Alliance workers seek to minister to the unreached in Burkina Faso, where the average family income is less than $5 a day. Sharing Christ’s love and compassion in this context mandates meeting spiritual as well as physical needs through development projects, such as digging clean-water wells and assisting with income generation.
Championing the Marginalized
One unreached group Alliance people serve is Burkina’s deaf population.
“Our Christian school for the deaf—Institut des Jeunes Sourds de Faso (IJSF)—is educating children who would otherwise be forgotten in this culture, equipping them to communicate effectively,” says Esther Schaeffer, who serves with the Alliance team in Burkina’s second largest city, Bobo-Dioulasso.
Teachers also help to ensure that the students learn practical skills, enabling them to find work and provide for themselves. It is a testimony to their Heavenly Father’s care for these Burkinabè youth, who have been labeled a burden, odd, useless, and even demon possessed.
“Our Bobo team has invested in these children, providing scholarships as well as organizing camps and special events,” Esther continues. “We’ve also worked with the school’s drama troop, which has performed in Burkina Faso and in neighboring countries.”
New Job Opportunities
Additionally, her team is invested in a tailoring business owned by Ernest Hien, an elder in one of the Burkina Alliance churches. Ernest has sewn costumes for their video productions, and they have helped with the costs of installing electricity and equipment. They also prayed with him during the challenging phase of starting his business.
“The Lord has blessed Ernest’s business to such an extent that he has been able to expand and provide opportunities for young women to learn sewing skills,” Esther observes.
She recently asked him if he would accept two deaf students from the school to be apprentices in his shop. He agreed. Fatimata and Ouemata will be the first to benefit from both of these development projects.
Thanks to the generous support of Alliance Great Commission Women (GCW) in Burkina, these two students are now outfitted with sewing machines and sewing materials. GCW financial gifts also are enabling deaf school staff to orient Ernest’s sewing shop personnel to the new apprentices, including teaching basic sign language.
“Hopefully, this assistance will ensure a smooth transition for these two young women into their new surroundings,” Esther says.
“It is wonderful to see these two unique initiatives converge—further strengthened by U.S. Alliance people; our prayer is that we will see this overlap with other development projects in the future,” she adds, recalling Ephesians 4:16. “Christ makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy, growing, and full of love.”
“It’s important to look for ways that our gifts complement one another to extend God’s Kingdom,” Esther observes. “Pray for us as we seek to build up and unite the Body of Christ by promoting believers’ varied gifts and callings.”
Watch a video of a deaf ballet performed by IJSF students in Bobo-Dioulasso.