West Africa (MNN) — The International Mission Board has
joined forces with a Southern Baptist church and its workers to bring the Word
of God to a remote people group in West Africa.
The Vigue people are poor and
remote, scattered among 12 villages in southern Burkina Faso. Short-term
missions teams from Bartlett Baptist Church in Bartlett, Tennessee began visiting
the Vigue people and ministering the Gospel to them. As a result, 13 villagers
are now believers, and the Vigue chief welcomes IMB and its partners to visit
his people at any time.
"It's really exciting to be a part of something that's
impossible in man's strength," said Becky Babcock, director of missions at
Bartlett Baptist Church. "There's no way we can take credit for anything that's
Since the villages are so remote and most Vigue people are
illiterate, mission teams have worked with translators to tell oral Bible
stories. Babcock led Safi, the first Vigue believer, to Christ while sitting
under a tree in Safi's compound. Safi broke into a spontaneous song about
Christ's strength and love.
"Jesus came to wash my heart clean," said Safi. "I am strong
because of Jesus. I believe."
The Vigue chief has granted Bartlett and IMB teams
permission to return as often as possible to minister the love of God, and a special place has been
set aside for them to stay.
"If you put a church in my village, I will give you my
children to teach them," the chief told one volunteer group.
Babcock credits her missionary upbringing for the fire for
mission work she feels today.
"I felt just as called to the mission field as my parents,"
Babcock explained. Babcock grew up in West Africa as a missionary kid and
helped her parents with missionary work when she wasn't in school. Her
extensive missionary experience and heart for missions has led her to send
seven short-term missions teams over the past two years to work with the Vigue
With help from Southern Baptist missionaries David and Tami
Wood, Babcock helped Bartlett become an "engaging church" responsible for
sharing the Gospel and making it accessible to the Vigue people.
"It is the church's responsibility to go and make
disciples," she says. "So we must go, and we must go to those who have no