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News / Thoughts

Burkina Faso: Extremism and Covid impacting the church

March 22, 2021

Pastor Michel is the President of the General Council of the Assemblies of God (AoG) in Burkina Faso and this year, the AoG celebrates 100 years of presence in the country. Recently he spoke to Open Doors about the issues facing the church and how things have changed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“During these 100 years, the Lord has worked powerfully in the Church.” It has become one of the most prominent denominations in Burkina Faso. But with its large footprint in the North of the country, where jihadist violence has accelerated across northern regions since 2015, they have been hit hard.

“Many villages do not have Christians anymore… they have fled… these people kill without any pity. They slay and behead without pity, stealing people’s lives. That is why mostly in the north, you will find villages with (empty) church buildings… because Christians have left,” he explains.

“The displaced believers really suffer… They are used to living in community but now they have to live with people they don’t know.”

The impact of Covid-19

“The second difficulty we faced, and which really surprised us is Covid. Automatically like everywhere, churches were completely closed,” says Pastor Michel.

While pastors were finding new ways to reach believers and continue sharing the Gospel, there was little or no income in the form of tithes. “The Church really suffered due to lack of offerings and tithes… it also affected the widows and orphans that the Church was supporting.”

“…The Church really did participate in her own way with the little she has, showing her love and her presence despite these difficult situations.”

This reality makes the help that came from the wider global church all the more significant. Thanks to your sacrificial giving, we were able to help 1,000 families with aid packages that included food (rice, maize, beans, cooking oil) to last them at least 3 months.

Image: Essential aid being delivered to those who have had to flee extremist violence.

“I will build my church”

Despite the difficulties the Church has been facing over the past year, Pastor Michel is full of hope about the lessons the Church learned through their persecution. He can see purpose in the persecution. “Wherever (Christians) end up, the Gospel is still being preached. People are not afraid to share Christ, they are not tired of talking about Him, about His love, and His grace. And the pastors who are there, do their best to be a light, a siren despite persecution and difficulties.”

“Do not forget this Church… I’m asking you to pray for us: for the Lord Himself to be our defender, the one watching over us, protecting us, His people. Continue praying and His Church will not sink. The Lord himself said: ‘I will build my Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against her’. And I am sure that if you continue praying, these words of the Lord will come to pass. The Church will live and become a strength for the sub-region, for Africa. And why not even for the world?”

Pray now…

  • Thank God for the church in Burkina Faso. Ask that God would strengthen and build His church in the country.
  • For church leaders – that they would have wisdom in knowing how best to support and serve their congregations during the pandemic.
  • For those that have fled due to extremist violence. Ask God to bring comfort, peace and provision.

What you can do now…

Want to respond and help your persecuted family around the world? Try these things:

Get our World Watch List prayer map and resources to learn more and pray regularly. Do that here…

Blackout during lent – get sponsored to give up something you love for a short time in the run up to Easter and raise money and prayer for those who have lost everything because of their faith in Jesus. Sign up here…

Sign a letter to your MP asking them to act on behalf of persecuted Christian women and girls. Follow the link to a simple form that will find your MP and contact them for you…
Sign the letter now…

We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.