After traveling to the deserts of Africa three times now, I do not feel the effects of culture shock as much. I’ve heard the call to prayer at 5 am every morning, I’ve witnessed many devoted followers of Islam on their knees praying at the same time, I’ve seen the women be segregated, covered from head to toe, and jump up and run out of the room when a Muslim man walks in the room. Nothing in the culture and hospitality of the B-people surprised me on this trip. The more I visit, the more I realize that the only big obstacle I would have in living there is learning the language.
I did not, however, expect the disconnection between the B-people and the city dwellers. We were able to walk out among them, sing Christian songs with their children, and openly and out loud praise the Creator who sent us half way around the world to tell the B-people about a God who cares and a Christ who died. When we were in the city, we had to be very carful of everything we said because of the concern the Muslims have for proselytizing Christians in their country. As far as I am aware, the B-people know why our guide, who I will call Joe, someone from a far away land, would be spending so much time among them and they still consider him a great friend. We got to see Joe’s heart and how he truly has a passion for the B-people to come to Christ. In the area that we visited, only B-people are allowed to build and live there. One of Joe’s ideas is to start a supply delivery service to these people who live way out in the desert. One problem is that it would look too suspicious for him to do this. So he has started a training school to teach national Christians, who Joe hand picks based on their beliefs, to open up businesses like this in the area. Then when they are asked why they are there, they can answer “To make money” and it won’t seem suspicious.
The B-people are ready for the Gospel. For the most part, their connection to Islam is one of show and heritage. They do not know why they are Muslims. We must be faithful to pray that God would show the B-people the truth of whom he is and that they would open their hearts to the truth. Also we must pray for Joe, his family, and his ministry. God is using Joe as a light in a dark place, but Joe is still subject to the government. Pray that the government remains ignorant of Joe and the work he is doing. Pray that God will send others to work along side Joe and in other areas throughout the deserts of Africa.
Written by Justin Thweatt