Mooré Bible College growing!!!!

3 years ago, we started training a few men in a village near Pissila called Roungou. These three men felt called into the ministry. I have often said that our task is to take who God gives us and train them for what God calls them to. These men are villagers and don’t speak French. They speak in their tribal tongue, Mooré. Not only did we have a language barrier, but these men didn’t have an education. They couldn’t read so the task in front of us was great. How do we train these men? Even though we are learning and constantly revamping the program, it has been great to watch these three men grow in their faith.   This year we have a total of 6 students.

There is no way that I can fully express to you what God is doing in this region. We started in Roungou in 2005. Pastor Salif moved to the market town called Pissila in 2012 and started a church there. Since then God has opened up three other villages to us in the region. Some of these villages had never had the Gospel preached in them. We have seen hundreds of these beautiful people trust Christ as their Saviour. There are over 60 villages that surround Pissila and we are wanting to reach all of them.

God gave us five acres in Pissila a few years ago. Last year we built a small room that is used for church and a classroom. Earlier this year God allowed us to drill and hit water.  We are in need of building two dorm rooms for the Bible College. One room will be for the pastors (professors) who will travel in for the week to train these men and the other for the men in training. The churches are coming together to gather the sand and rocks that are necessary to build. Would you pray that God would raise up around $4,000 in order to build these two rooms?

Macedonia Bible College

Macedonia Bible College

Men’s meeting at Pissila

A few months back, I was preaching at a new village work near Pissila, where Pastor Salif is laboring. This was the second time that I preached there. The first time about 30 woman and children made professions of faith.

The second time we went there about 150 people came out. Old men, young men, old women, younger women and children were all present. I preached on finishing our course. At the end we gave an invitation to receive Christ, and it was much like the first time. A few woman and children raised their hands. No men raised their hand or even made a move. This isn’t the first time that this has happened, and it certainly won’t be the last. We are always thrilled when anybody puts their faith in Christ but not having one man (even a young man) to make a profession indicates a problem. The older men were thrilled by our presence and said they enjoyed the message.  They even gave me a few chickens as a symbolic gift. They are not against their wives or children making a decision, but it seems like many of them don’t want to make that decision.  I have heard them say that they are bound to stay in the religion that was handed down to them.

While dodging bushes and trees in the dark traveling back to Pissila, I began to express my concern to Salif and Dominique ( a young preacher in training). I asked them if they noticed that not one man or young man made a move. An idea came to me as we had this discussion. Let’s have a special men’s meeting in Pissila and invite the men of the four villages we are working in to come.

We didn’t know how it would turn out, but we were thrilled when teenagers and men came from these 5 locations. (Pissila and the village works) We had over 50 come. We started one afternoon and finished the next afternoon. We were able to teach or preach four different times on the role of the man in the church. We divided into two different groups, and we played many different games. Everybody seemed to have a great time. We plan on doing this again.

 

 

Men's meeting in Pissila

Men’s meeting in Pissila

Having fun playing games.

Having fun playing games.

Baptists can't have fellowship without food.

Baptists can’t have fellowship without food.

When the villagers are happy with your visit they will normally give you chickens.

When the villagers are happy with your visit, they will normally give you chickens.

Coup d’état in Burkina Faso

On Wednesday, September 16th, I spent most of the day with our pastors and youth in a special music seminary. I came home in the late afternoon and got cleaned up to take my wife out on a belated birthday date. (Rebecca, on her actual birthday, went on visitation, went to ladies meeting, taught three teenagers discipleship courses, and went to youth meeting. I am so proud of her and how she puts others before herself.)

We were going to drop our kids off at our teammates’ house (the Knickerbockers). As we began to pull out of the garage, my guard stopped us and said that the president and the prime minster were taken hostage. We are currently in a transitional government here in Burkina Faso. Last year the dictator was kicked out, and we were supposed to have elections for a new president on October 11th. The general population was happy, thinking that they might actually have a chance for a true democracy. I immediately went by the church to see what our pastors knew. They gave us confirmation of the hostage situation. I asked one of them what we should do. He said, “Don’t go in town; it is better to go home.” I was very disappointed for my wife as she was looking forward to going out for days, but we went home instead.

That night things began to get crazy. The population, mostly youth, tried to take to the street but the Presidential guard (those responsible for the coup) came out in force. They fired their guns in the air, and would beat many of the youth. As youth fled, the presidential guard (PG) burned their motos. All the radio and television stations in town were shut down. They even managed to destroy our DSL system. The next morning, a coup d’état was confirmed. For days the battle between youth and the PG group continued all over town. I even watched from our roof as men from the guard began to beat some youth that were gathered across the field.

After many days, the military decided to come from all over the country. The PG is an elite group of 1,300 members, and they are by far the best trained. They also had the best weapons, but some of them began to realize that they didn’t want to be a part of what was happening. Probably more than half of them fled. The army gave the PG an ultimatum: surrender or a fight would start. The leader of PG decided that his goal wasn’t to create a civil war, and he decided to talk with the military leaders. The PG was told to begin to turn in their arms and those that were responsible for atrocities would be judged.

I was on a trip out of town last Monday and Tuesday. Monday evening we heard that the PG, after turning in some of the arms, decided they didn’t want to turn in all of them. I got in Tuesday Afternoon to excitement. I had finished dropping somebody off when all of the sudden I heard a noise and my car shook. I looked around thinking somebody hit my car. Then I arrived home and stepped out of my car and heard a huge boom. The military behind our house was firing off some heavy artillery. We heard many more shots. The military went into the PG base and secured all the arms Tuesday evening. Things seem to be back to normal. Thanks for those who have been praying for us.

Some things that have touched me from the situation:

  • I am amazed at the Burkina people. Last fall they united and ran off the dictator. They destroyed only houses and things that were from those who were part of the corrupt government. In some of the recent months in America, we have seen people in some of our cities strike over situations, but they were out of control. They looted, destroyed things they shouldn’t and even destroyed their own neighborhoods. The Burkinabes stayed very controlled, and they even called a special day to clean up the roads and damages.   I am proud to be called a pastor to so many of these great people. I have a deep respect for their fight for true freedom and democracy.
  • My wife has amazed me through this. We have seen many foreigners who were scared and tried or wanted to leave. Many said we needed to pack our bags, but my wife said, “Why? We aren’t going anywhere.” She asked me over the course of a few days, “How could we leave these people during the time they need us most?” You see, over the last 10 years of being in this country I am no longer just a missionary to these people. Yes, Americans consider me a missionary, but I am a pastor to these people, and my wife is a pastor’s wife. Somebody told me the other day that my skin color hasn’t changed but my heart is Burkinabe. I have to say that makes me smile.

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Video of the well in Ying-Toako

I have written and showed many pictures of the work in Ting-Toako in the past.  I created a short video of what God has done and is doing.  I hope that the video will be a blessing to you.  Thanks for your love prayers and support.

Pastor’s camp – One of the most profitable events since coming to Africa

Normally when we plan an event, I try to imagine how everything is going to work out. Usually things come up a little short of what I imagined; pastor’s camp this year far and I mean far exceeded my expectations. This camp is a time for the pastors and their families to be challenged biblically and also a great time of fellowship. Of all the pastor’s camps we have held, this one was by far the best.

 

A few months back, I was with a few pastors discussing the camp. I had an idea of what I wanted to do, when one of the pastors suggested that we talk about marriage and family. Recently, he had translated some premarital counseling sessions for me and said, “My wife and I never have heard that.” The other pastors joined in and said that it would be helpful.

 

It is hard to explain how much of a struggle the relationship between an African man and his wife is here in Burkina Faso. Most of them grew up in polygamous homes. They never saw much interaction between the dad and mom. One pastor told me, “I have often wondered how I am even here because I never saw my dad and mom together.” They aren’t affectionate; kissing, handholding, and hugs are VERY uncommon or just about non-exsistent. At church a man doesn’t sit with his wife but with the other men. Many men have told me that they have never told their wives “I love you”.

 

With these circumstances in mind, missionary Vicente Garcia, his wife Gaby, my wife, and I went to work planning. The closer the time came to leave, the more excited I became. It was clear rather quickly that God had arranged the teaching and plans.

 

We decided to have competition between the couples. Many of the couples have never been involved in couple’s games. In between all the teaching and preaching we had games where the couples had to work together. The first place, second place and third place teams would all get a basket full of goodies.

 

For three days they competed together. You can see some of the games in the pictures below. I have also uploaded a video of two different game. One was to see who could eat the donut the fastest and the other is a game we call “rooster.” It was a blast to watch the pastors try to pop each others balloons as their wives cheered them on.

 

Wednesday night we decided to have a special meal to honor the pastors and their wives. I believe they are more important than the president of this country. Their calling is greater and their purpose far exceeds that of a president. I told them that if the people knew their value then they would be the richest people in all of Burkina Faso.

 

I had asked them to wear their best clothes, and we decorated the straw hangar that we used for our meals. Then, we had a special candlelight dinner. We had a completion with the men. They were to pick out three to four verses from the Song of Solomon and read/act out them to their wives. It was hilarious. Then we asked the woman to share five to ten positive things about their husbands. Wow, were we ever shocked! The woman told their husbands how wonderful they were and how proud they were to be married to them. As I stated, kissing isn’t something most couples do here but I had a last and final game to see which couple could kiss the longest. I figured some wouldn’t even start and most would last a few seconds. Boy was I wrong. 8 of the 10 couples stayed lip locked for 10 min. I finally had to tell them to quit. During these three days, we witnessed God do things that most could never imagine happening here in Burkina Faso.

 

We had a special time of renewing of our vows. I have never done this in the past and have never been a part of a service like this, but it was so special to watch each pastor and his wife openly promise their loyalty to one another. Their vows were just as strong as and stronger than on their wedding day. I was also touched to be able to renew my wedding vows before my Burkinabé brothers and sisters and also my children. If I could go back in time I wouldn’t change a thing. God gave me the best helpmeet in the whole world.

 

I am sorry for rambling. I could have given much more details but wanted you to see a little glimpse of what God is doing. I wanted you to see what a huge step forward this is for our couples in the ministry. Many of the pastors told me a few days after that they felt like they were married all over again and that they had a new start. We are thankful to all of those who make it possible for us to be here and to the Creator of marriage for enabling us to impact the lives of such wonderful men of God and their families.

 

Trying to be the first to finish a donut.

Trying to be the first to finish a donut.

 

Musical chairs and the wife had to sit on the husband's lap.

Musical chairs and the wife had to sit on the husband’s lap.

 

Water balloon toss was fun to watch.

Water balloon toss was fun to watch.

 

The kids had a great time also.

The kids had a great time also.

Trying to open and eat a pack of cookies without using their hands.

Trying to open and eat a pack of cookies without using their hands.

The game called rooster.  Pop the other man's balloons before he does yours.

The game called rooster. Pop the other man’s balloons before he does yours.

The women have a time watching their husbands try to win rooster.

The women have a time watching their husbands try to win rooster.

The pastors trying to put lipstick on their wives while blindfolded.

The pastors trying to put lipstick on their wives while blindfolded.

The woman trying to tie a tie on their husbands and the man can't touch it.

The woman trying to tie a tie on their husbands and the man can’t touch it.

The quality of the photo isn's great but it is a great photo.

The quality of the photo isn’t great but it is a great photo.

Pastor Salif reading out of the song of Salomon to his wife.

Pastor Salif reading out of the song of Salomon to his wife.

Our special meal together.

Our special meal together.

The winners of the week.

The winners of the week.

 

Living Water Baptist Church has a granddaughter

Three years ago, three pastors, that I was privileged to train, were sent out to start new churches. All of them were members of Living Water Baptist Church. One of them is named Gilbert. Pastor Gilbert has unbelievable passion for the ministry and a tremendous love for the Lord Jesus Christ. He started in the third largest city in Burkina Faso called Koudougou. The church is called Victory Baptist Church. Gilbert was born and raised in a small city that is about 8 miles from Koudougou called Réo. He called me a few months back to request that I come to kick off a new church plant in Réo. Before we kick off a church here in Burkina Faso, we like to have an evangelism campaign. Normally we show a few Gospel films, (one of them we created) and then we preach to them. The films draw people in. Many of these people don’t have a television or something else to watch so a film is a big thing. The films we use have a great salvation message in them. Many times we stop the film in the middle and preach for about 20 min.

On Friday night, we had around 250 people come. I was privileged to preach to them, and we had a great response to the invitation. There many professions of faith.  On Saturday night, we had probably 350 people come. It is always such an amazing thing to preach to people who have never heard a clear presentation of the Gospel message.   Sunday morning we meet under a mango tree. We were thrilled by the good crowd that came. There were about 30 adults and 40 children. One older couple trusted Christ to save them. It isn’t normal for an older man to accept Christ. What a thrill to see Living Water Baptist Church (started in 2007) give birth to a church in Koudougou  (Victory Baptist Church started in 2012) who gave birth to a church in Réo (started a few weeks ago).   I told our church (Living Water BC) that they are a grandmother.

There were many others off to the side.

There were many others off to the side.

I am preaching and Pastor Gilbert is translating.

I am preaching and Pastor Gilbert is translating.

Looking for gold but found something better

A few days ago, I was with Pastor Konate in Kaya helping to prepare for the 3rd anniversary of the Fundamental Baptist Church. A young man named Adama got saved and has been coming to the church almost since it began.  (He is the young man standing right next to me in the picture below.)   Konate took him in like his own son. His family lives in a village about 12 miles from Kaya, and he was abandoned by others in town. We have helped pay for his school costs the last two years. He finished number 1 in his class this year. He loves God, leads the singing at the church, teaches the children, is faithful to evangelism, etc.

Konate asked me if we could go and visit a village while I was in town. I agreed, not realizing that this was Adama’s village until we arrived. As we approached, I saw a young man walking on the road. He was literally covered in dirt. Then, I saw another. I asked them why were they so dirty. Adama explained that there is gold on the other side of the village. He took us there so we could see what was going on. There were men, women, and youth who were scattered in different places working. They dig holes in the ground and sift the dirt looking for small pieces of gold.

Then, we drove to where Adama grew up.   His family was happy to see him. Many of the little kids screamed and ran away as they saw a huge white man get out of the car. Many of them have never seen a white man. After greeting the family, Adama asked me if I could preach the Gospel to his family. After giving them the simple plan of Salvation, I gave an invitation. Many of them raised their hands expressing their desire to believe on Jesus. I didn’t count how many prayed, but there were at least 15 or more. Their hope and desire for so many years was to find some gold, but they have now found something more precious than gold. They have found Christ.  Every place that they dug looking for gold left a huge hole.  Even if they find some gold, this world will leave them empty. I am glad that Christ won’t.

Keith Shumaker

Not sure if you can see the holes but they were all over the place.

Not sure if you can see the holes very well but they were all over the place.

Brief update

I just realized that I haven’t written for two months so I will attempt to give you brief highlights and lots of pictures on some of what God has done in the last two months.

We went on a trip to the Ivory Coast:

  •  Preached a missions conference.  God greatly blessed the conference.
  •  Taught some pastors and Ivorian missionaries on discipleship.
  •  Was able to visit the churches that I helped in  and started while we lived in the Ivory Coast.
  • Blessed to be able to see many of the brothers and sisters in Christ that I haven’t seen in years.
  • Gained 4 pounds from the trip.  The food was yummy.

What God is doing in Burkina Faso:

  • We had another wedding at our church. I was able to do a few counseling sessions and also officiate the marriage.
  • Easter was a huge success. We passed out thousands of invitations and had 15 new visitors. 15 is a lot for Easter as all the other churches have special services also.  There were three professions of faith in Christ, and 9 people were baptized.
  • One of those who were baptized was Pastor Justin’s wife.  She fell under conviction while he was preaching a few months back.
  • The day after Easter is a holiday. We profited from the holiday and had a leaders meeting. We invited all the leaders from the different churches here in Ouagadougou to come. We had over 60 come. It was a great success.
  • Visited two new villages. We were blessed to see many decisions for Christ. Pastor Salif has visited one of the villages a few times since and God is opening up doors for us to come back and start another church.  We are already stretched thin, but we are praying about what we can do.  “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few”.
  • Pastor Justin traveled out to the village Ying-Toako, where we installed a water pump for them. He stopped off at the village where we visited a few months ago. He said they went to a new group of huts. They preached and about 30 prayed to receive Christ as their Savior.
  • Pastor Salif had his first service on the new land in Pissila.  He had over 200 present that day.
  • Held a three day pastors conference on evangelism and assimilation. It was a huge success, and we are hearing great results from the conference. Many of the pastors have been working harder at evangelism.
Pastor Justin baptizing his wife.

Pastor Justin baptizing his wife.

I am so privileged to be able to bring the Good News to those who have never heard.

I am so privileged to be able to bring the Good News to those who have never heard.

Mariage at Living Water Baptist Church

Marriage at Living Water Baptist Church

One of the new villages we preached at.

One of the new villages we preached at.

We stopped to enjoy so water falls in Burkina Faso.

On our trip back from the Ivory Coast, we stopped to enjoy some water falls in Burkina Faso.

I was thrilled to see many of the faithful members at Divo Nord.  We started this church in 2003.

I was thrilled to see many of the faithful members at Divo Nord. We started this church in 2003.

What do pastors do when the see the ocean for the first time?  Play like a kid.

What do pastors do when they see the ocean for the first time? Play like a kid.

A little wet after preaching in the Ivory Coast.

A little wet after preaching in the Ivory Coast.

Update on the pump and God opening doors

I spent last week at Pissila teaching in our Bible Institute there. There is no electricity or running water in this small town. I sleep under the stars all week.

 

It is amazing to see how the three students have advanced in the last two years. One of them couldn’t read at all and the other two could barely read when we started. I am so proud of their effort and amazed at where God has brought them from.

 

While I was in Pissila, I took the time to visit Ying-Toako. I had three goals: (1) to see the water pump fully functional, (2) to get some more video, and (3) to preach the Gospel to the village. When we arrived at the area near the water pump, it was full of people. There was a woman washing her clothes. There were tons of 5 gallon buckets waiting to be filled. There were people gathered around pumping water, and the water was flowing nonstop. What a joy it was to see the miracle God has done.

 

We asked the people of the village to come, and we had more than 200 present. I wanted to get some video and pictures, but I also wanted use this opportunity to preach the Gospel. I preached out of John 4. I told them that I was grateful that they had water to drink. I said that physical water gives physical life, but that Jesus can give us Living Water. We didn’t have anybody make a decision to believe in Jesus, but many people heard the Word of God.

 

On our trip back to Pissila, Pastor Salif told me that we would visit a lady who has been coming to the church at Ying-Toako and was also baptized a few months back. She come from another village about 3 miles away. When we arrived at her hut in this town we had not yet visited, she had made a special meal for us. I was overwhelmed, as I often am, by her generosity. Then she asked us if we could visit the chief’s family. As we were approaching, I saw many people gathered around. I then realized that the lady had asked people to come and hear the Word of God. We sat down and exchanged the customary greetings. While we were being welcomed, more and more people came. There were probably over 90. Salif preached to them for the next 20 min and then let me have a turn. After we finished, we gave them an invitation to believe on Jesus for salvation. Many hands went up, and we took them to the side to explain salvation better. There were 17 adults and many children that prayed and trusted Christ as their Savior. God is so good.

 

Lord willing, we plan to to have church services there very soon.

 

The villagers came out to say thanks.

The villagers came out to say thanks.

What a thrill to watch the people drink clean water.

What a thrill to watch the people drink clean water.

Praying to receive Jesus as their Savior.

Praying to receive Jesus as their Savior.

This little boy was having so much fun helping his mom wash the clothes.

This little boy was having so much fun helping his mom wash the clothes.

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God allowed us to preach the Gospel to these precious souls.

God allowed us to preach the Gospel to these precious souls.

Friend day was a huge success

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I am going to confess.  Years ago we had big days planned, one almost every month, and we really pushed the day. Over the past few years we would have big days, but we didn’t give it our all. Pastor Austin Gardner visited in January and challenged me and also the pastors to maximize the big days. He revived my spirit to plan and push a big day.

 

We started talking about Friend Day a month before actually having it. We printed simple invitations for the members to give out.

 

Last Sunday we were thrilled with what God did. We had 32 adult first time visitors. We couldn’t count the kids but we had over 200 kids in attendance. It was crazy but wonderful.

 

We were blessed to have Bro. Danny Whetstone with us. He preached a tremendous salvation message. 7 men raised their hands for salvation, and we dealt with them. They all made professions of faith. Normally, we have more women come on big days, and the women are more apt to come forward for salvation. On this day, however, God blessed, and we had more men visitors.

 

During the service I realized it would be impossible to have one children’s church for 200 kids. They would never fit in one room. I asked my wife, while she was playing the piano for the service, if she could teach even though she wasn’t on the program that day. Without hesitating she said, “Sure.” Thank God for a good wife. I ran to the youth and asked if they could help. They jumped right in and helped keep things running smoothly even with so many children.

 

I was amazed at what God did. I was also amazed how the members of Living Water Baptist Church worked so hard. I firmly believe that God blesses hard work.

 

It just so happened that Pastor Konate in another town had Friend Day the same day. He told me that they had 25 adult and 32 children first-time visitors.

My wife is a tremendous children's teacher.

My wife is a tremendous children’s teacher. The boy on the chair is her illustration.

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