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Student serves, is taught in Burkina Faso

Senior communications major Josh Meyer spent May and June of his summer in a small village in Burkina Faso in western Africa.

He went with the International Sports Federation, an organization which attempts to use sports to reach people for Christ.

They were the first Westerners that these villagers had ever seen, and definitely the first Christians that they had ever met.

Meyer went in thinking that he would be playing sports with kids, but the experience ended up being something completely different.

The people in the village spoke Viemo, a language that no other group speaks in the world. The language barrier was very challenging for Meyer and his group.

He spent his time doing what the village people did daily, including farm work such as hoeing and getting water. He also played with childrean and dressed their wounds. Through this, he was able to get to know about the people and their culture.

His mission, as told by his leaders, was to make a good first impression with these people, to live with them and to serve them in any way possible.

Meyer had his ups and downs as he lived with the people of the village. He said that he could not go anywhere in the village without having children following him, wanting to play with him.

There was very little to eat in the village, but the food that the village people had, they shared.

While Meyer was there, a young child of about three years old died of starvation, no doubt because of a long period of malnourishment.

“It was hard to see the depth of poverty,” Meyer said. This area of the world is known as a Fifth world country, he said.

Two people had a particular impact on Meyer while he was there. One young girl, a mute named Juma, had the best laugh according to Meyer.

“A lot of people give me a weird look when I say that,” he said.

Juma would not make a sound when she laughed, but you could see joy on her face as she went through the motions of laughing.

“She became my little buddy,” Meyer said.

The other was a man named Bason who accidentally chopped into his own leg with a farming tool but continued working.

After a lot of convincing, they finally took him to a town about four hours away for medical attention.

When asked why he didn’t stop working, he claimed he didn’t want to miss a day of work and not get paid, because he needed the money to feed his family.

Meyer was astounded at this farmer’s commitment to work and to his family.

“I went there to show them Jesus, and they ended up teaching me more about Him than I ever saw in my Sunday school classes,” he said.

This was not any great Christian thing to go live among the poor, Meyer said, but simply him following God’s commandment in the Bible. “I didn’t do any great thing. I did what I was supposed to do according to the Great Commission,” he said.

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