We started the day like most others, except I had a bit less sleep. I was up till after midnight, and then up again at about 4:30 am preparing a message for the pastor’s conference at which we were the featured speakers. Josh and I each spoke for about an hour and a half (including questions at the end of each segment).
The conference was held at a church in the bush about 45 km outside the city, and attended by 60 – 70 pastors. These men are so gracious. They were clearly of a different economic status than most of the other pastors we’ve seen who are largely from the city – or directors of bible schools. These men each pastor one or more churches in bush villages, and farm for their living needs. Several of the men attending this one-day conference are now out of food for themselves and their families. When I say, “out of food,” it doesn’t mean they’re getting low. It means they have nothing left. Nothing. They are now facing the rest of March, April, May, June, July, August and September before the October harvest, when they will again have food . . . if they live to see it.
I am reminded again that we need to participate with them in some way. It costs $26 for a family of 5 to eat for a month – one meal a day – but they can at least survive the famine. I’m asking God how and if we (Sherry and I) should participate in what He is doing here in Burkina Faso. One of the ideas I’ve had is exploring further some well-digging technology, where hand-dug wells costing only around $100 can be made available to the people. Local workers can be trained to dig the wells and given (by means of micro-finance loans?) the tools necessary to create a well-digging (transformational development) business. Additional training in water catchment technologies could be made available for capturing the 40mm – 100mm of rainwater which comes each year during the rainy season. Regular and consistent water availability would solve the majority of the problems faced by these subsistence farmers.