Rice and beans help spread the Gospel

By June 3, 2008

Senegal (MNN) — Five villages in the area of Kaffrine, Senegal
have received food aid through International Mission Board and SIM International. The first sacks of rice were distributed to villagers on May 15, and
rice will be distributed to two more villages as soon as it can be obtained. High prices and a limited supply of rice have
made it difficult to obtain rice locally. 

The last rainy season in this area did not result in a good
harvest. Crops dried up before they had
fully matured, causing a food shortage that will last at least until the next harvest
in September. 

“Someone said that in their family they had not cooked a
regular meal for 20 days. Others are
eating one meal a day. Many farmers have been out of food and are looking for
work and food wherever they can,” said IMB missionary Jim Vaughn. 

Vaughn and his wife Bev are partnering with SIM to
distribute the food. SIM is also
coordinating with World Vision to cover each village in the area. It plans to distribute 50 kilograms of rice
and 25 kilograms of beans to every household, as well seeds to plant in time for the
next rainy season. 

The villages where SIM will distribute food have all hosted
chronological Bible story meetings.  The
Wolof people in the village
of Tawa just recently
completed the Old Testament after two years of meetings. SIM missionary Bennie Bonthuys will now continue
with the stories of the New Testament.  

"When we get to this stage of chronological storying,
the chief could ask us to stop the meetings as he sees it clearly contradicting
their religious system," Bonthuys said.

"We are moving very slowly. People have started sensing
where this is going and what that would mean to them—they are a little nervous
but continue to listen." 

Although 92 percent of Senegal’s population is Muslim;
other religions are tolerated, and many of the Wolof people are open to hearing
the Gospel. However, many of them belong
to Muslim brotherhoods headed by leaders called “marabouts,” who are believed
to have supernatural powers and the ability to help their disciples enter Paradise. 

A man becomes a disciple of a marabout by saying, "I
give you my body. I give you my soul. Whatever you command me, I will do it.
Whatever you reject, I reject." 85
percent of the Wolof people belong to these brotherhoods.  

In the village
of Tawa, friendship and
preventative health care have opened a door for the Gospel. Missionaries hope that famine relief will
open the door even wider in Tawa and many other villages. Click here if you would like to help support
their effort. 

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