Wednesday, December 8, 2010


We live in a world of accumulation and at times I find myself evaluating the things that I hold in my hands. The old cliche demands the question, “Is the cup half empty or half full?”, does not exactly pertain to my writing this evening.

I say, “Lord, empty me. Pour me out. Take from me that which keeps me from you. Empty me completely of me.”

Walking through a village east of Ouagadougou arrested my thoughts. The huts were basic, no running water, no electricity, no furniture, no beds. I was invited inside to find just a few mud buildings and mats on the floor for sleeping. There appeared to be just the bare essentials for life.

It was empty. It was void of any western amities. The villagers had never heard of a microwave or internet. They did not know what it was like to take a hot shower, or to have clothes that smelled like fabric softener. It had never occurred to them that there were cruise ships that could carry you to far away islands, where food was unending and ports were full of trinkets to buy.

This village had not experienced fullness.

It was empty. The difference between that village and me was that I am full. I am full of culture, full of vain ideas, full of self, yes full of me.

“Lord, take me to a place of emptiness. Not void of your Spirit, just void of myself.”

We live in a world of accumulation. We constantly are adding ideas, plans, programs, self promotion and even self affirmation.

Walk among an empty village.

Hear the sounds of children singing.

Smell the cut of fresh corn.

Sit with the Chief of the village.

Breath in every feeling. Experience emptiness.

How is your cup? Is it half empty of half full?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Three men sitting on a bench.

Three men sitting on a bench.

Two are muslim.

One a Christian.

One is blind.

One is a leper.

One is well.

All are in need of a savior.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


They came from all over the city, all twelve to fifteen of them. Feeling their way down the crowded streets of red clay. Every step was taken with extreme care. Every turn made with the memory of times past.

They came looking for something. They came looking for something that would satisfy more than the emotions of the mind or the strength of the body. They came looking for a savior.

And came they did. When we arrived they sat quietly eating some rice mixed with a sauce of some sort. I made my rounds, gently touching them on the hand or the shoulder to let them know that I was near.

One man stood and told their story, he began:

“We consider it a great honor to be with you today. You can see us, but we can not see you. We are productive people, we work with our hands and are not on the streets begging for money. This church has been very good to us. This Pastor has a great vision for this city. We are very thankful for this church and pray that their endeavors would be successful.”

My body pressed back against the chair as he spoke. How can a blind man speak of vision when he cannot see? What is it in his heart that I lack? He felt his way down the streets of Bobo that day to tell me a story from his heart. Was it the courage to press past the limitations of living in darkness and walking in light? Maybe it was overcoming the churning in his stomach when he laid down to sleep. It was not clear, but he held a gift that I have not yet received.

He stood and he prayed for me. Yes, for me, the young missionary with no handicaps, a picture of health, no cares in the world. This sixty year old blind man prayed for me.

They came from all over the city, all twelve to fifteen of them. Feeling their way down the crowded streets of red clay. Every step was taken with extreme care. Every turn made with the memory of times past.

I have nothing more to say but God help me see not with my eyes, but with my heart.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Clouds are Heavy Today

The clouds are heavy over our street today. You can see just a small parcel of blue trying to press it’s way through the expanse of gray. No squeals of laughter from the children.

You see, yesterday when the sun had set a cry arose from the depths of the neighborhood. We stood on the terrace and wondered if it was combined prayer of a nearby church. It was not prayer, but the cries of a family who had just learned that the father had just been killed. A muslim man of 35 or so. Typical of West Africa he had at least two wives and many children. Many times the children, mostly babies, would play in tattered clothing in front of our home. As I would leave our home they would sing a song that I taught them. I would sing,” J’ai une bon bon pour vous.” and they would reply, “Avez-vous des bon bon pour moi?” me-(I have a piece of candy for you) them-(Do you have some candy for me?)

This day they did not ask for candy. I sat quietly on the ground in front of the house.

They came and sat beside me. No words were spoken, they would not look up while silent tears fell onto the hard earth.

The clouds are heavy over our street today as well as my heart. Another son left this earth not reconciled to the Father.

We carried over some food as a token of our sympathy for the family. Still, I do not know if it pleased my Father. The bread of life should have been taken over many weeks ago long before the motorcycle left the road. I missed the mark.

Paul said, 2 CORINTHIANS 5:

18And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

19To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

20Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.

Tomorrow the clouds will not be so heavy and the sun will break through again, but today is a day of evaluation. Weighing out what is really important, what really matters.

“Oh, God, be a Father to the fatherless today I pray”

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Freedom Found

She waited around long after the service. She waited.

We noticed her as she quietly walked toward the man of God to talk. She talked.

Her story was quick but she left out no details.

A child of the traditional worship of West Africa. Fetish worship, or as we understand it, Voodoo.

It is a worship of the elements. A trust in the curse, a belief in a doctor who can not heal but can curse and hold back curses. Or so they believe. A trust in a Witch Doctor.

Her mother had been converted to Christ and the family objected. The Bible was kept in a solitary place in their mud shanty possibly hidden among the few articles of clothing that she owned.

She came to talk and she did.

The curse had come to the home. Once a good student, school had become difficult, she explained.

Confusion and fear had entered the home.

She came to talk and to ask for prayer against the dark world of West Africa.

Ginny held her hand as we began to pray for protection and to send back the curse from where it came. The twelve year old girl had found herself in the presence of God where the curse was possibly broken and love was replaced.

The last to go, the last to leave. She waited, she talked, we prayed.

Please pray for the innocence lost in a generation turned over to the religions of tradition. “Greater is He...we know the scripture, but they need the He in them.”

Burkina Faso, July 2010

Sunday, June 20, 2010

"My eyes have seen it all."

The tree to which we sat under was magnificent. It's roots ascended from the ground and then almost violently pressed their way back down in to the hard earth below. They had a job to do. They stretched their fingers deep into the recesses of the ground for life. They looked for the waters to soothe their parched branches.

Under it's canopy we sat with new friends that we had not known before today.
The first to offer a chair was one of the elders of the village. He wore no shirt and his trousers were torn, but his eyes held the riches of past memories. I was captured by his glance.

"What had he seen in his many years?" I asked myself.

These gentle eyes must have cried both tears of joy and tears of pain. These eyes have been blurred from the sands that blow from the north and cleansed from the rains from heaven. These wonderful yet old eyes have seen it all.

They had seen every emotion that his dear wife had experienced, for example, the birth of the son. The one who drove us to meet him that wonderful day. They have looked to the skies and prayed for the rains in the times of drought. Oh, what have these eyes seen?

How many tears have they cried? How many memories have they captured?
Though appearing cloudy from the outside they held many things on the inside.

In a village far from town there is a tree so magnificent and grand, who's roots reach deep into the earth. Sitting under the protection of this tree is an elder of a village, a man of wisdom, who's eyes have seen it all.

Friday, June 18, 2010

She chose just to look in

It was like most every Sunday.
Temperature sitting proudly at 105 degrees.
The drums were playing in rhythm.
People were dancing and singing praises.
She chose just to look inside.
I caught the sunlight as it danced across her face.
Innocence captured for a moment in time.
Was it the music that called her to the window?
The car that sat is an area that seldom saw cars?
News that a missionary had come that day?
Most assuredly it was the call of the Master.
A kind, loving and calling God.
He had called her to the window that morning.
She chose just to look in.
He chose just to love her.