West Africa is one of the world's most impoverished regions. There is progress and change, but in the race for development, the rest of the world is steadily pulling away. In some of West Africa's rural areas, people live much as their ancestors did hundreds of years ago; however the younger generations are moving to the cities in pursuit of change and adventure.
CRWM missionaries have been ministering to the Fulani (also known as the Fulbé) in the region for over 25 years. For centuries, the Fulani have been nomadic cattle herders spread out across West Africa. Most Fulani live in the northern areas just under the Sahara desert. Others have settled further south, staying in one place permanently and engaging in commerce. The traditional, nomadic Fulani lifestyle is threatened and rapidly disappearing as the younger generation feels the pull of the cities.
Christian Reformed World Missions' outreach to the Fulani (also known as the Fulbé) centers on two strategies: focusing on Christ rather than Christianity and building relationships as a means of sharing the Gospel. CRWM missionaries live in Fulani villages and towns, develop relationships with Fulani, at times sponsor development projects, pray for the sick, and go to baby-naming ceremonies, weddings, and funerals. In short, they live with and somewhat like the Fulani so that “by all means we can reach some” (I Cor 9:19-23).
Increasingly, Fulani are being exposed to the Gospel, becoming less resistant to it and curious to learn more. Many of them are very interested in Jesus. The Quran says much about Jesus, raising him high and encouraging Muslims to read the “Injil.” the Gospels. And so, CRWM missionaries spend many hours reading the Gospels, talking of Jesus, and praying for felt needs in the name of Jesus as they are willing. They pray that the Fulani will accept Jesus and establish His kingdom among the Fulani in such a way that the Gospel penetrates and transforms their society.