Home > Andrew's Blogs, Mango Mission, Missions > Mango Mission # 9 Animistic Coming-of-Age Rites

Mango Mission # 9 Animistic Coming-of-Age Rites

Update # 9 from ABWE Missionaries in Mango, Togo – Northern Outreach.

We should be praying for the new followers of Christ in Northern Togo – their obedience to Jesus runs against animistic rituals which are intermingled with Islam and other cultural expressions.  Pray for missionaries there as well – the labor is hard.  Excerpt . . .

The Tamberma people are very idolatrous, and there is a clash between their customs and the Christian faith we proclaim. Kpatcha told us about a young lady who refused to go through the animistic coming-of-age rites, and who was beaten by her older brother and chased from the house.  Kpatcha and his wife gave her shelter, and then sent her off to Kara where she would be safe.  So the older brother came by his house to insult and threaten him, actually sending a group of young men to bring her home by force.

January 18, 2009

It’s Sunday evening and there is much to say, since I missed last week’s letter.  But we leave tomorrow morning for Southern Togo, and that is a long trip, so this will be somewhat abbreviated.

This week we had the joy of hosting Dan and Nancy Lofgren.  We had hoped they could help us move into our house, but there was still too much work to be done, so we scratched that plan.  We did make a trip to Nadoba to visit Pastor Kpatcha and his wife, and to see the church they are starting.

The tata, or traditional house built by the Tamberma people.  Note the mud images in front of the house.  The Tamberma tribe is perhaps the most animistic tribe we have seen in Togo.  We have the beginning of a church in this region, and it has not been uncontested.  We must pray for these people.
The tata, or traditional house built by the Tamberma people. Note the mud images in front of the house. The Tamberma tribe is perhaps the most animistic tribe we have seen in Togo. We have the beginning of a church in this region, and it has not been uncontested. We must pray for these people.

The Tamberma people are very idolatrous, and there is a clash between their customs and the Christian faith we proclaim. Kpatcha told us about a young lady who refused to go through the animistic coming-of-age rites, and who was beaten by her older brother and chased from the house.  Kpatcha and his wife gave her shelter, and then sent her off to Kara where she would be safe.  So the older brother came by his house to insult and threaten him, actually sending a group of young men to bring her home by force.  He was thankful that she had already left for Kara, and praised the Lord that this man’s plans to force his sister to undergo the rites did not succeed.  There is another girl in the church, who has been persecuted as well, but her family is not as violent, and the situation is not as dangerous.  I’m including a photo of an elderly lady who was baptized in August.  She is expected to be one of the women who take the girls through their initiation, and as she refused to be involved in those animistic practices, now that she is a Christian, she has been insulted and persecuted as well.  We believe it will get better as the Lord’s presence becomes more apparent, and as the number of believers grows.  But for the moment, it is difficult for these new believers.

This weekend Dan and I made a trip to Dapaong, where we had the joy of ministering in three places.  Esther and Nancy had planned to come along, but Esther came down with malaria the night before the trip, so the two ladies stayed at home.  We are thankful that Esther is doing much better tonight.

We began by showing a film in Dapaong, with Dan Lofgren preaching after the film, and were delighted that a crowd of nearly 100 people showed up, and even stayed for the preaching after the film.  Then on Saturday we went to Tamboang for a kids’ club, but found a large group of young people and adults who came as well.  We had a great time, as I showed the older kids how to play baseball, and hit the dirt while chasing a fly ball that was drifting in the rather strong wind.  I certainly don’t have the agility or the sense of balance I had in earlier days, and it was a reminder that maybe I should consider that my ball-playing days are best left in the past.

It seems that every time we try to show a film in Nano, something goes wrong.  I kid you not, I’ve come to the conclusion that Satan must have a hand in the way equipment refuses to work.  We were there on December 20, and damaged both the projector and our DVD player.  This time, with another generator, the projector simply refused to work.  We were very nervous about having to tell the congregation of non-church going people who had gathered for the film, that once again we would have to cancel out the showing.  We tried different things for at least45 minutes (in the dark), and suddenly the projector worked.  We don’t know why it didn’t work, or why it started suddenly working, but we were all praising the Lord.  Then it seemed to cycle through clear picture to red picture, and then to green, then to fade out, and back to clear picture.  I figured that the folks there wouldn’t know that it wasn’t supposed to do that, and at least we had a picture and a film.  But even that straightened itself out after a few minutes, and we were able to show the entire film, while Pastor Laré translated from French into the Moba language.  Our entire team went back to Dapaong just praising the Lord for His help on our behalf.

A young mother and her daughter in Tamboang.  We've never before seen this style of head scarf, and thought it was attractive.  Amazing what these women can do with a piece of cloth.
A young mother and her daughter in Tamboang. We’ve never before seen this style of head scarf, and thought it was attractive. Amazing what these women can do with a piece of cloth.

The next week will be given up to team meetings down at the hospital in Tsiko, and we don’t expect to be back before the middle of next week.  Thanks much for praying for us and for the work here in Mango.

Yours in His service,

Tim & Esther Neufeld

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