Fulani are one of the largest ethnic groups in west Africa with only a few believers among these traditionally nomadic herders.
Tambaya Ibrahim, a Bodaado Fulani, travels across Niger to preach to the Fulani and encourage new believers declaring: “God has called me to reach Fulani who had never heard the ‘habaru beldum’ (sweet news) and this dominates all my thoughts.”
I am a Bodaado Fulani. My father and forefathers are Wodaabe; all of them were cattle herders. I grew up in the bush. I knew only shepherding cattle – nothing else. As a child, I never visited a town, large or small. Sometimes, men might go to a town market, but children and women never went to towns. We only stayed in the bush.
I was born during the famine of 1974, when my people experienced much suffering, including the death of all our animals. Many lost everything. Within a week of my birth, my father was visited by Malaam T, a friend who was a Christian.
He brought the customary greeting for my birth and asked if he could pray for me. Although my father was a Muslim, he accepted.
Malaam blessed me and asked God to make me a worker for him.
Ten years later, during the second terrible famine, our people went to a large city to find food. There, two of my uncles met a mission worker, who explained to them the way of Jesus Christ. They trusted in Jesus that day.
From a young age, I suffered from terrible nightmares. My family thought these were caused by evil spirits and nothing could be done to alleviate these terrors.
On one occasion, I was taken to a traditional healer, who explained what must be done. My parents were away at the time, but when my mother returned, she flatly refused such a treatment. Then she prayed a prayer I will never forget, ‘Jesus, I trust you. You have saved me and my son. He is yours. If you choose to, you can cure him.’
She then took me to another town to see my father, who was now a believer.
While there, a SIM mission worker talked with me about Jesus and asked if I wanted to follow him. I trusted Christ that day. God removed evil spirits from me, and the nightmares stopped.
My heart was filled with joy and I began to follow Jesus.
I learned to read and write and loved studying. Some years later, a pastor observed my passion for learning and encouraged me to go to Bible school. This was God’s leading and I studied four years at a Fulani Bible school in Benin. God has called me to reach Fulani who had never heard the habaru beldum (sweet news) and this dominates all my thoughts.
I travel across Niger to preach to Fulani and encourage believers, finding great joy in working for the Lord; my life a testimony to how God is answering Malaam’s prayer for me at birth.
Courtesy of SIM’s AfriGO magazine
- For the Fulani who have responded to the gospel, despite much opposition from their families and society.
- For God to raise up more workers to be evangelists to their own people.
- Give thanks that many people are coming to Christ all over the world and among communities where there were few believers in the past.