Field Notes

Burkina Faso: "God Helps in Every Moment"

by: Meredith Maines


Our ministry partner Geoffrey Richter serves alongside the Dagara people in Burkina Faso. He's worked with Living Water since 2009, evaluating communities' needs and our response. We then rely on God's leading to determine where to focus our efforts, regardless of religion, to demonstrate Christ's love through clean water. We love this story he tells of God's divine orchestration—our stories interwoven to climax as the body of Christ. Be sure to click through the photo gallery to see where your support will have an impact.

Ever have one of those experiences where you feel you're witnessing something special—even divine? A few weeks ago, in the remote village of Balembar-Badiere, Burkina Faso, was one of those times. I felt as though I was stepping into something God had already orchestrated. On the hunt for a village deserving of a new water well, I came upon a group of Dagara Christians worshipping God. It caught me by surprise at first, but then I thought, “No, that’s just like God.” Of course he would align our random visit to be the same day as their weekly worship time. Before we knew it, we were in the midst of a crowd of singing and dancing believers.

Soon after we sat down, they offered me a nice calabash of water in a gracious display of hospitality. The water looked clear enough. After I swigged a few gulps, I asked where it came from. After a long walk down to a creek area, we found their "nearby well." Dilapidated wooden limbs covered a big hole in the ground. When I peered into the water, I was horrified to find debris and fecal contamination.

“You mean I drank water from this well?” They all nodded and shrugged their shoulders at me. What was a shock to me is, for them, a daily reality.

As I watched, a few women came to get water, one with a small baby and another who was expecting. These women even had to fight off the thirsty animals from drinking out of their water containers.

Later, we asked how water affected their lives and how the church began. In March 2011 an illiterate man, Marcel, asked a neighboring village's church evangelist to come plant a church. He wanted his village to find peace, choosing to follow God and leaving the old things of animism behind. Now he says everyone has found one voice to praise God together.

As we were giving our farewell greeting, a voice piped up from the crowd asking may name, to which I answered with my English name. “Okay," they said. "But what is your Dagara name?” No one had given me one. After a brief pause, a woman declared, “Your name is Nanjmin Sown.” Others joined in agreement, repeating the name and nodding their heads. It means “God helps in every moment.”

Right then and there, the answer to whether or not to drill a new well in this village seemed rather obvious. God had made His plan abundantly clear. Isn’t God just full of surprises and blessings?

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