The History of French Africa Missions Part 1

Mar 23, 2021 | Gilbert's Journal

  • We will tell the next generation (Psalm 78:4)

During a just-concluded trip to Abidjan (Cote d’Ivoire) and also to Accra (Ghana), I took advantage of my one week stay in Abidjan to start reconstructing the history of the Missions to French-Speaking Africa.

The primary reason for my trip to Abidjan was to go condole with a very dear brother, friend and partner in the Gospel, who recently lost his wife after a very short period of illness. His parting words to me revealed that he had been deeply consoled by my presence, in the midst of his great pain.

I also spoke on Sunday, March 14, in the Region they had been serving as a couple for the past two years.

Back to the history of French Africa Missions, the necessity to document our history cannot be overemphasized. I spent time with many couples and old friends during my stay. One of the young couples treated me to an impressive fisherman soup and we shared our lives around the sumptuous meal. The wife became a disciple as a student about three years after I had left Abidjan for good.

She was amazed when I shared the history of the different ministries, I had served during my ten-year stay in Cote d’Ivoire.  In the end, it was obvious that they were profoundly inspired to do great things for God.

It became even clearer to me why it is worth investing time and energy to share our History – His Story. History is God’s story and it must be told to the younger and future generations.

Psalm 78:1-8

My people, hear my teaching;
    listen to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth with a parable;
    I will utter hidden things, things from of old
things we have heard and known,
    things our ancestors have told us.
We will not hide them from their descendants;
    we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,
    his power, and the wonders he has done.
He decreed statutes for Jacob
    and established the law in Israel,
which he commanded our ancestors
    to teach their children,
so the next generation would know them,
    even the children yet to be born,
    and they in turn, would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God
    and would not forget his deeds
    but would keep his commands.
They would not be like their ancestors—
    a stubborn and rebellious generation,
whose hearts were not loyal to God,
    whose spirits were not faithful to him.

This Psalm clearly shows the benefits of sharing God’s Story with the next Generation – it develops trust in God – it is profoundly faith-building. And God is glorified in the process.

On the other hand, a failure to pass on God’s Story leads to disloyalty and disobedience.

A failure to learn from History always has severe consequences – it is bound to repeat itself.


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