The Alliance Church of Burkina Faso:
501 organized churches, 178 unorganized
groups, 184 ordained ministers, 21,478 baptized members, and 61,294 inclusive
Mission Team Initiatives:
Prepare future church leaders by teaching seminars, Theological Education
by Extension courses, and classes at Maranatha and Poundou Bible Institutes.
C&MA for the Economic Co-operation and the Social Development (ACCEDES) created in 1995 is an office of development of the Alliance Church in Burkina. With over 440,000 people living with HIV/AIDS,Burkina Faso has the second highest infection rate among its West African neighbors. 6.5% of the population is infected with the virus. In 2001, 44,000Burkinabe died of the disease. 61,000 of infected were under the age of 15.The social and economic implications of these numbers are devastating for the Burkinabè. If these numbers continue to rise, entire populations will be decimated. Already their economy is suffering because so many working-age
citizens are incapacitated by the disease. In 2001, an estimated 270,000 children were orphaned by HIV/AIDS.
Some History *
It was in 1890 that seven young students, with no money and no training, left the Midwest of the United States and stopped over in New York to inform Dr.
Simpson of their intention of reaching the "dark Sudan" with the Gospel of
Christ. Simpson and his group of disciples were fascinated with these young
people and gave them lodging and food, and later paid the expenses to send them on their way by boat to the coast of West Africa. Of those seven first
missionaries, four were dead within the first months, succumbing to a deadly
fever, and one died the following year. Losing five out of seven - not a very
auspicious beginning for reaching the Sudan!
But this did not deter the people praying and giving back in the United
States - it rather incited them to more prayer and to sacrificial giving so
that new recruits could be sent to replace those who had been called home to
Heaven. The beach head for reaching the interior of West Africa at that time
was Freetown in the English colony of Sierra Leone. Freetown was a developed town with stores, homes and transportation, even a railway leading a few miles into the interior. But from there to the interior the early missionaries had to travel by foot, trusting local carriers to show them the path and help carry their loads. There were swift flowing streams and often these missionaries had
to use dugouts to cross over or travel their length. Fire, local wars,
sickness and death were the constant enemy of this original brave band of
Christ's soldiers. And they are our spiritual heritage today, as we enjoy the
fruit of what they began at the turn of the century. The interior of Sierra
Leone was known as the "white man's grave" because so many people had died there. These were in the years 1890 until about 1920.
Robert Roseberry (or "Loosebelly" as the West Africans called him - they
could never pronounce his real name!) was one of those early pioneers, and he arrived in Sierra Leone in 1909, a single man who later married Miss Edith
Plattenburg, a single lady missionary already on the field. It was Roseberry's
dream to reach the vast unreached territories of French West Africa. Until this
time no Protestants had gained entry into the French colonies. But "at the
close of World War I in 1918, when the peace treaties were being signed,
President Wilson remembered Protestant missions. It was then that the St.
Germain Treaty came into effect, opening French territories to the preaching of
the gospel." Mrs. Roseberry recounts in her book Kansas Prairies to African
Forests, "In 1919 we were appointed to open the first mission station in French
West Africa at Baro, nearly three hundred miles inland from the coast."
R.S. Roseberry was a great man of vision and prayer. He made the first
survey trips into the interior of what is now Mali and Burkina, and during
those trips he and his companions spent days in prayer, bathing their trip with
this important ingredient of missionary achievement. These early missionaries
were obsessed with reaching "the valley of the Niger River" which took them
from the head waters of the Niger in Guinea on up through Burkina and Mali to
The Gospel was first preached in this district in 1923, the year that the
property in the city of Bobo was bought by Roseberry. The first missionaries
were Mr. and Mrs. Paul Freligh, Mr. Freligh's sister, Marie, and Dora Hue, who
later became Dora Bowman. The Richard Johansons joined the team in 1927. These early pioneers traveled the entire area on foot, surveying the land, preaching the Gospel and doing dialect studies to determine which dialect of BÁbÁ to use.
In 1934 the mission station at Santidougou was established as a training
center for the new converts who numbered several hundred by that time. Some of those early "believers" came for protection from the French or to escape the forced labor, but among them were also sincere believers. Missionaries also built out stations in distant villages and lived there while they taught the local people. The work was curtailed during the War as gasoline was rationed to one litre per month! So the missionaries were mainly confined to Bobo Dioulasso, and people came on foot to worship there.
* Quoted from History of Burkina Faso:
By Drs. Milton and Nancy Pierce, retired missionaries to Burkina Faso