One hundred — known Christians among two million Soninke
The Soninke live in the western part of the Sahel, an arid stretch running across Africa just south of the Sahara desert. Daytime temperatures of 45°C (113°F) are not unusual. In spite of the harsh conditions, they are able to subsist by cultivating land and keeping livestock.
The Soninke generally live with extended family on a homestead comprised of a cluster of mud or cement brick houses. Many of the men leave their families for towns and cities in search of work, often travelling abroad. Because of this, there are large populations of Soninke in cities such as Paris and New York. They maintain strong connections with the community back in West Africa and the greater portion of their earnings is sent home to support their families.
For the Soninke, being Muslim is a fundamental part of their identity as a people and something they take great pride in. Their routine revolves around the call to prayer five times a day. Shame and the influence of society play a major role in Soninke culture.
Workers from different agencies are involved in reaching the Soninke in various countries. There are approximately 100 known Christians among a total population of two million. All of these believers experience persecution in some form. They are often isolated and have little opportunity to meet or worship with one another.
Bible translation in Soninke is in progress. The translators are scattered and have to communicate via Skype and email. A good Internet connection is a necessity, and adds more stress on top of an already difficult job.
There is growing interest in Soninke literature, including scripture. Media developments and advances in technology make it possible to share the Good News with the Soninke in clever ways. An example is putting audio files on memory cards used in mobile phones. This gives many Soninke the opportunity to listen to scripture portions being read aloud whenever and wherever they want.
* Pray for more opportunities for Christians to get the available scriptures and literature into the right hands (Isaiah 52:7).
* Pray for the Bible translators, that God will give them much wisdom for their work.
* Pray that the Soninke people will have a real hunger for God’s Word, and that this hunger will be satisfied (Matthew 5:6).
Posted on Mon, August 5, 2013
by Donna Shiflett