Another day of life-changing experiences in Burkina Faso! Again there’s just way too much to write about, and as I have spent a lot of time and lost a lot of sleep blogging over the last few nights, and in light of my friend Leigh’s request – I thought I’d let James (now known as Mozza) guest blog today’s entry.
Over to you Mozza…
What a day! Burkina Faso is an awesome country. We started the day by being picked up by our faithful guide Vivanne, our translator Ouena, and our legendary driver Matthias, and winged our way to the rural location we were visiting called BF353. As we gradually made the transition out of Ouagadougou things started getting a lot quieter until eventually we arrived at the centre of a remote village where the church is based.
We were greeted by the Pastor of the church who’s name is Pastor Niebe, his beautiful family (wife and 2 sons) and his faithful assistant Paul. I’m afraid I cannot begin to describe in words what the village was like but hopefully we can put some pictures up to give an idea. It was so quiet and peaceful. Small pockets of surrounding basic houses (huts) making up the village could be seen ranging from 1-2 km away. The starkness of a solitary tiny child on top of a play slide began to bring home the reality of where we actually were. It was a different world.
As we toured the centre camp I was overwhelmed at the number of buildings that had been built by the church themselves. We kept asking – ‘who built this, Compassion?’ And the answer came time and time again, ‘no the church did!’. It was inspiring to see the way that Compassion was helping them so much coupled with the fact that the church was themselves stepping up to the plate and working together. We learnt how there had been hardly any chance to share the Gospel with the villagers for 11 years – but the church kept plugging away, until in 2004 God started to bless them with converts. Some of the parents of children being sponsored by Compassion saw how their children were being loved by the church and consequently wanted to follow Jesus! Hallelujah!
One of the highlights of the visit was when we asked if they had enough Bibles for the church, and we learnt that only the Pastor has one. We said that we would greatly like to provide some Bibles for them and they all burst out praising the Lord! They so wanted to bless their congregation with the Word of God.
Another awesome part of the day was when we got to have dinner with Pastor Niebe and his team. One (of many) of the challenging times was when we asked if he had good relationships with other local Pastors, to which he humbly replied ‘yes I was in an all-night prayer meeting with 7 of them last night’.
I can honestly say that it was one of the most amazingly humbling experiences of my life. The joy and life of Jesus that shone through this man and his team in spite of their situation was amazing. ‘We don’t know what side our bread is buttered on do we Jim’, Dai said to me. ‘No we don’t’. Pastor Niebe shared his testimony, of how from the slavery of Animistic worship – Jesus Christ saved him! What a God! These men are literally modern day Apostle Paul’s by the grace of God. It was a day that will be etched into my memory until we meet again one day. Please pray for these people.
After this visit we had a little rest before going to see if our missing bags had turned up at the airport. They haven’t…yet. We managed to buy some gifts for the children of our partner church (BF201) so that we have something to give them when we spend time with them tomorrow, however we are still really faith-filled that God will bring us the bags tomorrow. He knows where they are!
After a quick bite to eat (my 3rd Cheeseburger Royale as I don’t know how to read the rest of the menu!) we set out to our partner church at BF201 Paspanga for a time of worship with the church. Oh my days, what a great time of worship. We started singing, but then people moved a table out of the way and the whole church started a massive chain, dancing round the building to African stylee tunage! Of course we joined in. It was immense! This propelled me and Dai into another time of tag team preaching focusing on the greatest commandment. What a privilege to serve these people by ministering the Word of God. God has been so gracious through the trip and we have really know the blessing of unity by the Holy Spirit. These people are so filled with joy in Jesus.
At the end of the service we had the opportunity to pray for two beautiful girls who have problems with their legs. Just the fact that the parents of these children wanted prayer is amazing – we really pray that God would be pleased to heal these girls and that ultimately that they will be dancing in heaven as redeemed blood bought children of God. As we were leaving we were informed a young man called Joshua spoke to us and said “Sorry I cannot join you tomorrow – I must evangelise!” He went on to explain how he had moved into a muslim neighbourhood to spread the love of Christ, and had recently led an Imam’s daughter to Jesus! The guy’s a legend!!
Since we have been here these couple of days, a love for this country and these people is exploding in our hearts. It’s a love given by God. May this trip and this partnership between Hill City and BF201 be the start of a great adventure with God. Today was a day when I got to see with my own eyes that God is redeeming a people for Himself from all over the world.
Thank you for your prayers. We look forward to many more great stories of God’s faithfulness tomorrow.
P.S – Naomi if you read this – I love you and miss you and Benjamin very much. Can’t wait to see you both.