Sunday, December 29, 2013

Working Together

It has been quite a start to our fundraising process. We have begun making our need for financial support known and have been encouraged hearing from people who are starting to partner with us. We have multiple speaking engagements at our church as well as another that we’re working on setting up with a church in Akron. Also, earlier in December we had an interview for an article that will be in the Lima News at some point in mid-January (most likely Jan. 13). 

If anyone else is interested in personally hearing more or having us speak on what we are doing, we are more than happy to get together. We still have a long way to go with fundraising and need many more financial partners before we can buy our plane tickets and head out, but we’re looking to God to meet this need through those who believe in this mission as well. 

Thank you to those of you who have helped us in this already.

One of the things that I wanted to share with all of you is about the set-up of the groups that are working in Burkina Faso. There are a number of organizations that we will be working with during the year we’re there. All of the organizations work together on different projects, which is something that I find really neat.

Envision- http://weareenvision.com

The organization that we are going to Burkina Faso with is called Envision. Envision is a part of the Christian and Missionary Alliance (CMA) that focuses on short-term missions trips and internships. Our one-week trip to Burkina in 2013 was done through Envision in order to check out what they do in Africa.

Our main job in Burkina will be to facilitate short-term teams that come from other countries (mostly the U.S.). When we are not with a team, we will be plugging into other outreach opportunities in Ouagadougou. Our work is both missions and humanitarian, but the main reason is to love as God loves.

Compassion International- http://www.compassion.com/Default.htm
Molly has been sponsoring a child in Burkina Faso through Compassion International for a number of years. Their program provides a wonderful opportunity to share the love of Christ with children in need and to help improve another person’s life. I was amazed to learn about all of the orphanages and schools that were run by this organization.

One of the best schools in Ouagadougou is run by Compassion and many of the children begin attending when they are not yet Christians. One of the other missionaries told me about how a Muslim leader sent his child to a Compassion school there in the city in order to give him the best education possible. When the kid refused to attend the required Bible class, the father was outraged with him for refusing to accept the great opportunity that the father had provided. I am amazed what an impact schooling that would be considered basic by our standards could have in such an area.
Children in a class at a Compassion center
The leaders of the Envision group are also involved with an organization called Engage Burkina. Engage is a non-profit/non-religious organization working to improve the lives of people in Burkina. Sponsors for this organization range from Baptist churches to companies like Tiffany's and Adidas.

This is a great way for people who are not Christians to see that our mission involves more than just preaching. We seek to improve the lives of the people in Burkina. Working to better the lives of people in need is something that everyone can agree is a beautiful thing, and by first meeting people’s basic needs, opportunities can arise to minister to their spiritual needs as well.


Friends in Action- http://www.fiaintl.org/usa/
Friends in Action is one part that I am very excited to be involved with during our time in Africa. This organization drills wells in impoverished villages, giving them a source of clean water. They place the well in the care of a church in order to provide a ministry opportunity.

This group often needs individuals with mechanical abilities. Equipment frequently has problems when traveling or working in the high heat. I went to college for automotive studies in order to be useful for jobs such as this that will link my skills with ministry needs.
Check out the drilling equipment for Friends in Action


I am very excited to see what God has in store for our year in Africa.

God Bless.
-Ben

Friday, November 15, 2013

Why Burkina?


Each year since I can remember, our church—Shawnee Alliance—has hosted a missions festival where several missionaries from around the world come to share their passion with us here in Lima, Ohio. I always loved hearing about the adventures that these missionaries lived out and felt moved when they shared about the work God was doing through them; I always loved singing the special songs that the worship band played during missions week—ones about going out to the world to share the Gospel; I always thought I might one day like to go be a part of that, too.

This past February, missions festival came and went just as it would with any other year for me with one exception: it led directly to this opportunity for Ben and me to begin our own journey into short-term missions.

You see, it actually started twelve years ago when my dad and I went with a small group of people on a two-week mission trip to the African countries of Mali and Burkina Faso. While there, we met a missionary named Pete. Well, during this year’s missions conference, Pete was one of the two missionary guest speakers at our church. The first day before he was scheduled to speak, he spent time with my dad because of that prior connection. My dad, knowing that Ben and I were interested in getting involved with missions at some point, mentioned this to Pete, who immediately informed him of the need for skills like ours with the Envision team in Burkina Faso.

Since this was all occurring in the chaos of Ben nearing the end of college and me grading more students’ papers each night than I had time for, we weren’t planning on attending many events of this year’s missions conference. However, after talking to Pete, my dad called me up and urged us to go to church that night so Pete could share with us about opportunities in Burkina. Halfheartedly, we agreed. We enjoyed taking part in the hog roast meal and hearing the stories that Pete shared, but it was afterward that Pete excitedly shared with us how well he thought we would fit with the Envision group in Burkina. When we left that night, I was considering it, but not seriously. Ben, though, was ready to jump on the next plane.

From there, we took one of Pete’s suggestions and started looking into doing a short trip to Burkina Faso so we could meet the missionaries there and get a better feel for what it would be like if we were to do an internship. In August of this year, we went over to Burkina and spent eight days with the Envision team. While there, the missionaries showed us around the capital city of Ouagadougou, a city of over two million people. We saw the overall poverty you might expect as well as some areas of wealth that you might not expect. They showed us how to grocery shop and let us see the house where we’ll be staying.  They also showed us the many ministries that the Christian and Missionary Alliance has started, everything from churches to schools to student centers.
Tabitha House- A center for women that was built by The Christian and Missionary Alliance

What impressed me the most about what Envision does is that they equip the local believers to do ministry, as opposed to some that would go in and run the ministry for the locals. As a result of this, there were sites where short-term US teams had gone in and built new facilities that were needed and the missionaries made sure to help get things started, but after the local Christians were able to keep the ministry running on their own, the missionaries basically left that project and went on to the next area of need. And these ministries seemed to be thriving! It was so neat to see how much of an impact both the short-term and longer-term groups had made in that city.

So, why Burkina? I don’t think there’s a straightforward answer to that. Mostly we’re going because we feel it’s the next step in our lives that God’s directing us to take. Additionally, we’re going because of the connections our church has over there, because this is the time in our lives when we were already planning to move and Burkina is where we feel led to go right now, and because we are wanting to be part of something bigger than we can do on our own.

As many of you I’m sure can relate, it’s kind of scary to step out into something completely new. Some days, I think I’m not ready for this. Yet if God’s plan for us is something more than we think we can handle, why argue that our ideas for our lives are better than His? If God is directing you, He will handle the details; I have to keep reminding myself of this, as I would also urge others to keep this in mind. All of us must, at times, make the choice to do hard things that God is calling us to.

Ben and I are ready to see God use us, hopefully in more ways that we think possible. We heartily thank you for considering partnership with us in this ministry! We couldn’t even start to consider doing this without all of you!

-Molly (& Ben)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Our Partnership Letter

Hello, Everyone! 

We're excited to begin the process of building a team of people to "go with us" on our journey to Burkina Faso. This letter is our introduction to what we will be doing and what help we will need. Many more posts will follow with details that will share our experiences all along the way both before we go and during our year internship. We're so glad to have you visit our blog!