This month, three men will be appointed as elders and pastors of the Loron church.
Joel was a teenager when NTM missionaries first arrived in his village more than 25 years ago. “He was one of the first people to respond positively to the Gospel and has been a faithful believer and Bible teacher,” wrote Paul and Marina Briggs, missionaries to the Loron people.
Although he never had the opportunity to receive a formal education, Joel learned to read and write “and eventually became the Loron literacy coordinator, supervising dozens of literacy teachers in ten villages. Over the past 20 years he helped to bring the Gospel to a number of other Loron villages, where there are now thriving groups of believers.”
Donald lived in a village a day’s walk away from where missionaries live and did not hear the Gospel until many years after it was first presented. “When he eventually did, he responded with enthusiasm to God’s love and trusted Christ as his Savior,” Paul wrote.
He also learned to read and write and helped teach others to do so, and he recently completed a two-year Bible school course.
Moses believed on Jesus in the early 1990s, when he was about 25.
“His father was the first Christian in their village, but it was Moses who learned how to read and who began to take an active interest in teaching God’s Word and caring for the believers,” Paul wrote. “He lives in an area where there are not many believers, but he has faithfully taught in the local fellowship, has taught many to read and write and is highly respected in the community.”
The 10,000 Loron people live in small, widely scattered villages over 2,000 square miles in northern Ivory Coast and southern Burkina Faso. Most Lorons follow a traditional religion of appeasing the spirits.
NTM missionaries first presented the Gospel in the Loron language in 1992, and a few people placed their faith in Christ. While some village leaders strongly opposed Bible teaching, many churches came into existence.
“There are now approximately 400 Loron believers who have whole-heartedly taken on the responsibility of reaching the remaining Loron villages with the Gospel,” Paul wrote. In addition to Paul and Marina, Nanne and Wilma Groot and Jerry and Cherry Skiles have worked among the Loron people.
The Lorons also have their own literacy program, taught and directed by Loron teachers. Paul and Marina are working with the Lorons to translate the New Testament and portions of the Old Testament.
“Over 40 percent of the New Testament is in print, and the book of Luke is nearing completion,” Paul wrote. “The book of Genesis and various Old Testament portions have also been printed in the Loron language. The Loron believers have an insatiable desire for more Scripture in their language.”
Please pray for Joel, Donald and Moses as they take responsibility to lead the Loron church.