Burkina Faso, Gampela Centre
There is almost too much going on to share! Here are the high points:
- The emergency food relief to at-risk children and families in 2021 with every food delivery carefully tracked. Both locals financially impacted by COVID-19 and refugees fleeing terrorist violence in the country were given aid.
- The new medical clinic is getting ready to open, with a focus on pregnancy & birth care, newborns and children. They have the nurse, and now a doctor! Hope Story has raised funds to equip the clinic so it can start operating fully.
- Course registrations for sewing, weaving and masonry at the Vocational School were even higher than expected, and young moms showed up (unexpectedly) with young children in tow. Pastor John was suddenly handed the responsibility of figuring out where to put 22 toddlers!
- Great news – a young man with a heart for Jesus and quite a story of his own to share with young people, Rachide Guinko, has been hired as the new Manager for the Vocational School!
The new Manager of the Gampela Centre’s Vocational School, Rachide Guinko, had a powerful testimony to share with us at the Virtual Gala. It’s a dramatic story of God’s restoration and redemption of a life.
Raised by a Christian mother, Rachide’s Muslim father walked out on the family when Rachide was just a child. Looking back on himself as a youth, he says he was craving the care and attention of a father. He started taking marijuana and other drugs as a relief from the emotional pain.
He says that at the beginning it was “sweet – I was finally comforted. Then I got introduced to harder drugs and that really messed up my life. I got involved in crime to pay for the drugs.”
Rachide and others would, from the back of a motorbike bike, habitually grab purses from women going by on their own motorbikes, the primary means of transportation in Burkina Faso. Sometimes the woman would fall off the bike. Sometimes the falling bike would cause a major accident. One day he and his friend were caught snatching purses from fast-moving vehicles and were taken to the police station. His friend covered for him, saying he knew nothing of the robbery plan, because Rachide was a student with plans, and he himself was “doing nothing with his life.”
This was an exceptionally fortunate break for Rachide, who says: “Life in Burkina Faso prisons is worse than hell…there is a lot of sickness…people dying of Hepatitis & Tuberculosis. There is no health care when you’re sick and the prisons are overcrowded and dirty with no health or hygiene.” Rachide felt guilty about his friend going to prison. And afraid. But he still needed money to support his drug addiction. A week later he was stealing again to support his desperate habit.
Both parents were at their wits end (his father was back in his life). His father had a local Muslim healer bring Rachide something to drink & wash his face with to cure his addiction. Rachide knew that he was not behaving as a Christian. He also knew this concoction would not work, refused it, and was kicked out of his father’s house and sent back to his mother’s house.
Then by the grace of God Rachide was introduced to Pastor John, who was running Teen Challenge, a Christian rehab program.
Rachide reconnected with his faith in Christ, and learned anew “about God and about the love God has for me…It was a time to meditate on the issues of my life. I was fascinated with the teaching of Jesus and his wisdom. At some point I saw myself as the prodigal son. But still Jesus Christ accepted me back and everything I lost was restored and that gave me hope.”
He was able to forgive himself, which helped him to forgive other people – including his father, for abandoning him. And he decided that his experiences should not be in vain. He could transform this pain into something good. Pastor John encouraged him that he could help other people, even some who would be in the same situation.
Rachide went on to complete his education. He believes all this happened so he could be equipped to help youth. He was already sharing his own story. Then one day Pastor John called him and said, “it’s time for you to come back.” And so Rachide went back. He is grateful to all those who support the work at the Gampela Centre and says:
“I want to tell you: you are bringing back hope and smiles to the faces of people here. Thank you.”Rachide
Executive Director Tim Brown closed off this interview at the Gala with this: “We love stories of redemption don’t we! Showing us that change is possible. It is possible in our own lives, and it is possible in the lives of those we love.”
Please pray for...
Preparing for and fundraising for Phase II of the Vocational School so that the Gampela Centre can offer more courses
For God’s continued protection for the Gampela Centre community, as Christians in Burkina Faso are facing persecution and are being targeted by terrorists.
For the successful operation of the Gampela Medical Clinic