Boureima Diallo’s Testimony – From Islam to Jesus (Elim Missonary)
Salutations in the name of our Loving and Gracious Lord Jesus-Christ. I am writing to you a “little account” of my personal testimony. I hope it will be somehow a blessing to you. I shouldn’t have said “little account” because what the Lord has done in my life is not little. However I have used that expression because it is what I can remember right now that I am writing to you. Probably I will have to add more details or information if I were to write it the next hour. Nevertheless please do not hesitate to contact me for any enquiries. I am looking forward to hearing from you and I do appreciate your prayers. As English is my fifth language, I must apologise for any spelling or grammar mistakes you may find in this testimony. I hope you will understand the content despite of the guaranteed mistakes otherwise I will write to you in Fulfulde my mother tongue (!).
My name is Boureima I am Fulani (Pullo) from Burkina-Faso in West Africa; statistics shows that there are more than a million Fulani (Fulåe) in Burkina-Faso [there 25 millions Fulani in Africa mainly in West Africa]. The name Burkina Faso means free people on their father’s land. Burkina-Faso used to be a French colony until August 1960 and was called Upper Volta until 1984. Burkina-Faso is 52% Muslim, 13% Catholics, 5% Protestants and the remaining is Animistic. The overall population is just below 12 millions people, the economy is basic and agricultural, the harvest depending on the rainy season. Politically, Burkina-Faso is considered as a “democratic country”.
I am a Fulani person; Fulani is the name of my ethnic group in English. Otherwise we call ourselves Fulåe in our own language which is Fulfulde. The singular of Fulåe is Pullo, so I am Pullo. Regarding the Pulaaku (Fulåe culture), Pullo means someone new someone upright. Because according to the Pulaaku story of the creation of Man, when God had decided to create Man, He had created three people. He had created first of all two people a white person and a black person. When He finished His work He took time to observe these people. But He was not totally (100%) satisfied! Therefore God, caressing His beard decided to create a new person, an upright person and He created a Pullo!
In Fulfulde my surname Diallo means the one who is happy, the one who laughs (dialldiallo, diallowo).
As I am writing in English, I will use the word Fulani. So the Fulani people are nomads scattered in nineteen countries of Africa. They are the first ethnic group to become Muslim in West Africa, many years ago. Furthermore they are the one who spread the most Islam in Africa after their conversion. The fact is that the Fulani people are statistically considered as 99% Muslim. I was a Muslim as well. Praise God, Jesus has saved me from the Darkness of Islam to His wonderful light. Moreover He has called me and anointed me to bring His Good News of salvation by grace through faith to my people. I believe by His grace they shall hear. Amen!
The Lord saved me when I was thirteen (13) years old in 1985. I am from a relatively big family, we are seventeen in the family I am the fourteenth. My father had three wives and we were all Muslim. Personally I was praying five time a day and also I was doing many things required by the Koran. My family was not all living in the same house, my older brothers and older sisters were living out because they were working somewhere or because they got married. So we were just eighth (8) people staying at home and six (5) out of the eight (8) were attending school, I was one of them. There was always some housework but as we were going to school, we were not always available to help. It was only when we came back from school that were able to help. Therefore my father employed someone to help with the house work so that everything could be put under control. This man called Adama that my father employed was not Fulani, he was from another ethnic group called Mossi and he was a Christian.
Adama was the first person to tell me about Jesus. One day we were making bricks out of mud in order to build a wall, during the break, Adama told me about someone called Jesus in whom he believed in and Jesus had suffered at his place for the sins he had done. He told me that Jesus had forgiven all his sins and that Jesus had changed his life. It was too strange for me to grasp what he was talking about. Furthermore he said that Jesus can forgive my sins and transform my life moreover He can even make me walk better if I believe in Him. He said that if I believe in Jesus I will go to heaven. I said to Adama NO! Allah is God; I am not going to church! For Allah only knows if I am going to enter heaven or not because He knows how much good deed I had done. Adama (use to be a Muslim as well) said to me that you Muslims believe that God uses a kind of scales to weight your good deeds and your bad deed ; if your good deeds are heavier your are going to enter heaven and if your bad deeds are heavier you will enter hell. But where will you be if our good deeds and your bad deeds are equal? That question went “bang!” in my ears. I did not know the answer and also I had never been asked that question before. Immediately, in my heart I gave many thoughts to his question and found no answer. I asked my cousin who was teaching us the Koran, and didn’t get satisfaction.
Adama went on telling me more about Jesus the following days and about my need to ask Jesus to forgive my sins. I didn’t know who Jesus was, what I did know was that Adama was going every week to a neighbouring village to meet with Him. But his question kept tinkling strongly in my heart. Because Surah 101 (Al-Qari‘ah) clearly says so blows away any assurance of salvation from the Koran perspective.
A few weeks later I said to Adama that I want to follow him to go to church so that I may meet with Jesus and ask Him to forgive my sins . He told me to ask my father the permission first. I did not expect Adama to say that because I did not want my father or anybody in my family to hear anything about these things. I wanted just to go to church secretly, but Adama insisted that I should tell my father first. As I wanted to go to church, I decided to obey; however I asked my mother the permission first because I knew that she was going to allow me to go. However she told me to ask my father the permission. I was puzzled, I did not know what was going to happen to me or how to speak to my father about that issue I was scared, very scared.
One day I decided to be courageous and to tell him because I really wanted to go to church the next day. With fear in my heart, I went forth and asked him the permission. He asked me ‘ why do you want to go to church?’ ‘ Did your mother tell you to go so that your leg may be prayed for?’ It was the first time I heard that at church people could be prayed for their disabilities? I said that my mother did not tell me to go to church I just want to go. But I did not tell him that Adama had been speaking to me about Jesus.
After a long silence, my father allowed me to go and he said to me that he wanted me to be a good Christian. I was amazed, I just could not believe his answer. Furthermore the next day he told me to use my older brother’s bicycle to go to church. I just could not believe it. Unfortunately, my older brother was out therefore I had to walk four-(4) km with Adama to get to Church.
On my way to church, I asked Adama many questions about Jesus, about what the Church was like and why I did not need to do anymore my ritual cleansing. When we were walking we heard people singing and Adama told me that the people were singing from the Church. I was so excited. When we arrived, I saw some people singing and dancing happily under a tree and Adama told me this is the Church, Boureima! We joined them in their dancing’s, but I did not know the songs nor the dance, moreover they were singing in a tribal language that I did not understand well even the preaching was done in that language.
But I liked the atmosphere it was completely different from the mosque. At the end of the preaching, the minister (pastor) called those who wanted Jesus to forgive their sins, those who want to follow Him. Adama translated for me what it was about and I went forth, and I realised that the Pastor could speak little French. So he asked me a few questions and prayed for me. I went back and sat near Adama until the end of the service.
On our way back home, Adama explained the message of the Pastor. When we got home I told my father about what I saw and did at the Church. When I told him about the sermon, he explained it to me in Fulani far better than Adama did. I was amazed, how did my father know that? He did not go to Church with us! I understood some months later when, from his bookshelves he picked up a book and gave it to me, it was the Holy Bible. He told me that he bought it in France when he was over there studying forestry engineering.
When I started reading it I found some small writings and underlying that my father did. My father was encouraging me; he helped me understand a lot about my new faith about the God of the Bible more than Adama was able to. Because my father explained to me in Fulani our mother tongue. He had been a great Dad and I thank God for Him.
However I faced much opposition from my immediate and extended family particularly from my uncle (a mosque leader) who one day threatened to kill me after my father’s death in 1988 when me and my brother went to visit him at his home in the capital city. I was sternly reprimanded on account of my faith, It was often very difficult being the only Fulani Christian in my village, but the Lord my God enabled me through these ” storms ” to abandon myself to Him for He is in control. When I was studying at secondary school, I was living with two of my brothers and one sister in a small town about 17 km away from my village. Amazingly some months later, they too came to worship Jesus as their Lord. I was very happy because the Lord had started saving my family. During that time I was doing Bible studies by correspondence and my father was giving me much assistance about it. In that town I meet many Christians who prayed for and with me and who encouraged me.
I heard from my family that when I was three years old I got polio and I was paralysed and my mother was always taking me on her back. When I was five, although she was a Muslim she took me at an evangelistic campaign that happened in a market near our village. A great miracle happened that day because when the Pastor prayed for me I started walking. My mother was crying of joy. Praise God!. I believe that the Lord has been working in my life for a long time for the purpose of His glory and He is in control. Praised be to His name.
Since I became follower of Jesus, I was always ready to tell my family about Jesus when the opportunity happened. My father encouraged me in my faith and I was free to share my faith boldly. We are now six Christians in our family including myself. I believed that all my family will be saved one day, Acts 16:31 has been my pray. Please Lord saved them, I pray.
Progressively the Lord lead me to spread His word in many Fulani Households as well, villages and provinces through travelling or speaking on the local Christian radios stations and producing preaching tapes. I went on many trips evangelism trips at different stetting with a wide range of people. During those trips I met a great man of God, Andrew Howes, a wise man on fire for reaching out the Fulani people, who encouraged me quite a lot. Needless to say my home church was supporting me in their prayers.
I prayed much for my family and my people until I got to university where God challenged me to stop my studies and to be available for Him for the salvation of my people. I fought against the calling it was not easy for me to say yes to God: “here I am ready to do Your will” because I wanted to be I lawyer not a full time evangelist. Also I did not want to be what God was calling me to be. I prayed about that issue and I asked God to confirm by a sign that He is the One that was calling me. I asked for a “hard” sign before I say yes to Him.
I was flabbergasted, God answered the same day in my room at university He gave me to lead to Him two (2) students who came just for a “quick visit”!. I was amazed and perplexed that day. Consequently, in my prayer I said yes to Jesus, I want to be available for you. It was on May 14th 1997 at about 11am.
When my family heard my decision they were unhappy because most of them were expecting me to be a lawyer particularly my bigger sister who opposed strongly to my decision. It was not given to them to understand the step of faith I was taking. Moreover for four months I went through a series of strong storms in my life: my mother passed away (Ps. She committed her life to the Lord before she went to glory), I failed my university exam, however the Lord was in control (Romans 8:28).
The burden that the Lord put in my heart as I said above is the salvation of my people the Fulani. It is my aim and my objective and to God I daily pay so that He empowers me and to give me passion and wisdom for that. Most of the Fulani consider the Gospel as for the settled down people business. Ironically enough, often the Gospel is presented as for the settled down regardless of the Fulani life style or culture. However the Good News is for both nomadic people and settled down people and they shall hear by His grace. Having said that, one should remember that God is calling us to be much more “nomadic” in our attitude and understanding of the Christian life.
I am now leading this pioneering interdenominational evangelism ministry among my people across Africa (Laawol Kissindam / Fulani Ministries). Please pray for us as team for Christlikeness and for us to serve effectively the vision that Christ has given us. Please pray for more people to join us in this great task. Do not hesitate to join us so that we may make the difference. I completed a degree in theology in June 2001 in England. My wife and I are going to serve God in Africa.
Please pray for us. Thank you.
Having read this testimony:
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