WHAT do the Mandinka BELIEVE?
majority of Mandinkas are Muslims who follow the teachings of
Mohammed, the holy prophet of Islam, and the Qu'ran,
the holy book of Islam. Mandinkas will recite chapters
of the Qu'ran in Arabic. For the Mandinka Muslim,
God's power resides in the utterance of the words, not in the understanding of the language. Few Mandinkas
understand the Arabic language.
Most MNKs practice
a mix of Islam and traditional superstitious practices. They
live fearfully in a world dominated by evil spirits
and witches. These spirits can be controlled only through the power
of a "marabout" who knows the protective
formulas. No important decision is made without first
consulting the marabout. Marabouts, who have some Islamic training,
write Qu'ranic verses
on slips of paper and sew them into leather pouches; these are
then sold and worn as protective amulets by men, women, and children.Mandinka
Muslims are convinced the Bible has become corrupted because it
contradicts the Qu'ran, and the sayings of Mohammed.
The few MNKs who have converted to Christianity are viewed as
traitors to Mandinka society, to their heritage, and to their ancestors.
Often they are driven from their compounds and villages, rejected
by their families.
The Jesus of the Qu'ran is a great prophet. But
the concept of Christ as fully human and fully divine escapes
they do not believe that man can know God personally.
pray at least three times every day, if not the
Islamic obligatory five times. The first is at
dawn, the second 10:00 AM, the
third 2:00 PM, the fourth at dusk,
and the fifth about 8:00 PM.. Praying in a group signifies
the solidarity of Islam.
Complete strangers will stand shoulder-to-shoulder,
praying together in a line. So long as you are
able to say the prayers correctly, and"
do" the prayers correctly, you are never
a "stranger" in Islam.
REACHING the Mandinka
Bible teachings are currently being aired weekly on local radio
stations, as well as one-minute
radio spot Scripture "ads". Rural villages have had little access to the Gospel; these radio
broadcasts are crucial.
The Mandinka are an unreached, unevangelized people group. Of
the 1.3 million MNKs in the world, fewer than 50 believers have
been identified. Modern evangelical missions among the MNK began
in the 1960s. Due to local government visa restrictions, evangelism
has been carried out mainly through social and development programs.
Four Mission groups, with about 20 missionaries, currently work
in the Mandinka language. Two Mission groups have projected work
among the Mandinka and are awaiting personnel.
Jesus film, audio and written tracts, and the New Testament in
are available; the Old Testament is in progress. Unfortunately
less than 15% of MNKs can read Roman script. Production of Scripture
in Arabic script/Mandinka language is
progress. The example on the right is
Psalm 8, Mandinka language, Arabic
among the MNK is slow. Just like the Ethiopian eunuch, the MNK
need to have Scripture explained
450,000 MNKs live in The Gambia;
650,000 living in southern Senegal;
150,000 living in Guinea-Bissau.
political conflict continues to be a factor in the placement
both in southern Senegal and Guinea-Bissau.
Eight out of ten Mandinka still have not heard the Good News. How,
then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?
And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?
how can they hear without someone preaching to them?
And how can they preach unless they are sent?
As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who
bring good news!" Romans 10:14-15