Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Blessed to Be A Blessing -- Burkina Faso, Sacrifice and Dessert

Whenever I come back from Africa I am so very strongly reminded that we are blessed to be a blessing, that sacrifice can change the world, and that desserts can be a good thing. Let me explain.

Burkina Faso

During the last week of October I had the privilege of joining Steve Bowler, the Visionledd Africa Representative in the small west African nation of Burkina Faso. The purpose of our trip was to meet with the leadership of Vigilance (an HIV/AIDS ministry in this nation of 13 million), see what God is doing, and discern whether or not Visionledd should join Vigilance in partnership.

Burkina Faso is French speaking and about 45% of the people are Muslim. One could see the Islamic influence everywhere -- from hotels and gas stations funded by Libya, to brand new mosques and boreholes/wells in almost every village and community -- all funded by "petro-dollars". The Christian population numbers about 25% and despite being in the minority, we were privileged to see signs of God is at work throughout the country.

I was privileged to attend a baptism in a village just outside the capital city where 11 people were baptized in a small pond. I spoke to a group of over 100 young leaders who were all committed to abstinence and to seeing God use them to change their nation. Steve spoke to a group of more than 100 people living with AIDS. The story of his 22 year struggle with MS and how this disease is a "gift from God" encouraged those who too were struggling with a fatal illness.

Steve and I, along with Pastor Kouliga Nikiema (the founder and director of Vigilance), traveled to meet Vigilance partners in two communities that have a high HIV infection rate. Meeting with pastors and leaders and listening to how they are ministering to those who are HIV+ regardless of religious background was inspiring. In the town of Bousse, all but two members of the leadership team were HIV+, but they were committed to helping the 57 churches in 90 villages be the hands and feet of Jesus to their communities.

There are many stories that could be told -- but Steve and I both left Burkina Faso and Pastor Kouliga with a profound sense of gratefulness. Grateful that we had the opportunity to inte
ract with heroes of the faith. Encouraged that God is at work, and challenged by the sacrifice of so many who have so little.

I trust this will not be my last trip to Burkina (though I would like to choose a time when the temperature is less than 112F for my next visit). God is at work in this nation and He is using Pastor Kouliga and Vigilance to make a difference!

Blessing and Sacrifice

In the past couple of weeks Debbie and I have been especially blessed by two families, and we would like to briefly tell their stories. About 10 days ago we received an email from a friend who told us that they were celebrating their daughter's birthday. AND, instead of of gifts, they were asking their young daughter's friends to bring money to be given to the ministry of Visionledd in Africa. Whatever the children brought, the parents would match! We were so blessed and hum
bled to hear this story. Truly, this family knows what it means to be blessed and then be a blessing.

In the last
couple of days I spoke to another family that had heard about the WOW Children's Christmas through a friend on Facebook and decided that they wanted to help orphans and vulnerable children in Africa. I spoke with the mother, and was again humbled by the sacrifice that this family is making in order to bless over 200 children with not only a Christmas celebration but school uniforms and school supplies. The family was on the verge of bankruptcy and then a close family member passed away and left them some money. They have been determined to not only pay off their debts, but to tithe from this inheritance -- even if it meant not being totally debt free -- or buying the new car they need. As the mom and I talked on the phone, I was once again humbled, inspired and encouraged by the commitment of this family to be a blessing.

If you'd like to help an orphan and vulnerable child in Africa hear the Christmas story, enjoy a real party and supply them with what they need for school in the coming year, EMAIL KARL
. You can actually do all that for only $20!

Dessert Meeting With Theresa Malila of Somebody Cares Malawi

What is God doing in Malawi? Theresa Malila, the founder of Somebody Cares, will be with us to talk about what the Holy Spirit is doing in Malawi. Join us for some great dessert and the chance to renew old friendships and make new ones as we hear from Theresa and pray together. There will also be an opportunity to support the work of Somebody Cares as they battle against HIV/AIDS and for transformed communities.

Date: Friday, November 20, 2009 Time: 7:00pm - 9:00pm Location: 2843 N Whiting Circle, Mesa, AZ 85213

Click HERE for the location on Google Maps.

Please RSVP by sending an email to KARL so we can be sure we have enough dessert (and not too much).

We'll see you there!

Dessert Meeting About Vigilance and Burkina Faso

What is God doing in Burkina Faso through the ministry of Vigilance? Join us for a dessert to hear Karl share about his trip, the ministry of Vigilance and for a time of prayer.

Date: Saturday, December 5, 2009 Time: 7:00pm - 9:00pm Location: 1140 E Loyola Drive, Tempe, AZ 85282

Click HERE for the location on Google Maps.

Please RSVP by sending an email to KARL so we can be sure we have enough dessert (and not too much).

Thank you again for all your prayer and support. We really appreciate it.

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