To our dear Family, Friends and all of you who prayerfully support us as missionaries here in Bamako, Mali, West Africa,
This isn’t the first time David and I’ve written with a cry for help. But this time, we’re asking for your prayer covering over us and our colleagues, the Rick and Elaine Caswell family. We are anxiously watching our world come undone.
Wednesday, March 21st, a group of Malian soldiers staged a mutiny in Bamako. They attacked the presidential palace, with an angry complaint that their demands to be better equipped for the conflict against the rebel Tuaregs in the north had not been satisfied. Early yesterday morning, March 22nd, soldiers took over Mali’s national television, (ORTM), and announced that they had taken control of the country.
Since then, our embassies (American, Canadian, French, etc.) have warned us not to leave our homes. All schools (Malian, French, American), all NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations), all businesses, transportation companies and government offices are closed. The streets are mostly empty except for military and city police patrolling in trucks, cars, and motorbikes. Gun shots can be heard from time to time across town as soldiers shoot warnings into the air for people to disband or close up shop.
Curfew has been set at 6 p.m., and, in order to limit mobility, all gas stations in Bamako have been closed. Our water will be cut this evening, and quite possibly, our Internet will go down over the weekend. The airport and the borders of Mali are all closed.
This has all happened so fast, and worse yet, I’m here in Bamako, and David’s out at our self-sufficiency agro-pastoral project. He did not dare come home today as planned. Since David and I live in a little hidden nook in the city, I believe that I am quite safe. Our neighbors (the folks we rent from) are very protective, and they check in with me several times a day. But David’s anxious about being so far away; his food supplies are running short, (water’s OK), and it’s now too hot to sleep well nights. So, we are all hoping that everybody can go back to work on Tuesday as promised by the military.
But, even in the midst of this crisis that only occupies time and space, we have “eternally” good news! David’s morning devotions and time spent with the workers at our self-sufficiency agro-pastoral project are bearing much fruit! One young man has already accepted Christ, and two others have announced their desire to follow suit. The young man named “Issa,” or Jesus, said today that he wants, not just to carry Jesus’ name, but to look like the Lord in his character and heart. Praise God for opening doors!
Please cover us and the Caswells with your prayers! Will you please pray that peace and order will quickly be restored to Bamako and Mali, and that this situation will not escalate into a blood-bath of ethnic and political party hatreds?
May the Prince of Peace lay His healing hand on this land! May He cry out to the storm, “Peace, be still!”
Yours in Christ,
David (Faouzi) and Linda Arzouni