Radio Proves Effective for Fulani Outreach Efforts

Post a Comment » Written on December 30th, 2008     
Filed under: News
OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO (December 30, 2008) – The work of Evangelical Covenant Church partners reaching out to the Fulani people in this impoverished country continues to expand, including the potential broadcasting of radio programs and a planned addition to the Gampela Fulani Center.

Galen Johnson, a Covenanter who works with the Fulani people, says Christians hope to purchase half-hour time slots on two radio stations for weekly discipleship programs. The programs would be broadcast in the capital city of Ouagadougou and possibly Djibo, where Johnson unsuccessfully tried to obtain a license for a radio station.

RecordingThe chronological discipleship program, “The Way of Righteousness,” originally was conceived in Senegal and is being gradually translated into Fufulde, the language of the Fulani, the largest nomadic tribe spread throughout Africa. Roughly 150,000 of an estimated 1.5 million people in the capital city are Fulani – roughly one percent of them are Christians.

So far, 28 of the roughly 100 lessons have been translated. The discipleship material will make up about 20 minutes of each program, which would include 10 minutes of music.

“The Way of Righteousness” is geared toward reaching Muslims and educating Christians, says Johnson, who currently is on home assignment. It takes people through the Bible beginning with the Old Testament and continuing through the resurrection story.

Muslims are familiar with Old Testament figures because they are also mentioned in the Koran, but their stories are told differently. Teaching first on the Old Testament enables Christians to build trust by the time they start talking about Christ, Johnson says.

The Koran has scattered references with incomplete and inaccurate stories to many of the patriarchs, Johnson says. “They consider themselves within the people of Abraham, but redefine who God is,” Johnson says. “They claim all earlier prophets, including Jesus, but neglect the theological aspects of their stories such as original sin, substitution sacrifice, and atonement.”

RadioEli Bande, pastor and secretary of the Fulani church region, along with his wife, Fati, are helping lead the evangelistic work. The couple recently moved to the Fulani Center where he will continue to record programming, lead conferences, and oversee development of the site, Johnson says.

Fati represented the Fulani women during the 2004 Women Ministries Triennial in Portland, Oregon.

Plans also have been developed to construct a small building on the grounds of the Gampela Fulani Center that would include a small storefront from which to distribute tapes and sell books. The addition also would house a makeshift recording studio, a meeting room, a storage room, and an office.

Of the studio, Johnson says, it’s not high-class equipment but it is good enough for recording the material.  The top photo shows a recording in progress in the small studio. The lower photo is of a Fulani man carrying his radio – a familiar sight as people often are in isolated and remote areas with the radio as their only source of information. To see additional photos, click here.

Listening to the radio is a social event for the Fulani, Johnson notes, and people will gather together on the streets to listen to someone’s small private radio. However, the radio also allows people to be exposed to a broader understanding of spiritual truth without fear of reprisal from authorities.

In March, six Covenanters from Woodstock, Connecticut, and Selah, Washington, will travel to the Fulani center to construct a playground. Johnson hopes to establish more partnerships between local churches in the United States and the Fulani believers so that they can complete the training center.

Needs cited by Johnson include:
•    $80 per week for the radio broadcasts
•    $500 per conference to help bring in believers from remote areas
•    $1 per cassette for Fulani outreach
•    $300 per month for the Gampela Conference Center staff support
•    $5,000 for construction of the Gampela Center studio and distribution building
•    $1 per brick for a Gampela wall and water storage construction

Gifts designated for Fulani support may be directed to the Evangelical Covenant Church, Department of World Mission, 5101 N. Francisco Ave., Chicago, IL, 60625.

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