We were only back from Switzerland for a few days before we really hit the road running. Julie and Cole are back in school and fully involved in Bamako Christian Academy. John spent several days working with a short-term team that came out to visit a Malian Christian school project they’ve been working with. This team is not associated with YWAM or any other projects or churches we’ve been involved with but it’s always wonderful to reach out and help new people. John acted as their guide and accompanied them on many visits to their school in a village just outside of Bamako. He also made arrangements for translators, transportation, and other needs of the team.
Unfortunately, we found out late in their visit that the team’s vision and goals were much different from ours and we ended up parting ways. Much against the pleas from us and several pastors, they overstepped some very big cultural and ministry boundaries and caused quite a bit of damage not only to their project, but to the overall image of missions and Christianity in Mali. At one point, we were faced with an angry mob and had to literally flee a village from a large group of people that wanted to talk with the team. But even more sadly, the team is dealing with their issues contrary to how the Church and Christian community in Mali has advised. Their actions have seriously damaged the name of Christianity here and have the potential to set back the work of the Church in Mali by years.
The team has since left, but there is a lot of hurt left behind. Please be praying with us that we can be part of a healing process. Also, please keep this team in prayer as they left Mali very bitter and angry. Pray they can find peace, healing, and forgiveness. We also need the same. We have been very hurt by what’s transpired over the past several days. This situation has come at a very inopportune time. In addition to the Muslim holy month of Ramadan just beginning, there is currently a lot of unrest in Mali. All missionaries have been evacuated from the north of Mali and there are large protests happening around the country. We do not fear for our safety at this time. We would like to see it stay that way.
One positive thing that has come out of this has been a test of our new French skills. As we’ve been sharing this issue and seeking counsel with our YWAM leadership, we feel we’ve been able to effectively communicate in French everything that’s been happening.