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The eastern sixth of Burkina Faso is an area generally characterized by heat and dryness. This is home for the Gourma, Burkina Faso's third largest ethnic group. Major Gourma populations are also found in Niger and Togo, and smaller groups in Benin.
Like most peoples in West Africa, the Gourma are subsistence farmers. Some own livestock like cattle.
SIM International has been at work in the area since 1930. They have a history of combining evangelization with physical ministries like health care. They have translated the New Testament, along with some commentaries. Literacy is taught in each church, where the publications are also sold. Old Testament translation is being done by nationals, with UBS supervision. Today there are over 40,000 Christians and churches of many denominations. The people, however, remain strongly tied to traditional practices including sun worship, and sacrifices to the spirits. Many Gourma syncretize their traditional religion with Islam, believing in a powerful God who has no time for individuals.
The physical climate of the region poses great challenges. The lack of adequate water is a stark reality for most Gourma. Some aid organizations have drilled small, deep, bore wells in a few villages. But some women must walk as much as 5 kilometers for water from a dam or a small dug well, sources which are known to dry up before the rainy season begins. In general, the southern regions do not receive enough rainfall to grow surplus crops.
Pray for the Gourma people to have hearts that are open to the abundant blessings of Jesus Christ.
Pray for their families to prosper financially and spiritually as they experience a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Pray for a Disciple Making Movement among the Gourma that will spread joy, peace and salvation to other peoples in West Africa.