Pastors Gain Glimpse of Fulani Life

Post a Comment » Written on May 18th, 2006     
Filed under: News
CHICAGO, IL (May 18, 2006) – Ed Arroyo was sitting on a mat outside the hut of a village chief in Burkina Faso and tried to explain why one wife was enough. “He was particularly interested in the marriage covenant and wondered at our ability to stay married to only one woman,” he recalls. “They commonly take several wives.”

Arroyo had not expected such a conversation when he traveled with several other Evangelical Covenant Church pastors to the West African nation. “The other male pastors in the group and I spent quite a bit of time explaining marriage from our personal perspectives and in light of scripture,” says Arroyo, who is pastor of Central Community Covenant Church in Asheboro, North Carolina.

Galen Johnson teaching Fulani children “Most of us have been married over 25 years, so we spoke of the bond of love and commitment we have with our wives, which mirrors Christ’s love for his bride,” Arroyo recalls. “As we spoke, we could tell this village chief was in deep thought, often nodding as he listened to our comments. He told us that we had spoken wisdom and he appreciated our visit,” Arroyo adds.

Covenant missionaries Galen and Jill Johnson hosted the delegation that included pastors Robert Hoey from Messiah Covenant in Detroit, Michigan; Amy Rohler from Bethesda Covenant in New York, New York; Conway and Deborah Boyce from Brooklyn Covenant in Brooklyn, New York; Marcus Putnam from Trinity Covenant in Greensboro, North Carolina; Mary Ann Owens, president of Covenant Women Ministries in the Southeast Conference; and Marva Watts, a member of the World Mission Committee and the wife of William Watts, pastor of Gospel Way Covenant Church in Chicago, Illinois.

The plight of women and children left a lasting impact on most of the women in the group. “It was like stepping back in time about 1,000 years,” says Rohler, who spent a night in the village with Owens. “They manually had to grind meal, butcher meat, draw water from wells, and make their cooking implements out of plants, like gourds.”

“Most of the women and children were illiterate and had not traveled much outside of their village,” Rohler adds. “I will never forget the faces of the children of Africa.”

Owens says she will always remember the faces of children in an orphanage at Yako in the northern part of the country. “Some were abandoned by their parents at a market. Others had just been dropped off at the orphanage with a small sack of their belongings.”

Team members “I’ve often dreamed of going to Africa, and to be able to connect this way with the people of Africa, especially among people of a tribe that is predominately Muslim, was very meaningful to me as a black man and a pastor,” says Conway Boyce, who was treated by many village residents as a returning hero.

The delegation praised the work of the Johnsons, who have developed a rapport with the villagers. The missionaries hope to establish a radio station and offer programming through which they can share the gospel. Although few have TV sets, nearly everyone has access to a radio.

For more information on the ministry of Galen and Jill Johnson, contact them at s/c SIM, Mission Protestante, 01 B.P. 1552, Ouagadougou 01,Burkina Faso, West Africa, or e-mail them at

(Editor’s note: members of the team pictured in lower photo are, from left: kneeling – Amy Rohler, Galen Johnson, Mary Ann Owens; middle row standing – Rose Cornelious, Deborah Boyce, Marva Watts, Edward Arroyo, Marcus Putnam; back row standing – Conway Boyce, Robert Hoey, Jill Johnson. The upper photo shows Galen Johnson teaching Bible stories to some of the Fulani children.)

Copyright © 2011 The Evangelical Covenant Church.

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