I have just returned home from a 10 day trip to Burkina Faso, Africa. I saw hunger, disease, hope, joy, generosity. I felt hot, dusty, thirsty, loved, appreciated, encouraged, hospitality, inspired. I was filled with heart-breaking experiences that consumed my heart with compassion. I wish I could put it into one simple post and tell you what what all this means. But I cannot.
So I will be posting a picture a day, every day, for the month of March. Each photo and some stories, feelings, experiences, memories, will help convey the story of the people of Burkina Faso and how they have filled my heart.
I want to begin by introducing you to the team I traveled with. In this photo are nine of the 13 who spent this week together. The nine of us left for O’Hare together from Clay South. You can see (beginning from the left): Kathy Miller, senior pastor from Centerville UMC; me; Larry Whitehead, senior pastor from Mishawaka First UMC and our soon-to-be District Superintendant; Rachel Parks, a young adult from Northwest UMC; Bob Vale, senior pastor at Osceola UMC; Vickie Van Nevel, senior pastor at Northwest UMC; Jeff Smith, senior pastor at Bremen UMC; Herb Buwalda, senior pastor at Clay Church and our leader for this trip; Jill Wright, senior pastor of Robinson Chapel UMC in Fort Wayne. Not pictured are Matthew Stults, senior pastor at North UMC in Madison, Indiana; Kelly Buwalda, Herb’s daughter who was able to join us at the last minute; and two others who we met there: Bill and Dan from Minnesota, whose church has also been digging wells.
We went as a fulfillment to a promise Herb Buwalda came home with after visiting Burkina Faso last spring. He promised to spread his compassion for clean water to other churches and help them see the vision of a better world for our friends there. I think I can honestly say that after day one, we were all sold.
The most frequent question I was asked before leaving was: Are you nervous? And my most frequent answer was: I’m not sure what to be nervous about. That there were too many unknowns to be able to worry about anything! I really tried to enter into this experience with no anticipations, but fully ready to participate. I believe I succeeded.
I hope these daily posts do not bore you, but help you catch a little glimpse of Burkina Faso that spreads into a fuller picture of what is going on in a country that seems so far away. May these pictures and stories, each one like a drop in the water that continues to spread, sending ring upon ring out, help tell you a much bigger story.