A few months ago, I learned of a place called Burkina Faso, Africa. Burkina Faso is rated as the third most miserable place on Earth. Water is scarce and death and illness are a part of every day life. In fact, 1 in 3 children in Burkina Faso will die before their 5th Birthday.
Most of these deaths are caused by water born illnesses from water that is diseased and dirty. People in Burkina Faso have to walk many miles just to get water that could kill them. When I first learned about Burkina Faso, I instantly felt a responsibility to help the children of Burkina Faso, like I was their older sister. I went to bed that night praying, “Please God, tell me there isn’t really a place like this.”
When I woke up the next day, I knew God was calling me to build a well.
In a truly poor country like Burkina Faso, there are no simple solutions to the poverty the people face, but providing clean drinking water can drastically change their lives. Clean drinking water prevents illnesses and helps them grow food to feed their families. Can you imagine giving dirty water to your child to drink? Or bathing your newborn baby in a tub of filthy brown water? Water is something we take for granted here in the United States, but WATER IS LIFE in Burkina Faso!
Over the last 6 months, I have been raking leaves, shoveling snow, and sharing my story to raise funds to build a well. In January, I reached my first goal of $2000 to fund that well, which will be dug next month by a work team from Indiana! I am now working on a second well and I hope to be able to help dig a well myself next Spring when I visit Burkina Faso.
Digging a well isn’t my only goal. My second goal is to be a light of inspiration to others. Since I started this project 6 months ago, I have inspired others to fund wells. In fact, there will be 7 wells dug in Burkina Faso because people were inspired by my story. 7 Wells will provide clean drinking water for 7000 people.
I have received letters from people all over the Country thanking me for the work I have been doing, and telling me that I have inspired them to help others. Some want to help people in Burkina Faso. Others are helping people in different places. I have a really hard time grasping that me – a 12 year old from Indiana – can have that much influence… But it’s NOT all about me! It is about the way GOD is using me to help His people. That’s what we are all called to do! It’s funny how the world takes notice when we serve like that. It is inspiring! And it shows people who God really is.
I know that sometimes, the troubles in this world seem too big for us to do anything about. But I believe that TOGETHER, with God’s help, we can make a difference one day at a time, one village at a time, one life at a time. Not only in Burkina Faso, but all over the world!
Will you join me?
“Who is your role model?”
I’ve been thinking about that, actually. Some of my friends idolize actors and singers for probably the wrong reasons. Like, they have a very crazy life or they have fame or maybe they’re really beautiful. I don’t look up to people that do crazy things because they aren’t who I want to be. I want to be someone that changes the world. I want to make the world a better place and help it look more like the world God wants it to be. I honestly feel bad for the people who have the platform to make a difference but wind up confusing people more. It’s such a terrible waste.
I am not blind to what the world is like. I am not blind to how I am supposed to be. I get that the world is not the way God intended it to be. I want to be a role model to other people by trying to live like God wants me to and hope that it helps someone else.
These are some of my role models right now. I know some of them are not alive!
Amelia Earhart – I imagine her as a woman who didn’t take no for an answer- in a good way. She had a dream and she worked hard to do what she loved to do. She was determined and courageous and she didn’t let the culture around her impact her dreams to fly. She broke the stereotypes around her. It wasn’t all about her flying a plane. It was also about helping others. She felt the flight proved that men and women were equal in “jobs requiring intelligence, coordination, speed, coolness and willpower.” I want to spend my life making a difference like that.
Mother Teresa – I have known since I was 9 years old that I want to be a missionary some day. Mother Teresa was a missionary. She helped people around her and was completely selfless and brave. She reached millions of people with love and continues to change people today through the continuation of her stories. God leads you to do things you never think you can do. I believe Mother Teresa lived with that knowledge. You don’t think you’re saving someone’s life – you know Jesus saves their life – but you need to help them see who Jesus is through you.
Esther – Esther showed the world who she really was and showed the world that she believed in God. She didn’t let fear of consequences stop her from trying to save people. She believed God’s will for her and He used her to accomplish great things. She didn’t let fear control her. That’s how I want to live. Fear is like an anchor that only brings you down, and when you let go of that fear, it is like lifting that anchor, letting you sail away and leaving your fear behind. In other cases, fear is common sense.
Gracie Schram – Gracie is a teenager that has dreams to change the world. She is funny, kind and really cool and she is totally in love with Jesus. She also doesn’t obsess about cute guys and dating. She is a role model to me because she does the things I want to do. I want to sing and write songs that can help people learn more about God.
My Mom – My mom tells everyone she can about God. Because of her, thousands of kids know Jesus. She tells people and then they tell people. It’s kind of like a giant game of Telephone but everyone knows the right version of the first message. She just talks about God in ways that everyone understands. Sometimes there are times when a kid can feel quite useless. She helps them know how much they are loved and how valuable they are. That’s what I want to do. She always tells kids they can change the world right now. That is important for kids to know.
Most people want to change the world. They just don’t know how to do that. You change the world by reaching others with God’s love.
We have to serenade people with the song that God loves them… over and over again!