Burkina Faso

A GA Leader Goes to Burkina Faso

“You are going where?” I heard that question again and again as I told my friends of my next exciting missions adventure with God — going to Burkina Faso to help begin missions education for children. Preparation for this trip recalled one of my earliest mission studies as a new GA leader — missions in Upper Volta. I remembered my group of GAs making paper replica maps of the butterfly-shaped country and learning to spell and pronounce the name of the capital.

“Can you say Ouagadougou?” French is the official language of Burkina Faso, although this country’s heritage is primarily Mossi with the Mooré language widely spoken. With a low literacy rate for those over age 15, the challenges before me were for much more than the pronunciation of Ouagadougou [oh-WAH-gah-DOO-goo]. How would I help women understand the need for missions education and discipleship and equip them to begin?

Serving Him by Teaching and Encouraging

While taking a philosophy class in college, Bart Gibbs was assigned a book titled, Man’s Search for Meaning. After reading the book, he was drawn to continue seeking God’s leading to find true meaning in life. Through volunteer experiences, while visiting Burkina Faso in 1981, he “found meaning in life through serving the Lord in bringing the good news of the Kingdom of God to people in West Africa,” shares Bart. Bart and Jane Anne Gibbs met while in college at the University of Tennessee (Knoxville), at Calvary Baptist Church, and were married in 1983. They have 2 daughters and a son.

Missionary Spotlight Update: Bart and Jane Anne Gibbs

drummers

During this very hot season in West Africa when daily temperatures can soar to more than 100°F, Bart and Jane Anne Gibbs need your prayers. “The heat and humidity sap one’s strength, resilience, and patience,” Jane Anne said. Disruptions to electricity and water service don’t help. “Cuts in service interfere with everyday life to the degree that it is a challenge sometimes to maintain a positive outlook,” Bart said.

Traveling around the region to mentor and supervise other missionaries is rewarding work, but during this season, trips are long, hot, and fatiguing.

Another source of frustration is Internet access. Burkina Faso’s Internet service has been described as “the world’s slowest and most expensive,” Bart said. “In this world of ‘connectedness,’ everyone is expected to easily access the Internet. We also must report about our work and finances regularly using Internet that is sporadic, slow, and frustrating. Waiting on downloads or uploads can seem like such a waste of time when we would much rather be with people, but part of our job requires that we communicate electronically. It can be a struggle to find a balance.”

This Month — June 2018

 

June 2018 Ideas


June: Pray for Burkina Faso

Look up some recent news articles that address some of the issues that impact the lives of people in Burkina Faso. Check news sites as well as opendoorsusa.org. Search the IMB prayer lists for Burkina Faso, Ghana and West Africa at imb.org/prayer-list/.

Plan a special prayertime to focus on the immediate needs in Burkina Faso, Ghana and West Africa. Look to Acts 16:25–34 for inspiration. Here are some ideas:

Keep on Truckin’

Life on the road with an 18-wheeler in the United States can be hard. But there are relaxing truck stops along the way and comfortable berths and even satellite TVs in many trucks. Life on the road in West Africa is very different.

Truckers face long delays at border crossings with no facilities. They may sleep on mats by their trucks, cooking over open fires. They sit in the shade of their rigs for hours or days . . . waiting . . . talking . . . waiting. “They are sitting there with nothing to do except hear the gospel,” said Katee Sheppard*, an International Mission Board missionary in Burkina Faso.

So she began sharing oral stories from God’s Word, targeting truck drivers, and from there, training more and more nationals to do the same thing. As trucking routes connect all of Africa, the vision was for those West African truckers who became believers to share the gospel all along their routes. Ordinary truckers have become carriers of the divine message.

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