Dear Faithful Ones,

Writing in the shadow of the events of September 11, some might ask, what is the purpose in life of believers when such evil exists.  Our purpose remains the same as it did the day John the Baptist was born:

...to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace. Luke 1:79

As children of the Most High, we also share in that calling. Thank you, Faithful Ones, for praying that the Light would shine on the MNK, who still live in darkness. We remain confident that they will come to know the Truth before it is too late.

Steve Green sings a song called He is Good; the lyrics say, He is good, He is good, His love endures forever; give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.  For His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds, give thanks to the Lord.  These words aren’t original; they come from Psalm 107, yet they are a powerful reminder that God is good! He was, is, and always will be Good.  That is His nature; that is who He is, irregardless of what happens around us.

Scripture does hold the answer to each of life’s questions and situations.  As you read the daily Scripture, pray that the Word of God will penetrate MNK society so that Truth will speak to the representative MNK family of Bakary, his wives, his children, and his parents.  Pray that those of us on the field will be found faithful, available and obedient to what the Lord has asked of us.

Mon, Oct 1: Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give an account.—Heb 4:13 Fatou’s brother works as a night watchman for an aid agency. Recently a large section of the chain link fencing was cut out and stolen. When questioned, he, of course, knew nothing about the incident and certainly hadn’t been sleeping! It is doubtful that he was involved in the theft, but in his mind, the fence was stolen because "God wasn’t watching". Pray that the MNK will acknowledge God’s omnipresence and man’s inability to hide anything from Him.

Tue, Oct 2: Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood.—Gen 8:21 The children are at it again! Pushing, tugging, hitting, yelling. Kadi just came in from the rice field, exhausted, and is ready to discipline the oldest. But her mother-in-law gently admonishes her; "Leave them alone; they are just children; God doesn’t remember these kinds of things; it’s only after they are older, married." For the Mandinka, personal accountability is negligible; just about everything can be explained or excused away. Pray for the MNK to acknowledge that sin is a choice, which can be overcome through the power of the Risen Savior.

Wed, Oct 3: And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.—Micah 6:8 It’s Friday, time to go to the mosque. It is easy to spot those who have made the obligatory pilgrimage to Mecca. Both men and women wear a very distinctive scarf, adorned with a black and gold braided headpiece. Every eye is on them as they walk proudly to the mosque. Every Muslim knows they must fulfill this requirement. Pray that the MNK will come to know the truth of what God requires of them…to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with Him.

Thu, Oct 4: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.—Colossians 3:23 Modou has just gotten a government job with the department of functional literacy in the capital city. He knows his workload will be light and his paycheck substantial. His supervisors will not expect him to perform above a minimal level. Islam does not connect his religious and everyday life. Pray for Modou that above all he will see his need to serve the Lord with his entire life, not just in his religious obligations.

Fri, Oct 5: For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin.—Hebrews 4:15 Every day brings new temptations. Every member of Bakary’s family is tempted, especially when they come to town. Bakary worries that his wives or his children will do something which will seriously embarrass him and his family name. Pray that sin won’t be excused as something God created, but rather recognized as contrary to the will of God, and that through the Blood, we can be righteous.

Sat, Oct 6: I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.—Psalm 4:8 A world without the peace of God is a very fearful one. The MNK have many superstitions and beliefs that have become mixed with their brand of Islam. Binta and the other wives close all their windows at night, so that witches will not enter and steal their children. They have learned to deal with the fact that it is 90o+ inside the house. Pray that the God of Peace will enter into the lives of the MNK, especially the women who live in a constant state of fear of the unknown.

Sun, Oct 7: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem,…how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.—Matt 23:37

The MNK have no idea that they can KNOW God. Pray today that believers around the world will bring the power of the Holy Spirit upon the MNK so they may realize God’s greatest desire is to fellowship with them.

Mon, Oct 8: Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything.—Philippians 4:5 Sali, Bakary’s mother, epitomizes elderly MNK women. She has an air of ease about her; she is rarely in a hurry; she doesn’t quarrel; she is gentle. But another aspect of her life also epitomizes MNK women: she is lost. She does not know God. Pray that this characteristic of elderly women will lead them to know the One who is Gentle, Kind, Good, and Righteous.

Tue, Oct 9: Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.—Proverbs 27:6 Lamin’s friend from childhood comes to the village for a visit. Lamin’s wife, Sali, has never really liked this man, though she would never say so! So, when he comes, they both exchange kind words…what a wonderful cook she is…what an upstanding man he is…etc…etc. While Kadi knows that this man has cheated many men, including her husband, the MNK way is not to say so. It is better to keep peace than to tell the truth. Pray that the God of Truth will enter into these lives and that salvation will become a reality.

Wed, Oct 10: Teach me your way, O Lord; lead me in a straight path.—Psalm 27:11 A one minute radio announcement asks the question, Which road are you on? and then follows with Scripture from God’s Word. "What do they mean, which road," thinks Bakary; "I’m on the only road I know, the Muslim road." Pray that these one-minute radio spots which air Scripture daily will speak to the hearts of the listeners so that they will find the True road to God.

Thu, Oct 11: You shall be with child and give birth to a son,…How can this be since I am a virgin?…Nothing is impossible with God.—Luke 1:31,34,35 The virgin birth is quite a concept, especially to Binta as she thinks about her young daughters. Pregnancy outside of marriage, though frowned upon, is more common than when she was a girl. She thinks about what she would say if Tida came to her announcing she was pregnant. Yet the Toubob who told her this story insisted that with God, NOTHING is impossible. Pray that Binta will come to understand God’s character as all-powerful and unchanging.

Fri, Oct 12: Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice, Blessed are all who wait for him!—Isaiah 30:18 The god MNKs fear and strive to obey does not long or rise to do anything for them. He is a distant god, unpredictable in when he will or won’t show mercy or administer justice. So when Fatou finds out Binta has broken one of their few plastic buckets, and lied about it to blame it on her, Fatou begins to devise a plan for revenge; this is the MNK way, to pay back evil at least two fold. Pray that the MNK will look to God to administer justice to their enemies, all the while seeking God Himself so as to have His grace and mercy in their own lives.

Sat, Oct 13: But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.—Matthew 7:26 The women’s new house is really nice. The foundation is strong; the walls are strong; the roof is made out of good corrugate. Everyone who comes admires the workmanship, as well as the money put into its construction. But the front porch was just some mud piled up with a very small veneer of cement plastered on top. With the first rains, the porch washed away. Excuses galore are being offered as to why the porch didn’t last…the cement was no good…the rains were too hard…there was too much sand. But the sad truth is, it was poorly constructed. Bakary and the other men in his village have heard about the Way of Righteousness, but they are afraid to make a decision that goes against their "culture". Pray for the MNK who have the opportunity to hear the Truth to hold on to it, irregardless of what their society tells them.

Sun, Oct 14: How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.—1 Kings 18:21 A group of elders has just finished listening to the history of the Prophets, as told in God’s Word. They acknowledge that these stories are true. They acknowledge that what Scripture teaches about Jesus is true. A Koranic teacher tells them yet more stories, which he says have been left out of the Bible. They believe these stories as well. Pray that the Holy Spirit will reveal the one source of Truth to these men.

Mon, Oct 15: I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.—Psalm 34:4 Lamin was talking with his friends yesterday about the stories they’ve been listening to on the radio. They are somewhat different from the traditional versions, but they seem true…still, they aren’t the traditional versions. To accept these would be to go against Lamin’s heritage and his ancestry. As he struggles with these thoughts he remembers a verse the Toubab told him: he delivered me from all my fears. Pray that the Holy Spirit will open the ears, eyes, and hearts of those who hear Scripture to its truth!

Tue, Oct 16: For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.—Jeremiah 29:11 The boys want to have a party in the neighboring village tomorrow night. They’ve been working very hard in the fields, and have come to Bakary to ask permission. He agrees, but not without strenuously warning them about the things they must avoid: marijuana, alcohol, etc. "Who, us?" is the response, but Bakary knows the temptations of being young men. Yet he doesn’t worry too much, since they are just boys. Pray that young MNK men will see their need to follow a God who wants so much more for them than they can possibly imagine!

Wed, Oct 17: When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone.—James 1:13 Binta’s good friend’s small child died last night; she heard it announced over the radio. The conversation in the women’s house revolves around whether or not this woman had done something wrong, whether or not someone had placed a spell on the child, whether or not God was trying to determine what the family believed, etc. "It was God’s will." Pray that the MNK will see that God is Good, not evil, even in times of bereavement.

Thu, Oct 18: For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.—Psalm 1:6 Today is election day in The Gambia. There are multiple candidates running for the office of President, with multiple political parties represented. But every candidate faces the same reality of a small country, few natural resources, an increasing population, and a poor economy. Pray that peace will reign during the elections and that above all, God will reveal Himself not only to the politicians, but also to the general populace.

Fri, Oct 19: Nothing impure will ever enter [the Holy City], nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.—Revelation 21:27 At every MNK funeral a loose-leaf version Qur’an is split up among the people and read out loud. It is not the meaning of the words that is important, for no one is listening because most MNK do not understand Arabic. It is the recitation, the sound of the words on the wind in which there is power. At the end of the day, an accounting of the number of verses read, and the number of times, is made. If there are enough, this will help the dead person get into heaven. If there are too many, the extra may be added to one who didn’t have enough at his/her funeral. Pray that the MNK will focus on being clean in spirit, rather than trying to trick or outsmart God.

Sat, Oct 20: You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.—Genesis 2:17 Fatou has heard this story since she was a small child; now she tells it to the other wives’ children. God did not allow Adam to really eat that apple; he sent an angel who stuck his hand down Adam’s throat and grabbed it…hence the Adam’s apple on men. So, Adam didn’t really sin; and even if he had, God would have forgiven him since God made him able to sin…it wasn’t Adam’s fault! Pray that the Truth will be declared clearly so that all may understand their position before God: forgiven or not.

Sun, Oct 21: Does [God] speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?—Numbers 23:19 It’s two o’clock in the afternoon, and Bakary has just finished lunch. He worked hard in the field this morning, but has decided to rest this afternoon. But the children are running and screaming and fighting and laughing and generally making noise! He threatens them…if they don’t stop… The children are quiet for a couple of minutes before they are at it again. Does God carry through with His promises? Bakary is once again pondering this thought. Pray that God will be seen as Upright and Consistent.

Mon, Oct 22: No eye has seen, nor ear has heard, nor mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.—1 Corinthians 2:9 It’s simply too much for the women to grasp…that God could love them the same way He loves men. The Islamic idea of paradise (heaven) is an attractive concept to men, but it doesn’t hold much for women. Yet, the talk Bakary’s wives are hearing of heaven on the radio, while being ridiculed by the men, sounds wonderful. Pray that all MNK will recognize that God’s desire for a personal relationship with individuals is in no way restricted, but available to all who believe.

Tue, Oct 23: The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.—Psalm 19:1 As Binta got up this morning, she saw the sun trying to peek through the cloud cover. If it doesn’t rain, she will join the other women in the rice field after she cooks lunch. It’s going to be a very long day. A rainbow in the sky reminds her of a story she heard about the Prophet Nuha (Noah), but she can’t remember the details…something about the destruction of the earth. But that’s not the same story she remembers from her childhood. Pray that Binta and other MNKs will learn the truth about the Prophets of the Old Testament, and that they will see God’s faithfulness and consistency.

Wed, Oct 24: I will take vengeance on my adversaries and repay those who hate me.—Deuteronomy 32:41 Whew! That TV show was exciting last night. The two sisters took a belt and whipped the woman ho had beaten their mother years ago. They had repaid evil and they felt good! Every member of Bakary’s household was glued to the TV, and all shouted and cheered as revenge was administered. Every MNK knows the proverb, if you make me eat blood, I will make you eat worse. Muslims have a heritage of avenging God. Pray that Bakary’s family will understand that God doesn’t need our help! He simply wants us to worship and love Him, remembering our place in creation.

Thu, Oct 25: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.—John 1:1-2 The children attend Qur’anic classes daily. They learn by rote specific prayers and verses from the Qur’an. But they have no idea what they are saying…everything is in Arabic, which they don’t understand. But in the evening they listen as the elders discuss Islamic beliefs. Since few people understand Arabic, everything they know about the Qur’an is from someone else. They believe the Bible has been corrupted; it cannot be trusted. Pray that as the Word of God spreads MNKs will hear it as Truth.

Fri, Oct 26: Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.—Psalm 100:1-2 The young men of the village begin shouting joyfully as someone begins to pound on a drum. Excited voices break into triumphant song and the earth shakes with dancing feet. Smiles are everywhere as the refrain rings in the air: the national soccer team has qualified to play in the World Cup Soccer Match! MNKs are willing to shout for joy and sing about something as trivial as a soccer game, but they are not free to do so for God. Such emotional behavior is not associated with religion. Pray that the MNK will come to understand that it is right and fitting to worship the True God with vigor and excitement!

Sat, Oct 27: A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world’s light. It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light.—John 11:9-10 "It’s not my fault!" That is a universal expression! Every human being has said it at one time or another to relieve himself of guilt. Yet, today it was Bakary’s fault. He chose to lie. But the MNK have worked out a way to get around personal accountability. Each person has one angel on each shoulder. When you do something good, the good angel writes it down. When you do something bad, the other angel writes it down. But if you can correct the infraction or say "sorry" before it is written down, it won’t be counted against you. Pray for the MNK to understand they are walking in darkness, yet the Light is available.

Sun, Oct 28: Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.—Isaiah 55:6 As Lamin ages, he has more and more vivid dreams. Sometimes he hear voices; sometimes he sees things that frighten him; often his dreams involve "the prophet Jesus". His family says he’s just old, he’s not in his right mind. But Lamin spoke to a follower of Jesus who told him that God was preparing him for death. Pray for Lamin that he will recognize that God is seeking after him, and will find Him before it is too late.

Mon, Oct 29: You shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard of your misery. He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.—Genesis 16:11-12 It is not viewed as politically correct to state what the Bible teaches about Ishmael. Muslims believe that he was the son Abraham took up on the mountain to offer as a sacrifice to God; the Qur’an is not specific. Yet Scripture is clear as to why there is such hostility in that area of the world. Pray that the MNK will recognize the true son of promise to Abraham, and that God is the God of Peace, Promise and Faithfulness.

Tue, Oct 30: With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness.—James 3:9 Kadi and Bakary have had a terrible fight. It was mostly verbal and it was ugly. Curses, insults, and slanderous comments flew back and forth. Now it is prayer time. Kadi covers her head and goes through the ritualistic prayers for the evening; afterwards, she comes to Bakary and curtsies to him, showing him respect. Neither have forgotten the words said earlier; yet neither has regret. People everywhere allow their tongue to cause tremendous hurt. Pray that as the MNK are exposed more and more to the Truth, they will see their need for repentance, not just towards one another, but also towards God.

Wed, Oct 31: But I will not take my love from him, nor will I ever betray my faithfulness. I will not violate my covenant or alter what my lips have uttered.—Psalm 89:33-34 Faithfulness. How can someone you can’t see, can’t hear, can’t know, can’t communicate with be faithful? After all, how many faithful friends do you have in life? This concept is something very tough for Bakary to deal with…as a young child, he was taught to trust very few people, including his mother and future wives. Pray that as MNKs come to understand more about God, that His unchanging faithfulness will become crystal clear.

 

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