ICC Supports Former Captive in Burkina Faso
By Nathan Johnson
08/04/2020 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Burkina Faso has been suffering from violent Islamic attacks throughout the country’s northern region over the past two years. These attacks have displaced thousands of people and killed hundreds of others. The country historically has been a peaceful land where those of different cultures and religions could live peacefully side by side. Now, with the influx of these Islamic extremists, Christians are suffering more than they ever have before.
International Christian Concern (ICC) has been watching this violence unfold and finally found a way to step in and help. Though only a small start, this project may mean that we can help many more suffering Christians in the near future. For this first project, ICC partnered with a local organization named OCED (Organisation Chrétien d’Entraide et de Developpement) to assist a church leader named Pastor Joseph (name changed for security).
In June 2018, Islamic radicals kidnapped Pastor Joseph and seven members of his church in northern Burkina Faso. The captives were then thrown in the back of trucks and driven for days through the countryside, until they ended up in southern Mali. While being held, Pastor Joseph saw his chance to evangelize to the men who had captured him. Pastor Joseph said in an interview with ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, “When questioned, they accused me of working for the Burkinabe government. I told them that this was not true, and that I was only working for Jesus.”
They, however, did not believe him. He was beaten, abused, and threatened to stop talking about Jesus. “I told them that I could not stop talking about Jesus no matter what, even if they say they will kill me,” Pastor Joseph continued. After trying to share the Gospel with the captors, he was then separated from the other seven abductees for three months.
During this time of separation, he continued to try and tell them the Gospel. He was abused and beaten often. After more than 100 days in captivity, his captors decided to take him into the middle of a nearby city and let him go. Pastor Joseph is still not sure why he was released.
Since being released in late 2018, Pastor Joseph has been reunited with his wife and mother. They have fled from their home in Djibo, Burkina Faso to a safer part of the country in the south. He has also restarted a church in his new area. Since the church opened in early March, he has been able to bring in 35 new people.
When asked about his old church, Joseph stated, “I had about 75 members at my old church. I have been able to contact many of them and they are now under the care of new churches and new pastors. I do call them sometimes.” This is what has happened to many of the Christian communities in northern Burkina Faso. They have been broken up and scattered.
In order to help care for Pastor Joseph and his family, ICC has stepped in and provided the pastor with a new motorcycle. This vehicle can help him care for his church flock better, by allowing him to move about more freely. He will also be able to make some money for his family by using the vehicle as a motorcycle taxi.
Pastor Joseph has asked that the church continue to pray for his family and those in his church. His wife has been sick and is in need of care. He also asked for prayer for his church which needs chairs and a building to worship in. Please pray for Pastor Joseph and many of our brothers and sisters in Burkina Faso who are suffering daily at the hands of men who hate Christ and his Gospel.