Benjamin trusts God to provide water
By Vincent Wastable | France in Europe
French missionary Benjamin began working among a West African people group in which there had been little to no Christian presence. He wanted to emulate Jesus’ ministry of proclaiming reconciliation with God, while tangibly helping people through earthly problems.
To show the people God’s love in a concrete and relevant way, Benjamin created a project that cares for their needs in employment, health and education.
Six years ago, Benjamin was granted a piece of land, which was in the middle of mango fields outside a village. There were already buildings on the land constructed by a former mission worker in the 1960s. It was from this base that Benjamin developed the Hope Centre and – thanks to a series of setbacks – God strengthened the team’s reliance on his timing.
Benjamin first sought to set up micro-businesses to provide work for the villagers and to eventually finance the ministry. Financial support was essential, and the ministry wouldn’t be sustainable without it. These micro-businesses involved raising laying hens, rabbits and other animals. But a slight problem soon arose: the water!
Water jeopardises the entire project
A well had already been dug in the field, and it had once produced abundant water. However, after several decades the water table level had decreased, leaving the well dry. With shovels and picks in tow, Benjamin and a few others set off to dig a new well some 30 metres deep. Unfortunately, they did not find water. They made a second attempt; again, there was no trace of water. Doubt began to overwhelm them, and they thought, What if the project is doomed to fail?
Determined to find water, Benjamin decided to explore further and find a drilling company. He obtained almost €5,000 (roughly 5,500USD) from his financial partners to drill to a depth of 70 metres. Even then, they could not reach water. Benjamin became extremely discouraged and was on the verge of abandoning the project, unable to understand what God intended. His friend Souleymane encouraged him and advised him to pray fervently. This led him to organise a prayer vigil.
The next day, to their surprise, the drilling company came knocking on Benjamin's door to give him the €5,000 back. The company said it had been their responsibility to find the water, and since they had not accomplished their task, he got a refund. Benjamin thought, What an answer from God! He was now convinced to persevere in the search for water.
Before restarting the drilling, Benjamin and Souleymane decided to ask an elderly man from the region for advice because he knew the land well. The man told them of a place just seven metres from the first well. Sceptical but relying on faith, they gave it a chance. The company launched the drilling process, and at a depth of just 30 metres, water began to gush! God answered their prayers and the project moved ahead.
God has a perfect plan
But that was not the end of the water problems. After three years, the new well dried up.
Benjamin decided to invest more money to drill much deeper, down to about 140 metres. An expert from the national water company visited the centre, and he proposed they connect to a neighbouring village’s water network, which would be much less expensive. Again, Benjamin and his team saw God's provision so they could invite people into relationship with Jesus Christ.
Today, the centre has no major water supply problems. It also has a security reserve, which prevents unexpected problems and creates the right breeding environment for the Hope Centre’s animal micro-businesses.
The micro-businesses consist of breeding laying hens, rabbits, agoutis and sheep. The profit from these businesses, in addition to the investment of churches and individuals, allows the centre to employ a dozen people and grow. Moreover, the Jesus followers at the centre use their connection to the employees to embody the love of Christ as witnesses.
In 2018, an educational centre was also opened, and it provides literacy classes for children and adults. The centre is growing still further, with a small health centre due to open in 2020.
A community of believers has now emerged and is sharing their faith with their neighbours and growing in maturity. The next stage of the project will be a centre to train future pastors, church planters and teachers to look after their community’s spiritual and physical needs.
Are you interested in serving God like Benjamin did? Contact SIM today to find out how the Lord can use you and your talents for his glory.
• the community of Jesus followers to boldly share the gospel and make disciples.
• progress for the training centre so new pastors, church planters and teachers can be equipped with God’s Word.
• the micro-businesses to effectively support the Hope Centre. Pray these help the centre continue to flourish so more can hear the good news of salvation through Jesus and join the family of God.
This story first appeared on the SIM France blog. Check it out to find other stories about what God is doing through SIM France.