Fishers of men in West Africa

Meredith Flynn —  February 3, 2014

BIG_pic_0210HEARTLAND | It had been a long, frustrating boat ride.

Mark Emerson and Harold Booze were just off Africa’s west coast, trying to locate a people group everyone seemed familiar with, but no one could find. With evening approaching and no place to stay for the night, Emerson knew they needed to go back to Kamsar, the city they had left a few hours before.

Go to IBSA’s Facebook page for a slideshow from the trip.

“The crushing blow is, I’ve had to turn this boat around, and I haven’t gotten to give the Gospel to anyone,” he said.

Emerson and Booze had come to Guinea with three other Illinois Baptist pastors to share Bible stories with people in the mostly Muslim, largely illiterate country. The group had split up, each with a missionary guide and an interpreter, and each in search of people groups who haven’t yet been engaged with the Gospel.

On the boat, “I’m going to give the Gospel to somebody,” Emerson decided. Along with the boat captain, two other Guineans were also on board. Emerson started telling “every ship story of Jesus, one right after the other,” he said, laughing at the memory.

On a later visit to an historic village, the Americans took a turn as listeners, hearing the story of how the people had come to settle there. When they finished the detailed account, the villagers said, “You tell us a story.”

Emerson replied, “I’ve got a great one.”

The International Mission Board will host a Base Camp training conference March 28-29 at FBC, Woodlawn, Ill., for churches interested in engaging unreached people groups of Sub-Saharan Africa. E-mail MarkEmerson@IBSA.org for more information.

Meredith Flynn

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Meredith is managing editor of the Illinois Baptist newspaper.