Pastor Djeme is big and strong and intelligent and quite dedicated to evangelizing his people, the Jola-Felupe. He’s a leader, and he inspires others to join him in the evangelistic work. I met with him a couple of days ago, and he told me about what he has going on back in his home area in northeastern Guinea-Bissau near the border with Senegal. After listening to him for a while, I had to go get some paper to take notes. They are putting their efforts into the children. Reaching out to a wide area, at this point they have gotten up to 40 classes in 31 villages, with a total at this point of 1164 students and 74 teachers. Last year they held a one-week conference for the kids and 300 came. This year they are planning on 400.
I’ve worked with Pastor Djeme and the Jola-Felupe translation on previous visits to Guinea-Bissau. I wrote about working with them in a piece from a year ago called Jola-Felupe in Guinea-Bissau that has a picture of Pastor Djeme and his men, and another one called The Jola-Felupe Church that has a picture of these young students.
Now I will get to the “mysterious thing.” There were crocodiles in the river that were killing people. The Jola-Felupe people had to give up on bringing bags of rice up the river from the islands for food. The problem was that the large crocodiles would knock over the canoe and kill the people. They weren’t getting their food, and people were getting killed. Pastor Djeme would have none of that, so he undertook a campaign to rid this area of crocodiles. The townspeople urged him not to disturb them, because they were “mysterious things,” that is, something supernatural. But he took a large hook on a heavy chain and some bait, and he snagged 12 large crocodiles, and shot them with a rifle. Then he strung them up so everybody could see that they weren’t so mysterious and were mortal. Now the Jola-Felupe people can use their boats on this river to bring in rice.
Pastor Djeme says that the biggest need in their outreach program is bicycles. The teachers have to travel 8, 14, 20 kilometers to lead their weekly classes, and without bicycles they have to walk. Last year they set as a goal to get 15 bicycles, and they got 6. They are still praying for more, and planning on it. They also need 2 motor scooters, for supervisors. I asked how much these cost, and Pastor Djeme said that a sturdy bicycle costs the equivalent of $70, and a motor scooter $700 to $800. If anyone wants to contribute to this cause, let me know.