Joel and Heidi have a vision to reach 1,000,000 children by the year 2020. They do this through training national children’s workers in children’s ministry and placing them into evangelism teams. They also focus on the least reached people and use Children’s outreaches to plant churches.
This year we had 11 evangelism teams go to 2 regions during the Samaritan’s Purse gift distributions. Our teams performed our Gospel drama 150+ times to 30,000 + children. This year the new puppet skit was written, performed and recorded 100% by our team members! The outreach equipment was also nearly completely designed by the local team using only equipment found in Burkina Faso (everything but the puppets – we hope to begin making those locally as well). It all fits in a backpack so that all the teams could go in teams of 2-4 people on mopeds. I hated it, but I actually spent most of my time in my office organizing the next day’s outreaches… I’m working myself out of a job
In the same way, the trip to the unreached people “the Karumba” was done almost entirely by the evangelism team we’re training with limited help from me. The team translated the skits into the Karumba language, organized the outreaches and I didn’t go on the week-long outreach. The Karumba are an Islamic people very closed to the Gospel. Again this was the 1st time most of them had heard the Gospel, and the 1st time the Gospel had EVER been preached in Karumba in many villages. To the utter AMAZEMENT of the Karumba pastors, hundreds came forward to receive Christ.
I think what has amazed me more than all these things has been the devotion and passion of the evangelism teams. Each year, after the last Samaritan’s purse distribution is finished, they continue to meet to pray, to organize more outreaches. Anymore, they contact me just to let me know how their outreaches had gone. Outside of the Samaritan’s Purse outreaches, these teams have reached another 20,000+ kids.
We had meetings last week to discuss how to move forward, how we can do even more together.
|Year||# of Gifts (GAKAC)||# Heard the Gospel||Focus|
|2005||300||350||Went to a friend’s private school and performed a very simple skit.|
|2006||2000||4000||Developed the “Jesus skit” and went to a region where we also taught 24 CPs how to start kid’s clubs. (All but 1 failed after a year). Went to the Fulani people.|
|2007||4000||6000||Was a huge undertaking! Over $40,000 raised and my missionary team and my wife asked me to scale back. Went to the Lele people.|
|2008||2000||3000||Deaf/mute kids throughout Burkina Faso. We also helped offer them a medical checkup through a partnership.|
|2009||1500||1st year with OCC. We held nighttime outreaches in a few of the sites OCC visited.|
|2010||??||Ouagadougou, 24 team members, 3 teams. Taught them a 30-45 min Gospel presentation that was performed over 60 times.|
|2011||28000||Ouagadougou, 30 team members, 5 teams. 30 minute presentation performed 120 times. We introduced puppets. Took 2500 gifts to the Turka. Helped plant a church.|
|2012||50,000 +||Ouagadougou, Banfora, 40+ team members, 11 teams. A 15 minute Gospel presentation (shortened by request of OCC team). Done on mopeds with a backpack. Went to the Karumba people in the desert with 1700 gifts. One of the Team members planted a church amongst unreached people, we took 600 gifts there to help plant the church.|
Before the kids club, each one of us had been praying on his own, but me, in my prayers, I received visions. The visions showed me that the gospel must be preached in its entirety this particular Thursday, because we were wondering if we should say that Jesus was resurrected. Since they are Muslims, we were afraid to act before God’s time, but God spoke one passage to me: it is when the apostle Paul and Silas said to the jailer: “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you shall be saved you and your household” (Acts 16:31)” it is when they will believe that Jesus died and rose again they will be saved.
And on top of that I saw Heidi in the vision among the Tuaregs holding up the colorful scenes of Jesus we have printed on plastic sheets. I told myself that God wants to go further, Islam does not like showing any kind of pictures of a Prophet.
Please keep reading!
3:45 pm: We were ready for the biggest day at the Tuareg Camp since the 1st day we heard about them. Today, we were going to share the Gospel at the Kids Camp!! Thursday, April 12th and it was extraordinarily hot! But this is not unexpected since we are in the middle of the hot/dry season and we don’t expect rain until June. Well, as Heidi, the kids, Kate and the new missionaries were getting in the car, and I (Joel) and Didier were starting up a moped, the wind began to pick up! A rainstorm in April!!! Unbelievable! How was I supposed to ride a moped in the rain? Honestly I thought “maybe we should postpone this – the kids probably won’t come out in the rain anyhow”. Well, strike one for the devil – we waited 10 minutes and pushed forward after the storm passed.
4:15 pm: We arrived at the camp and I began to distribute the 100lbs of powdered milk we had brought (milk is one of the Tuareg’s staples) and the rest of the team began to play games with the kids. They LOVED the puddles, especially after such a hot day. The rain and wind had knocked the temp down at least 15 degrees. After playing for 20 minutes or so, Didier began to gather the (very rambunctious) kids for the lesson. It took a LONG time to get them calm, sitting and all together. Right when he did… it started pouring down rain again!!! It looked like we had struck out this time, as the group of kids exploded and they all ran away as fast as they could. But it was strike two for our enemy – they all ran together to a covered gazebo on the other side of the camp. In 15 minutes, they were calmly sitting, waiting for the story to begin.
A Fulani Christian?!?
We hired Rama to teach the Tuareg kids French on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays for 2.5 hrs each week. They were bored and had cabin fever (they’ve been inside the same 4 walls for over a month) and we were noticing more and more serious scrapes from fights they were having (did we mention they are a very aggressive people?). So we asked Rama to try her best to teach them the alphabet and how to write letters.
She has done a lot more than that!
Rama is a Fulani believer. The Fulani are a nomadic, Muslim people group from the northern part of W. Africa. In fact, they are a very similar people to the Tuareg.
As Rama began to interact with the parents of the kids she was teaching, they found out she was a Christian. There was an immediate reaction – they were in shock! One man said “Since the day I was born I have NEVER heard of such a thing – a Fulani Christian!!??” So they began calling other Tuareg to come around – to check out this anomaly!
And Rama is a very bold witness.
Soon after, she came to Heidi and I and asked for some books in French for the kids to read. We gave her some Bible stories and a picture Bible. The next afternoon she came back with this story:
I decided to tell a Bible story today instead of have a French lesson. I told the story of Cain and Able from the books you gave, and they were all captivated. Yesterday night one of their friends, a 12 year old boy, had died suddenly in the camp, so they were very eager to hear about God. At the end of the story, I asked them “Who wants Jesus to be their friend?” Several rose their hands, and after the lesson, 5 came up to me individually. One boy asked me “How can I walk with Jesus?” Another girl told me “I know that God is my Father, but I am scared of Him.” I assured her that God is not like our earthly fathers.
One of the fathers had been listening to the whole story and whn he heard me tell about Jesus, he grumbled to one of the kids and walked away. I asked the child : “What did he say?” The kid replied “He was just complaining. He always complains.”
Please pray for Rama, for more boldness, more wisdom and more open doors to the this unreached people, the Tuareg!