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Burkina Faso

Welcome to Burkina Faso, a small but densely populated nation in western Africa. Islam and local fetishism serve as the religion of choice for most people. Burkinabe and SIM missionaries partner together in seven locations. In addition to providing short-term Bible schools in each region, SIM is also committed to the task of translating the Bible into local languages, reaching youth and street children, clean water development, and developing HIV/AIDS related ministries.

Ministry Vision Current SIM Ministry SIM's Partner Church Unreached People History of Christianity Topography Climate History Fulani Slideshow Helpful WEB Links

Ministry Vision
By faith, we see:
  • SIM missionaries and Burkinabe believers working together to plant churches among several people groups in the country and in Mali.
  • SIM missionaries and Burkinabe believers responding to a multitude of human needs in a way that allows Christ�s love to be evident in order to attract people to Him.
  • believers in Burkina growing as disciples, discipling others, and teaching those discipled to disciple others.
  • theological training, largely self-supporting, that transforms the lives of participants, and whose teachers model what they teach.
  • individuals in all areas of ministry growing in their effectiveness as leaders through applying sound biblical leadership principles to their ministries.
  • a variety of media ministries reaching out to the lost and strengthening Burkinabe believers.
  • intercession, praise and worship as top priorities for SIM and the Church.

Current SIM Ministry
Burkinabe and SIM missionaries work together to reach the Fulani in seven locations. Their outreach is partnered with clean water development and veterinary medicine. There are two long term Bible schools in both French and Gourma, combining training for community development with biblical and ministry training.

Bible translation for the Fulani people is in process. Radio is a growing means of outreach, and the church is taking on an increasing role in this area. Ministries have been developed to reach street children and youth, and Mission and Church together are developing AIDS-related ministries.

Burkina Faso is made up of more than 72 distinct ethno-linguistic groups. The nation is blessed with religious freedom and with recent strong church growth in some areas. Some Muslim groups are beginning to respond to the gospel. But idolatry, fetishism, and secret societies dominate daily life, sometimes underlying a Christian profession. back

SIM�s Partner Church
In 1962, the Association des Eglises Evang�liques de Burkina Faso was formed. This association, now called Eglises Evang�lique/SIM (EE/SIM), SIM�s partner church, has 465 organized churches and 40 developing churches. Together they provide 11 vernacular Bible schools in seven locations throughout Burkina Faso. EE/SIM has sent missionaries within Burkina Faso and to their neighboring country of Benin. An estimated 8% of the nation's population is evangelical Christian. back

Unreached People
There are 32 people groups considered unreached in Burkina Faso, of which none were considered receptive as recently as 1987. Generally, the animistic people groups are more open than the Muslim people groups.

If you would like to be part of our team in Burkina Faso, please contact your nearest SIM office. back

History of Christianity
Roman Catholic missionaries began work in 1900 and today the Catholic Church is the largest Christian denomination in Burkina Faso. It is presently experiencing growth at the rate of 12,000 converts a year, having its greatest success among the Mossi people (11% claim Catholicism).

In 1921 North American Pentecostals arrived in Burkina Faso, establishing the Assemblies of God denomination, which is now the largest Protestant denomination. The Christian and Missionary Alliance entered in 1923, followed by SIM in 1930, World Evangelization Crusade (WEC) in 1937, and the Southern Baptists in 1971.

SIM opened work at Fada N'Gourma among the Gourma people in the east. Two Bible schools have emerged out of SIM's ministry there. In 1962 the Association des Eglises Evang�liques de Burkina Faso was formed. This association, now called Eglises Evang�lique/SIM (EE/SIM), has 465 organized churches and 40 developing churches among four people groups. There are also 11 vernacular Bible schools. An estimated 8% of the nation's population is evangelical Christian.

Burkina Faso is increasingly receptive to the message of Jesus, and missionaries are welcome. Practical ministry lends credibility, and a readiness to listen is more evident than in previous years. Work is slow, however, and only recently has the church experienced growth. Muslims are generally not receptive, but some groups like the Mossi, Bobo, and Gourma show increasing signs of interest.

Improvements in the nation�s education have caused restlessness and frustration among the young people, who are now better educated than their parents. Churches struggle to provide appealing programs for children and youth. Many youth leave home for the city, where it is reported that many of them convert to Islam within a few months. back

Burkina Faso occupies a plateau that is drained to the south by the Black Volta (Mouhoun), Red Volta (Nazinon), and White Volta (Nakanbe) Rivers, and to the east by small rivers connecting with the Niger.

Burkina Faso has three topographical regions:
  • South: temperate, covered with wooded savanna (grassland)
  • Central region: drier savanna
  • North: desert and grassland. The encroaching Sahara Desert is destroying valuable farmland. back

Burkina Faso has a primarily tropical climate with two very distinct seasons: the rainy season with between 24-35 inches (600 and 900 mm) of rainfall, and the dry season during which the harmattan blows, a hot dry wind from the Sahara. The rainy season lasts approximately 4 months, May/June to September, and is shorter in the north of the country.The Sahel in the north receives less than 24 inches (600 mm) rainfall a year and high temperatures 15�50 �C (60�120 �F).
Burkina Faso has three different climate zones. A relatively dry tropical savanna, the Sahel extends beyond the borders of Burkina Faso, from the Horn of Africa to the Atlantic Ocean, and borders the Sahara to its north, and the fertile region of the Sudan to the South. Situated between 11�3' and 13�5' north latitude, the Sudan-Sahel region is a transitional zone with regards to rainfall and temperature. Further to the south, the Sudan-Guinea zone receives more than 35 inches (900 mm) rain a year and cooler average temperatures. back

Burkina Faso is proud descendent of a number of empires. From AD 300 to 1060, an empire called Ghana ruled throughout west-central Africa. This empire was displaced by the wealthy Islamic Mandingo (Mali) Empire, which lasted to the mid-fourteenth century. The Songhai Empire ruled for the next 200 years. From the fifteenth century, the Mossi, a strong tribal people, built a powerful kingdom in the area of modern-day Burkina Faso. The Mossi, who were largely anti-Muslim, ruled until 1896 when their capital, Ouagadougou, came under the control of the French.

In 1896 this region�then known as Upper Volta�became one of the territories of French West Africa. In 1946 the French granted French citizenship to its people, and in 1960, the nation became fully independent but maintained close ties to France. Since 1965, political turmoil has dominated the scene as various strong men, both military and civilian, have vied for power. In 1984 the name of the country changed from Upper Volta to Burkina Faso. back
Fulani Slideshow

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