Free Money For Burkina

IMG_3159Over the last couple of years our work in Burkina Faso has benefitted a great deal from people going to their employers to ask about matching funds. In many cases it works like this; if you as an employee donate to a nonprofit, your business will donate money back to the same nonprofit (Engage Burkina) at a pre-determined match. We have had companies match gifts dollar for dollar, double or triple a gift, and some companies have even thrown in more for good measure because they had the ability too.

We have received matching gifts from companies all over the country such as Tiffany and Co., Liberty Mutual Insurance, Illinois Tool Works, and more.

Maybe your family would like to sponsor a bike for someone immobilized by disease in West Africa, or maybe provide clean water to a village. Why not get some help with a matching gift from your employer? Of course, not all companies offer this, but for the right opportunity they just might.

You can go here and download our Case Statement, and share with your Business or School. Our tax exemption letter from the IRS is available upon request to

Go to and found out how you can bring hope and sustainable solutions and engaging the people of Burkina Faso.


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Can’t Even Help It

He sits on the floor while Mom makes jewelry to make a living.

Check out some of the jewelry made by the women of Tabitha House at

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Unforgettable Water Need

IMG_0624She had been in school the morning we came to her village on a trip assessing the water needs in some of the most untouched villages in Burkina Faso. There are easily 75-100 children in her elementary classroom. When she gets thirsty she doesn’t go ask her teacher if she can go get a drink of water. Why bother? They will never even know she is gone. She’s not being mischievous, just thirsty.

There is one well in this village. Though we don’t know the exact population it is well beyond the capacity of one. Rather than wait her turn at the water pump, or elbow her way to the front, this sweet, meek little girl goes for a walk. On this day, the distance she walked away from the school and the local drilled well is not the issue. What’s more important is what she found for a water source. It was just a local cistern. A hole in the ground designed to catch some rain from the months before and be used for whatever is convenient like bathing, or watering animals. The bottle she was carrying to fill says it all; this water should not be drunk.

I think of this little girl often. She is another face of the water need all over Burkina Faso. Engage Burkina and our partners are currently raising funds to bring drilled wells to this and as many other villages in this region as we can later on in 2014.

At Engage Burkina we are working to bring hope and the water that sustains life to villages just like this one.

You can help us at
Paul Richardson
Engage Burkina

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God Gives Gravy

Psalm 63:1-8 from the Message
God—you’re my God! I can’t get enough of you! I’ve worked up such hunger and thirst for God, traveling across dry and weary deserts. So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open, drinking in your strength and glory.
In your generous love I am really living at last! My lips brim praises like fountains.
I bless you every time I take a breath;
My arms wave like banners of praise to you. I eat my fill of prime rib and gravy; I smack my lips. It’s time to shout praises!
If I’m sleepless at midnight, I spend the hours in grateful reflection. Because you’ve always stood up for me,
I’m free to run and play.
I hold on to you for dear life, and you hold me steady as a post.
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There’s nothing harder than trying to look tough when you have to deal with the classic, cute photo bomb in the background.

Bring hope to kids like these at

Photo by Phil Bowdle

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Every Vein Full

“Let every vein of your heart be full to the brim with the rich blood of desire, and struggle and wrestle and strive with God for it, using the promises and pleading the attributes of God, and see if God does not give you your heart’s desire.  I challenge you to exceed in prayer.  I throw down the gauntlet to you.  Believe Him to be more than He is.” (Charles Spurgeon)

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What If Experiment Update

Four months ago at West Ridge Church we began a 2 year generosity experiment we called the ‘What If Experiment.” We have seen some great things begin to happen as a result. Here is a quick recap of some of what has been accomplished so far.

Updates From The What If Experiment from West Ridge Church on Vimeo.

Still Learning,


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A Clearer View

images-1Excerpt from Week 2 of the ‘Make Room’ Lent Reading plan at West Ridge Church in preparation for Easter. 

Pushing some of life’s subtle distractions to the side brings life into greater perspective. Combine that with inviting God to search us and know us and to pull the weeds of sin clears our view so that we can truly fix our eyes on Jesus. As we look forward to Easter Weekend the cross standing in the distance comes into focus, and with every day of preparation we take a step closer.

There is a danger in removing the things that have cluttered our lives. Sometimes the clutter and the weeds have crowded out so much that when we remove them we end up with nothing left. Empty, hollow, and meaningless are not good feelings. So we put our focus on filling back up. On being filled by God’s word and by His Spirit.

In Ephesians 5:18 the Apostle Paul encourages the Christ follower to be continually filled by the Spirit of God. He already resides within the believer, yet too often He is crowded out. The challenge is to give Him full access to every area of our lives. Allow Him to fill our thoughts and direct our actions. He does that when we Make Room for Him to intervene in times of prayer and reading the scriptures.

Some of the recommended scripture reading:

Psalm 63:1-8 (The MSG – Worth reading just for the steak and gravy reference), Isaiah 55:1-10, and John 7:37-39

Still Learning,


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Make Room

imagesA couple years ago I heard author Ray Vanderlaan do a talk about God’s instructions to Moses for creating the wilderness tabernacle. He said this (I’m summarizing), “God created the world and created man to fill it. (That obviously didn’t work out) When creating the tabernacle God said, ‘You make the space and I’ll fill it.'”

It’s an intoxicating thought. Create a space in your life that God can fill. The genesis of the thought is from Exodus 25:8 where the Lord says to Moses “Have the people of Israel build me a holy sanctuary so I can live among them.” The Spirit of God already lives in those that have put their faith in Jesus, but so many things try to entangle us and crowd that out.

The best gardens are the ones where the farmer tends to the weeds every day. Pulling them up by the roots so that they don’t take any nutrients from a healthy crop. But if you have ever had a garden you know how easy it is to allow weeds to crowd out growth. For me, inevitably, I have to spend extra time pulling out weeds because something prevented me from doing it every day as I should.

That is a little of how the season of Lent works for me. It restores healthy rhythms and creates extra space for God to search me and know me and help me see what I have been missing.

You never know how He might fill just a little extra space.

Still Learning,




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Keeping It Fresh

imagesIf you are a Christ-follower there can be a pretty regular sense this time of year that you should be reading the Bible and maybe starting a reading plan, but you just don’t want to. The #1 reason: The fear that you are going to flame out somewhere in Leviticus. Even if you haven’t made it through the whole thing before, don’t shy away from the opportunity to refresh some healthy rhythms in your life.

Honestly, the more I read the Bible the more I love and crave it. It took me while to get there though. (Is that ok for a Pastor to say?) Here are some things that help me keep it fresh:

1) Try a different translation. It’s not so much that it is going to make a huge difference in your understanding, but refreshing the language is a great way to mix of the cadence of your reading. How do you know if you have picked the right translation? As long as it doesn’t have the words Mormon, Jehovah or Witness in it you are probably ok.

2) Listen to it. When I first started listening to scripture it totally changed my understanding of some passages. Especially if you can carve out enough time on a drive or a workout (I listen while riding my bike) to listen to a whole book (Like one of Paul’s letters) all at one time.

3) Read it chronologically. You may not realize this, but the Bible is not written in chronological order. It’s grouped largely by the types of writing it contains (Like books of Poetry or History). It can be really eye opening to discover who are contemporaries of one another in scripture, and make you want to dive in and sleuth some things out a bit more. This is great for the little ‘CSI’ in you that is waiting to be let loose.

4) Read It Real Fast! If you have never done it I would encourage you to read the Bible as a narrative at least one time. From cover to cover and front to back. Whether or not you have ever read the Bible before take the posture of someone who has never read it before, and ask yourself the question, “What is this book about?” I’d love to hear what you come up with.

The best plan I ever saw for this was a 90-day one that came out some years ago. Here is a link to the reading plan I found; For ideas on a bunch of plans that will fit your goals and growth for this year head on over to

Any other ideas out there? I’d love to hear what you do to keep it fresh!

Still learning,


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