The Sahel is the belt that stretches from Senegal in the west to Sudan in the east. Here the ground is dry but fertile, the area marks the breaking point between the Sahara desert in the north and the more southerly savannah.
Jihadist movements exist throughout the Sahel, coups have taken turns and the situation is described as very unstable. Now the security situation in the Sahel has become even more strained and we are seeing increased Islamization and unrest, especially in the north. The situation is serious. The signals that reach us indicate that increased control, increased persecution is in the air. For a few years now, we have heard in the news reporting about the destabilization in the northern parts of the Sahel, now the rebel forces and radical movements seem to be pushing south and closer to the capitals. The women testify to clearly increased control over wearing the veil and being restricted in society. Freedom of expression is being curtailed and climate change is being felt in more and more people’s everyday lives.
“As long as the day lasts, we must do his deeds that sent me. The night will come when no one can work. ”
John 9: 4
But West Africa and the Sahel region have more stories than the economically fragile and violent. Here are small congregations that have taken their mission very seriously – to share the gospel. Here are churches, church leaders and congregations that speak hope and faith through everything. Here new people come to faith. Maybe not in such large crowds right now, but we see a longing and so far it has been possible to seem quite open.
Here are ethnic groups where the gospel has not yet reached, Here are languages that lack the Bible in their language. There are many here who have not yet heard the story of who Jesus is. Here we are set to be involved and spread hope.
The possibilities are in our hands. It is possible to buy broadcast space on the media channels. Still. Now we can make a difference. At IBRA, together with the believers in West Africa, we have to really invest in taking the story further. As we suspect that there may be other times around the corner, with greater restrictions on what can be done, we have decided to do everything we can right now.
We call it Operation Sahel.