June 24 was Pastor Christophe Dembele’s last Sunday as pastor of the Evangelical church of Sabalibougou, Mali. Pastor Christophe is the Praise International Country Leader of Mali. God has used him greatly. During his ministry as pastor, He has been instrumental in planting 7 new churches. He is involved in national leadership of such ministries as Evangelism Explosion and the Alpha Course.  God is moving him to another church in the Bamako region, after serving as pastor at the Sabalibougou church for 20 years.  This last Sunday there was an official church service to say good-bye to the Dembele’s and to welcome the new pastor. Christophe said that there were many tears.  Pray for Pastor Christophe and his family during this transition time.

On the monday after the official goodbye service, Pastor Christophe visited one of the seven churches that God had graciously allowed him to plant, in a village named, Zougoume. My wife and I visited this church with Pastor Christophe last fall. The present pastor of this church is Pastor Joseph Dakoua.

The church was started a few years ago when Christophe organized a medical mission to to free clinics in this village. God blessed and many villagers were saved. In gratitude of the good that Christophe brought to the village, the village chiefs gave the church a piece of land about 2.5 acres.  Christophe immediately asked some missionaries partners if they would drill a well on this piece of land. Having a well on this piece of land brought even more value to the community. They began to build the church building but two time the rain caused the building collapse, because they were using cheap adobe mud to build it. This brought some shame to the Believers who were building the church. Finally, again after help from partnering missionaries, they were able to build the church with proper building materials.

The church has a regular attendance of 50 people. The land that the village chiefs had given to Pastor Christophe was ancient sacred ground, where sacrifices to evil spirits are made. The villagers are generally impressed because the Christians have chased away the demons.  Please pray for the growth of the evangelical church of Zougoume. The Christians are persecuted by some villagers.  There is a small mosque in the village and there are two different muslims groups. Christophe chuckled when he told us that these two muslim groups are actually in conflict with each other at times.