Dear Blessed Brothers and Sisters in the Lord Jesus,
I begin by openly thanking all of you again for your generous outpouring of monetary support. Your gifts to God allowed us to travel, minister and provide special gifts to both the missionaries in Burkina Faso and the people of Burkina Faso. We had more than enough and were able to share the additional with those in Burkina Faso. Once we have done the final “accounting”, we will also dedicate whatever is extra to those in Burkina Faso.
Secondly but truly most importantly, I thank you for your faithful prayers. Our trip to and from BF was without event. Considering that we had two youngsters in tow this was remarkable. We often found ourselves yelling, “Charlie, get back here. We’re not in WF anymore!” Charles was quite adventurous and provided all of the excitement we needed for the trip. There was no language barrier for him. Wendy was a well mannered young woman. We were so thankful for her exemplary, mature behavior. I think of all of us, she was the most overwhelmed by it all. I finally quit asking, “What’s wrong?”, since I knew that she really couldn’t answer. She experienced, as did I, a deep sense of “overwhelmation”. Know that your prayers were heard and faithfully answered. I am honored and blessed by people who love my family and me so much that they would dedicate themselves to pray for us. It truly was awesome to know that we were covered in prayer.
There are so many things to tell I just don’t know where to begin. I will do my best not to bore you with a boring, diary-like account but I really do want to share the wonderful things we experienced. I had hoped to be able to email while I was in BF but the overwhelming nature of the change took my creative spark away. The oppressive heat also drew the creative life out of me. By the time the evening came, I was simply beat. The biggest difference between African heat and American heat was that you could not easily escape it in BF. Often as I lay down to sleep each night, the temp was over 90 degrees in the room where I slept. Melissa encouraged me to keep water by my bed so that I did not dehydrate during the night. This was new for me. To wake up in a pool of sweat was not something I had experienced in quite a while. Charlie and I finally drug a small mattress into the girls’ room and slept like sardines on the floor in order to share in the refrigerated air of the bedroom. The temp made sleeping much easier but the legs, arms, elbows and head-butts seemed to offset the comfort. Anyway, no more whining…Whatever discomfort we experienced was small and did not hold a candle to the amazing things we encountered and in which we participated. To think back on most any of the experiences brings tears to my eyes.
An overwhelming sense of smallness enveloped me as we landed in Paris the first time. Charlie commented in awestruck fashion that we were now on another continent. The only thing that seemed to overshadow this awe was the fact that later that day we would be on yet another continent. Our instant communication makes our world seem so small these days, yet one trip to the other side of the world can truly open your eyes to the enormity of this earth that God has created and oversees. I was deeply humbled.
When we landed in Ouagadoogoo (oo-wah-gah-doo-goo), Burkina Faso (BF), I quickly found English useless and white people rare. Ougadougou, the capital city of BF, where we landed, was a city teeming with beautiful black people in motion who spoke little or no English yet were fluent in French and other tribal languages; i.e. Dagara, Fulani, Mosi(?), etc. Every mode of transportation was utilized, it seemed. Autos were few but they were around. Motorbikes were plentiful and most always directly in our path as were bicycles. Donkeys with carts were frequently our partners at stoplights and people walking were literally everywhere. The place was fully alive with people, livestock, bicycles and motorbikes. I was completely overwhelmed. My first very thankful moment was when we arrived at our initial destination without having run over someone. No kidding – travel was insane. My dear brother Andy never batted an eye as he weaved us through the mass of humanity in motion. A collective gasp was simply the common communication shared in the average ride across town in Ouga. No one had to be encouraged to wear their seat belt.
It is so difficult to decide what will be interesting to all of you and what will simply be mundane and a waste of your reading time. I’ve already been much more detailed than I intended and we do all have lives; i.e. we can’t sit around and read Wendell’s emails all day nor can I sit around and write them even though it does sound like fun. So, I pledge to continue with these updates as often as possible hopefully sharing some of the awesome nature of this experience with those of you are interested and who, hand in hand with our Father, provided this trip for us. If you are not interested, I will not be offended. Simply click the little X and go back to your life. I fully understand. If you are interested then stay tuned as I try to share over the next few weeks the powerful impact this trip made on my family and me. Wendy covered the heart of it last night whenever she was asked about the trip in her Bible class at church. She simply said it was a life changing experience. Ditto from all of the Burnams. We are changed. We will never be the same.
Know this, the God who spoke all that we know and see into existence is bigger than you can fathom. He holds a world teaming with life of every sort in His hands and continues to speak life into it. He is doing a new thing. He faithfully watches His creation as a whole and yet is supernaturally able to deal with each of us as individuals. Don’t dwell on that too long, your head may explode. Only One who is outside of time and space, who is above and beyond this awesome creation, who can speak what doesn’t exist into existence is capable of such activity. He is mysteriously wonderful and even this mystery speaks of His undeniable existence. If we could figure it all out, if we could truly pin Him down, if we could really get our tiny little finite minds around Him and put Him in a box, He would not be the massive God of the universe we know Him to be. It is a wonderful truth that He is bigger than our understanding yet allows us to understand enough of Him to love Him and pursue Him knowing that He loves us and pursues us.
“Our God is an awesome God. He reigns in Heaven above with wisdom, power and love. Our God is an awesome God.”
His love endures forever.
Your servant in Christ,