In an elevator with: Dieudonné Tindano
Serving the national movement in Burkina Faso
Dieudonné became part-time General Secretary for UGBB Burkina Faso in July 2013. He is also the regional champion for Scripture Engagement in Francophone Africa.
Can you tell us about your journey to becoming General Secretary of UGBB, and why you think student ministry is so strategic?
Well, at the start, I had not thought I would become General Secretary. After my appointment, I realised that God had prepared it through several steps I was not even aware of! For example, the former General Secretary was sharing with me and asking my point of view or my contribution, and my department coordinator was entrusting me some responsibilities and secretly hoping he would be able to hand over the department to me one day. It is a privilege to now be General Secretary!
It’s exciting to be involved in student ministry; the time we spend investing in students allows us to help them grow. That has an impact on the university, the church and the nation.
It is a privilege to be a part of IFES, being fully dependent on God in each aspect of our vision and ministry. It is such a wonderful, global family!
What does the role of a General Secretary involve?
My main tasks include building and coaching a network of 23 people who are mostly volunteers. There are 10 regional secretaries within the country, eight heads of departments, and five other staff. I travel to visit staff and students, network with churches, and then manage UGBB through day-to-day life.
I travel quite a lot, to visit student groups to give training, and for pastoral visits to my regional secretaries. Some work within the IFES region of Francophone Africa has given me the chance to travel outside Burkina Faso at least once a year.
Can you tell us about your family, and how you came to faith?
I am married to Sabine, who was my treasurer when I was president of the student group. We currently have two kids — nine-year-old Josué and five-year-old Hulda — and we are also expecting a third child in a couple of months. We enjoy going out in the woods to walk, or sometimes just relaxing together at home.
My father is a pastor so I grew up in a Christian family, but I decided to accept the Lord as my Saviour when I was a teenager.
I became aware of IFES through its national movement in Burkina Faso, UGBB, when I was in secondary school, and my Christian life was fostered there.
It seems your family is comfortable around crocodiles; is this a normal occupational hazard?
The crocodiles in the photo are 100% real. It was taken at an official tourist site of Burkina Faso with sacred crocodiles; these are reported to be harmless! You should plan a visit!
What does student ministry look like in Burkina Faso?
Several campuses have different Christian groups, but UGBB is the most representative of evangelical students.
The first UGBB groups started in 1972, and the movement was officially registered and recognised by Burkinabe authorities in 1986.
We are engaged in dialogue with Muslims and Catholic students, and we praise God for this opportunity of getting to know them more.
What is one of your highlights from your involvement in student ministry?
I have one particular story. Once, while waiting at the traffic lights in Burkina Faso, a person came over to me and greeted me. He asked if I recognized him — I didn’t think that I did. He said: “Back in 2002, I was a student when you organised an evangelistic activity on the campus, and I gave my life to Christ. Today, I am still committed to Jesus”. It was then that I suddenly remembered and was very grateful to God. Something like this was very encouraging to me!
How can we pray for you, your ministry, and the region?
UGBB is currently organising a missionary convention for West Africa — to be held in Mali — and a national post-graduate conference. Both will take place in August.
Please pray that God will send more servants for the harvest.