Jonah and our conversation with the Fulani


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Greetings from Ghana!  We’ve been back now for nine weeks which is hard to believe.

Recently my very good friend Jonah Manyan came down to Akropong for a visit so we could, among other things, talk about the work among the Fulani.  If you haven’t seen the short Fulani video, please watch it.

Jonah has been a YLI coach now for almost twelve years, and I’ve known him nearly that whole time, but he still amazes me with the wisdom by which he goes about making disciples.  The Fulani are an especially difficult culture in which to communicate the Gospel.  They have a New Testament and the Jesus Film in their language, but less than one tenth of one percent identify as Christians.  

The reasons I believe are as follows:  they are a closed culture, proud of their Muslim heritage, nomadic and geographically dispersed, and a reputation which motivates most people to leave them alone.

God however has brought Fulani people into our path over the last few years, so YLI coaches have been doing what YLI-trained leaders do: build relationships, love, proclaim Christ, love, focus on discipleship, and love.

What does this look like?  Jonah told me about their most recent meeting: 100+ Fulani, along with the chief, showed up and packed their Local Council of Churches building.Here is what Jonah did:1.  Through the Bible, Jonah built a connection with the people showing how ‘people who care for livestock’ are important to God.  God came to Moses while he was tending livestock.  An angel appeared to shepherds so they could be some of the first to see Jesus.2.  He listened to concerns about their welfare.  Fulani children do not readily have access to school, and so their situation rarely improves.  One of the main reasons the Fulani came en masse to these first two meetings is that someone from the outside showed concern about their plight.  Jonah has made no promises to do anything for them–he doesn’t have the funding to do much of anything. But he cares, visits, listens and prays.

3.  When it was time for the Fulani to pray toward Mecca, they asked Jonah where they could go that would be acceptable for them to pray.  Jonah’s response: “Why not here in the building?” It surprised the Fulani that a Christian pastor would allow Muslims to pray to Allah in a Christian facility.  In addition to fulfilling their required prayer, they asked Jonah to pray to God for them.4.  At the end of the meeting, the Fulani chief announced to everyone in attendance that if Jonah continues to teach them about Jesus, by all means they will also eventually come to know the truth about God.I expect that this will not be quick work.  I would be shocked if anytime soon this Fulani community disassociates itself from Islam and starts building churches.  Yet I am very hopeful that the community will come to know God’s love, that they will know who Jesus is (not as doctrine, but as a person whose mission would fervently pursue the Fulani).And, very exciting for me, in three weeks, I hope to make the long journey to the next Fulani meeting in Saboba, joined by my nine-year-old daughter, Katie!In the meantime, please continue to pray.  For us, for Jonah, and for our Fulani friends.  As always, we are grateful for your vital prayer and financial partnership.Ash

Author: Ash Zook

Executive Director Young Leaders International PO Box 1088 Carrollton, GA 30112

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