West Africa (MNN) — The fulani people They make up one of the largest ethnic groups in West Africa. They are known for living a nomadic lifestyle, keeping herds of cattle in Nigeria, Niger, Mali, Guinea, and Senegal.
Greg Kelley with World Mission says: “They are constantly looking for pasture. And they just go through these farmland and privately owned land to graze their cattle. They end up destroying private property. As you can imagine, there’s a tremendous amount of conflict that comes with that.”
The Fulani overwhelmingly identify as Muslim, although herders tend to be less strict in their practice than those who live in cities. The farmers they bump into tend to be Christians. This creates a religious dimension to the conflict.
But many Fulani become Christians. Kelley says, “In most cases, when someone gets to know Jesus outside of the Fulani, his family completely rejects him. They are expelled in some cases or physically persecuted. We even hear of people being killed.
The Fulani can be a difficult group of people to relate to. But Kelley says, “We actually have dozens of missionaries, former Fulani Muslims, who are now sharing the Gospel using our solar-powered audio Bibles in the different dialects.”
Fulani groups speak several different dialects, depending on where they live. Kelley says that listening to biblical texts in Arabic can also be powerful for the Fulani, as that is the primary language through which they engage with Islam.
Kelley says that it all comes down to friendship. “We are not trying to twist them and have some kind of debate with them about why Christianity is better than Islam. It is about introducing them to Jesus and allowing the Holy Spirit to act.”
“The missionaries are doing strategic humanitarian projects, like water projects.”
Ask the Holy Spirit to move among the Fulani. You can support the work of World Mission here.
Header photo courtesy of Dan Lundberg, CC BY-SA 2.0