within a few months.
If you would like to be a part of what God is doing in Burkina Faso, please contact your nearest SIM office.
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