ORODARA, Burkina Faso (Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission/Mennonite Mission Network) –No room was big enough to hold the more than 225 women from Eglise Evangélique Mennonite du Burkina Faso (Evangelical Mennonite Church of Burkina Faso) gathered for a seminar, Feb. 2-6, at the Orodara Mennonite Bible School.
Claire Traoré is president of the Mennonite women’s association in Burkina Faso. Photo by Lynda Hollinger-Janzen.
By day, the women clustered outside around the windows and the door of the overflowing lecture hall trying to follow the teaching on “The Importance of Praise and Adoration.” At night, sleeping mats covered every inch of floor space.
One of the speakers, Noëlle Dembéle from L’Eglise de l’Alliance Chrétienne du Mali (Christian Missionary Alliance Church of Mali), shared about her experiences after her husband died. She continued to praise God through all the difficult situations and the pain, just as she had when life was joyful, Dembéle said.
“Through praise, God accomplishes great things in our lives,” Dembéle said. “The person who praises is like a preacher who witnesses to those who don’t know Jesus, showing them how great God is.”
Dembéle also led sessions on praise as a form of prayer and as a weapon that destroys Satan’s power in our lives. She taught that in the context of praise, God works miracles. This was demonstrated as many healings took place during the seminar and many women were freed from various forms of bondage.
One seminar participant told about her son who had been ill and bedridden for months. When some pastors came to pray for him, he was healed and is now able to work again. The mother was so grateful to God, she gave 500 francs (about 85 cents) as a thank offering.
Seminars such as this one enable women to find sympathetic ears to share their difficulties and to find encouragement to continue on in their Christian faith [as there are less than 1,000 Mennonites in Burkina Faso, a predominantly Muslim country where less than 5 percent of the population are members of a Protestant church].