Kakounsi is a large island located 15 miles from Tanènè, the nearest mainland city. It is inhabited mostly by Muslims but also by a small tribal group called the Balantans who have a Christian heritage. This group fled the war of independence in Guinea Bissau in the 1960s. The main activity of this population is fishing and rice farming.
The story of our work in Kakounsi begins with an evangelistic meeting we held in Tanènè in December 2017, which ended with a baptism of 12 people. Four of them were from Fanjakoure, a village about 10 miles from Tanènè. With this turnout from the village, the Bible workers were encouraged to start a branch Sabbath School there for the new believers and to save them from walking all the way to Tanènè every Sabbath. To support the efforts of these Bible workers, we also began a band-aid clinic in Fanjakoure led by student missionary Hannah Robinson and brother Victor, one of our Bible workers who is a trained nurse. The work began to take shape, and news of our activities began to spread in the surrounding villages.
In February 2018, a delegation of AFM leaders visited the project to inaugurate the school building and to organize the group into a church. At that time, we shared about our desire to reach the island of Kakounsi with the gospel of Jesus Christ. However, to access the island, we needed a large motor canoe. Upon his return to the AFM home office, Pastor Ricardo sent us a message that our sister Cavelle Regis, AFM accountant, and her Sabbath School class from the Pioneer Memorial Church in Berrien Springs had volunteered to raise funds for the canoe and motor. PMC Sabbath School class, thank you for supporting this project! Your missionary effort has helped us bring the gospel to the island of Kakounsi. Please keep these people in your prayers.
A few months later in 2018, two fishermen from Kakounsi island visited our band-aid clinic in Fanjakoure. They had heard about the Christians and their canoe and wanted to meet them. They then visited the church group one Sabbath morning. They were amazed to see their friends answering Bible questions and sharing testimonies of how God was working in their lives. At the end of that Sabbath, they expressed their desire to learn more and requested that the Bible workers pay them a visit.
When Pastor Niouma and the Bible workers went for their first visit to Kakounsi, they received an overwhelming welcome from the islanders, complete with singing and dancing. In their language, the words to their song went, “The word has come, light has come, thank God for thinking about us. We will no longer be in darkness.” The village elders thanked our group for their visit. They expressed delight and openness to hearing the gospel of Jesus. The chief of the village said, “We are very happy for this visit. We have heard about the good work you are doing for our brothers there in Fanjakoure, and we hope that you come again.”
During our second visit, we could clearly see that God has opened this village to us. He first provided transportation in the gifted canoe. Then He sent villagers to invite us to visit. At the end of our visit, a village elder said, “Long ago, we were all Christians in this village. But over time, due to lack of contact with the mainland and no one to share the gospel of Jesus with us, most of us became Muslims. But your arrival will reignite the Christian flame that was extinguished. In all ways, we are very happy and open to your message.”
Again, we express our sincere thanks to the PMC Sabbath School class for making this possible. May God richly bless all of you and cause His face to shine upon you all.
Our plan is to send two evangelists to stay on the island of Kakounsi. Please pray that the Lord will provide for this exciting opportunity.