A team of 16 young people and leaders from Belfast City Mission in Rathcoole recently returned home from a two-week mission project in west Africa.
The team flew to Turkey and then on to Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso where they met up with Pastor Samuel Yaldia from the School of Grace, where they would be volunteering.
After a night in the capital they endured a seven-hour bus ride on rough, dusty roads to get to the city of Bobo-Dioulasso.
“The team started their work with the children in the School of Grace on Monday with a very early start at around 8am. The day consisted of Bible stories, choruses, craft and games. There were around 175 children at the school that week with the team. During that first week the team also took part in the church midweek Bible study,” a BCM spokesman explained.
“During the week the team took English lessons in the church and healthcare in the church for adults and children. On Saturday morning the team visited the local market and in the afternoon they went to visit Samuel’s home village.
“On Sunday morning the team split into three groups to visit three different churches.”
On the Monday of the second week the team visited an orphanage with 21 children ranging in age from newborns to two years of age. The children’s mothers had either died during childbirth or they had just been abandoned.
The team were able to leave a suitcase full of toys that they had taken out with them.
Later that day they visited a maternity hospital and were able to leave a consignment of medical supplies they had brought with them.
The following day the team visited a local village and took the complete midweek meeting at Samuel’s church.
“It’s hard to believe that the whole experience is now over,” the spokesman continued. “From almost two years in the planning we have now completed our mission and are delighted to say that we have accomplished all that we set out to do. From bringing out much needed equipment, and sharing in children’s clubs, to visiting local villages and seeing how people really do live without basic things like running water and electricity.
“We have witnessed great poverty, yet alongside it amazing joy and generosity was shown to us. Everyone on the team has their own personal experiences and we all thoroughly enjoyed the trip. In particular the spiritual experiences of church services and prayer meetings were very special.”
Thanking everyone who supported them in any way, the spokesman added: “All your help has been a blessing to the people of Burkina Faso and also allowed us to share in memories that will stay with us for the rest of our lives.”