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The Soninke of West Africa
May 24, 2018
A thousand years ago, the Soninke were the dominant people group in the part of West Africa now known as Mali, Senegal and Mauritania. However, as they spread to other regions they became less concentrated and now live alongside many other groups.
The Soninke have a myth about a giant snake called Bida. Bida oppressed the Soninke people for centuries but was also the protectress of their kingdom. Bida was finally defeated by a young Soninke, which led to the doom of the Soninke kingdom.
The Soninke people have their own language, but many also speak one or more of the other regional languages. They were one of the first sub-Saharan people groups to embrace Islam and are proud of this fact.
Mission work among Soninke people is relatively new, having only started in the early 1980s. There are very few known Soninke believers—approximately 100 people among a population of 2.5 million. The believers are scattered in various places and there is no known Soninke church. Encouraging stories do emerge, but mostly the goal of field workers is to encourage those who are seeking the Truth, and to equip those who already follow Jesus to spread the gospel among their family and friends.
A decision to follow Christ might lead to suffering and persecution. A Soninke believer recently told us: “Pray that I don’t get into the difficult situation where I have to choose between loyalty to Jesus and my family.”
Pray for them
- Pray for those working to sow seeds among the Soninke to be effective.
- Pray for the scattered believers, for strength and encouragement.
- Pray that believers will have wisdom in living in their communities so that there is no need to fear persecution, but instead they will have the opportunity to share their faith.
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