Burkina Faso’s Pastors: “Please Pray for Us” May 30, 2024

The people of Burkina Faso – a landlocked West African country roughly the size of Colorado – have not known peace for a very long time.

Civil war has wracked their nation for generations, but in recent years, Islamic attacks on Christians have introduced a new level of tension. According to the African Center for Strategic Studies, deaths in Burkina Faso due to militant Islamist violence have nearly tripled over the past two years, and violence has increased by 46%.

“You can see the stress, the weight this situation puts on the people,” said Rev. Dr. Dinku Bato, LHF’s coordinator for African translation projects who recently led an LHF Small Catechism seminar there. “A pastor from the northern region where much of this violence happens told me, ‘Every weekend, there is always tension and we don’t know what’s going to happen. We try to be prepared, but since 2016, there have been about 100 Christians in our region who have been killed. We are always on edge, worried that something will happen.’”

In the midst of these attacks, Lutheran pastors courageously carry on, teaching the Good News of Jesus Christ to their people and to others in the community who may be open to learning about the one true God.

“Even with these threats, Lutheran churches have people who are coming to Christ, and the Church is still growing even though Islam is dominant,” exclaimed Rev. Bato. “The Muslims in that area are what are called folk Muslims. The people don’t really know much about Islam, but it is encouraged by Muslim influences coming from Libya, who want Burkina Faso to embrace radical Islam. But when you share the Gospel with an unbeliever, the Holy Spirit makes a conversion, and the people respond in a very good way. And so the Lutheran churches there need to train people in how to introduce the faith.”

To help spread Christianity, LHF’s translations of the Small Catechism into the local languages of Moore and Gourmanchéma are highly valued.

“There is a big hunger for these kinds of resources. You can see that people crave them!” Rev. Bato said. “They treasure LHF materials. People just grab them when they’re available! They read them, use them and share them.”

About 3 dozen church leaders attended Rev. Bato’s catechism seminar, including a half dozen pastors.

“These pastors are doing very good work, but they need our support through good Lutheran resources and training,” Rev. Bato said. “Their churches are not small; they often have 150-200 attendees, and they will grow still more. These people and these pastors, they have courage. All they asked was, ‘Please pray for us. Please keep us in your prayers.’”

To help provide more catechisms for Burkina Faso, click here!

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