VBS Kids Raise Thousands to Dig Wells
October 19, 2012
By Linda Wiegand, director for Children’s Ministry, Faith Alliance, Attleboro, Massachusetts
Editor’s note: Engage Burkina works in partnership with Envision Culture—a movement to mobilize Alliance young adults to serve God on a global scale—to dig wells in Burkina Faso, among other relief and development projects.
Children in Burkina Faso playing in filthy water, dipping their bowls and drinking next to defecating animals—these are the images I saw in the Engage Burkina video. I knew I had found the project for an upcoming vacation Bible school (VBS) missions outreach—raise enough money to dig one well in Burkina Faso.
I presented the video to the VBS committee. All agreed; we had to do this project!
Digging a single well in Burkina Faso costs $1,750. I thought the sum might be a little steep for the 50 or so children to raise, so one month before VBS , we presented the video during a church service to get a jump on fund-raising.
A wooden well was placed in the church’s foyer, along with two clear jugs. One was filled with clean water and one with swampy-looking water. Facts about the lack of clean water in Burkina were posted on the wall: One third of children in Burkina Faso will not reach their 10th birthday, and 85 percent of the country does not have access to clean water.
“Enjoy your water,” we said as we handed each person a bottle of clear, clean H2O.
After showing the Engage Burkina video, Pastor Don Wiegand challenged the church: “After all, this is Faith Alliance. Let’s raise money for two wells.” The people cheered.
“Let’s raise money for three wells,” I said to the congregation. “After all, this is Faith Alliance.”
Everyone was on board. We would trust God to raise funds for three wells.
Before VBS even started, we raised $2,000. We were grateful to God and looked forward to sharing the video with the VBS kids.
Let the Children Come
During the first VBS session, the room was silent as the video played. Some of the parents who had arrived to pick up their children joined us. The silence was broken when one little boy asked, “Why are they drinking that water?”
“That’s all they have to drink,” I told him. “There’s nothing else. What would you do?”
The kids were moved with compassion. Another boy asked, “I just had my birthday. Can I give my birthday checks? One girl asked her parents if she could give all the money in her savings account. That started an outpouring of giving among the children.
At each session, we prayed for God to provide more. And each day, the children brought more.
The first night, they gave $34. The second night they brought in so much change that the bucket broke. In 24 hours, they had raised $684.
The kids did extra chores, performed talent shows, and embarked on other initiatives to raise money. On the third night, they brought $1,800.
“You just bought a well!” I told them.
The next night they surprised me with another $1,600. By the end of VBS, the children had raised $5,000—just shy of three wells. A church member matched the amount, and we added the $2,000 we had raised earlier.
Another church-service offering gave us enough money for eight wells. Excitement among the congregation was growing, and the pastor challenged us again. “Are we going to stop at eight? Why not make it 10 wells?”
People were handing Pastor Don money as they filed into the church the following Sunday. The congregation was jubilant; Faith Alliance Church raised $17,500—enough to dig 10 wells in Burkina Faso.
The kids were the catalyst. God honored their faith and sacrifice.
From the Children To the World
During a Sunday service we had a Skype conversation with John and Betty Arnold, directors of the Envision site in Burkina Faso. It was John who had narrated the video we watched.
The children were invited to sit in front to “meet” the Arnolds, who would oversee the well digging. After learning where the wells would be placed, our children understood the impact of their efforts.
“Because of what we did, these kids are going to have clean water,” one child said to her mother. ”Now they won’t get sick and die.”
Her mom said to me, “They realized that they can do big things for God; they can make a difference for people on the other side of the world.”
What You Can Do
Pray that the ministry of providing clean water to Burkinabe people will draw them to the Living Water. Pray for Alliance Envision workers as they coordinate the challenging work of digging wells.
- Give to the Great Commission Fund (GCF) to support Alliance workers in Burkina Faso who are there for the long haul, extending the hope of Christ to the lost and discipling new believers.
- Give now
Read how other U.S. Alliance churches connect with Alliance global missions.