Equipping nomadic believers
West African Missions Office in West Africa
Representative image used. © Andrew Strong.
In 2008, SIM helped sponsor a regional conference to bring together believers from a pastoral people group in West Africa. At the conference, believers voiced their concern over the lack of trained pastors to teach the Bible, mentor and encourage followers in remote areas. A training centre was started two years later to meet this crucial need and equip believers with skills to teach and mentor people in the communities they come from.
The training centre admits committed believers who show the potential to learn and lead. Students attend the centre during the dry season over a three-year period. The goal is that Christ’s character be formed in the students and that they be equipped to read and teach God’s Word in their language. Ultimately, the goal is for worshipping communities that develop and multiply while maintaining their cultural distinctives.
The curriculum, which is taught by local pastors, includes a strong practical aspect, incorporating Bible teaching, literacy, story-telling, and memorisation. During the non-teaching period, staff visit the students to encourage, mentor and provide accountability. Graduates have the opportunity to return for periodic six-week refresher courses. There is currently no other Bible training facility to equip people in this country for ministry in their language.
Praise God that believers are being trained! Adam* and Noah* are two brothers who have greatly benefited from the teaching at the training centre.
Transformed by a dream
Playing together as small children in the 1990s, brothers Adam and Noah never imagined doing anything different to their ancestors. They embraced their nomadic heritage, their self-sufficient herding lifestyle and the freedom of movement it afforded them. Although they weren’t aware at the time, God had other plans for their lives.
Years later, one night as Adam lay sleeping, he had a vivid dream that someone told him to travel to the southeast, many kilometers from where he was grazing his herd. In the dream he was instructed to visit an older man who would give him an important message. Adam obeyed the dream and as he arrived in the camp to which he had been directed, a local believer met him and shared the gospel with him. Praise God Adam listened to the Good News and believed the words that were spoken. He was encouraged to attend the training centre to learn more about what it means to follow Jesus.
After two years there, he returned home and led eight of his family members to Christ. In 2019, he attended a refresher course where he learnt about Paul the Apostle’s uncompromising love for Jesus. This challenged him not to be distracted from following Jesus. Adam said he felt further strengthened to face suffering with courage.
As Adam grew in his faith, he watched on in despair as he saw his younger brother, Noah, spiraling deeper into a lifestyle of hopelessness. Noah had left his family when he was around 8 years old to live with the wealthy family of his best friend. He was treated as a son in this family, receiving clothes and eating well at every meal. However, some of the money was illegally gained and Noah was being drawn into criminal activity. His friends were known for their thievery and lawlessness. Meanwhile, Adam was praying for his brother and pleading with him to leave that life behind and stop living so dangerously.
One day, Adam urged his brother, saying, “Leave that life. Come and live with us again. You need to turn away and follow Jesus. Stop your involvement in what you know is wrong.” Soon after this Noah’s friend was shot and killed while being chased. It was a wake up call to Noah and he finally listened to his brother and left his lifestyle behind.
Praise God that Adam had the privilege of leading his brother to Jesus. He shared with him the impact the training centre had on his own life and encouraged Noah to consider attending too. Following three years there, Noah went on to study at a more advanced Bible School in order to gain an even deeper understanding of the Word. He and his wife are now in their final year.
Today, Adam leads Sunday worship meetings with local believers. Around 100 people gather for the weekly teaching. The believers are praying for many of their own people at several other wells where there is a growing openness and interest in the gospel. God is also using Noah for his purposes. God has given him a burden to take the gospel to people in a region unreached by the gospel.
The training centre has helped equip both of these brothers for a lifetime of serving Jesus, as his mouthpiece to their people.
Pray with us
Join us in praying that the desert tribes come to know Jesus.
Pray for Adam and Noah to continue growing in their faith.
Prayerfully consider equipping believers through the training centre with your gift. Visit our donation page, select the office nearest you, and use project number 97820.
*Name changed to protect identities. Originally published on SIM Australia's website.