Matthieu Koulété now serves as secretary of the Benin Mission in Cotonou, Benin.
When French missionary Henri Kempf went to Upper Volta in 1971, there wasn’t even one Seventh-day Adventist in the entire country. This was nothing new for him. A few years earlier he and his family had started Adventist work in the bordering country of Togo.
“To open a new mission is a very exciting experience,” Pastor Kempf said, “but a hard task.”*
Upper Volta, now known as Burkina Faso, proved a hard task indeed. Twenty-four years later, when Global Mission was established, there were only 28 Adventist church members and two companies.
Today there are 12 established churches and 65 companies, with five ordained pastors and 2,358 members. There are also 10 Adventist schools and a dental clinic. The church isn’t rich, but it’s alive and growing. How did this happen? The answer is simple: The Holy Spirit used people who were willing to say, “I will go!”
One of those people was Matthieu Koulété, a young Adventist from Togo whom I met 25 years ago. Despite coming from an animist family with a father who practiced voodoo, Matthieu had fully committed his life to Jesus. Nothing could hide his joy as he introduced me to some of the new groups of believers he had started.
Matthieu Koulété and his family served 10 years in Burkina Faso. They started 12 new Adventist groups, and several are now large churches. In each place Matthieu studied the culture of the people, trying to find links he could use to approach them with the Bible.
In one of those new groups a young boy decided to commit his life to Jesus. As he grew up, that boy led his family to become Adventists. He then decided to become a pastor and went to Cosendai Adventist University in Cameroon for pastoral training. Today he serves as a pastor in Burkina Faso, working from the foundation built by Pastors Kempf and Koulété before him.
Matthieu planted a church in Koudougou. Among these new believers was Valérie, who couldn’t walk without crutches. Yet each Sabbath she walked three hours to church and three hours home again—all under a blistering African sun. She led many others to Jesus.
Matthieu Koulété, who pioneered the gospel in Burkina Faso, now serves as secretary of the Benin Mission in Cotonou, Benin.
* Henri Kempf, “In the Homeland of the Voodoo Cult,” Missions Quarterly 56, no. 2 (1967): 4, 8.