Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Fulfilling a Promise

The culture here is quite different from the U.S.  When you say something here, your word is your bond.  This has at times caused problems for missionaries, as short-term mission trip team members have said that they would buy or do something for locals.  Usually they come through with their promises, but occasionally team members get back to the U.S. and in the midst of returning to normal life, forget about what they were truly intending to do for someone in Burkina.  Though that word has been forgotten by that person, the BurkinabĂ© people who were told of such things will not forget it.  If the team member does not fulfill his promise, the person promised asks the missionaries about it.

November ended up being very different than planned, as we had our two teams for the month cancel due to the political unrest that was going on for a couple of weeks as well as concerns regarding Ebola (which still is not in Burkina; see previous post entitled "Power, Love, and Self-Discipline" for thoughts on that topic).  Both teams were supposed to build hangars for villages out in the bush.  These villages had already been told when the teams were planning to come and that they would then get hangars to help their churches expand.  So we wanted to be sure that they would still get those hangars.  These two teams and churches had raised $4,000 apiece to build the hangars, and they gave the Envision missionaries permission to build these new churches in their absence.  Thanks to those two American churches for blessing these villages and not making them wait or feel forgotten by allowing us to build these hangars as scheduled.


A house where a local believer lives

The first of the two hangars was built during the last week of November.  Five of us went down to the village to build the hangar and to be an encouragement to the local believers: John (Engage Burkina/Envision leader), Olivier (our BurkinabĂ© welder and local believer), Seth (youth leader for the local international youth group), Frank (Seth's father-in-law), and me (Envision intern).  We crammed in one truck and trailer and made our way 6 hours southwest.

One of the area pastors met us part of the way with his evangelism equipment and caught a ride to the village where we were to build the hangar.  After 6 hours of traveling, we finally arrived at our destination.  We had dinner and settled in for the night.


Eating breakfast with the local pastors

The first morning we woke up and started working after breakfast.  Our morning consisted of digging the holes and cementing the posts for the new church hangar.  Many of the local believers joined in and helped out with the work.  In the afternoon, we set up the scaffolding and frames for roofing the next morning.  That night after dinner and bucket baths, the local pastors set up for and had evangelism.  Evangelism is headed by the local pastors who usually show African-made videos that are relevant to and speak God's truth into the lives of people here in West Africa.


Mounting and welding the A-frames

The second day we woke up early and got started on the frames and roofing.  We were hoping to finish in time to get home that evening.  We made good time at completing the hangar together, and we finished the work and cleanup just before lunchtime.


Finishing up the roofing

The local believers were very appreciative of the structure that was completed.  They were ready to continue the work and build the walls for the church.


Local believers ready to use the new church

I am glad that we were able to provide this hangar for the expansion of the church.  It was also a blessing that we were able to get some extra people there to help with construction; thanks to Seth and Frank for joining us on this trip.

-Ben