Located in West Africa, Mali is a landlocked country roughly twice the size of Texas. Its population is 95% Islamic. Half of Mali’s entire population lives below the international poverty line, making it one of the 25 poorest countries in the world. For centuries, it has been a country filled with vast spiritual and physical needs. Their greatest need by far has been their need for Jesus Christ.
In 1950, Dan and Ann Zimmerman saw that need and made their way to Mali. Soon after, other missionaries joined them. This team of missionaries had the difficult task of bringing the Gospel to people that had never heard it before. The work of these missionaries combined with the work of the Holy Spirit resulted in the first generation of believers. In the years since, many varied ministries have flourished in Mali. These include church planting, book stores, a river boat ministry, medical ministries, agricultural projects, Bible translation, theological training (IBB), and more. These ministries helped the Malian church grow both spiritually and physically. This growth ultimately led to the formation of the Federation of Evangelical Baptist Churches (FEEB). This federation, led by Malian pastors, now leads the church planting efforts throughout the country.
Today, the work in Mali continues. FBM missionaries work alongside FEEB as resource people through ministries such as theological training of nationals, well drilling, construction and basic medical care. These missionaries include Cindy Faile, Rich & Anna Marshall, and Faye Obgartel. God is using them to encourage, strengthen, and expand the church in Mali. Below is one example of how this works.
Sometimes, a village will approach FEEB with an offer to donate land if FEEB will plant a church on that land. When that happens, FEEB works to secure a national pastor for that new church plant. A next step is often to ask Rich Marshall to drill a well on the property of that new church plant. You can imagine the joy of the villagers whenever Rich & Anna pull into the village with their trucks and drilling equipment. Their joys are realized once they begin to enjoy fresh clean drinking water that is provided free of charge. Once the well is completed, Rich will often host an evangelistic event and show the Jesus film. The end result is often that the only source of clean drinking water in the village is now found on the grounds of the newly planted Baptist church. This provides a wonderful opportunity for the pastor that FEEB ultimately installs in that village.
Additionally, a few years ago, FEEB approached FBM about a multipurpose camp. They recognized a need for their own property which could be used for conferences, retreats, camps, offices, and more. So, in 2019, under the direction of Rich & Anna Marshall, property was purchased and the development of the camp began. Eventually, this property will include facilities for the Bible Institute (IBB), FEEB Offices, and guest rooms for traveling pastors. It will also provide a place for the annual camps and spiritual retreats hosted by FEEB. Camping/spiritual retreats have been a powerful tool to get young people excited about the gospel. This camp, when finished, will fill a great need.
Phase One of the project is nearly complete. A 25 acre piece of property has been purchased. The guard’s home and storeroom have been built. A 15 meter-high water tower has been installed and fitted with two 5000 liter water tanks to provide water for the entire campground. With Phase One nearing completion, the Marshalls are now looking to start Phase Two. Phase two will include construction of a large covered gym which will double as a large open-air meeting room during camps and retreats. It will also include construction of dorms for both men and women. We anticipate that Phase two will cost an estimated $90,000.
The legacy of FBM’s current missionary efforts in Mali can be traced back to the 1950s. Today, roughly 70 years later, God is still using missionaries in Mali to meet the spiritual needs of the Malian people. However, these efforts are in peril. Our current missionaries in Mali are rapidly approaching retirement age. Who will take their place? What Jesus said in Matthew 9:37 is still true today, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Please join us in earnest prayer for the country of Mali.
Will you help us?
1. Consider a gift to help with Phase Two of the Mounzou Camp Project. Help us as we help FEEB and the Malian believers.
2. Pray for the country of Mali. Pray that God would call more workers to serve Him in this special place. Ask God if He would have you GO and serve Him in Mali.