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Unresolved Tensions in West Africa

Unresolved Tensions in West Africa
Bahati and her daughter are among many Christians in West Africa who have had to flee their homeland out of fear (representative photo for her safety).

The first time Bahati* heard biblical radio messages at her home in Niger, she was intrigued. She began listening as often as she could, but always in secret. Then one day, her father caught her.

Hearing the words from the radio, Bahati’s father began questioning her. She knew she couldn’t hide it any longer, so she told her father that she had left Islam behind to become a Christian.

That changed Bahati’s life forever.

Bahati’s father kicked her and her 3-year-old daughter out of the house. He also told all the people who had employed her that she had become a Christian. They fired her, leaving her homeless and without an income.

“Bahati had made her living cleaning houses and gone home at night after work,” said Rev. Marc Nabie, the French ministry leader in West Africa for Back to God Ministries International (BTGMI). “But now, because of her belief in Jesus, she and her daughter were forced to sleep under a tree.”

Messages of Peace

Bahati’s situation is similar to what many of BTGMI’s French ministry listeners are facing throughout West Africa. Growing tensions between Christians and some Islamic sects are resulting in horrific violence.

“A priest and 16 of his church’s members have already been killed. Another priest (was) kidnapped and is still missing,” reported Nabie.

In response, BTGMI’s French ministry team is developing a series of messages sharing biblical views on peace, justice, tolerance, unity, and reconciliation. The series also will provide churches with security advice and provide material and psychological assistance to affected Christians.

“We hope to bring a message of peace and to be salt and light in the darkness,” Nabie added.

Finding Help

Eventually, Bahati decided to make her way to the offices in Niger where BTGMI and Words of Hope—the media ministry associated with the Reformed Church in America—partner to broadcast messages like the ones Bahati heard.

“We connected Bahati and her daughter to a local church where she now worships and is receiving help as she gets back on her feet,” shares a BTGMI ministry partner in Niger.

In spite of all she’s lost, Bahati is thankful to be part of God’s family and for the radio messages she heard.

Tensions between Muslims and Christians in Burkina Faso are getting worse. Pray the new radio messages will contribute to peacebuilding efforts in the region. As more people seek help, pray for ministry staff and churches as they discern the best way to help.

*name changed for safety

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