Update on the land

A very good friend of mine wrote me this morning and let me know that he was going to buy one lot.  Praise the Lord.  Only 3 lots left to buy.  Each lot is $6,000. 

I did a little video today trying to explain what we feel God wants us to accomplish. Please pray for this great need.

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I forgot to mention where money can be sent in the last post.

You can make the check out to Macedonia World Baptist Missions
You can place in the memo — Keith Shumaker — 003 Special Work Account

Send the check to:
Macedonia World Baptist Missions
P.O. Box 519
Braselton, GA 30517

“Go big or go home”

As many of you already know, our family has moved to a new neighborhood.  We lived in the same house for 10 years while working at Living Water Baptist Church.  God blessed in amazing ways.  There have been many saved and baptized.  God called several men to preach in this church, and seven of them have started and currently pastor other churches.  Pastor Justin has been my right hand man for the past few years.  I have joked around about him kicking me out of the church.  He has grown so much in the Lord and in leadership that I am no longer needed like I once was at LWBC. 

We have moved to the west side of town.  God has been leading me for around two years to move in this direction.  Ouagadougou is growing like crazy.  People are moving in from the village.  The Lord has given us a plan of attack.  I turned 40 a few months back.  It is hard to believe how fast the years are flying by.  I came here with big dreams.  I remember driving down the road on deputation in 1999.  I was single.  While driving home in the wee hours of the night I would imagine I was preaching to thousands of Africans that were in front of me.  I would preach my heart out.  I have been called crazy, but I just wanted the God of Heaven to use my life.  I figured that if men were dreaming big for worldly success, I just wanted to dream big and let God do great things.  It is 18 years later from those late nights trying to raise support.  The dream hasn’t diminished.  We have seen the start of it, but as the saying goes, “It is time to go big or go home.”

We would love to have a network of around 10-15 churches in this new area.  We plan to have Wednesday night service at the main work – model church (the one that we are starting now).  Thursday nights will be at new churches that are started after the model church.  The pastors of these churches will be able to be present for the main church service on Wednesdays, and I will be free to rotate amongst their works to help and preach on Thursday nights.  This will allow me to preach in the other churches and also the pastors to come and be fed on Wednesday evening.  One Sunday night a month, we will have a combined service.  We will work as a team. 

We have been hunting land since I moved out here 5 months ago.  It seemed like we were hitting dead end upon dead end until this week.  There is a new neighborhood being put in near the main road.  There isn’t much land available right around us.  In this new neighborhood there are 4 lots that are one right after another.  We need to obtain all four lots to have sufficient room for the church building. In order for us to buy the four lots and do the paper work it will cost us $6,000 a lot.   I live right across the main road from this property.  I was told that one lot where we currently live costs more than $20,000 a lot and there would be no way to get four lots together on our side of the road.  The $24,000 required to obtain these four lots is a great opportunity for us.  These four lots will be gone quickly.  They will probably be bought in the next few weeks.  After purchasing them, if God opens that door, we will need about $10,000 to start our building program.  We are praying for God’s will.

Would you please pray for God to provide?  Would you consider making an investment in the lives of the Burkinabés?  

Like I mentioned above, I am planning on starting 10-15 churches on this side of town.  I want to buy more land in the next few months/years in areas that are developing.  These lots will cost much less and be much bigger than those in already developed neighborhoods.  I am estimating that we can buy a lot and pay the taxes for around $6,000.   We will need around $90,000 in order to buy 15 or so lots.  By watching the trend of development in the area, it is clear that NOW is the time to act. In a few years, land in our target areas will be limited and much more expensive.

Thank you for allowing us to share our burden. Thank you for all you have already done to enable us to serve in Burkina Faso.  God has amazed us with what He has already done. We are so grateful, but we know He isn’t finished.  It’s a big dream for us, but nothing is impossible for our great big God, who desires that “every creature” has a chance to hear.

 

 

God can use you — The story of Alimata

I have often heard through the years, “I can’t be used of God.”  Whether it is a perceived lack of talents, lack of desire, messed up past, etc. many have come to this conclusion.  No doubt, God’s greatest desire for mankind is to save Him by His grace and a close second is His desire to use man.  Most of people’s excuses are just that: excuses. 

I want to tell you a little bit about Alimata.  She comes from a village that is very remote and called Touroum-Naba-Yangré.  Women typically don’t have many rights in the villages of Burkina Faso.  They do most of the work, but don’t have the power to make many decisions.  They are expected to do what they are told with very little concern for their needs or wants. 

Alimata started coming to one of our village works about 3 and half years ago.  She was gloriously born again and was baptized a few months later.  Her village is a little over 3 miles away from Ying-Toako.  I began to realize that she was always one of the first to come, and she always had a group coming with her from her village.  The amount of people she would bring could vary from 5 to 10 each week.  One day she approached Pastor Salif and I and asked, “Is there any way you could come and preach in my village?   I have tried to invite everybody, but many haven’t come.”  A few weeks later we arrived in her village.  She prepared us a meal (something she always does and gives something she probably couldn’t afford to eat herself.)  After eating, there were around 20 people there.  I got my Bible ready, (thinking I would be preaching to those in front of me) and she told us, “Many of the village are already gathered at the chief’s house.  I have already gone from hut to hut to invite them.”  When we arrived at the chief’s house we saw a great crowd of people.  Well over 100,  maybe 150.  We preached and 20 or so got saved by the grace of God.  Through the years many of the villagers have come to Christ. 

When I was approached by a man desiring to put in another well, I immediately knew where we were going to put the well.  If anybody could have used the excuse, I can’t be used of God, Alimata could have.   Today, she is the reason that her village has received both spiritual and physical water.

 

Alimata and I are enjoying the water coming out.

Alimata and I are enjoying the water coming out.

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God gave us water

While home on furlough last year, a man from one of our supporting churches asked me if there was a need for more wells to be drilled.  He decided to help us with the cost of another well.  We have teamed up with a group called Friends in Action.  They are a Christian well drilling team.  Their goal is to fortify the testimony of Christ and the churches in the area. 

They have Christian teams come in from the US, Canada and Europe to  help drill wells for two weeks.  There was a team from Canada that was present with us.  The first village we drilled in last week is called Touroum-Naba-Yangré.   We have been preaching in this village for about 2 years.  Many of the villagers have already come to Christ.  The need for water in this village was great.  Even though our first well/pump we installed was only about 3 miles away, there is no possible way that it could support this village also.  A hand pump can successfully give clean water for around 500 people. 

We started digging in the morning.  By the evening, by God’s grace, water was coming out of the hole.  One older man gripped the edge of a barrel and starred at the water filling the barrel.  He kept shaking his head and saying, “This isn’t possible. This land is cursed.”  He had been told since he was a child that the land was cursed, and no water would ever be found.   God did the impossible.  At the end of our work, I preached to the people about the Living Water.  God did the impossible again, as he saved 8 teenagers.

The second village where we drilled was a great success also.  One thing that greatly touched us was going to their water hole.  I wanted to show the men on the drill team where the villagers were getting their water to drink.  Because no rain had come in months the water hole resembled a pond in someone’s yard.  You could see the green algae on top.  There was a Cayman swimming around in the water.  We watched as woman after woman came down the hill and put their 20 liter bottles in the water.  Donkeys also came down the hill and entered into the same water.  This is the water hole for every living thing in the area. Then we saw about 5 children come down the hill with their cup in hand.  They took the cup and filled it up with this nasty water.  While walking up the hill the children began to drink the water.  They say that around 1 in 5 children die in Africa, and I am sure that water is a huge cause of that.  What a blessing to know that they will be able to have clean water.  An even greater blessing took place when around 8 responded to the Gospel after Pastor Salif and I preached.  God is so good.

Praying for water at Touroum-Naba-Yangre.

Praying for water at Touroum-Naba-Yangre.

I do actually work, sometimes.

I do actually work, sometimes.

What a beautiful sight.

What a beautiful sight.

Showing a film and then preaching.

Showing a film and then preaching.

 

The Water Hole

The Water Hole

This little girl drinking the nasty water.

This little girl drinking the nasty water.

Update on 10th Anniversary of Living Water Baptist Church

Thanks so much for all those who prayed for the 10th anniversary service of Living Water Baptist Church.  We were praying for 1,000 people but came up a little short, at around 900 people coming.  We are in no way disappointed, as God was glorified on this wonderful day. 

I was very touched by the efforts of the members.  It isn’t an easy task to greet, welcome, and feed 900 in Burkina Faso, but they did it with great success.  Some of the women and youth came on Friday to the church and didn’t go home until Sunday evening. 

Pastor Justin wanted to give all of the pastors that have been sent out of the church a special plaque.  Much to my surprise, the church gave me one too.  I have been blessed and honored to pastor LWBC for the last 10 years.  As mentioned in another blog post, we are in transition.  We are leaving this church in order to plant new church as soon as possible.

I unfortunately lost most of my pictures but I will post a couple that I still do have.

We had around 250 children present.

We had around 250 children present.

The woman worked very hard.

The woman worked very hard.

Does God really need your help?

I was teaching a few weeks back in our Training Center (Bible College) in Pissila, when something out the door caught my eye.   Directly in my line of sight is a water/hand pump about 75 yards away.  During this week, there were probably well over 100 different people that I saw pumping water from the well that we dug.  Jug after jug and barrel after barrel came empty and left full.  On this particular morning, as usual, I watched the activity going on outside the door while I taught, but I noticed something out of the ordinary.  A woman was pumping as her beautiful little daughter held onto the iron rod pumping alongside her mother.  I though it would make a wonderful picture but opted not to take it as I was in the middle of teaching.  After we studied together for a few hours, we took a break and went outside.  Then it happened again; another lady pumped the handle up and down so that water would flow out, and her son joined in next to her.  I quickly walked over to where they where and asked if I could take a picture.  Below is the picture.

Woman pumping with child helping

 

I immediately saw the parallel in how God works in and uses us.  In both cases mentioned above the child really did nothing except put their hands on the iron handle.  There was no way that the child would have had enough strength to make the iron handle move up and down by themselves.  It was Mom that had all the strength, and the little child was able to “help.”  Can you imagine what that little child probably told their father when they got home?  They would say something like this, “Dad, do you see those barrels?  I filled them up with water.  I made the handle go up and down, and water came out.”

God does the same thing with us.  When we think about the great work that He has given us to do on this earth it certainly is impossible with our own strength.    There is absolutely no way that we could accomplish our mission by ourselves, but He lets us put our hands in the work as He does something far beyond our capabilities.

People over the years have told me, “I can’t do what you do,” in reference to the ministry the Lord has called me to.   Truth being told, I can’t either.  It is God who does it through us.  I have at times gotten puffed up with pride and watched as God took his hands off the handle.  Then, I realized that without Him I can do nothing.  John 15:5

Next time you think you are something, just remember we are like the child pictured above, helpless and weak on our own.  The next time you think you can’t do anything, think again of this child.  We need to put our hands on the handle.  I don’t always understand why, but GOD HAS CHOSEN TO WORK THOUGH MAN.  Does God really need your help?  Yes and no.  He is capable of doing everything by Himself, as He lacks nothing, but He has chosen to let us help/participate.   Why not put your hands on the handle and let God do His work through you?  If you do that in 2017, you will be like the barrels coming to the well empty but leaving full.

10th Anniversary of Living Water Baptist Church

It really is hard to believe that 10 years have passed since we started Living Water Baptist Church.  I have had the great privilege of being the lead pastor during this time.   God has been so good to us over the years.  The church has matured to a good level.  Sure there is room for improvement like in every church, but we are pleased at what God has done.

  • Many souls have passed from death unto life.  By God’s grace we have seen many, many people born again through the last 10 years.  God certainly has been good.
  • One of the greatest things that God has done is He has saved, called, and sent many men out of this church.  There have been 6 men that have been trained and sent out of this local church.
  • There are currently around 22 active ministries in the church that are functioning very well.
  • Our youth choir has greatly blossomed over the last few years.  Their practice and determination has allowed them to become a great choir.
  • I am truly proud of all the members, especially the youth.  Youth in Burkina is from around 14 until you are married.  They truly have a heartbeat for God and are already the pillars of the church.
  • God has given a tremendous pastor.  Pastor Justin truly loves the Lord with all his heart.  He is a great leader, preacher, and shepherd. 

Please be in much prayer over the next few days.  This Sunday we are trying to have around 1000 people to come together and celebrate our 10th anniversary.  I told the church on Sunday that normally celebrating an anniversary is a time of relaxing and being served, but for us it will be a time of great work.  There is nothing greater than celebrating your 10th anniversary by celebrating many souls that have been born again.  Pray that God would use the preaching on this big day to get the Gospel out to many.

Pastor Justin Simpore with Pastor Ake

Handing over the baton

The youth (singles) at Living Water Baptist Church decided to do a 4 day VBS.  Through the years, we (My wife and I and also Vicente and Gabriella Garcia) have lead many different VBS’s with many of these same youth helping.  This year was different.  They planned and ran things mostly without our help.  They did ask me to teach one day and my wife to do the verse one day.  I think they were only honoring us because they are fully capable of doing everything without us.

Each day they had over 200 children come.  I was so impressed with all of them.  I am so proud of them.  They taught well and lead well.  I sat back and watched most of the time.  This isn’t what I am used to, but I was filled with great joy as I watched the God of Heaven use their lives.  It was a beautiful thing.  Many children made professions of faith.  After the singing, Bible verse recitation, lesson, and review questions were finished, they took all the children to a schoolyard  that is close to us and played games with them, rewarding the children with candy for winning a game.  Most children here never get a chance to play games like this, so they absolutely love it.  It is quite evident that the members of LWBC have taken the baton and are running with it.

 

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New chapter beginning

We are seeing a chapter in our ministry closing and a new one opening.  Our time at Living Water Baptist Church is coming to a close.  I will still encourage them, but it is time for us to move on.  We are in the process of finalizing a new house to rent in another neighborhood of Ouagadougou called Zagtouli.  We have lived in our particular house for 10 years now.  We could stay where we are and be comfortable.  We love the members at LWBC with all our hearts, but it’s time to start another work just like LWBC.  Pray for us and also for Jason and Charity Rishel (our teammates) to find a house in this new area. 

We are also praying that God would provide the property for this new church plant.  We are excited about this new possibility and a new chapter in our life.

Please pray for Pastor’s camp this week

Last year we had one of the greatest times I have had since being in Africa at Pastor’s Camp.  We have invited a special guest from the Ivory Coast this year.  Pastor Aké and his wife will be with us.  He always challenges us greatly.  We will start tomorrow and finish up on Friday morning.  Please pray for God to bless greatly.