My name is Paul Modou and I am 42; I grew up in a Muslim household. I belonged to a religious Islamic ‘Suufi’ brotherhood called ‘Baye Fall” following my father for 16 years. In this group we did not observe the Islamic prescriptions; we begged for our living and worked for our religious leader to whom we were devoted to and guaranteed us paradise!
What Is ‘Baye Fall’?
It is a group of people who go door-to-door playing drums and singing while begging for money. Their conception of Islam is unorthodox because in Islam the 5 pillars are the reference in terms of living. These folks believe in the redemption provided by their supreme leader through his hardships at the hands of the French colonizers who exiled him to an island in Gabon for seven years. They believe that on his way back he sat and prayed on the water like Jesus walked on water. They are a big economical force, their leaders own much land and their followers work for them for free.
The leader’s followers celebrate the Maggal meaning celebration. The Maggal takes place every year at their religious city on the day corresponding to his return from exile. It is a very big gathering where the leader’s followers come from everywhere in the world. They are very committed to the cause of their brotherhood. During the Maggal, the whole country is paralyzed for almost a week because of the big rush to their city where they worship at his tomb and of other deceased dignitaries of this brotherhood.
In 1990, I was to be consecrated as a ‘Sheikh.’ The night before my consecration as a community ‘Sheikh,’ I had a dream where I was surrounded by a big heavenly bright shining light. I saw myself walking between heaven and earth with the village people walking on the ground. We left the village and went to the church.
Early in the morning when I woke up, I was puzzled and confused and unable to understand this strange dream. I decided to go to the Catholic Church to see the priest who welcomed me in his guesthouse. He listened to me attentively while I shared my dream with him. When I finished he asked why I came to see him. I said it was God who led me to him for help with an explanation of my dream.
He offered me shelter, work and also to do catechism. I got baptized three years later in 1993. I started to face persecution right away, mostly from my father who tried again and again to get me back home. Finally to preserve the family ties, I went back home to take care of the family cattle. With the money I had saved from my work at the Catholic Church I decided to build a room. I drew a cross on the door of the room as a decoration. When my father saw the cross he got very angry. He wanted not only the cross to be removed right away, but the room to be crumbled down as well. His friends convinced him not to tear down the room which would be a waste because of the financial investment, but only to have the cross-removed instead.
The next day the fattest and most cherished cow was found with a broken leg without any known cause. That led my father to stop persecuting me because in their culture the cow is a reflection of the family’s wellbeing, source of pride and it has economic and sentimental value.
I was still attending the Catholic Church which has a primary school affiliated to it and where my cousin Simon was a teacher. He told me about the Word of God. I overheard him many times deploring the priest’s lack of holy living in spite of their pretense of believing the Bible. I recognized the priest was not a good example and he was not putting the Bible into practice.
I became close to Simon and he explained to me how the True Redeemer is Jesus and He died for my sins and it was not any religious leader. Through him the Holy Spirit convinced me that only the spotless Son of God could carry away my sins and grant me eternal life. Then I gave my life to Jesus and I am enjoying a new life characterized by much joy and love.
I still maintain good relationship with my relatives in spite of all the hardships and troubles I am experiencing from them. I know my Lord is all-powerful to deliver me, and I am experiencing more and more fully His peace and presence when I face trials.
His strength is perfected in me when I am weak.
2 Corinthians 12:9
I now see clearly from what depth of error the Lord has pulled me from by making me a child of God!
I used to be a musician going around and singing people’s praises, now I am serving as the leader in the choir at Simon’s church singing the praises of the only One worthy of praise!