|The drilling team minus Ben (who was taking the picture)|
Now at this point, I've been living in Burkina for eleven months, and because working with short-term mission teams is Ben's and my main job, I've been on lots of trips to the bush; I'm used to the situations where we must drive for many hours to reach our destination, sleep outside, eat whatever local food we're served, take bucket baths, use the bathroom in inconvenient places, and so on. However, even with being prepared for what the conditions would be like, I knew going into it that doing a six-day drilling trip wouldn't quite feel the same as doing the normal four-day church-hangar-building trip that I always love. I was feeling somewhere in between eagerness to be a part of this new kind of ministry and uneasiness as to whether or not I'd enjoy living in the bush for nearly a week plus doing manual labor all day long each day.
|Ben and me with some of the locals right after we installed the pump on the first well we drilled|
As it turned out, I was extremely glad that I got to be a part of this drilling trip. Not only did I really enjoy hanging out with Chelsea, I also enjoyed getting to know all of the guys on the two teams from Georgia and Wisconsin, learning what all happens on a well trip (prior to this, I had only helped with one well drilled in Ouaga), and being a part of giving people physical and spiritual water.
|Ben and me in front of the dusty drilling site with the drilling rig at work|
A great story from this trip: At the site of the first well we drilled, a missionary from that area met up with us and did an evangelism night after we had finished drilling for the evening. It drew a large crowd of people—about 400 was the estimate—since many in the area had realized throughout the day that the well-drilling team was working plus a movie screen and loudspeakers always seem to draw a crowd in the bush. Although those of us drilling were all so worn out from our work that we weren't directly a part of this, the missionary showed the Jesus film near our well site and he and the local pastors preached, and forty people raised their hands wanting to give their lives to Jesus. Our team was overjoyed that so many new believers came to Christ, some of which were surely drawn there through the curiosity and questions that the well drilling sparks. This is the whole point of this ministry—to draw people to the living water through the process of bringing them the physical water.
|Mark from Friends in Action directing two of the guys on the team on how to jet the well at our first drilling site|
|Our team praying over the difficult drilling situation|
|Chelsea and me on the drill site with some unexpected |
extras joining in behind us for the photo ;)
We were all disappointed, of course, because we also very much wanted water for these people who have waited for it for so long, but at dinner late that evening, we still joked and enjoyed each other's company as usual. A few guys later brought up their concern that it might have looked to the villagers like we didn't care that we couldn't hit water for them. Yet on the contrary, the next morning as we were leaving, the area pastor let us know just how grateful and encouraged the believers there were that we tried to get water for them. He also said that they were pleased to see from our laughing and upbeat chatter the night before that the joy of God remained in our hearts even after putting in all of that work with no results. They then presented us with half a sack of corn and several chickens. How humbling it is to think that we were unable to give them the water that they so desperately wanted and yet they were so grateful for our efforts and our time spent with them that they would gift us with their very best things!
|The sweet kids at Sideradougou who loved playing games with us|
I know that we were an encouragement to them through our many fun interactions with them and through our labor of love in trying to get them water, but they were just as much an encouragement to all of us through their response to having to yet again face the disappointment of not getting their own well. This kind of a reaction forces me to think—Do I react with complete thankfulness to God and to others even when things don't go my way? When what I had been praying for and working for and hoping for doesn't happen? I think that all too often, the answer to this for all of us is "no." These Burkinabé believers were such an example of 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18—" —as us not hitting water affected us that one day but will continue to affect their everyday.
|Chelsea and me holding out bubble wands for the kids to blow|
On a side note: my "low" of the week was experiencing something I had hoped I'd never have to: taking bucket baths completely out in the open because there was no other choice. Thankfully, both times that this was the only option, it was dark out and Chelsea and I took turns standing guard for one another and helping look out for anyone that might be walking our way. It's not going to go down in the books as my favorite experience, but I guess I'm a little tougher for it! On another side note, Sideradougou is the village with the nicest bathroom setup I have yet to see (as far as village bathrooms go), so I actually got the best experience and the worst all in one week. :)