Source: Anglican Frontier Missions, June 22, 2023
On a short-term mission trip to North Africa, we were encouraged by the rector of our host church to explore further south where the population is primarily Berber. There was something there he wanted us to discover, and we saw the twinkle in his eye. The region we visited was on the edge of the arid Sahara and was totally Muslim.
We entered a small Berber museum [in the form of] an underground dwelling. Underground homes provide protection from the excessive heat of the summer and the cold of the winter, and, in ancient times, from raiders. The museum curator greeted us warmly, eager to share with us the history and customs of his people. Knowing we were Christians, he was also pleased to share with us the Christian history of his people.
We were shocked and thrilled to find tendrils of the gospel still present among the Berbers. The people in this particular Berber village record their religious history on their wedding textiles, woven by the bride’s family and embroidered by the groom’s family. They include symbols of animism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The most prominent symbols are Christian ones: three crosses, a fish, a palm frond for Palm Sunday, and three Vs for the persons of the Trinity.
As we now prepare to become long-term cross-cultural workers in the same region in which we saw these wedding textiles, we’re so encouraged to know that God has already gone before us.
Note that tendrils of the gospel show up in other cultures, too. Many of the places that are unreached today once had a Christian presence.