This month has been a whirlwind of new activities for me in life and ministry here in West Africa. A friend I met in France has an English Language school in the town where I live. She invited me to teach two small classes during the months of June and July to help them finish their school semester. I had been praying for ways to connect with the community in a controlled but outside environment. God answered my prayer by bringing them to me. The last few lessons we talk about social topics such as journalism, human rights, child issues both in the States and in West Africa. One of the questions we discussed in class was where the students got their news.
My news outlet comes from the most unexpected of places – my taxi driver. Each week, my driver comes to take me to English evening class and then drop me off back home the following afternoon (I stay at friend’s overnight). After just a few questions, I could tell he enjoyed explaining the different sights of the capital but also its political and social activities. We have discussed everything from education, police work, the president, arranged marriages/family dynamics to their freedom of expression. For every one of my questions, he has an opinion and intentionally responds to each inquiry. There have been several protests here concerning the people’s political expectations for the president and the general assembly (similar to the House and Senate in the States). I can rely on my driver to give me a summary of the situation and how it may evolve in the weeks to come. I have appreciated hearing his vision for positive change here. He appreciates my humble attempts in Bambara and gently helps me navigate what I wanted to say as we take each bump along the road.
Since I do not go out very much, I relish my ride to class. I get to experience the colors of the city and its people with their constant bustle and hustle. It also gives me a moment to pray for those we pass during our journey. I am reminded how even in this relationship there is an opportunity to be Jesus in this driver’s life. As we both agree social change can happen, I would love to share more about how God brings complete transformation. I am not sure if he is a believer so take every opportunity to express how my faith is involved with my life here. During one of my trainings, we talked about how it was important to vocally share how God is involved in our day to day life. Many unbelievers have the misconception that Christians follow a distant God and do not pray. For my witness here in Africa, even using God’s name in a conversation, speaks volumes. Africans have greetings and blessings and promises invoking His name. “Ni Ala sona” is one of them in Bambara which means “If it pleases God”. We would use this phrase if someone asks us to do something or when we talk about wanting to be somewhere. A simple reminder of who guides our steps and plans. If something is sick, we will say “May God give you life and heal you.”. The person must always respond by saying: “Amen!” When my driver and I talked about education, I shared that it was my prayer that all children here would be able to go to school. I pray for more opportunities to share the King's heart with the community here! To Him be the glory.