Sun, Jul 1: Bakary wakes up early; he planned to weed his peanut field by hand today. In the distance he hears the rumble of thunder; he wonít get his field weeded today, but he may just have a much needed day of physical rest. As he stays around his house today, pray that Bakary will listen to the chronological Bible lessons aired every Sunday afternoon on the local radio station. Pray that his heart will be touched by the Truth.

Mon, Jul 2: Kadiís older sister, Nyima, has raised ten children. Kadiís own first daughter is named after Nyima. Kadi has always looked up to her sister as a wise woman. Over the years, Nyima has taken care of other peopleís children (not uncommon with MNK society), "training" them to be obedient and respectful. But this has not been without cost to Nyimaís own family. She came to visit Kadi last week and told her how her own children were getting into different kinds of trouble, skipping school, etc., basically "taking up the bad habits" of these other children. Now she is frustrated. She canít send the children away without shaming herself or the parents of the children. Pray for MNK parents that they would seek the wisdom of our Heavenly Father over earthly wisdom.

Tue, Jul 3: Bakaryís uncle is paying for Modou, Bintaís 2nd son, to study at the government school. With this education Modou should earn enough money to support his father, his mothers, and his siblings later in life. While studying in the very poorly equipped school library, Modou comes across a Bible. Rather than tossing the book aside, he begins reading from the middle, about Godís love Ė Ps 118 Ė Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Pray that we will be able to place at least one Bible in every school where the MNK live during our School Bible Distribution plan.

Wed, Jul 4: Sali, Bakaryís mother, garners a lot of respect from the younger women, but she still feels like she must work hard physically in order to justify her place in the village. Going out to the rice field is extremely difficult for her, yet she goes at least twice a week, remembering what it was like when she was younger. As she ages, she thinks about death, and whether or not God will look favorably upon her. Pray that MNKs will seek to know their Creator in a personal way before they stand before Him in judgment.

Thu, Jul 5: In Bakaryís small village, which doesnít have electricity, running water, or telephone service, there are three small, battery-powered televisions. Nightly these TVs are brought out so that the villagers can watch the programs aired on the one, government-owned station. These programs include a weekly, low-budget South American soap opera. The morals practiced on this show are accepted to be the morals of ALL westerners. The village adults equate westerners with Christianity. Pray that these misconceptions will not be a barrier to western missionaries and volunteers who are endeavoring to provide a true Christ-like witness.

Fri, Jul 6: Bakary took his father, Lamin, to the government hospital for treatment of a bad cough. While there they met up with a Toubab they have known for years, who offered to drive Lamin back to his village. All the way home, Lamin praised the Toubab, blessing him and his family. The Toubab tried to explain that God has already blessed him through Jesus, but his MNK language skills are limited. Pray for clarity of speech and thought as we work in another language; pray that our MNK language skills will be multiplied by the Lord to enable MNKs to hear the message of salvation clearly.

Sat, Jul 7: The birth of Bintaís brotherís first child was very special, but even more so since it was a boy! Binta went to great inconvenience to travel to his village for the special naming ceremony. All the men from the surrounding villages came and prayed for the health and welfare of this baby and his parents. These kinds of events are very important to MNK society. While there, Binta heard tales about two Toubabs who walked through the area; they brought nothing with them; they wanted nothing; they just came to pray for the villages. Binta shared these stories with her family when she went home. Pray for the villages touched by the PrayerWalk; pray that the people will be anxious to hear teachings from these men of God.

Sun, Jul 8: A stranger came to the village today. He walked around, greeting everyone; he had business with the elder men of the village, specifically Bakary. Now as he is leaving, Fatouís daughter, Mariyama, sees kola nuts in her fatherís house. This can mean several things, but the one which frightens her the most is that he has come on behalf of someone who wants to marry her. This could be a man anywhere from five to twenty-five years older than she. She will probably be the last one informed of any decision made concerning her future. Pray for Mariyama to seek the true face of the Living God, the One who never disappoints.

Mon, Jul 9: Fatou is very concerned about her only son, Ibrima. He cut his leg with his short-handled hoe while working in his peanut field two days ago. Only a small nick at first, an infection has developed rapidly. Ibrima refuses to go to the hospital for medicine; "Itís not that bad," he tells his mother. But Fatou can see the swelling in his leg and the slight limp. This time of year skin infections are prevalent and dangerous. Pray that MNKs will seek not only medical care for their bodies, but the spiritual care for their souls offered by numerous mission-supported medical clinics.

Tue, Jul 10: It is very late when Bakary is awakened by the sound of a man calling his name at his door. No one comes out this time of night except to bring bad news: there has been a death in the neighboring village. Bakary goes to the menís houses and informs them that his uncle has died. He will wait until morning to tell the women. They will dress early and walk to the village, arriving in time for the burial. Many prayers will be offered on behalf of this dead man, hoping to earn him adequate grace to enter heaven. There are no assurances in Islam. Pray that the God of Hope and Assurance will reveal Himself to those who are seeking Him.

Wed, Jul 11: Peace is everything. Sali has heard that expression ever since she can remember. But, now, as the elder woman in the compound, she has a much better understanding of its importance. Having three women married to the same man living in the same house presents numerous challenges, not the least of which is dealing with jealousy and strife. Saliís job is to maintain harmony among these three women, to help them understand their place in society, especially as it relates to men. Pray that God will reveal Himself to Sali so that she will comprehend a womanís individual value in Godís eyes, and be able to share that with younger women.

Thu, Jul 12: While in town yesterday, Binta was given a piece of paper with writing on it. She was told it comes from Godís Word; unfortunately Binta is illiterate. She knows that her father-in-law, Lamin, can read, so she brings it home to him. But Lamin can only read Arabic script writing; he cannot read Roman script. Binta is troubled at not being able to understand what is written on this piece of paper; the bearer made it seem like a very important message. She gave it to Fatouís daughter, Hawa, who went to the government school for four years. While Hawa can read the words, she has no comprehension of the meaning. Pray for the production and distribution of the Word of God in the MNK language (Arabic script, Roman script, and audio) so that the Message can be heard.

Fri, Jul 13: Okay, itís Friday the 13th! Are there things we avoid doing today because it is considered bad luck? Do you avoid cracks in the sidewalk? Will you walk under a ladder? What happens if you see a black cat? Superstitions abound in every culture, including the MNK. They donít leave their windows open at night (irregardless of the temperature) because cats turn into witches and steal their children. They donít leave cut hair lying around to be picked up and used in a charm against the owner. If they knowingly misstate the truth, they are quick to ask forgiveness of the good angel that sits on their shoulder so that it wonít be held against them on the Day of Judgment. They live in abject fear of the unknown. Pray that the MNK will come to truly know the verse: Greater is He that is within us than he that is within the world.

Sat, Jul 14: Fatouís eldest daughter, Adama, is about to give birth to her first child. Both mother and daughter are quite frightened: one from knowledge, one from ignorance. For this instance in life, Islam offers little hope or words of comfort; neither does the myriad of superstitious beliefs still found in this society. Pray for the Scripture radio spots to offer truth, hope, and comfort to the hearers; pray for the timely production and airing of these.

Sun, Jul 15: A fight breaks out in Bakaryís compound. While not unusual, fighting among wives is considered a great shame. That evening, Bakary sat down to contemplate what went on, what went wrong. Just two months ago he completed this new house for his mother, his wives and his children to live in. He even called an Islamic teacher to come and offer special prayers for the house and those who reside there. This teacher climbed up on a ladder, took a piece of paper on which he had written secret things and stuffed it into the eaves of the house; then he cemented it up. Why hadnít those prayers worked? Pray for Bakary and all MNK men to see their need to put their trust in God alone, who is the same today as He was yesterday as He will be tomorrow.

Mon, Jul 16: Sali walked to a neighborís home yesterday to check on a young pregnant woman. The young woman, 17, was in good spirits; her husband traveled that morning but was expected back sometime tomorrow. But sometime during the night, she began having pains. When Sali checked on her this morning she was working quite hard to deliver this baby, but Saliís experience told her it was going to be several more hours. The young woman is tired and frightened; the elders have all come to check on her today and pray a blessing on her; she puts on a good face. The women who check on her all have great sympathy for her, and tie different amulets to both her body and her bed to take away the pain, keep the evil spirits away, etc. Pray that the MNK will recognize their total dependency on God and give every part of their lives to Him, including those completely out of their control.

Tue, Jul 17: On the way to the rice field, the women tell stories they have known since childhood. One is about a particular field where a deadly snake rises up out of the mist at dawn and dusk and eats whomever is walking by. They laugh as they tell the story, embellishing it as their own mothers did. But there is one aspect they do not talk about: whether or not it is true. If they say it is not true, then they are calling their elders liars. But what if it is true? Pray that the MNK will be set free from the fears that bind them in darkness.

Wed, Jul 18: Bintaís eldest son, Lamin, was sent by his father at the age of 8 to an Islamic teacher. Lamin has been taught to read and write Arabic. He has learned to read the sermons for each specific holiday. He has learned to recite the correct prayers and blessings for every occasion. Binta is very proud of her son, confident his life will be pleasing to God, ensuring salvation for her and his future family. Though his head is full of knowledge, true peace evades Laminís heart. Pray that Laminís heart will seek the One who holds all truth and knowledge.

Thu, Jul 19: Bakaryís sisterís husband died 10 days ago. She and her five children have returned home to her fatherís compound to complete the MNK mourning rituals. After the special 40th day prayer day, the elders will begin to look for a new husband for her. She must marry; after all, a woman only receives Godís favor as a wife, not an individual. She will be presented with three options. First, she can marry one of her husbandís brothers; it wonít be Bakary because he already has three wives. Second, she can marry another male member of her husbandís family. Third, she can marry someone from outside the family who shows interest in her. Her greatest concern is for her children; a man is not responsible for the care of children not his own. Her father (Lamin) and Sali will give her guidance in this decision-making process. Pray that MNK society will comprehend the individualís value before God and see the family unit as Godís special gift to us.

Fri, Jul 20: Bakary decided to go to town for the weekly Friday prayers today. As he was entering the mosque with all the other men, he walked past dozens of beggars. One of the pillars of Islam is giving alms to the poor; therefore, by giving to these beggars, Bakary is fulfilling one of his obligations required for salvation. He does not understand that Godís forgiveness cannot be bought. Pray that MNK men will hear and accept that Godís Way of Salvation has already been provided through His Son.

Sat, Jul 21: Fatouís youngest son, Ibrima, took something from Kadiís oldest child, Ebou. There is much denying and accusing going on when Binta walks up. She handles the situation between the boys and that is the end of it. Or is it? In truth, Binta knows what really happened, but to tell Fatou that her son, Ibrima, was a thief would hurt Fatou terribly. Since she was a small girl she has known that it is better to tell a lie that is kind than to tell a truth that is painful. That is the MNK way! Pray that MNK society will be convicted by the truths found in Scripture; pray that these truths will weave themselves into everyday life; pray for revelation from the God of Truth.

Sun, Jul 22: On the surface the MNK appear happy, but to the outsider, how can that be? They have nothing. They live without running water; they live without electricity. The women cook meals in pots on a wood fire. The men work hard planting, weeding, and harvesting crops by hand. Their houses are made of mud and thatch roof; they donít have windows with screens to keep out the insects. But what really is confusing is that they seem happy with the status quo of Islam that says God does good and evil in peopleís lives; people are helpless pawns. God has no interest in the mundane aspects of their lives; they donít consider praying about a cough, an injury, or a birth. Pray that God will become real to the MNK, a personal God, a caring God, one whose foremost desire is for His children to know Him.

Mon, Jul 23: Sali, Fatou, Binta, Kadi and other women are listening to Bible stories being told by a Toubab missionary from a nearby town. At the story of Adam & Eve, they try to explain that although Eve did eat the apple, God sent an angel who stuck his hand down Adamís throat, thereby preventing Adam from swallowing the apple Ė hence menís Adamís apple. Rather than argue the point, the Toubab rereads what Scripture says and admonishes her friends to daily ask God for the revelation of Truth. Pray that our MNK friends will be able to distinguish the complete Truth from Satanís twisted truth.

Tue, Jul 24: This is the rainy season. Normally it rains at least three times a week, but it hasnít rained now for nine days. People are praying in their homes for rain; prayers for rain have been offered in the local mosques; prayers have even been offered by the countryís Islamic leader. But still, no rain. The people cannot understand why God isnít answering their prayers. Pray for opportunities for Believers to pray in the name of Jesus and for God to receive all glory for His answers.

Wed, Jul 25: Modou came home very excited from school today. His sports teacher said that a group of American college students will be coming to their school next month to teach them the finer points of volleyball, and to host a volleyball competition for the schools in the area. Modouís excitement stems from many directions: getting the chance to meet Toubabs and perhaps getting something from them; learning how to play volleyball better; maybe developing a link with this college and being able to go to America for college as well! Pray for the American college students to teach appropriate volleyball skills, have fun and interact with the local students, and share the true source of their joy!

Thu, Jul 26: Bakary and his good friend went to town this morning. They came upon a new shop in the market; it was called A Place of Peace. Inside they met a man who talked with them about every day life and related stories from the Old Testament, a part of Godís Word Muslims are told to listen to. They heard him take stories about Abraham and Noah and make it apply to their lives in the village. They came away a bit confused, yet hungry to know more about these stories. Pray that their hearts will remain unsettled until they find the Truth; pray that those working among the MNK will be able to make the Bible alive and applicable!

Fri, Jul 27: Coming home from town, Fatou hears some gossip she would rather not have heard. Her husbandís brother is accused of taking a cow that belongs to another man. That man has gone to the police to have the brother-in-law arrested. At this point, the elders become involved. It doesnít really matter now whether or not the cow was stolen. What matters is the restoration of relationships and that everyone shakes hands. The elders will sit down together and hash out the compensation, sometimes including the accused and the accuser, sometimes not. Forgiveness will be required, but not easily accomplished as the MNK believe in revenge and retaliation. Pray that the God of Righteousness and Justice will be revealed to these MNK men.

Sat, Jul 28: The sky is very dark and the wind picks up. The rain begins about 8:30 in the morning and continues all day. The women canít go out to the rice field; they are grateful; the work is hard. The vegetable gardens are watered by the rain. The women even set out their buckets to collect the rainwater; now they donít have to go to the well for drinking and bathing water. Pray that the MNK will have grateful hearts for Godís blessings; pray that they will come to know the God who desires to have a personal relationship with each one.

Sun, Jul 29: Another religious festival looms on the horizon. For Bakary, it is a time of heavy obligation, as he is expected to provide a goat for his family, as well as new clothes for all of his children and wives. For Fatou, Binta, and Kadi it is a time of expectation and disappointment. If Bakary gives clothes to Binta, he must also give them to both Fatou and Kadi; there can be no favoritism. Consequently, no one will get them. This is a bitter embarrassment for the women as their husband does not completely fulfill his obligations. For the youngest children it is thrilling as they receive new clothes. No one gives a thought to the religious aspect of all this; only the outward appearances. Pray that the Holy Spirit will reveal to the MNK that we are to worship God in Spirit and in Truth.

Mon, Jul 30: The youngest child kicks the dog. The oldest child beats the youngest (walking) child. The youngest wife beats the oldest child, not necessarily her own. The first wife chastises the youngest wife. The old women admonish the first wife to have patience with the youngest wife. The husband gets angry with his best friend and beats one of his wives. The elders admonish him to seek peace; how can he be an example to his wives if he is angry with his best friend? The elders get upset with the neighboring villageÖ Pray that the MNK will find true Peace in their lives and everyday situations.

Tue, Jul 31: A relative of Laminís comes to visit for a few days from the capital, bringing with him a few gifts. One of these gifts is a cassette tape of kora music, the traditional Mandinka musical instrument. Yet this is not typical kora music for two reasons: one, the kora is being played and the words sung by a woman, and two, this woman is a Toubab! Her ministry has been telling Godís story by putting Scripture to music. Pray that when MNKís like Lamin hear the word of God sung in this time-honored tradition, it will impact their hearts in a personal way.

 

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