FIA in West Africa
I could not see the face of the Man in my dream. When I looked, it was only light. Light so bright that my eyes could not see. The Man said to me, ‘Come with Me. You are tired. You need rest. Leave the people who are beating you behind. I will be your Friend and care for you.’ I did not know who this was, but the dream continued every night for several months,” relayed Mansoor, a West African villager.
We met Mansoor last month when the first volunteer work team since COVID-19 restrictions were put into place in March of 2020 landed in a new, unreached region of Africa. Joe, a missionary in the area, introduced him. “Mansoor and I are brothers. We may not look like it at all, but we are! We’ve been going to the same church and we’ve been working
together since 2015 in many ways.”
The majority of the people in this region of Africa speak French and are considered Muslims but many of them are animists as well. Growing up, Mansoor fasted and prayed as a Muslim, but was also in charge of the family idol and was sent for training to serve the idol which involved wearing gris-gris (talismans) to protect and bless his family members. When a friend told him of some Americans nearby, Mansoor wanted to meet them to practice English. The Americans heartily welcomed him but said they teach language skills through reading the Bible. “This was not good I thought. I want no part of this,” Mansoor remembered.
Touching or reading a Bible is considered “haram” or strictly taboo. He left but bumped into the Americans weeks later on the road. When invited again, Mansoor listened as they read the Bible. That night and every night after for several months, Mansoor had a dream about a Man with a face of light who called him to cross over a river which led into a peaceful garden away from people who were trying to harm him. Eventually, Mansoor realized this Man was Jesus and began to study God’s Word for himself. Mansoor’s dream ultimately led him to another kind of dream.
A New Dream
Joe and Mansoor have a dream to make Jesus known in an area in which 94% of the population has never heard of Christ!
To begin to make this dream a reality, Joe and Mansoor put their money together 5 years ago to buy a piece of land which they call “Bethlehem Land.” Their dream is one of restoration— restoring the land, restoring relationships, helping people be restored to God, and the restoration of individual’s identities to become the people God intends each of us to be.
“Many people here do not know of Jesus, yet my country needs Jesus. I asked myself what can I do? We need a way for the people to see and experience Jesus. We need a way to touch the community so they will have an interest in the things of God and sense the Holy Spirit,” shared Mansoor.
Joe and Mansoor felt God leading them towards a holistic approach that would allow villagers to experience Christ physically, educationally, through working with their hands in the land and farming, as well as through the church and spiritual aspects.
Although it is legal to become a Christian, Joe and Mansoor explained that the people won’t just listen to preaching. “With my people, you must do life. Live life with them. They want to see who you are. Relationships are the first priority. You have to earn the right to tell the Truth. Every time someone meets up with you, they are looking to know who you are and what you are really about.”
Joe and Mansoor’s dream is to build a house and garden for Mansoor, his wife, and three daughters, a clinic, and a school on the Bethlehem land.
“The people will look at my family and see how we live. Because I am a nurse, I can bless people with my hands and they will feel the power of God through treatments. And we will build a school to train children from the bottom up. We will teach the Gospel and chapter and verse. If they don’t become Christian, they can at least learn to respect and live with Christians in peace,” Mansoor told us.
Water of Life Well-Drilling
Joe and Mansoor’s dream aligns with our dream at Friends In Action—to see every tribe, tongue, people, and nation declare Jesus as Lord! In six remote locations across the globe, we use practical service and infrastructure projects as a platform to assist missionaries who are sharing the Gospel with unreached people groups.
In West Africa, that mission gets accomplished through our Water of Life well-drilling ministry and partnering with missionaries like Joe and Mansoor.
We were overjoyed to drill our first successful well in this new region during last month’s work trip! The team also completed repairs on essential equipment and constructed trusses for a hangar that will house critical machinery for the work that lies ahead.
Describing the team’s progress, Joe commented, “We are so grateful to Friends In Action for their work. We’ve seen that the Spirit is working in this region. Mansoor grew up here. He understands the people. We’ve seen his connection with them, and God working through him. We’re grateful to FRIENDS for helping us show them Jesus through this long-term, holistic approach in their midst.”
FIA’s team leader to Africa, Jeremy clarified, “We realize that by assisting with the Bethlehem Land projects, we can fulfill our long-term goal of seeing Mansoor’s people come to Christ. We are committed to helping make Joe and Mansoor’s dream come true.”