Ministry to Street Children in Mali, Africa

Ministry to StreetChildren in Mali, Africa

Written by Dr. Claudia R. Wintoch

My ministry team and I were very stressed over all that was being required of us. Our ministry focus is on the hundreds of impoverished discarded children that run loose in the streets of Bamako, Mali, Africa. Mali is one of the most impoverished countries in the world with little hope (apart from a divine intervention) of ever changing. I am a church planter and mission leader in Mali, West Africa. I have "collected" a houseful of rejected children that I found living on the streets.

My heart was breaking for my children, who had come to know the Lord and yet were struggling with so many things. I longed for them to be free and whole, as well as for my adult team members. For two years I had prayed for and tried to help my first spiritual "kid" in Mali – a man in his thirties – without any success; I was looking for anyone and anything to help this man and the rest of the children under my care, crying out to the Lord to send a solution.

Ihad heard about Theophostic Prayer Ministry for some time, but did not know any details. Several of my friends in the US had received ministry and were ministering to others, and one of them forwarded to me the information that Dr. Ed Smith was doing a Basic Training Seminar in Ghana in November of 2006. I felt God's pull to go there, but everything seemed to say that was impossible, so I laid it down. As the dates were approaching, suddenly everything fell into place, and the Lord made the impossible possible; I was even able to bring my young Malian assistant Paul with me.


While attending the seminar in Ghana and listening to Dr. Smith, I got more and more exciting, sensing the divine purpose and destiny for my being there, and that the Lord was putting powerful keys into my hands – the answer to prayers and cries to know how to help the broken people and children in Mali. Though the seminar was short, I ran with what I received and plunged myself into the study of the materials, putting into practice all I was learning. Paul faithfully assisted me in interpreting during our French sessions for those who only speak the indigenous language, having to overcome the barrier of not having a word for "feeling" or "emotion" in their language. To my greatest amazement, the sessions with the adults went nearly according to textbook, as each one easily received truth in their place of pain and lies, and found joy and freedom. Working with the street children has proven somewhat harder, as they are often in denial and not willing to remember the traumatic events lived on the streets or in their homes prior to that. But as they experience being loved unconditionally for the first time in their lives, they are starting to slowly open their hearts and let Jesus come into their places of pain.

One particular session was marvelous, as the boy overcame all barriers to remember the painful events of having to find food on a garbage dump, stealing food from people, and being afraid of dying because his grandparents were doing witchcraft to achieve just that. He confessed the stealing and his anger towards his grandparents, and received forgiveness. Then the Lord came into each of his memories and spoke truth to him – Jesus had been with him, and his grandparents were powerless to do him any harm. Tears flowed freely, as this young man received freedom from His heavenly Father.

And Jesus dealt with my own pain as well. At the end of the seminar in Ghana, Dr. Smith and his team members did individual sessions with a good number of people, including my assistant and myself. I am 33 years of age, and have had much healing in my life, without which I could have never gone to the third-poorest nation in the world all by myself with nothing but Jesus. But the Lord knew there was more to deal with, and He knew when the right moment had come, in the right place, with the right person. During my TPM session in Ghana, I started having flashes of a traumatic event in my childhood I had no conscious memory of. After my return to Mali, the pain in my daily life I had already been aware of increased as the pressures of life and physical exhaustion increased as well. As I was approaching a complete breakdown, I knew I needed sessions myself, and the Lord opened the door for me to go to the US for several days of intensive TPM sessions. Each day the Lord helped me go deeper, remember more, and receive more truth and freedom. I had not even been aware of all the stuff that was there that I had successfully repressed all those years, but as I cried out for Him to heal me and set me free, He faithfully responded to my will and gently led me to Himself.

Back in Mali, all my kids and team members (we're 13 people living together) could see the change in me, and were praising the Lord. It is a testimony of the power of God that gives hope to each one of them, that they can be set free as well. For example, in our home we have "family meetings" with the children each night before we put them to bed. One night I noticed oneouradulthelpers not doing well. After I prayed for the rest of the kids, blessed them, hugged them, and sent them to bed I attended to him. I noticed he was crying. I asked him what was going on; already thinking it had to do with his father, who disappeared three years ago. He confirmed my suspicion, and I asked whether he wanted to do a TPM session. He agreed and revealed that he was feeling alone, abandoned, etc. It was amazing, only after a short time he had only peace, and smiled again. Jesus had given him truth where he had believed lies.

After I had finished with this session I noticed another one of my adult helpers who was in ther oom crying. When I asked him what was wrong he admitted that what he had watched in the session with his fellow worker had struck an emotional cord with him. I asked him whether he would like to do a session and be free, and he said yes. He went into two memories, where he felt rejected, and he received truth from Jesus, being freed, and having only peace in his memories. It is surely amazing to see these Malian men cry! Praise God! What a wonderful tool to usher these precious people into the presence of Jesus.

Today we're seeing the small beginnings of one person after the other being renewed, sharing their testimonies with others, and so spreading the news of a God who changes what we cannot change, even in a culture of Muslims and animists with hardly any Christians. The people of Mali are very broken – children and women have no worth; children are often passed around from relative to relative, and never receive any words of encouragement which is seen as making them weak; physical affection is non-existent. In this context comes a God of love, a Father to the fatherless, who wants to fill their emptiness and replace their lies with His truth.
I'm now training up my team to learn how to administer TPM by the book, and am taking it outside the four walls of the church, into the villages and to other missionaries in Mali. I'm convinced that the Lord has given us the keys of TPM because He loves the people of Mali, and longs to see them come to know Him in all His fullness. May it spread like fire to bring salvation and wholeness to this dark and lost nation, and make it a bright shining light and reason for giving Him glory among all nations!

Claudia Wintoch

Information about Mali, Africa

1.24 million km² (480,000 sqm) (twice the size of Texas)
65% (semi-)desert
Capital: Bamako -2.2 million (2006)
Languages: French (national), Bambara, and over 20 others

Population: 13.8 million (2005), growing rapidly
half the population under 15
Ethnic groups: Mande 50% (Bambara, Malinke, Soninke), Fulani 17%, Voltaic 12%, Songhai 6%, Tuareg and Moor 10%, other 5%

Life expectancy: 47 years (2002)
Average number of children per woman: 7 (2002)
Babies dying at birth: 12%
Women dying related to giving birth: 33%
HIV/AIDS: 1.7% (2001)

Literate: 45% men, 31% women (1998)

3rd-poorest nation in the world (2006)
Reasons: 23 year-long military dictatorship until 1991, droughts
External debt: $3.1 billion (1998)

Average annual income: US$ 190
Below poverty line: 64%
Unemployment: 15% (urban), 5% (rural)
Owning a telephone: 0.1%

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Note: This article was written by an author that is not affiliated with Theophostic Prayer Ministry. Therefore his or her views and findings do not necessarily represent the teachings of this ministry. The official teaching of TPM can be found in the Basic Training Seminar Manual. It is from this manual that all other publications, articles and media is to be evaluated.