YWAM has a ministry called King’s Kids that is a youth program that focuses on evangelism through song, dance, and performance. This week, there is a King’s Kids camp in Bamako that about 30 kids are attending. The weeklong camp is allowing the kids to draw closer to the Lord, learn new things in classes and study sessions, and develop new song and dance routines that they use to share the Gospel through evangelistic performances and events.
John was asked to teach a couple of sessions about technology at the camp on Monday and Tuesday. He shared about the good and bad of technology and how to best use technical tools while avoiding the pitfalls and temptations it can bring. John talked about 5 main areas of technology that are changing life in Mali: Television, Computers/Internet, Music/MP3, DVDs/Movies, and Cell Phones. Even though Mali is one of the poorest countries in the world, technology is making major inroads bringing both good and bad to the country. This is something very close to John’s heart and an area he was eager to share about.
One area especially is television. Having watched TV erode our society and morality in the States during our lifetime, it is especially hard to watch it happening in Mali too…and at a much faster rate. Television is still a relatively new item in Mali. Since 2001, we’ve seen it grow from a few TVs scattered among the wealthier people to something that is now expected in every home. Keep in mind that the average per capita income for Mali is $270 per year. A TV can cost an average family between 6 months to a year salary! But one of the hardest things has been the programming that is attracting people. Every night a 7pm Mali comes to a grinding halt as a telenovela (Brazilian soap opera) captures everyone’s attention. People stop on the street and gather in front of TVs set up to watch Au Coeur de Péché – The Heart of Sin. The title says it all.
This was the second landmark teaching opportunity for John in the past few days as he once again did his entire presentation in French without the help of a translator. This is an exciting step that will hopefully lead to a lot more opportunities to share with the people of Mali.