Daily Topic for February 19, 2012
Leaders, shepherds in this case, are expected to use their influence for the good of those they lead. In today’s reading you prayed for a people group that has a long tradition of self-mutilation. Kuranko leaders believe that it is necessary for their youths to go through a painful ordeal in order to prove their courage.
Pray that the Kuranko people will seek and find the One who teaches holiness, not destruction.
Jojo, a 17- year-old, strapping Kuranko youth readied himself for his big day. Part of him was gripped with fear, but he always denied it. Whenever his older brother jokingly asked, “Are you afraid?” he dismissively shook his head, as if what he was about to do was as common as eating or sleeping. Jojo knew that it would hurt to have his cheek pierced, but he wasn’t about to allow his brother the satisfaction of seeing him show fear.
Because of a lack of adequate roads, the Kuranko people lead an isolated life. This largely animistic people still adhere to beliefs and practices that they inherited from their ancestors. Once a Kuranko person reaches adulthood, they are expected to adhere to the customs and practices that were handed down to them. More often than not, a respect for customs is demonstrated in their becoming part of a cult like the Gbansogoron.
The Gbansogoron are the cheek-piercers. They believe that this self-inflicted pain will earn them the respect of community members who will then view them as courageous and brave. Jojo, whose father and brothers before him had gone through this rite of passage, tried to calm himself by closing his eyes before they drove the metal into his cheek.
Pray that the Kuranko people’s hearts are softened to receive the gospel of Christ. Pray also for the missionaries who strive tirelessly to bring the Word of God to them. Pray that their efforts bear fruit for the glory of God.
Next day: MANI African Mission Efforts
Previous day: Jula Koro People