Christian Education

Teacher development is the most necessary part of the work we do, and it is a two-fold process: training disciples to be teachers and those teachers to be disciples. By training the people of Burkina to be the teachers their people need, we inspire a powerful ripple effect as young Christian adults share the gospel and the love of Christ through education.

 

The founder and missionary on the ground in Burkina, Lynn Peters, provides a variety of activities from Bible studies to practical teacher training, but also works with a community of others to offer a variety of resources, partnering with other missionaries, local teacher trainers, the International School in Ouagadougou, and even visiting teachers from France and the U.S.

 

“One of the most rewarding aspects of this ministry is watching the transformation take place in the young adults who come to us with little understanding of Christianity and no teacher training. They themselves have never experienced education which nurtures, encourages, employs creative teaching techniques and strives to ensure the success of all children; so with the help of others, we help them evolve from overwhelmed interns to competent, loving teachers.”

In October 2006, under the Lord’s direction and with the support of Lynn’s generous donors, we worked with an existing organization to open a new private Christian elementary school in the town of Yako. The three-classroom building gives priority to orphans, many of whom would not be in school without this opportunity.  The school was quickly recognized for its top-ranking results and gained favor with the Department of Education.

 

Through the process of developing that first school, Lynn realized how great the need for Christian education really was:

 

“As we realized Burkina’s need, not only for additional school buildings, but for a model of Christian education and practical teacher training, we began looking for villages which did not yet have a school or a church.  BFO schools fill both voids, with the potential of transforming a village as we bring the gospel through education, sharing Christ’s love through Word and Deed.”

 

In time, it also became evident that not only were our schools meeting the needs of the villages, but that other Burkina schools – sponsored by other organizations and even by the government – were interested in learning more about our methods as they saw our students’ excellent academic progress without the strict and sometimes harsh discipline that many are accustomed to using.

 

In January 2010, we celebrated the opening of another beautiful school in the village of Gobila, where we started with a single first grade classroom and have now expanded to three classrooms.  In 2011, we celebrated the opening of our school in the village of Wedkingo which also now has three classrooms.

 

As our teachers continue to gain experience and expertise leading classrooms (with an average of 25 students), our goal of creating a model of Christian education that can spread and multiply throughout Burkina is being brought to life by the people themselves.

Our ministry of Christian Education takes place in a spiritual and religious context very different from the United States. Seventy to eighty percent of the population in Burkina Faso is Muslim or Animist, and throughout the day, we see hundreds of men and boys washing their feet as they prepare to worship Allah on their knees in the hot sun.  Others are sacrificing animals or using fetishes.  Children of incest are abandoned for the shame they bring.  Elderly women accused of being witches are chased from the courtyard and permanently rejected by family.

 

Many don’t know a God as Loving Father. They don’t know the intimacy of a relationship with this just God who cares about their heartaches and struggles and wants to help, comfort, guide and walk with them.  They don’t know a God who can heal their diseases or send rain to this dry land.

 

The foundation of our work must be Jesus Christ.   Just think of the difference we can make if, in addition to teaching the academics of this world, we can teach them of the love of Christ.  A bag of corn may sustain them for a week, but a relationship with Christ will sustain them through eternity.

 

So, in the process of our project-planning, we always ask the question, “How can this work be used to plant seeds of the gospel and share the love of Christ?”

 

Just a few of the things we do to share Christ in the midst of our work:

  • Incorporate the Bible throughout the daily school curriculum. At any given moment, you may observe a grammar lesson using scripture, see bible stories expressed through art, follow a science or geography lesson linked to Creation, or a history lesson linked to the Old Testament.
  • Teen nights are hosted to give teens of all faiths a safe place to meet and have fun.  They get to know other teens and develop relationship with our staff who become role models for them.  They discuss and debate, searching for understanding; and participate in crafts and interactive games.
  • Movie Nights – a film and snacks followed by pointed discussion, have been very popular.
  • Home visits to the sponsored children are a great opportunity to share one-on-one with the child and family members.
  • When the sick come for help, we often help with medical expenses, but also offer to pray with them for comfort and healing.  Better yet, we share that they too can approach the Father directly.
  • When the hungry come to us asking for food, we can give a sack of grain, but also look for a window to tell them how Christ can meet their needs.

Our schools begin with a relationship we initiate with the local village “Chief”. By offering to help the people of the village through our Sponsorship Program, we can get to know them and minister to those who are suffering. As our relationship progresses, we work together with the village to build a preschool shelter, which gives us a great way to provide a foundation for young children to build on; hands-on teacher training for interns; and the start of a working relationship for everyone involved.

 

Once BFO commits to build an elementary school building, we are committed to an on-going relationship with the people of that village and to sharing the gospel and the love of Christ. While the buildings themselves serve as a meeting place for community activities, our teachers are called on for prayer and guidance.  Additionally, we have drilled wells and helped start small business projects. We’ve even hosted kids’ camps and movie nights!