Thursday, September 04, 2008

Good News from Guinea

What a joy it was to receive the following report from the missions organization "Serving in Mission" about the Manika people. Through the influence of Bethlehem Baptist Church I have been praying for the Manika along with many others for some years and it is quite a privilege to see God answering our prayers--in our life times. Here's what they wrote, it's a little long but worth the read:

In 2006, after nearly 90 years of Christian witness, there were only about 75 believers and one pastor among the nearly 2 million Maninka people of Guinea in West Africa. That, however, may soon change.

Until 2006, the Gospel of Luke was the only book available in a language the Maninka could easily understand. Today, Genesis, Ruth, Jonah, and 1 and 2 Thessalonians have all been printed, and other books are nearing completion.

But giving the Maninka the Word of God requires more than simply publishing Scripture. The Maninka are an oral people with only about 25 percent of the population literate. The treasures of their history and culture are passed on not in writing, but by singers and storytellers.

So how does one communicate the Truth
A dramatic reading of God's Word captures the attention of a Maninka man who may be hearing the gospel for the first time in his own language.
of the gospel with a non-reading culture? Although literacy training does have a place, literacy programs take time and very few of the Maninka people are interested in learning to read.

To give the Maninka people the opportunity to hear the Good News of Jesus in a culturally relevant way, SIM's Guinea team took a creative approach and launched the Maninka Audio Media Outreach (MAMO).

As Scripture is translated into Maninka, the MAMO team makes recordings of God's Word, read dramatically in the style of the Maninka storytellers. MAMO's first dramatic recording of the book of Genesis utilized more than 20 Maninka readers and was completed in June of 2006.


Upon its completion, the first tape of the four-cassette recording was given to the guard at the studio. As he listened to it with a friend, a crowd gathered. Some of the people wanted to buy the cassette from the guard, but he wouldn't sell it. When asked what he thought about the tape, he kept repeating, "It's very, very good!"

Since then, we have made many copies of those tapes and are distributing them to the Maninka for a small fee. We are also working on recording more books of the Bible as teams translate additional Scriptures into Maninka. Our prayer is that we will be able to produce, copy, and distribute the tapes quickly and that they will spark an interest in God's Word among the Maninka.

Recently, we learned that God is answering our prayer in a way we hadn't expected. When a local Christian traveled to another city about four hours from our recording studio, she saw a crowd of people gathered. When she walked closer to the group, she realized the people were listening to our multi-voice recording of Genesis! Upon further observation, she concluded that the man playing the message was a merchant who had made copies of our cassettes and was selling them.

Although copyright issues are important to most studios, we didn't mind a bit! As Paul said in Philippians 1:18, "What does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this [we] rejoice."

Please join us in continuing to pray that God's Word would spread among the Maninka and that many lives would be transformed by the gospel as a result.

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