From Missionary Graveyard to a Movement

Stories of Transformation

When I was first exposed to DMM principles, I didn’t think they would work. But surprisingly, when we put them into practice, good things began happening. I was encouraged, but not convinced, so I decided to try them among the Malinke people.

Why the Malinke? The Malinke are one of the largest and most difficult Muslim people groups in Sub-Saharan Africa. For 30 years, missionaries have labored to bring the Gospel to the Malinke in Northern Ivory Coast, where I live, but with very little success. When a survey was done to discover how many of the Malinke had become Christians after 50 years of missionary effort, the results showed four were in the USA, two had moved elsewhere in the Ivory Coast, and only one was still living among the Malinke.

I felt that if DMM could work among them, then I was sure it could work anywhere. Before attempting to launch DMM among the Malinke, I spent a week explaining the principles to Lazare, the pioneer church planter whom we had selected for this mission. I told him to try DMM for three months, and if it worked, okay. If not, then forget it. One of the first things Lazare did was to set up a team of prayer warriors who would commit to praying daily. I had set a minimum requirement of 20 prayer partners.

But sadly, after three months, there were no new disciples, Discovery Bible Studies, or churches; so I told Lazare that DMM would not work among the Malinke and that we should quit. Surprisingly, Lazare said, “No. Let’s continue. Even though we have not seen a breakthrough, we are seeing progress. I used to go into communities to preach or hand out tracts. But I have changed my approach. Now I try to find a way to be a blessing. I meet people’s needs, help with their work on the farm, or try to serve them. Recently, I carried a sick Malinke on my motorcycle to the health center and brought him back home
again. This kind of care is changing the way people look at me, so I want to continue.”

We agreed to try DMM for another three months. Praise to God, for Lazare ended up starting three new churches in three separate villages! In a few more months, five new churches were added! I was amazed but still skeptical, so I asked a friend who is the director of a mission organization to check to see if it was true. When he returned, he told me that what God was doing was even bigger and better than Lazare had reported!

I was rejoicing. But DMM is about disciples and churches reproducing, so I told Lazare to stop acting as the church planter and start training and coaching the new disciples in the new churches to start repeating the process in their natural networks. This was very hard for Lazare because he was used to being the one launching not helping others to do it. So when he went back, he planted two more churches. Of course, I was happy about the new churches, but I told him firmly, “You must practice the DMM principles if we are ever going to see disciples making disciples and churches planting churches. Your job is to train and coach!”

Before the year was finished, the existing churches were planting new churches and the second generation had emerged. Everyone was excited because this was the breakthrough we had been waiting for! More trainers and coaches were raised up and the multiplication kept going. Where once there was only one Believer, now, by God’s grace, there is a true movement among the Malinke with over 100 hundred churches and seven generations of multiplication!

But the story is not over. Malinke Believers continued following family ties back into the country of Guinea. They share the stories they have learned, start Discovery Bible Studies, and help launch new churches. There are now five new churches in Guinea, catalyzed by Malinke Christians from the Ivory Coast. I am now convinced, the DMM principles will work anywhere.

– Younoussa Djao, Field Team Leader
Malinke Movement as of May 2023: 351 Total New Churches & 2,526 Total New Disciples