Pastor Joshua and a faithful ‘Church’
One of our local Pastors, Pastor Joshua, dreamed one night that a great wind had carried him to a village that we had no church in. (name withheld for security reasons) The next morning he woke up and went to that village as he felt God had called him to go there through the dream. When he arrived he began to ask people in the village if there were any Christians in the village. Everyone told him that there was only one old man who every Sunday would ring a bell, go into a building alone, and there he would pray.
The Pastor found the old man and the old man cried and told the pastor that he was the only believer in his village and that every Sunday he had been faithfully attending "church" and praying that God would send a Pastor and a church to his people. He told the Pastor that he knew that on this day his prayers had been answered.
Through this God called this Pastor to plant a church in this resistant, heavily muslim, animistic village.
The village gave him a piece of property in the center of town, and it was literally a garbage dump. This did not discourage this pastor, instead he cleaned up the property, built a home, put up a woven grass mat overhang which became the first "church".
He slowly built crudely constructed wooden benches to sit on and he preached and lived among the people and the church began to grow.
As the church grew so did the opposition.
Soon the woven grass mat structure was set on fire burning up the structure and the benches. They were trying to chase the Pastor away, but he knew God had called him and he was not going anywhere.
When we received the word about the burning of his "church" we arranged for a US work team to come and erect a metal hangar which became the new church building and the team that came sent money to build benches too. This new metal structure could not be burned.
Then we arrived less than a year later with a team of firefighters to drill a well.
All of us felt a heaviness when we arrived in this village, and were unsettled by the crowds of people that soon surrounded us. There were crowds of curious people, mostly children, more children that I have ever seen in one place during all of our years here in Burkina.
We felt unsettled and moved to pray as we felt the opposition of our enemy all around us. We knew that our God was stronger but it was still disconcerting to know that we may not be welcomed in this village like we had been in the others.
Soon the rigs were situated so they could drill on the small church property, and as the work began the next morning, people came and stood for hours in the hot sun, watching and waiting, and hoping for water. John was able to speak to some of the old muslim leaders and the leaders were hopeful and more positive about the church since it was bringing water to those in need. John made sure he explained that Jesus was the reason we had come and Jesus was the reason US donors were giving water to them.
This is how the gospel seeds are planted and we have seen over and over how these seeds bear fruit, Kingdom fruit.
There were a number of hand dug wells in the village, but not enough to fill the needs of those who lived there, and although there was one deep drilled well accessible, all of the people had to pay monthly in order to get water for their families. If you could not afford to pay, you could not draw water from the well.
The Pastor and our team explained that when our well was drilled it would supply water free of charge to those who needed water. They could not believe this news.
Sure enough water was found in short order and in great supply! This is just one way the gospel continues to advance here in Burkina Faso.