Today, I want to put a website in front of you that I hope you will visit often, and consider how you might partner with us at http://www.engageburkina.com. This website will be a resource for churches, individual Christ-followers, and others who who want to be part of seeing God’s Kingdom come to Earth. I think it’s important you understand our reason for this. Below is how this came about. Please take a moment and read it. (Thanks to Phil Bowdle for bringing this website together, and Stephen Parris for the logo work. I highly recommend them!)
In 2007 a team from our church took our first vision trip to a small West African country called, Burkina Faso. I had always wanted to go to Africa, so for me, that trip was a dream come true. My expectations of what Africa would be like had been mostly set by watching movies. I had heard there was poverty and war and disease, but in truth I had never really paid attention. You certainly didn’t see any of that when you watched The Lion King.
On that first vision trip I learned that:
- Burkina Faso has been listed as high as the 2nd poorest country in the world in the last five years.
- One year in the last decade an estimated 1/2 million people died as a result of famine, and the swarm of locusts that followed.
- One in 3.4 children die before the age of ten. AIDS and Malaria are contributing factors, but the two largest reasons are malnutrition and water born illnesses.
- Less than a third of the population can read
- Most importantly to me, a vast majority of this country has never heard of, or has no understanding of Jesus. A majority of the population is Muslim, and a majority of the rest are animist.
The last note is the most important. However, for me as a follower of Jesus, it feels at best hypocritical to go into a country and just talk about Jesus without demonstrating the love and kindness and care that he demonstrated to people. The sound of a growling stomach makes the core message of Jesus more difficult to hear. One leader told us that ‘People cannot hear the gospel without water.” We want to play a part in meeting physical needs for these incredible people. Jesus came to serve and we come to serve as well.
The people and the land of Burkina Faso captured my heart, and now the hearts of many of my friends. Yes, we found harsh climate, unbelievable poverty, all in all a country with people full of need. I have also found beauty in the contentment, joy, community, land, and work ethic of the people there. This is a country with great leaders whose desire is to bring peace and wholeness to their own people spiritually, physically, and emotionally. Our hope is to come alongside these leaders and help them accomplish the goals and purposes that they set, building relationships along the way.
We will continue to add new pictures, videos, and stories that grab your attention until this country captures your heart as well. I have several new videos from a trip I just returned from.
Please visit http://www.engageburkina.com.