A Crash Course Altered

Drunk again, Bastien spouted hate; his wife cringed at his raised hand. With agriculture being Bastien’s livelihood, another drought meant he couldn’t work. How long had it been this time? How would they survive? There wasn’t enough money for the family, but he needed another drink. Some cards and nicotine might also distract him from his woes.

Bastien’s life was in disarray. Depression hung over his entire family.

Without purpose or hope, Bastien continued his reckless rambling, hurting those closest to him along the way. Would his life’s crash course end in anything other than destruction?

A Shift in Trajectory

A glimmer of hope appeared in the form of work when Bastien heard of a new construction site nearby in need of laborers. Inquiring at the site, where a new place of worship was being constructed, Bastien found himself with steady work for a few months. His life’s trajectory began to shift—and not just because of the stable job.

men working on a building at a construction site.

On a similar construction site, Bastien (not pictured) gained employment—and a friendship with Pastor Aaric, who took time to invest in Bastien’s life.

Bastien’s employer was a GFA World national worker, Pastor Aaric, who took the time to talk to workers and develop relationships with them. A benefit of being a national worker, Pastor Aaric was already familiar with the challenges many of the locals faced, and he sought to help, instinctively knowing how to best communicate God’s love to his neighbors. Perhaps surprised by the man’s caring ways, Bastien shared with Pastor Aaric his story, his struggles, his vices.

After patiently listening, Pastor Aaric told Bastien about Jesus, who could give him peace that surpasses all understanding and help him lead a peaceful life. Bastien was fascinated. Was it possible? Could Bastien’s life of turmoil somehow be transformed? The pastor prayed, and peace took root in Bastien’s heart.

Whenever Bastien came to work, Pastor Aaric shared more, compassionately investing in the man’s life. The truth of Pastor Aaric’s words resonated in Bastien’s soul, softening the hardened edges. Recognizing the error of his ways, Bastien decided to work hard to take care of his family. He wanted to lead a new life. Life’s trajectory acquired purpose.

But how would Bastien provide for his family? Agricultural work was unreliable in an area so wrought with drought. He wanted to do better by them, but how?

A Family in Need

Man standing beside his vegetable cart

Bastien’s son (pictured) helps him sell vegetables from the cart he received during a GFA gift distribution. The cart has enabled Bastien to provide for his family.

Bastien began to put his trust in the God Pastor Aaric had told him about, and they both worked on his behalf. The needs within Bastien and Pastor Aaric’s impoverished community were many. Worldwide, 689 million people—or one in 10—live on less than $1.90 a day.1 With this poverty come challenges in areas such as health, sanitation and education for people who are often focused on mere survival.

To have hope of overcoming these struggles, impoverished communities need development, which requires someone to take initiative.2 Fortunately, national workers like Pastor Aaric live among the people and work alongside them, dressing in the same kind of clothes, eating the same food, drinking the same water and speaking the same language. They are sensitive to the needs within their community. Compelled by the love of Christ and by compassion for their fellow man, national workers such as Pastor Aaric regularly take initiative in response to such needs.

Seeing the needs of Bastien and others within the community, Pastor Aaric organized an income-generating gift distribution, an event that GFA national workers often organize to lift the people they serve out of poverty. Shock surged through Bastien as he received a handcart. He couldn’t believe how the Lord had opened a way for him to earn a daily living for his family through Pastor Aaric.

Worldwide, 689 million people—or one in 10—live on less than $1.90 a day.

Bastien used the cart to start selling food in the local marketplace, and their lives greatly improved. His entire family began to experience God’s love and care through this cart as their needs were met.

Habits began to change. Their home was no longer marked by abuse and discord. Peace began to reign. Life’s trajectory turned upward at last, nudged by Pastor Aaric’s influence in Bastien’s life.

A Community in Need

But Bastien and his community wrestled another issue, one far too common. Plagued by frequent drought, water in their remote village was scarce. The community shared the dilemma of some 663 million people who lack access to safe drinking water.3 Women of the village spent much of their day just searching for the precious commodity. There was a tap where they could collect water, but it was many miles away and who knew what contaminants it carried. The water scarcity had added to their sorrow and struggle for far too long.

Their plight weighed on Pastor Aaric’s heart. It affected not only Bastien’s family but the entire community. Like other national missionaries, Pastor Aaric held a burden and passion to see his community transformed. Moved by compassion once again, Pastor Aaric was compelled to act.

A Jesus Well in use

When a Jesus Well like this one was installed in Bastien’s village, women who had previously searched long and hard for their water needs joyfully lined up to collect pure water.

Pastor Aaric appealed to church leaders, and soon a Jesus Well was constructed. The well, dug deep into the earth’s reservoirs, provided fresh, clean water for the entire community, bringing much relief and rejoicing.

The village head, Mr. Sabin, was grateful this urgent need had been met.

“I appreciate [the church] for all its good services to humankind,” Mr. Sabin said.

Women, who no longer needed to spend hours searching for water, lined up to collect water from the new well. Joy beamed from their faces.

“We never thought of coming out of this problem so soon, and we have no worries now for the summer,” said the women.

Nearly 25 families in Bastien and Pastor Aaric’s community collect water from the Jesus Well. And, built to last, it will serve them for decades to come. This was yet another way Pastor Aaric was impacting their community, demonstrating God’s love through practical means.

Full of joy, Bastien looks in wonder at God’s work in their lives and how their living conditions have vastly improved. With peace at home and in their hearts, steady income from the cart, and water to cultivate their small piece of land, Bastien said, “Our lives are totally changed in Jesus. … I am able to love my wife and children.”

Be Part of the Transformation

There are many facets of need in communities such as Bastien’s, whether or not residents recognize them all. They may be only aware of their own struggles against poverty, their daily fight to survive.

GFA national workers live among the people and are sensitive to the needs within their communities. By recognizing and responding compassionately to those needs, the ensuing community development projects improve the lives of everyone in these neighborhoods and villages and make them stronger.4

Their work may involve bringing a Jesus Well to a community in need of clean water, giving income-generating gifts to those fighting the cycle of poverty, praying for the sick, offering mosquito nets to those battling disease-carrying pests, constructing toilets for those without access to proper sanitation facilities, caring for the outcasts of society, teaching literacy to those who haven’t had the opportunity to learn, and the list goes on, with examples as unique as the communities in which they serve.

These dedicated workers are transforming lives, such as Bastien’s, and entire communities through their various efforts, all because of Christ’s love within them.

a national worker talking to another man

Like this national worker, Pastor Aaric (not pictured) was sensitive to the needs within his community and responded with compassion.

But they can’t do it alone. They need the support of people like you to continue the work, to continue responding to the many needs they perceive with the tangible love of Christ. You can support a national worker like Pastor Aaric to see communities transform with Christ’s love.

Sponsor a Missionary like Pastor Aaric »

*Names of people and places may have been changed for privacy and security reasons. Images are GFA stock photos used for representation purposes and are not the actual person/location, unless otherwise noted.

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