Monday, 16 April 2012

The cost of discipleship

Last week, one of the pastors in our area baptised 18 people. After years of faithful witness with little response, he has seen more people come to Christ in the last year than in the 10 years before that.

One of the men being baptised was a recent convert. He and his whole family had decided last year to follow Christ after years of listening to the gospel. A few weeks ago, his wife's family came to take her and the children back, because of the man's faith in Christ. He was devastated, and tried without success to get them back.

Two days ago her family summonsed him, and asked him whether he was going to leave the way of Christ or not. He replied:
"All I want is my wife and children back. If you give them to me, I will take them home. If not, I will return home alone. But I cannot leave Christ who has given himself for me, and who has given me and my family new life."
Yesterday his in-laws called him to come and collect his wife and children, and take them home.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Marathon Man

Robert Connell will be running the London Marathon next Sunday, 22 April, to raise funds for our work in Burkina Faso with the Acacia Partnership Trust.

Robert is 52, and is from our Scottish church: Mossvale Community Church. He trains with Kilbarchan Amateur Athletic Club. He started running marathons seven years ago, and this will be his ninth, and his fourth in London.

If you want to sponsor Robert, please click on this link to sponsor him online through JustGiving.

Any money raised will help us bring God's blessing to Burkina Faso.
Thank you for any support you can give Robert!

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Pray for Mali

As you have probably heard, Mali has been going through a torrid time these last weeks. Until recently it was held up as a beacon of democratic stability. Three main issues have thrown the country into complete disarray:

  1. The ongoing drought and food crisis in the sahel, including Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mauritania, leaving - according to Oxfam - 13 million people vulnerable to severe food shortage. 
  2. A coup d'etat. Military officers led by Captain Sanogo, unhappy with the way the government were handling the northern rebellion (see below), took over in a coup last month. Their coup has been roundly condemned by the UN, US, EU, the African Union, and by ECOWAS, the West African economic union, who have been imposing economic sanctions. Giving into pressure, and to the relief of the Malian population, Sanogo has now agreed to a transition back to democracy. 
  3. The northern rebellion. After rumbling on for years, the Tuareg rebellion has suddenly taken new impetus with the addition of fighters driven out of Libya following the fall of Ghaddafi. They have taken the three major northern towns (Gao, Kidal, and Timbuktou), and have now claimed the northern area as a separate state - a claim refused out of hand by everyone. However, there are various factions in this rebellion, with different goals:
    • The MNLA, primarily Tuareg, who claim the - largely desert - north of Mali for a reconstituted traditional Tuareg state, called Azawad. They say they have now taken this land, are asking for its recognition as a separate secular state. Its borders come down to the north of Burkina Faso, just across the border from us, as you can see in the map. However, not everyone in the area is Tuareg - there are many Fulani and Songhai who are not necessarily happy with the idea of a Tuareg state. 
    • Ansar Dine, an Islamist group - possibly joined by AQIM - whose goal is to take over the whole of Mali and impose sharia law. They have already imposed sharia law in Timbuktou, and the Christians have fled.
 This combination of drought, coup d'etat, ethnic rebellion, and islamist extremist groups is creating turmoil for Mali, and could potentially destabilise the whole region.
 Please pray. Thank you.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Dental Work Gets Underway!

My apologies that this blog has been so quiet for a while. I hope to re-start it again now. Thank you for your patience.

And my first post is about the dental work that Lynne has been able to start during our time in Burkina recently. We finally received authorisation, and were able to do a lot of work in villages, in schools, and in Gorom-Gorom hospital. The work was very well received,and many patients not only went away relieved of pain, but also wanting to know more about the love of God that motivated Lynne and her team.

To read more, and see more pictures, follow this link to the APT website:
Dental Work in Burkina Faso

If you want to help support the mobile dental clinic, you can do that by clicking on the picture below. Thank you.

Friday, 21 October 2011

He was OK

Travelling around Burkina Faso, occasionally we come across a major road-building work going on - the old washboard dirt tracks being transformed into proper tarmac roads. Often the huge equipment and trucks busy at such sites are emblazoned with a large "OK". These are the initials of the company founder, Oumarou Kanazoe, who died aged 84 on Wednesday, a man who worked his way out of poverty to become the wealthiest man in Burkina Faso.

Born in 1927, Oumarou Kanazoe was an only child of a poor family, and was sent to Quranic school, aged 7. When he was 12, his father died, making him the family's breadwinner. He began making cloth, then selling it as well as cola-nuts, salt, and matches. He opened his first store and restaurant aged 23, and five years later bought his first goods truck. In 1970, aged 43, he started his company (Oumarou Kanazoe), and in 1973, gained his first road-building contract. The company developed to employ 1,000 people, building dams, roads, etc, not only in Burkina, but also in other West African countries. No-one knows how wealthy he actually is. People tell me he never learned to read and write. What is sure is that he remained un-schooled.

But the website says: "Oumarou Kanazoé, at the height of his wealth, was considered a good father, a leader, a man devoted to his religion. Oumarou Kanazoé was also considered a tireless worker, who rose early and went to bed late." He had four wives and 30 children. He worked to bring unity among Muslims in Burkina Faso, and this was recognised by his appointment as president of the "Federation of Islamic Associations of Burkina". But he also gave generously to build dams, roads, churches, and schools. Since 1995 he has been President of the Chamber of Commerce of Burkina Faso.

His name might be little known outside West Africa. But he was known throughout Burkina Faso with great affection, often just by his initials...

He was "OK".

Thursday, 13 October 2011

From death to life.

I was just speaking to one of the pastors in Burkina Faso, and he told me this story that happened in his village in the last month concerning a young Fulani lady:
"We have been sharing Christ with Mariama for ages, and prayed for her when she was ill. Recently she fainted, and after 3 hours, her family concluded she was dead. They began digging the grave, and, according to custom, her body was washed ready for burial.

Then she woke up!

She called for a Christian friend, and asked to be taken to church, where she gave her life to Christ..

Two weeks later, she died."

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Family Update

As you may know, we were due to return to Burkina Faso this month. However, things have been disrupted by more issues with Lynne's health following on from the complications after Isla's birth.

A couple of weeks ago, we went for a review of the situation regarding Lynne's stomach, and they ended up taking Lynne back into hospital for an operation for an incisional hernia. The operation went well, and after a couple of days in hospital, Lynne was able to come home. However, this means that for another 6 weeks, Lynne cannot drive, pick up Isla etc. Please pray for a complete and swift recovery for Lynne. Thank you.

This also means that our return to Burkina is delayed. Lynne has another review planned for the 25 Nov, and - assuming all goes well - we will then return to Burkina as soon as possible after that. This is somewhat frustrating, and will be difficult, continuing to co-ordinate the work there from back here in Scotland. In the meantime, we continue to try to develop the work through the less interesting work of promotions, admin, accounts, website development, publicity etc. Thanks for your prayers for all these things.

Isla, by the way, continues to do very well: