My Experience In Africa
This post was written by our Missions Pastor, Ryne Isaac.
Last month I had the privilege of traveling to Cote d'Ivoire to visit the Solace Family Home and work alongside our partner organization, 1040i. This was the second year in a row I made the trip during June. Short-term mission trips are always impactful, but this is what stuck out to me on this trip.
The most memorable part of the trip happened on Saturday, June 16th when the Solace Family Home was officially inaugurated. Hundreds of people, including government officials, village chiefs, and people from the community, came to recognize the Solace Family Home with a ceremony. I had no idea what to expect, but it was overwhelming to see the crowd of people pouring onto the property. I have known for a long time that the Solace Family Home was important to the people Solace Church, but I began to realize how important this is for the entire region of Tanda in Cote d'Ivoire. Pastor Paul, who will be the Director of the Solace Family Home, has told us this is the first orphanage in this area since the creation of the world. That's a humbling thought. The people that attended the inauguration were blown away by the beautiful buildings that had been constructed and are excited for the children that will soon live there.
On Sunday part of our group visited a village church that was about 45 minutes away from Tanda (and only a few minutes away from Ghana). Their building was very small and was literally built with sticks and tarp. The church had been planted by the Freewill Baptist Mission organization and had been meeting for years, but is still very small. It was encouraging to see a group of people that meet even though their circumstances are difficult. Often in the States we view the church for what it can do for us, but the group that meets in this church every Sunday is focused on being faithful to God while He builds their church and the Kingdom. There is something special that happens when you worship with people in a different country and culture. It is a powerful reminder that the Church is much bigger than what happens in our individual buildings on Sunday mornings.
The biggest thing that stood out to me on this trip was the progress that has taken place since last year. Last June we stood over a pile of blocks and prayed about what would be on the property. This year we arrived to see two completed buildings and got to see the walls slowly go up on the third building. And that wasn't all. There is also a wall around the entire property that wasn't there before and a new water tower. Last year during our trip there were several days when the city water was turned off. It was inconvenient for us, but can be dangerous for many of the people living in the city. Near the end of our trip last year we drilled a well on the property, but it was not hooked up to a pump by the time we left the country. Now the well pumps water to the tower until it's full so that when the electricity is off (which is a frequent occurrence and renders the well pump useless) there is still access to water (it's hooked up the Home plumbing so faucets, showers, etc. still work). With our new accommodations it felt like we jumped ahead 20 years. It is amazing to see what God has done in a short amount of time and it makes me think I have no idea what He will be able to do in the coming years. I believe the Solace Family Home and the rest of the 1040i property is setting the bar for what could be for people in that region.