Posts Tagged ‘Burkina Faso’

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Mounds of Fresh Dirt

November 8, 2008

Our team made it back from the bush today. Brian, Tadd, Steve and Dan all rubbed a crocodile’s back, while it was being kept reasonably happy by a slowly dying chicken. Tim and I had done this before and were quite happy not to cheat death again. John ordered lunch. We ordered two chickens for lunch as well. Chickens ordered for lunch or for crocs all come from the same pen. We’ll have to put some of this video on youtube at some point.

 

The rest of the team was taken back to the guest house, but I had one more stop to make. I had heard there was a new church plant in the poorest area of the capital city, Sector 30. I wanted to meet the man (and his family) that would give his life to work in this area. I’ll post about Sector 30 later.

 

The rainy season has just ended here in Burkina Faso. My missionary friend, Pete Brokopp, was driving me out to S30 and told me we were approaching a cemetery for the poor. The first thing I noticed was all the muslim symbols on the graves. These represent good people who died without faith in Jesus.

 

Thousands of them.

 

In looking at the star and crescent I had looked past something else. Pete pointed out to me mounds of fresh dirt in one portion of the cemetery. “You see those?” My heart sank. How many are there, four dozen?

 

Five dozen? Was it common to have this many at one time?

 

It’s the end of the rainy season. Mosquitoes are at their peak. Malaria is at its peak. A completely preventable disease that I have had, that the man riding in the car has had more times than he can count, and I have preventative medication in my back pack.

 

It cost me $8 US dollars. The remedy, if the disease is caught early is $1 US dollar. If it is caught late, $5 US dollars.

 

Malaria kills 3,000 children a day in Africa. It is estimated that $6 mosquito nets would cut that number in half.

 

In the past two days, I have walked in villages of children that have died in the last week. There are lots of ways to measure success here. Less muslim symbols on graves is one, and less mounds of fresh dirt.

 

Everyone Belongs,

 

Paul

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Scorched Earth

November 5, 2008

I am back in one of my favorite places in the world, Burkina Faso. This little country is so insignificant on the world stage. Most people don’t know where it is. They are not connected to a major body of water, so they have no ports. They have no major resources other than a couple of small recent finds. It holds the only capital in the world without it’s own water source. They are the 2nd poorest country in the world. They have the highest illiteracy rate in the world. One in every 3.4 children will die before the age of ten. Most of them are from treatable diseases such as malaria or ‘rota-virus’. AIDS is rampant. Mothers with AIDS have to nurse their children rather than mixing up formula in the water even though they know that to do so is to pass on the disease. The water is too unsafe to mix formula.

 

Small. Insignificant. Poor. Oppressed.

 

We walked across a piece of ground today that appears to be God-forsaken. The interesting thing is what has actually forsaken this place. Villagers living in Taghin, an area on the outskirts of Ouagadougou, tell a story of a large snake. The snake is so large that we have been told it has not only been attributed to small animals being taken, but children as well. The villagers in this area have been performing sacrifices to keep the snake happy. Tracks have been found in the ground that are 12-18 inches wide. That’s a big snake. By the way, I have a snake thing. I hate snakes.

 

This python (most likely) has been living in this dry, scorched, thorny, area. The thorns are larger than even the ones that are so well known from the Middle-East. A local mission led by my friend Pete Brokopp, is building a church here and an education center. They were given this land by the government. Who else would want it?

 

Several weeks ago a group of believers hosted a prayer service claiming this insignificant piece of scorched earth in the name of Jesus Christ. They asked God to redeem this land and that hundreds of people would have their lives changed. Since then an interesting thing has happened. The snake is gone. There have been no more sightings or signs. No more fear. No more sacrifices.

 

God is here. He didn’t just come with me, He’s been here all along. He’s still here. We hope to help redeem this place to put His glory on display from this insignificant place in the middle of West Africa.

 

Everyone Belongs,

 

Paul

 

See my other blogging friends and pictures from this trip by clicking on their pages:

Brian Bloye, Tim Grandstaff, Steve Whipple

 

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The First Twenty

October 15, 2008

I love this picture and what it represents. I know it’s not the best quality here, but I think you’ll appreciate what it is.

Our church has a desire to focus on just a couple of countries in the world in order to have the greatest impact possible. We have a vision to partner with others and to see a country changed. God laid part of that vision on the heart of a man named Mike Pierce. Mike traveled with our church to Burkina back in July of this year. We knew we wanted to do water wells and that there is a need. But God placed a burden on this man’s heart to take it up to supernatural levels.

The vision is to put 1,000 wells in Burkina Faso.

I’ll tell you how Mike plans to do his part in another post.

According to the U.N., Burkina Faso is the third poorest country in the world, and according to National Geographic has the highest rate of illiteracy. There are several ways that we want to have a hand in impacting the infrastructure and carrying the gospel forward. One of them is water.

Carrying a part in a vision larger than yourself is what the Christian life should be about. If I can accomplish in my own power everything on my to do list, I’ve left God out. I don’t want to do that in any area of my life.

At West Ridge, when people are obedient, when there’s money to spent in Missions, this one of the places it goes. It goes to people in a part of the world that could not do this on their own. It goes to people who need to see and hear the kingdom of Jesus Christ in action. It goes to people that need a Savior.

This list is the first twenty of those one thousand wells. It was created by a group of Pastors at a meeting back in August. It’s just the beginning.

Everyone Belongs, 

Paul