Mali Memories, Part 2: Adama’s Testimony

Posted on May 8, 2021


By David Ettinger

Note: Back in October of 2007, First Baptist Church of Orlando – for whom I worked as a writer – sent a team to Mali to share the Gospel in this West African nation. I had the privilege of being a part of that team. I am sharing 7 of the stories I wrote about that missionary outreach.

An Essential Cog
For Adama, life before becoming a Christian was rather simple.

“I believed in nothing,” he bluntly admitted through a translator.

Adama is only one of five believers in Jesus Christ in “B-Village” (where our missionary team ministered), a community of about 450. That makes him an essential cog in the plan to bring Christ to the entire village, a task he is well equipped for.

But his salvation wasn’t quick in coming.

“Several years ago, I received a Bible from one of my friends, but I couldn’t understand it,” he said. “Then, one day, a missionary came to our village and invited me to discuss it with him.”

It was a life-changing discussion. “By the time we were done,” he said, “I was a Christian.”

Me (far right) with the team and some of our Malian friends. Adama is at the far left.

That was three years ago. And though it was monumental news for him, his family did not share in his joy. “When I first became a Christian, my family didn’t say a word about it. But when I started reading my Bible, my father was not happy about it at all.”

And that is a source of grief for Adama. You see, his father died a few years back, and Adama is sure that if he had just a little more time, he could have brought him to Christ. But he never got the opportunity.

Now, however, Adama rarely misses the opportunity to share his faith. “I tell everyone I see about Jesus,” he said.

By “everyone,” of course, he is talking about the Muslim people.

“When I tell them about Jesus, many times they get very upset and angry,” he said. “Sometimes, I will get someone who wants to talk more about Jesus. But for the most part, they have no interest in becoming Christians. For them, it is mostly a traditional thing. Jesus is not a tradition with our people.”

A Hard Sell
And it is that tradition that makes the Gospel such a hard sell to the Bambara people.

“They are very involved in fetishes and idols, and that keeps them from believing in Christ,” Adama explained.

A fetish is an object regarded with awe as being the embodiment or habitation of a potent spirit or as having magical potency. The Bambara people also believe in ancestor worship. These two staples of their culture are in direct opposition to the belief of Christ.

And yet, Adama came out of the same tradition and overcame it.

“Before I became a Christian, I never practiced these things, but I was still around it,” he said. “But, there were times when I needed help that I would turn to these things.”

Now, however, Adama has put all such false beliefs and practices far behind him.

“My goal is to tell everyone I know about Jesus,” he said. “I want everyone I know to become a Christian, however I don’t want to force it on them. The Muslim people definitely need to know about Jesus. It is my desire to tell them about Him.”