ELKHART, Indiana (AIMM/Mennonite Mission Network) – Mennonite churches around the world are invited to praise God and rejoice with Eglise Evangélique Mennonite du Burkina Faso (Evangelical Mennonite Church of Burkina Faso), said Abdias Coulibaly, national president of the denomination. The church will be hosting the celebration of its 40th anniversary in November.
"Together, let us give glory to God for the journey, and share our mutual vision until the return of the Lord Jesus," Coulibaly wrote in the church's letter of invitation.
Coulibaly compares the growth of the Mennonite Church in Burkina to the results of the disciples acting on the instructions Jesus gave in Luke 10: "Go into the surrounding villages and announce the coming of the kingdom of God."
After 40 years of faithfulness to this mission, "we also are joyful," Coulibaly wrote in the church's invitation to global brothers and sisters. "The gospel has been proclaimed, demons have been subdued, the sick have been healed, souls have been saved, and the kingdom of God has been established."
In Burkina Faso, Mennonite Mission Network partners with Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission and three other international mission agencies through a council led by local church leaders, which meets yearly to discern how to best carry out Jesus' love in the current context.
In 1978, Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission sent linguists to Burkina Faso to begin translating the Bible. The first team began to transcribe the unwritten language of the Sicite people in 1982. Anne Garber Kompaoré, who was part of this initiative, continues to live and minister in Burkina Faso with her husband, Daniel. Since then, Mennonite mission agencies have helped transcribe and translate the Bible in four other languages.
Four years ago, the Mennonite Church of Burkina Faso saw phenomenal growth in which baptisms increased the church by 12 percent, to about 500 members. Continued growth in subsequent years has current membership at 668 in more than 20 congregations.
In addition to the Kompaorés, another North American family – Nancy Frey and Bruce Yoder and their two children – also serve in the country through Mission Network. They teach in a variety of settings and respond to initiatives of the Mennonite Church of Burkina Faso.
For more information about attending the 40th anniversary celebration, contact Rod Hollinger-Janzen at firstname.lastname@example.org.