A true story that took place in a country of West Africa formerly called Upper Volta, today known as Burkina Faso

I would like to tell you a true story that took place in a country of West Africa formerly called Upper Volta, today known as Burkina Faso.

This story happened at the end of the 1950’s.  They story is told as follows:

A French missionary who lived there, would preach the Gospel every day in the villages surrounding Ouagadougou, the capital of the country, at the time about the size of a large village.

With all his heart, he preached the Gospel from village to village, accompanied by a translator when necessary, so as to be understood by the local population.

One day, he decided to visit a village he had never reached before.

Biking on paths through the bush, accompanied by his translator, he pedaled for long hours under the scorching heat of this part of sub-Saharan Africa, until he finally reached his destination.

It amazed the villagers to see this stranger arrive without being invited!  Nobody knew him, or had ever seen him before.  What could he want of them?

The missionary then began to speak of a Spirit, a God filled with love, who wanted to save each of them from their sins.  He announced to them that this God had provided the necessary sacrifice for the forgiveness of their sins by offering His only son on a cross.

At the end of his speech, he called to salvation the small group of men, women, and children who had gathered before him to listen.  But, he was disappointed when at the end of his appeal in which he had put all his heart, he saw absolutely no answer to the love of the Savior, not even one interested soul.

Not discouraged, the missionary returned home that day, and decided to return the next day to again announce the Gospel to this group.

Thus, he returned the next day, and again preached the love of the Savior, and obtained the same result as the previous day: nothing!

The missionary returned every day for more than a week.  He was decided and persistent, but each time he returned empty-handed as to new souls for Christ.

After so many failures, and doubting the follow-up to his work, as he left the village one more time with the same result, he saw on the edge of the path, an old single woman, sitting on the ground.

Realizing that he had never met her before, he approached her and saw that she was covered from head to foot with ulcers.  She lived in great suffering, without any remedy or relief for her wounds.

Having compassion for her, the missionary promised to return the following day with bandages to treat her ulcers.

The next day, back in the village, he continued to proclaim the Gospel, with the same gusto and in return, the same lack of interest. On the other hand, he spent a long time treating the ulcers of the old woman and praying for her healing.

Day after day, he faithfully returned to her bedside, changing her bandages and praying for her with faith.

Then one day, an unexpected event occurred.  While he was at the entrance of the village, a man was standing waiting for him, and said to him “follow me, the Chief wants to talk to you”.

Intrigued by such a welcome, and curious to know what it meant, the missionary got off from his bike, joined the man in the location where he was directed, and to his great astonishment, realized that the entire population of the village was gathered around the leader to meet him!

In a quick glance, he recognized in the crowd the old woman he had treated and whose wounds had healed little by little by his care and prayers.

It was then that the Chief stood up and spoke:

“From overseas, you came to our village several weeks ago to tell us about strange things.  You told of the existence of a God who has the power to forgive all our sins because He loves us.  We did not understand your words and the love of your God.  Then we were not interested in you anymore.  But we saw you taking care of this old and sick woman and we looked at you.  You came back every day to care for her and to pray to your God for healing.  Then something happened.  We have seen the love of your God you were talking about.

We then realized what you wanted to tell us at the beginning.  We thus gathered to talk together, and decided by mutual agreement, that we will all receive the love of your God for us, because now that we have seen it and we understand what it means.”

What joy in the heart of the missionary.  What testimony to the glory of God!

This movement has not stopped there, but has gone beyond this village.  Entire towns and the whole nation were affected by the power of a revival of God’s love for them, because all saw the love of the Savior through the works of those who bore His name.

Is there a lesson here for ourselves, our church, the nation we work in today?  Could this be God’s answer to our prayers?

Let’s meditate again: James 2:14-17

Eric-Vincent Dufour

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