Tiowa Diarra – Mali
Tiowa grew up in a predominantly Muslim community and his parents worshipped ancestors. He first heard about Jesus from a Catholic priest at age 13, but was not allowed to attend confession because his parents were not practicing Catholics. About a year later, he met a Baptist missionary, who exposed him to the gospel, taught him how the Lord loved him and how sins separated him from God. For the first time, Tiowa realized his dire need for the Lord, and asked how to begin a life with Him. That night, they prayed together and Tiowa received Jesus. After a few months, Tiowa had memorized John 1 and 2, and was faithfully pursuing a life with Jesus. His pastor asked him if he was ready to be baptized, and explained that Tiowa would be baptized in the market square as a public confession of faith. Tiowa was nervous about the potential mocking he would receive, but after remembering all that Jesus suffered, willingly obliged. However, the pastor was just testing his faith, and Tiowa was baptized in the Niger River.
Through his faithful example and by God’s grace, Tiowa’s mother and father came to know the Lord. Now, thousands of kids are coming to know the Lord through Tiowa’s steadfast example of Christ-like love and joy. He currently serves as regional director in Mali and helping to oversee ministry and training in French speaking countries in West Africa. Most of these areas are still heavily Muslim-populated, but every day more and more kids are coming to know the truth of the gospel through Young Life. We praise God for His amazing work in the life of Tiowa and how He continues to use him to further His Kingdom. Tiowa is married to Madeleine and they have five children.
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