This is a very quick pan of the refugee camp. It doesn’t really look like a refugee camp because it it at a new schoolyard that has not been used yet. But hidden away in the buildings are 700+ people, sleeping on the ground, eating plain white rice, bored and hopeless.
Thursday kids club is the highlight of the week for these kids!
I didn’t want to get involved. Honestly I didn’t. I had outreaches planned through next fall, trainings on the schedule, important stuff. Somehow when I heard that Tuareg were fleeing Mali into Burkina, I knew that we had to respond. But there’s just a few of us, and we’re just… us.
There are over 20,000 refugees fleeing war in northern Mali. I have heard only a few of their stories, but they all have the same basic theme: “I had a life, a home, our kids had school. One day we saw someone get killed (a friend’s house get burned, I was held up at gunpoint, etc..), and we fled. Now we have nothing, no home, no identity, no rights.” Some of the refugees were herdsmen, but Ziniba was a university student, Agboubacar was a successful jeweler and Mohammed was in the Army. Now they all live together in refugee camps – nothing to do, struggling to find meaning and purpose. (Video of Tuareg Dance)
And many days they struggle to find food.
We discovered that around 800 of the refugees are in an empty school about 10 minutes from our house, and we knew we had to do something. We visited them, bringing bananas, sardines and bread, simply asking how we could help. They asked for food, for mats, for buckets and soap. The next day we brought all those things and we began to bring breakfast every morning to all 800 refugees.
For 21 days we brought 300 loaves of bread, 50 pounds of powdered milk, 100 pounds of sugar, 600 servings of coffee and tea every morning. i think what really touched their hearts was
that we came personally every morning to distribute the food and play with the kids. It wasn’t just a big organization throwing food at them to keep them alive, we were fellow humans who cared and had compassion. Every morning as we drove in, the camp looked empty. Everyone was hiding in their tents and rooms, sleeping their boredom and hopelessness away. But once we stepped out, the camp came alive! Kids came streaming towards us, grabbing our hands, hugging us, calling out our names. The moms would gather around, all smiles, as we split up the food to each group.
One day I found out that there were many sick so I asked Ziniba discreetly: “do you think i could go pray for the sick?” and I got a firm answer: “You pray differently. We pray everyday, we don’t drink alcohol and we bow down. If the old people see you praying in your way, they will refuse to even eat the food you bring, even if they are starving.” I didn’t argue with her, but I knew 2 things that day – 1. I want them to know that we come in the name of Jesus, not just religion and 2. We need to reach out to them through the children.
The 1st saturday we hosted a big soccer match at the camp. Boys vs. boys and girls vs. girls. We blasted Tuareg music through our speakers and we all danced together. Everyone had an amazing time!!
The next Thursday we began our Bible club with the kids.
March 8th : God created all the world and animals.
March 15th: God created you and loves you.
March 22nd: The Good Samaritan (we were noticing a lot of violence)
March 29th (today): Adam and Eve and sin (introducing Easter next week)
It’s been a while…
This website was hacked over a year ago, and I became very discouraged from picking blogging back up. But there has been so much happening, and I want a place where everything will be recorded chronologically, and a blog is still the best way to do it. I’m sorry there has been so little information coming from us
But I want to say “Thank You!” for being so faithful in support, prayer and encouragement. It is truly humbling.
Here’s tonight’s prayer for tomorrow’s village (Day 4)-
Lord, I thank you for what you’ve done in the Turka villages so far. Continue to invade the enemy’s camp, Lord, and take back the captives! I pray for the village of Mousso-dougou, that you would tear down every stronghold that would keep the people bound in their sin and blind to the freedom You are holding out to them. Lord, let the school outreach and distribution be fun and full of joy and love for the kids, that the children would feel special and completely loved. Strengthen the little church there in Mousso-dougou and let the church be so welcoming to any new Turka believers who get saved at the night evangelism! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Praise report from yesterday’s prayer:
-Today’s gift distribution was really great. A direct answer to yesterdays prayer about the village really receiving our team- The school parents all came in together and prepared a very nice meal for our team and the school directors really showed appreciation from beginning to end!
-The people were few during the first skits, but once they started the film, more came. Then 20 minutes into it, they stopped the film, did some more Gospel drama. Some people left! People only wanted the film, so Joel used that as bait! Started the film again, now tons of people started coming- about 700+. Stopped the film again and really preached the Gospel. Then finished the film. About 50 people got saved tonight!
* Apparently the pastor from Mousso-dougou (‘ou’ is pronounced ‘oo’) started a sister church in Kolo-kolo a while back. But someone in the Kolo-kolo church really went bad and ruined the testimony of the church and soon fizzled out. So now that there are new converts that came forward at the night evangelism, the pastor wants to start up this sister church again. Its just what you prayed! They will do their first service this Sunday! Hallelujah!
Dear God, let the Spirit of the Lord be upon Joel and the team, and anoint them to proclaim good news to the poor. Send them to Kolo-kolo to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor there. Prepare the village leaders to receive our team with joy and hospitality. Use the dramas on hygiene to really help change the children’s lifestyles. Use the kindness and love at the gift distribution to break off the hardness of the adults’ hearts and become soft and able to accept Christ as Savior at the night-time evangelism. Lord, draw the hearts of Kolo-kolo to You and we pray for a church to be planted there, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Praise report from yesterday’s prayer:
Right after Joel and the guys set up all the equipment for the evangelism, it started to rain and everyone disappeared. They had to pack everything up and wait it out. But the great part is that when the rain stopped and they set up again, about 600 people came back and got to hear the Gospel through skits, puppet shows and film. Praise God they came back!-Daniel got in on time with all his bags and is so happy to be here after the 2 day delay in Philadelphia. So glad he’s finally here.
* Tomorrow they go to a village called Kolo-kolo. This is the sound a turkey makes, so this is the word for “turkey.” Please pray for Turkey Village All the other villages except Fabidougou and this one have churches. Please pray for a church to be planted in Kolo-kolo.
* The team of doctors who will be driving down on Sunday, both of their vehicles have just broken down. Please pray for quick repairs and protection from any more attacks from the enemy. thanks!
Please would you read this and pray this prayer for Day 2 of 8 of our ministry trip among the Turka people:
Lord, You love the Turka people. I pray for the gift distribution and the evangelism tomorrow in Belega-dougou that will all be done in the Turka language (which never happens in that region) that You will use it to show them that You came for EVERY people, tribe and tongue, even the precious Turka. Let Your truth resonate in the souls of the children and the gathered crowd as they hear the Good News in their own heart-language for the first time, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Praise report from yesterday’s prayer:
-God kept Joel and his team safe driving all day to Banfora. There was a large student protest that blocked the entire highway and stopping Joel’s cars on the road. Thank God it dissipated in only 10 min.
-Jeremie got permission from the mayors and school inspectors to do the gift distributions and evangelism. Praise God for favor!
More Prayer points for Thursday:
- This is the largest school we’ll be going to (615 kids). Pray that the gift distribution would be organized and quick, and there would be no pushing or shoving, and no distractions, in Jesus’ name
- Pray for Daniel who is still stuck at some airport because of major delays caused by storms in America. He should get to Burkina Thurs. afternoon by God’s grace
Tomorrow marks the start of our Turka adventure and we need your prayer! We will be traveling in 2 trucks and a trailer from Ouagadougou to Banfora, about an 8 hour drive. We’ll be leaving at about 3:00 am CST (9:00 here) Would you pray with us:
Lord, we pray for safe travels. We pray that you would protect the evangelism teams, keeping the drivers awake and alert, and the vehicles in perfect working order. We pray for continued peace in Ouagadougou.
We ask that you would give supernatural wisdom to the leaders, Joel and Didier, as they make decisions about the outreaches.
We pray that Jeremie would have favor with local authorities for which schools we can distribute gifts and where we can do the evangelisms.
But we pray especially for the Turka people, that You would begin to prepare their hearts for the Gospel! We pray against every barrier and hindrance, for no weapon formed against us shall prosper. We resist the enemy’s plans to keep the Turka blinded and bound from the Gospel and any plans to discourage us. Lord, come and glorify Your Name! Amen.
- For clear minds, that nothing will be forgotten or left behind as we head out in the morning.
- That the school directors, mayor’s office and school authorities will not hinder us at all.
- That the local pastors (Mossi and Joula people) will take responsibility for these outreaches and gain a heart for their Turka neighbors.
Thank you for your prayer! Pray hard and pray often and we will see miracles!