When we arrived, everyone kept saying- you've gotta get with Mike- he's a great guy, he's working on aquaponics and he's really hands-on! We live 9 hours away from him, so it didn't happen as soon as we'd have liked.
On January 4, 2016 we had a team from Atlanta coming in to see our work and to give much needed hugs. As we pulled into the guesthouse, we saw the Sheltering Wings van and Mike was attaching luggage to the roof rack.
The first thing he said was, "Oh you guys are from the video." We'd both been able to meet an amazing family from North Carolina last year who were here scouting out ministry opportunities among the Burkinabé. They made a video to report their discoveries to their team in the U.S- so we 'knew' each other by proxy.
With hopes to hang out at a later date when we weren't both hosting visiting Americans, we exchanged our short but sweet stories of how the Lord led us to this country late in life. Mike said something to the effect of- I'm a boat builder, man- that's what I used to do- but now God's got me here doing this and its awesome!
We were glad to finally meet him, said good bye, went to the airport to pick up our visitors and then went to Cappuccino for dinner.
Ten days later, we dropped our visitors off, went back to the guesthouse to sleep, and left Ouaga at 7 a.m. At 9:30 friday night, our pastor called to ask where we were. We hadn't yet heard that jihadists had entered Burkina and stolen life, security and peace throughout Burkina Faso.
We were so thankful for internet. Three friends wrote to check on us- we messaged back and forth and we went to bed praying.
The quote from Stonewall Jackson felt more real than ever before:
“My religious beliefs teach me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time of my death. I do not concern myself with that, but to be always ready whenever it may overtake me. That is the way all men should live, and all men would be equally brave.”― Stonewall Jackson
The next morning, we read the details of the attacks in Ouaga- nearly the first of this kind in this country.
Next we learned that two missionaries in the north had been kidnapped in the night. My mind went immediately to our friends in that area- there aren't many folks up there anymore due to the yucko activities of bad guys- I hung up the phone and immediately called to check on our friends. I praised the Lord when the husband answered and said that they were traveling toward Ouaga with a military escort for protection. I waited until I hung up to cry.
So it wasn't our friends who had been kidnapped, but someone had indeed been taken. A man and his wife, whom we've heard of and known about since even before we arrived here.
We met a guy when we first came to Burkina and when we asked him what his ministry focus was, he explained that he is here facilitating the ministry of a doctor in the north. As I understand it, this guy saw the need of a surgeon to have a 'right hand man' to take care of all of the extra steps that life in Burkina requires- and he has given his life to it. Serving the Lord by serving the doctor who serves the people who no one else is serving. Studs-
Now we are home. We are praying more as a family. We are easily entering into family worship again. Life has slowed down. Everything has changed.
6 people from a church in town came to visit yesterday. In this culture, when you lose a loved one, people visit and grieve with you. We met Mike face to face 14 days ago and he is our brother. The people of Burkina grieve with us. They know we are hurting. They know we have sacrificed.
They know that we do it for Jesus. They know that everything Mike did was for Jesus. So they are grieving with us.
We've been given a beautiful glimpse into the loyalty and meaning of the body of Christ. Amy's hurt is my hurt. A part of the body is hurting, the whole body experiences the pain.
"Get on a plane," we've heard.
If my friends were here, I'd probably say the same thing to them.
But that's the amazing power of the Holy Spirit of God. We don't feel afraid.
We are aware of the drastic change in the landscape of this country, but have no compulsion to leave.
Our flesh is weak- so I cry, nerves make our tummies rumble, some tempers draw short, but the spirit is willing and our God is mighty.
We are incredibly thankful that Burkina has been, historically, very safe and secure.
And now it isn't. The bad guys were targeting people who look like they're from the west-
which is scary.
But its not nearly as scary as moving away from the life that God has led us into. We left an amazing country that has incredibly wonderful access to sound bible teaching, christians in most neighborhoods and a judeo christian foundation.
God has done so much to move us to action, to prepare us to live, speak, and nearly thrive here. He has kept us here for 2 years- and that is a mighty act of God!
So I'm gonna stay in my neighborhood and shine the light of Jesus. I hope that each of us will shine the light of Jesus in this dark world. Shine brightly. Let the Holy Spirit empower you to do things that you know are beyond your abilities. I promise you...It will be amazing.