Reach of Faith

One morning our research team went down to the local bus station in an effort to make contact with Fula Jalon people arriving from their homeland in Guinea. A pastor offered to go with us. He had a good Fula Jalon friend who worked near the bus station. This brother came from a Roman Catholic background but was currently attending the pastor's church.

Arriving at the Fula Jalon brother's office, we explained our desire to present the gospel to his people group. Directing our attention to a large map hanging on the office wall, he explained that the Fula Jalon make up about half of Guinea's population.

As he pointed out the area where he grew up, he explained that a Roman Catholic church with two priests was located there, and the priests had started a small branch church. He explained that there were no evangelical churches among the Fula Jalon. His heart's desire was to see evangelicals come and evangelize his people.

The brother pointed out a "soft Islamic area" where the Fula Jalon are Islamic in name, but beneath the surface they are very animistic. He told us of his desire to launch aNon-Governmental Organization to address some pressing needs in their area and thereby be the means through which visas could be obtained for evangelicals to come and preach the gospel to his people group.

Before parting, the pastor led us in prayer, asking for the Lord's will to be done. I took a picture of the two them and a team member pointing to the location on the map and called it "The Reach of Faith." It was evident that God had arranged our visit. I have never found a more obvious "Cornelius" whom the Lord had prepared to be His hand extended to a people group.

Later, we met two Fula Jalon businessmen in the market. One of them informed me that he had three wives and 11 children. I told him I had one wife and two children. He said, "One wife is not good." He was then asked if God created Adam and Eve, and if that was good. “Yes,” he answered. Then the question was raised: Why did God create only one Eve rather than several ‘Eves’? Realizing he was trapped, the man burst out laughing. A bond of fellowship was established through this exchange. The Fula Jalon are approachable and reachable.



Introduction / History
The Fula Jalon are a large people group located in the western African nations of Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Senegal. The majority live in Middle Guinea, or the Fouta Djalon of Guinea, an area consisting of mountains and plateaus. They speak a Niger-Congo language called Futa Jalo (or Pulaar). 
 Along the plateaus of Fouta Djallon, there are grassy plains and fields of millet. Fulani herders settled in this region over 200 years ago and have since spread throughout western Africa. The Fula Jalon are a sub-group of this vast Fulani people group. They are semi-nomadic and raise crops as well as livestock. The high plateaus serve as part-time pastures for their herds. 
The Fula Jalon of Guinea have also moved into southern Senegal and northern Sierra Leone, leaving the culture and heritage of this tribe in all three countries virtually identical. Today, the only differences are ones of terrain or climate.

What are their lives like?
The livelihood of the Fula Jalon is primarily based on farming and shepherding. Gathering forest produce, hunting, fishing, and trading are also part of their daily lives. Staple crops include millet, rice, and peanuts. Cattle herds, along with sheep and goats, are the primary livestock. The cattle are not the usual Fulani "humped" breed, but a native Fouta Djallon breed that is resistant to the disease-carrying tsetse fly. 
Herding cattle is usually a male activity; however, the women milk and take care of the cattle. Women also care for the poultry and small livestock, as well as cultivate the gardens. Women often carry containers of milk and cheese to sell or trade in local markets. 
 Daughters remain with their mothers until they marry. However, as soon as a son reaches puberty, he leaves the family compound and lives alone in a nearby compound, usually with some cattle. This new compound becomes the home of the son and his future wife.  

The first marriage of a man is usually arranged by the man's father. A bride-service of helping the girl's father with his livestock is performed by the man, who usually marries in his early twenties. Polygyny (the practice of having more than one wife) is practiced, up to the Muslim limit of four wives. There is one chief wife, however, who has authority over the other wives. 
Children belong to "age-sets" until they marry. An age-set is grouped at three or four year intervals, with every child born in those years belonging to that set. The children in an age-set go to school together and may participate in community labor, or may help someone in their set with bride-service. Each age-set has a leader, a deputy, and a judge. 
Although Fula Jalon villages are scattered, each village has a central court and a mosque. Houses belonging to the settled Fula Jalon are typically round with mud walls and thatched roofs. Each hut has an encircling verandah. The nomadic Fula Jalon live in open, beehive-shaped huts without walls or verandahs. Each hut is surrounded by a cattle corral. Each village has a headman who handles village affairs and answers to a paramount chief.

What are their beliefs?
The Fula Jalon are almost completely Muslim, faithfully following the teachings of the Koran (Islam's "holy book"). They believe that Allah is the only god and that Mohammed is his prophet. Islamic schools are also set up for the children in some of the villages.

What are their needs?
Efforts to evangelize these people have resulted in only a very small number of Fula Jalon believers. They are apparently very devoted to their Islamic religion and see it as a fulfillment of their needs. To win these people to Christ, further prayer is needed for God to open their hearts and eyes to the Truth.

Prayer Points
* Ask the Lord of the harvest to send full-time messengers to share the Gospel with the Fula Jalon of Guinea. 
* Pray for effectiveness of the Jesus film among the Fula Jalon. 
* Pray that God will give the small number of Fula Jalon believers boldness to share Christ with their own people.
* Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession. 
* Ask the Lord to bring forth a triumphant Fula Jalon church for the glory of His name!
* Pray for completion of Bible translation in this people group's primary language.

Profile Source: