Every Journey is an Adventure with God

Every Journey is an Adventure with God


 Homestead with two shelters to start the ministry


“Every journey is an adventure with God, there is always joy in being part of adventures with God.”  Words of wisdom from Siaka Traoré, a well-known and respected leader from Burkina Faso, as he described travelling, in early May, 2022, with a delegation from the Evangelical Mennonite Church of Burkina Faso from Orodara, Burkina Faso to Bamako, the capital of Mali. The delegation then continued to Kéniéba, a small town, and finally Falea a village – both in Mali. This journey was to accompany Pastor Yaha Bengaly, his wife and children as they began their service as mission workers in Falea.


The purpose of this approximately 1000 km journey was to show support for and bring long-term mission workers to the Jalonke people of Mali. This adventure with God began with a flat tire not long after leaving Orodara, setting them back three hours. Then from Bamako to Kéniéba, travelling on a road he described as a “real obstacle course, a totally degraded road”, there were further delays and a longer than expected travel day. The mission workers being brought with the delegation were Pastor Yaya Bengaly, his wife Madina, and their two youngest children Joseph (4 years) and Ephraim (18 months). 

Traoré continues “In Kéniéba, we were in communication with Steve Nelson, [a Fellowship of Evangelical Churches missionary previously serving in Mali] and David and Samba [some coworkers] who were to join us for the rest of the trip. To our surprise, they told us that they had been refused entry to Mali by the Senegalese police because of the ECOWAS1 embargo against Mali. They spent a good part of the day hoping to find a solution, but it was a lost cause. Steve Nelson, who has given much of his life for the salvation of the Jalonke, was deprived of this event to which he wanted to bring his blessing and encouragement. This incident caused us to lose a day in the program and additional expenses by staying in the hotel. Nevertheless, we took advantage of this day to buy a new motorcycle for Pastor Yaya Bengaly.”

Tany Warkentin, Mennonite Church Canada’s Liaison to Ministry in Africa explains, “The Fellowship of Evangelical Churches has been relating to this group of Jalonke people in Mali for the past 10 years and were the ones to invite the Burkina Faso Mennonite Church to partner in this ministry, realizing that sending Burkinabé mission workers to the neighbouring country of Mali was advantageous to having North American mission workers.” 

 “The next day, Steve and David came back to the Senegalese border, and we crossed the border on foot to meet them and get the food they had bought for the stay in Falea. The words I remember Steve saying when we met at the border were: "I am very sad that I can't be with you." We got the food back and put it on a tricycle to go back to our vehicle. What a shame!””

Finally, in order to travel from Kéniéba to Falea, the delegation rented a vehicle and, in addition to using two motorcycles, arrived just before sunset. Their luggage, however, stayed behind due to lack of space and had to be retrieved the next day.

Warkentin adds “I am inspired by the way this story brings together different groups of Christians, each having responded to a call for long-term mission workers, valuing the gifts that each have to offer and the result being that the Mennonite Church in Burkina Faso sent a pastor and his family to serve.”

When the delegation arrived at Falea, they were a day late but were welcomed by the two Christian families from Koroma, 40 km from Falea. Due to their delayed arrival, other expected guests were not present for their meetings and the installation of Pastor Bengaly.

While in the village of Falea, the delegation visited the local authorities, explaining their reasons for being there and symbolically sharing tea and sugar together to celebrate the installation. Their day continued with teachings around the theme of “Make disciples by being disciples”. These teachings continued into the next day and were received by many participants.


­­It is anticipated that Pastor Bengaly and his family will be among these people for at least 18 months. He is to “work with them and not among them. By this, we mean that Yaya Bengaly must involve the Jalonke in his work in order to be a disciple who makes disciples.” He is based in Falea but his work will take him to all Jalonke villages, travelling by motorcycle. Pastor Bengaly is accountable to those who support this ministry including EEM BF2, FEC3, and AIMM4

Children’s ministry will be an area of focus, so Pastor Bengaly is asking for Christian teaching materials for children. Before returning to Burkina Faso, the delegation organized a Sunday worship service on May 8, to which 25 adults and 10 children and teenagers attended.


Warkentin notes that “many Canadians don’t fully appreciate the implications of sending a delegation like this with the Bengaly family. Due to the accompaniment of this delegation, the family is being given a strong endorsement of being trustworthy, which would greatly affect their acceptance and relationships in that community.” Pastor Traoré explains the benefits of this delegation for the larger Burkina Faso church: “The delegates… have understood the context and the challenges that Yaya Bengaly must face. Through this trip, they will know how to better pray for this ministry and how to support it.”  

Traoré thanks God for His goodness and faithfulness to His promises toward them. “To God alone be the glory!”

left to right: Madina, Ephraïm, Joseph, and Yaya 



1ECOWAS – Economic Community of West African States

2EEM-BF – The Evangelical Mennonite Church of Burkina Faso (Eglise Evangélique Mennonite du Burkina Faso)

3FEC  -  Fellowship of Evangelical Churches

4AIMM – Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission (of which Mennonite Church Canada is a partner)