Feature

Power through Partnership

Reaching Across the Waves

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The name of our high school youth group at Moses Lake Alliance Church (MLAC) is Dunamis. Dunamis, the Greek word for “power,” can be found three times in Ephesians 3:14–20, the theme passage for our group. We believe that God desires to use our students “to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Eph. 3:20).

In the fall of 2007, Dunamis was coming off of a successful summer missions trip to New Orleans and Baton Rouge after the LIFE Conference, and I knew that our youth ministry should continue to focus on service and missions. I was praying about the next summer’s trip, uncertain of what that would be.

I was also feeling convicted because our students were not being challenged to give financially and sacrificially toward God’s work. At our youth meetings every Wednesday, we had never taken an offering. I became convinced that our students needed to give, but I wanted to put a tangible goal in front of them.

No Coincidence

It “just so happened” that a C&MA missionary couple to Burkina Faso was in the United States for a short time and were going to be in Moses Lake for one day. I had never met the husband, but his wife had grown up in our church. I simply asked how Dunamis could partner with them and their ministry in Burkina Faso and whether we could take a short-term missions team to serve with them in the summer of 2008.

We were told that there were several villages that had recently been exposed to the gospel, and many people were coming to faith in Christ. These villages had no pastors or churches, but one, Samorogouan, was scheduled to receive a pastor, Fidele and his wife, Joy, in 2008 after Fidele graduated from the training school in Bobo-Dioulasso. The couple would need a home. After praying about our role, the missionaries asked if we would try to raise money to buy land and build a house in Samorogouan. Our team might even be able to help finish the house when we came the following summer.

I loved the idea. I was certain that God had brought these things together to form a “perfect storm” to demonstrate His power working through our students. It was not a coincidence but God’s doing that I received this direction exactly when I was moved to challenge our students to give and to go to help complete the Great Commission.

More Than Imagined

I placed the goal of $5,000 before our Dunamis students, reminding them that God “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.” We began to take an offering in the youth group each week. The missionaries e-mailed weekly prayer requests, reports and photos, and we prayed for them and their work in Burkina every Wednesday. Our students began to develop a heart for the lost and our “adopted” village of Samorogouan. They got excited about the prospect of going there and building this house with their own hands.

Soon, word of our project spread to the whole congregation. Our senior pastor, Jody Bowser, interviewed me for what we call a “Live the Call” moment during our Sunday services. I shared what God was doing through Dunamis and played a video were sent of the foundation of the pastor’s house in Samorogouan, showing a pile of handmade bricks and men filling barrels with buckets of water. These barrels were then hauled more than a mile by donkey cart to the construction site so that mortar could be made and walls put up. Everyone was so excited about being able to have a hand in this project that our congregation gave generously to help with the house as well as to send our team to Burkina.

Gifts and offerings continued to flow in through both our students and the rest of the congregation. By May, the land and house were paid for. However, people continued to give! We decided that we would fund a new project—the construction of Samorogouan’s first church. We hope to raise more than $5,000 by the end of this school year. With God’s power working in and through us, I have no doubt we will accomplish it.

Over There

In early 2008, we interviewed students who had prayed about going on the trip. God called a team of 10, and we began to prepare. Our students did odd jobs for people in the church and the community to raise money. We worked on a silent auction and spaghetti dinner that raised $7,500 in May. Our congregation gave generously every week. I would get a report each Monday of how much was given toward our trip, and God never failed to amaze me with His abundant provision. God chose the team, paid for the trip and prepared our hearts to be used and transformed as we visited and worked with those for whom we had been praying.

Eight students and two adult leaders arrived in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, June 28, 2008. Two C&MA missionaries were there to meet us, and our adventure began. A couple of days later, we headed into “the bush” to visit Samorogouan. Our eyes welled up as we pulled up to Fidele and Joy’s house, which was nearly completed. It was humbling for us to be able to help finish the project that our students and our church members had poured their hearts into. Even though only 10 of us went, all of Dunamis and MLAC were working with us in prayer.

We whitewashed and painted the inside of the house and put a “hanger” on the front for the congregation to meet under when weather permitted. We were blessed to work alongside our missionaries and the Burkinabè believers. Our students worked very hard and derived great fulfillment from completing this project that had been introduced to them nearly one year earlier. We had many other wonderful experiences in Burkina, but I don’t think anything was better than being able to finish with our own hands what was begun in our hearts thousands of miles away.

I am happy to report that not only has our partnership with the field team continued, but also several adult Bible fellowships at MLAC have since adopted a missionary family to partner with in giving, going and sending. I don’t think it is an overstatement to say that it was God’s work through the Burkina project that has helped to bring this to pass.

Sometimes when we read that He “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” we don’t really believe it until we experience it. However, we begin to take it to heart when God shows His power through a partnership between high school students in Washington State and missionaries and believers “in the bush” of Burkina Faso.

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