Welcome to the Myra’s Wells Newsletter – April 2021
If you would like to download a shorter printable version, please click this link.
Scroll down to read the full version with extra photographs – or read it section by section using this index:
- Eddie’s Introduction
- The Gospel on the Wall
- The Goodness of God in blessing Myra’s Wells
- Tierdeni and Djefla – Two new wells in the South West
- New wells in February
- New wells in March
- What’s next?
- Letter from the Ministry of Water
- Diary of Eddie’s recent visit to Burkina
- Prayer Points
Eddie’s Introduction – The Trip that was “impossible”
Despite travel bans, PCR tests, letter of authority, passenger locator forms, arranging post trip Covid tests, and quarantine, I am nevertheless so pleased to have been able to visit many of our wells in Burkina Faso in March. No coronavirus there, perhaps due to the 40-degree heat in the desert landscape. The abject poverty, the crazy traffic, and lack of water somehow even eclipsed by the happy children and the authentic and very noisy praise from the many growing churches.
I was there essentially on my own, but well looked after by my hosts, but when there’s apparently no one else to talk to, there is, of course, a Heavenly Father. I talked and listened a lot to Him, including about what I might say to you. Here it is.
God clearly has His Hand on Myra’s Wells. This is amazing. We don’t appeal for funds or advertise. All we do is share the story about water and Living Water and many support us. I wondered why and thought of Jesus’s words: “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matt 6:21). Where is your heart? For you, it is, as Jesus said, “to give even a cup of water in my name” (Matt 10:42). We are grateful!
The Myra’s Wells trustees thank you for all your faithful and generous support. Read on to find out how we have used some of your recent donations.
The Gospel on the Wall
The picture above is from a very deprived suburb of Ouagadougou. Eddie described it as a “desperate” place. The people are generally very poor despite being only about 10 km from the middle of the capital. The well here was drilled in 2018 and the pastor has taken the opportunity to put a text on the side. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” (Acts 16:31) This is a very Muslim area. The lady at the pump is a Muslim lady. Very few are interested in listening to the pastor – who is now building a church – but the message is there for all to see!
The Great Goodness of God
Two amazing milestones
We take no credit for either of these two amazing milestones. All that has been achieved is because we have a great God who has done amazing things for Myra’s Wells over the last 15 years. Starting from the first well in October 2006, Myra’s Wells has just passed:
£1 million pounds income
200 wells drilled
The 200 wells have included about 10 which have been equipped with water towers.
In addition to the 200 wells, this income has also allowed 7 containers to be sent to Burkina Faso. These have contained 4 minibuses, 2 cars, tools, sewing machines, furniture, medical equipment, school desks and chairs, gardening equipment and much else. Circumstances mean that we are not presently sending containers so that we are able to concentrate on the desperate need for clean water. If we plan another, we’ll let you know.
14 New wells since the last newsletter
The last 3 months have been very productive. At the risk of overusing the word “amazed”, we are truly amazed at the generosity of so many in making this possible. Twelve of these wells will have plaques placed on them because they have been provided by individual donors or Trusts.
This map shows roughly where these new wells have been drilled.
The area in the south west of Burkina Faso is a very needy area. It has certainly been neglected, perhaps because it is a long way (600 km, 480 miles) from Ouagadougou at the furthest point. So, it has been a real joy to have these wells drilled.
We don’t yet have photos of all of these wells, but here are some of the stories behind them.
Tierdeni and Djefla – Two new wells in the South West
These are two of the villages in the south west. And these are pictures of the conditions there before the new boreholes were drilled. The pictures speak for themselves.
The drilling here was delayed. We had hoped that we would be able to do this borehole before Christmas, but it was not possible. There were floods in the area after the rainy season. When the surveyor tried to go to the area, he was unable to make it. Perhaps this picture explains why.
When the ground did dry up, the drilling at Tierdeni was successful, but there were two negative boreholes at Djefla. When this happens, we ask for prayer and we give God the glory that the third borehole produced a good supply of water. Recently, we have received pictures of the finished wells. Here, the well blessing is taking place at Tierdeni. Notice the local Imam and the mayor from the nearest town who are attending. Both are hearing about our great God who has provided this well – and the water of life that He has made available through the Lord Jesus Christ.
When we provide a well, we insist that there is no restriction placed on who can use it. Some wells provided by other organisations are stipulated as being for a particular group (religious or ethnic) of the population. All wells provided by Myra’s Wells must be available to anyone who needs water.
New Wells in February
We had asked for boreholes to be tried at five other places in the south west. This is a summary of how these progressed.
Kora and Kamelekogodougou
These are two very isolated villages near to the border with Ivory Coast. They are in an area where there has been an increase in terrorist activity over the last year or so and we were very pleased that the surveyor and drillers were willing to go there.
We heard about the problem in these villages from a pastor in the area. He had visited with a view to starting a church in each of them – there was no church of any description in either place.
There are about 900 people in each village, and in both cases the nearest water was over 5 km away – and that was just a muddy pond which, in any case, would become dry. For photos in places like this, we have to rely on local people who have old mobile phones. And they are not David Bailey standard photographers! However, these pictures convinced us that there was an urgent need for water at both places.
The surveyor was able to visit in late January and the pastor told us afterwards that even he (the surveyor) was visibly moved by the conditions.
It was early February when the drilling team arrived in the area. Having spent the night in a town called Batie, they set off to go to Kora. Most villages will have a “road” that goes to them. This will nearly always be a dirt track over rough ground that tests the suspension on any vehicle. However, there was no such luxury for Kora. At 3 km short of the village, they came to a halt because there was just no way through the bush.
They contacted Christine and said they wanted to give up and turn back. Such was the desire for the well that the men of the village turned out in force with machetes and cut down trees and cleared a way for the lorries to reach the village. We are told that three tyres were burst on the way. Praise God, the borehole was positive here at Kora! This well has been named “Joyce’s Well” by the Christian trust fund that has paid for it.
It was with great joy that we received news the next day that the well at Kamelekogodougou was also positive. We might have a prize for anyone who manages to pronounce the name of this village without stumbling, and a special prize if you can spell it tomorrow!!
This is another well which will have a plaque attached – “Hope Well”
Quartier Planteur, Bakonon and Kerkou
These three villages are also in the south west. Two of them are within 3 km of the centre of a small town where we have stayed on visits to the area. Conditions in some parts of the town are quite reasonable. However, despite the proximity to better facilities, this is what these people coped with.
All three villages now have their new wells – praise the Lord.
Quartier Planteur – where the man above is fetching water from a hole in the muddy marshes – was the most difficult of these places. There was so much mud here that the standard drill could not cope with it. It needed a drill with a mud pump. The drilling company has one of these but it was working at another place for another client at the time. So, it was a few days before it arrived.
New Wells in March
There were another four wells drilled in March. These pictures give an idea of the conditions in these places.
As yet, we haven’t received any pictures of the finished wells. When they have their pumps fitted, the stories will be put on the web site. One might be equipped with another water tower.
The first of these wells was our well NUMBER 200. Each of these wells will have a plaque.
SML Poole (paid for by St Mary’s Church, Longfleet in Poole);
D & D’s Well and Uncle Tom’s Well (for a couple who paid for both) ;
John & Jennie’s Well (paid for by another couple).
There is still tremendous need of wells in Burkina Faso. Depending upon who you listen to, the figure will be between 7000 and 8000. There are often reports in the press about new schemes to provide better and expanded electricity networks, but there are many fewer reports about the much more basic need of water! 18 months ago, the Burkina Government announced they would provide 1,500 wells. There was no mention of where the funding was coming from – and there is very little evidence that any of the 1,500 have actually been drilled. (We may be mistaken of course.) While God continues to provide funds, we will continue, in His grace, to provide wells in the places that look most needy.
To this end, we have just commissioned another 8 wells to be attempted. Please pray for successful drilling at each of these villages. Here are brief details of some of the places:
A Refugee Camp
The security situation in Burkina Faso is still worrying, but does not seem to be getting worse at the moment. However, there are now over 1 million “IDPs” (Internally Displaced Persons) who have had to leave their homes and move south. Many of these people have brought almost nothing with them – not that they had a lot of possessions anyway. They have settled in makeshift camps around towns like Kaya further south.
This, of course, has put extra pressure on the existing water supply – which already was hardly adequate before the extra people came.
During Eddie’s very recent visit, a pastor came from Kaya to see him and told him about one of these camps. We have some photos of the situation here – here are some of them. Please pray that we will be able to provide a well for these people. It is likely that they will be in this area for a long time. Maybe, while they are here, they will also hear about the water of life from the pastor who came to see Eddie.
A place where the nearest water is 15 km away
When the form arrived with us, it was hard to believe. The nearest water 15km away? It seems that this is correct information! Not a difficult decision to make to drill here!
A place where the there is a proper well – but the villagers are not allowed to use it
This is another of those situations that we hear about quite regularly. Some farmers manage to make more money and they pay to have a well drilled themselves. When this happens, many of them will not let the people in the village use the well. “It is my well!” (Sounds a bit like 1 Samuel 25:11) They are, of course, quite at liberty to take that view. However, how galling it must be if you can see a lovely well so near, but know you cannot use it. In other places, the owner might make money by charging for his water.
Letter from the Ministry of Water in Burkina Faso
At the end of January, we were surprised to hear from Christine that she had received a letter from the Ministry of Water in Burkina Faso. Somehow, news of the water tower at Saatenga (see the last newsletter) had come to their attention. They were also aware that we were very close to a total of 200 wells.
While we don’t look for recognition from the authorities (we answer to a supremely higher Authority!), it was gratifying to know that the work of Myra’s Wells is being recognised in government circles.
It may help us in the future when we ask for relief on import duty! Recently, we sent a used car for Christine to use. Her own car was always breaking down and she badly needed another one. Another charity (Jacob’s Well) was sending a container and kindly accommodated the car. When it arrived in Ouagadougou, the customs officials demanded about £1000 for import duty – well above the value of the car.
Eddie’s Visit to Burkina 2021 – a Mini Diary available
Eddie is putting together an abbreviated diary of his visit in March this year. If you would like a copy, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org (or write – address at the bottom of the page) as soon as possible so that we can print an appropriate number. It should be ready by mid-April.
Pointers for Prayer
- Praise for the wells that have been drilled recently;
- Prayer that they will be a witness to God’s greater blessing of salvation through faith and by grace;
- Prayer for safety for the drilling teams in areas where security is not guaranteed;
- Prayer for safety of Christine and her helpers based in Ouagadougou;
- Prayer for guidance in choosing the most needy places to drill wells;
- Prayer for successful drilling at the eight planned further locations.
- Prayer for integrity within the Burkina Faso government. The needs are innumerable.
Thank you for your prayers. Prayer has been very effective throughout Myra’s Wells existence.