Following the call in Guinea
Some were murderers. Some were thieves. Some were victims held without trial. Fifty-five men shared one cell: dirty, cramped and forgotten. Forgotten by everyone, except for Ben
Once upon a time, not so long ago, Ben* and Isabelle* were called to serve with BMS World Mission. They knew God was calling them to serve in Guinea, a beautiful country with a painful history, where many people do not know Jesus. Ben and Isabelle packed their bags and went.
They committed themselves to their new community in Guinea, through coaching football and teaching English. But they both knew God was calling them to something more. There were hearts in their community that they needed to touch that they couldn’t yet reach. They prayed for guidance, prayed that God would work through them, so they could share his love to the people they knew needed it. And when someone pointed out a local prison to Ben, he knew that this was it.
Guinea is a beautiful country, but very few people there know Jesus. Is God calling you to serve there?
Ben was ashamed to discover he’d spent years walking and driving past the prison without ever realising it was there. He knew that he needed to visit the people there, to talk to them, counsel them. Everyone said there was no way a foreigner like Ben would ever be allowed in. But Ben asked to go in anyway. And, miraculously, the answer was yes.
Ben knew that he had to respect the prison’s rules: never bringing in a camera, only talking to the men he was given permission to speak to. He didn’t want to risk not being allowed back. Not now that he knew he was exactly where God wanted him to be. He was told to be wary, that the prisoners were dangerous criminals. But he went into as many cells as he was allowed to and spoke to each of the men there. At first, he was only given ten minutes in each cell. The next week, he asked the men if they wanted ten more minutes — and they asked for two hours!
Ben went into the prison every week and spent his Sundays among outcasts. After his first visit, he and the men congregated in one cell, where they ran Bible studies every week. Ben and Isabelle were able to bring them soap, medicine and the Word of God. One inmate told Ben, “I’m here, I’ve not had a trial, it’s unjust — but maybe God brought me here just so I could learn about him.” Ben and Isabelle spent New Year’s Day at the prison, celebrating with the men there, sharing food and fellowship. They gave each of the men a copy of the New Testament, so that they would be able to read and study God’s Word even when they weren’t with them.
And Ben and Isabelle couldn’t be with them forever. God had called them to serve in Guinea, and he also told them when it was time to leave. When they left, the prisoners threw a party for them and even gave them gifts. These men who had nothing used plastic bags and straw to weave baskets for Ben and Isabelle with their names on them, an incredibly personal reminder of the change God had made in the prisoners’ hearts. These simple gifts were confirmation that they had followed the right call.
Ben and Isabelle were each presented with a beautiful handwoven basket from the prisoners they helped in Guinea.
You might be wondering why we’re telling you this story. Ben and Isabelle shared God’s love with men who had been forgotten — that’s a happy ending, right? Well yes, sort of. The Guinea chapter of Ben and Isabelle’s story is over. But the story of sharing God’s love in Guinea is far from finished.
Ben and Isabelle’s commitment to God’s call made a real difference – and you can make a real difference too. We need people like you to boldly go and serve in Guinea, just like them. You don’t need to be special. You don’t need to be extraordinary. You do need to love God and have a passion to share that love with people who need it.
Find out more about serving in Guinea right here, or email BMS World Mission at email@example.com
This story was originally published on the BMS World Mission website and is used with permission