Much of Mali, as you can see from this picture, is very rural and barren land with small villages full of farmers and shepherds. Not unlike during the time of Jesus, shepherds are considered the lowest of the low, spending most of their time out in the fields with cattle, goats, and sheep. Rarely would anyone visit them, care for them, or bring them good news. Yet this is exactly what a team from CCC did just weeks ago near the village of Fama.
Fama, a small village of a few thousand Malians, is located about 90 minutes southwest of the CCC hospital. The good work of the hospital over these many years has softened the hearts of the people to these outsiders called “Christians” and so this was a key village for our team to visit. This team of 6 from CCC – Adam Cassidy, Von Walter, Dr. Jerry Busselman, Paul Lanphier, Aaron Goldsmith, and me (Pastor Craig Walter) – partnered with some of our missionaries in Mali and Malian Pastors to de-worm about 3,000 of their cattle over 2 days. For these families and farmers this is an amazing act of love because this de-worming will cause their cattle to often double their weight, making them much more valuable when they are ready to sell. Yet even more amazing is not just the opportunity to see the love of Jesus in action, but for some a chance to hear the good news about Jesus Christ. This is where the shepherds come in.
After working hard in the middle of a cattle pen all morning….
… we were able to gather these shepherds under a tree and tell them the story of Jesus. Missionary Jake Tillett (in the center of the picture below) is sharing the gospel in their native tongue of Bambara. These men, young and old, have probably never heard of Jesus before. These shepherds, used to being ignored and mistreated, for a few minutes were given special attention and prominence by the God who loves them so much he died on a cross for them.
This is what it looks like to take the gospel to far ends of the Earth. If there is a place called the middle of nowhere, a small field near the village of Fama in Mali is about as close as you can get to being there. What a joy it was for our team to bring the good news to this village and to advance the work of our missionaries and Malian Pastors in Fama and other villages in Mali.