Monday, November 10, 2008


I was riding on the top of a Land Cruiser as we drove across the Sahara Desert looking up at the most beautiful night sky with more stars than I had ever seen. Beside me was a Toureg Bedouin man named Matta and we were about 20 kilometers outside of Timbuktu, Mali. I was praying “thank you Lord for this experience and may we be able to help these people.” I was also thinkingthis is cool.”

Missionaries Faouzi Arzouni, Rick Caswell, Steve Evans and I traveled to this remote desert area to look at the needs for water wells in and around Timbuktu and also in a Dogon village called Dunon, also in central Mali. This area is over ninety percent Muslim and it is a very arid area. They desperately need fresh, clean water and the Living water of Jesus Christ.

The Africa Oasis Project working to provide three wells in Mali. One will be at the School of Light in Timbuktu. The Assemblies of God church in Timbuktu is building and operating a K-12 Christian school. Currently they have three buildings up and are hoping to build at least one more. They desperately need water. In the corner of each classroom I saw a clay pot that serves as a water container for each room. They are bringing in small amounts of water for each room. This Muslim town had put up many obstacles to the development of the school and it has been over seven years from the first block being laid to the opening of the school. The Lord has allowed Timbuktu to put in place a mayor who went to a Christian school and he has finally given permission for the School of Light to open.

We are will be working on a much needed deep well for the people in a Toureg encampment outside of Timbuktu. The desert dwelling people have had their only shallow well dry up and they desperately need fresh and clean water, as well as the Water of Life.

A young pastor is working to plant a church in the predominantly Muslim village of Dunon. This village has no well and they travel many kilometers with donkeys to get their water. They also need a deep well. Please pray with us that we will be able to help these people who are in great need.

We are scheduled to make several trips to other countries in West and Central Africa where water intervention projects are waiting for us. As we see these desperate needs our hearts are touched by the great needs and how we could help them. Won’t you prayerfully consider partnering with us as we are doing everything we can to provide water solutions for these people who are in such dire need? Contributions can be made online by following the links listed on this blog.

We love and appreciate each of you. BLESSING TO YOU ALL.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Living Water is Flowing in West Africa

We are so excited that we have been able to provide safe, clean, fresh water for the Institut Biblique et Théologique de Sada, or the Bible School in Atakpame, Togo. The need for clean fresh water was overwhelming. The school was connected to the municipal water supply that was very inconsistent and not safe water. It was also very expensive and they paid each month whether they had water or not. With a new, deep well they will now have an unlimited supply of clean water for the students and their families and the faculty and staff. A local company brought their deep drilling rig which drilled 174 feet down and found good water. Then a 40 foot tower was built and a 1300 gallon tank was installed.

This entire project was paid for by our dear friends at BGMC (Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge). What a blessing for children across the United States to give for these friends in great need in Atakpame, Togo. How can we say a sufficient “thank you” to all of the boys and girls who have given so sacrificially? We are also distributing 150 “Buddy Buckets” at the dedication of the well.

This is the first of many water projects that are ahead for the Africa Oasis Project. 2009 will be a very busy year with three wells to be drilled in Timbuktu, Mali, Dassa-Zoumé, Benin, in Sierra Leone, Ghana, Burkina Faso and many more.

Please consider helping us as we bring the life giving water and the Water of Life to this region.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Glimpse of West Africa

The Cape Coast of southern Ghana is a fascinating place of beauty, interesting people and of unimaginable suffering. We traversed across shaking rope bridges that were over 40 meters (130+ feet) above the rainforest floor. The “Canopy Walk” was a means to experience the majesty of the rainforest from a birds eye view. It was like walking in the sky. The quivering bridge matched our quivering hearts as we clung to the rope bridge and tried to appreciate our environment as well as balance ourselves.

Abandze is home to a village of fisherman that ply their trade just as Peter and Andrew must have done in Biblical times. Many of them go to sea rowing their colorful boats against the pounding surf and then fish with nets that are pulled in by hand. As they leave the shore they all stand to pray to the “gods of the sea” for protection, since many of the fishermen do not know how to swim.

The Cape Coast Castle and Elmina Castle are stark reminders of the hundreds of thousands of people who were captured, bought and sold in the slave markets of West Africa and then loaded on ships bound for South America, Europe, the Caribbean, North America, Asia and the Arab world. These castle/forts illustrate the pain and suffering that was experienced by so many. It was a very sobering window into the past.

We had the joy of having our daughter Cristi with us here in Togo for about 3 weeks and we were able to share our world with her.

Blessings to all of you that are experiencing our blogsite.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Beautiful African Celebration

A three hour long African wedding, a two hour African feast and a lot of sweat. That pretty much describes the beautiful celebration of our campus vice presidents’ daughter’s wedding. Throughout the week a bull and several sheep and goats contributed to the feasting as well. They were delicious. Three choirs sang, there was a moving message (in French) and many other traditional procedures. Many church and national dignitaries from several different countries were recognized. The father of the bride is also the pastor of the International Church on the WAAST (West Africa Advanced School of Theology) campus. The church has many international dignitaries that attend every week along with about 1300 other people. What a glorious celebration it was. And of course, the bride was beautiful.

A Fresh Water Well Is Coming!

In September/October we are planning to drill a deep well and erect a tower and tank system at the Atakpame Bible School in Togo. This is needed very much because of insufficient water and what water they do have is unsafe and very expensive. At this amazing school the students/pastors bring their wives and children. The wives are taught the basic skills of reading and writing and some basic entrepreneurial skills. The preschool children are also put in Christian daycare. What a great program and we are so glad we can help them. We will keep you updated as the project progresses. Watch this blog for more details.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Clean Water Filters For Villages

We saw the Fulani women washing their clothes in the muddy puddles left by the overnight rains. “Lord, they need clean, safe, fresh water”, I prayed.

Imagine my surprise when I was told that there was “some kind of form” in a storage container on the back part of the WAAST campus where we live. To some it was just a “thing” that nobody knew what to do with, but to me it was an answer to prayer. I could see many people in remote villages all over west and central Africa getting clean, safe, fresh water for everyday use. Water that will not make them sick. Water that will be safe and healthy. This “thing” is a gift from God. What am I talking about? A steel form to build Biosand Water Filters here in West Africa at WAAST and on location in other surrounding countries. This water filter will process up to 60 liters of water each hour and it is made and operates with all natural elements that can be found anywhere. What a blessing for so many people. Now we must become operational in fabricating and distributing these filters all through the region. YOU CAN HELP! The cost of each filter is about $US40 per unit. Would you consider bringing fresh water to villages across Africa?

Go to Under Comments enter "AOP water filters".

Thank you so much for you continued prayers and support.

Mark and Vickie Alexander
Africa Oaisis Project
Missionaries for West & Central Africa

Thursday, May 15, 2008

First Impressions of Togo

“Bon jour.” They say French is the language of love and right now Vickie and I are learning to love the French language and the French speaking people of Togo.
We arrived in Lome, Togo at 9:00 P.M. on May 6, 2008 and as we came down the steps from our plane in the dark we began to absorb the heat and the humidity. The crowds of people were speaking French and getting into designated mobs, not lines, heading for customs and passport control. We joined what we thought was the right mob and then followed the crowd. One man looked at my passport and my much labored over visa and he sent me on to the next mob. Vickie was right behind me with exactly the same paperwork but he did not like her visa application and in broken English he told her she must fill out the “for official use only” section. We quickly agreed to do it and then just moved on to the next mob. For passport control we had rehearsed our dialogue and fortunately never had to try and use it. A two and a half hour delay in Paris provided the time needed to get our seven suitcases transferred to our flight to Lome, Togo. So to our surprise our luggage arrived when we did. Help was plentiful, if you understand the language and if they will take US dollars. In fact everyone wants to help you, for a price. After some broken language negotiations and a lot of hand signals, we found two men who would help us. They seemed to have the official green jacket, which is as close to a uniform as they get. We then exited the baggage area to weave our way through yet another mob waiting for passengers. We had no idea who or if anyone was going to meet us since we were so late. And yet as we double checked to see if our luggage was still behind us we saw a couple of white faces in the sea of dark and they were smiling at us with a questioning look. “Are you the Alexander’s” they ask and we began to think that we might make it, out of the airport at least. Glen and Karen Smith greeted us warmly; of course everything is warm in Togo. Then, on to the Land Cruiser with the official Assemblies of God logo on it and another army of young men wanting to help load the car. As we waited for Glen to bring the car up we were swarmed with people wanting to “help” and by beggars with deformed legs and other maladies. “Lord, I feel so helpless.” I have learned not to let first impressions carry too much weight, because you are only seeing a small portion of the story.
We are driving through a city with no street lights with suitcases between us and we are trying to soak in as much as possible. “Soaking” is no problem as the humidity and smells are overwhelming. The city is alive with merchants along the streets peddling their wares, even at night. They have little candles and torches set up and they are open for business. “MOTOS”, little motorcycles and mopeds, are everywhere. They are like fleas surrounding the vehicle. There are no lines on the road and very few traffic lights that you can see anyway. A constant swarm of motos and taxis and other vehicles make our trip in the dark one I won’t forget.
We arrived at the West Africa Advanced School of Theology in the dark and after a welcoming snack at a fellow missionaries house, we were graciously deposited in a small guest apartment and told to sleep well. After showers to cool down, Vickie and I laid in the bed feeling every emotion there is. We were tired, thankful, excited, scared, lonely, fearful, yet confident in God. Our goodbyes in the States were hard but right. “Oh Lord, can you use us in this land that is so foreign to us?”
Now over a week later we are falling in love with the people and this place. We have such a strange peace about things. The other missionaries have been our salvation to help us with our shopping and translation issues. I have made several forays across the street (which is a life and limb threatening challenge) to a small store and I am practicing my few words of French. The words for bleach and for horse are very close so you want to be sure you don’t rinse your vegetables in horse water. We are putting some much needed TLC into our mission’s house that has been vacant for almost two and half years. We also received word that our container with our household goods should be here in 6 or 7 weeks instead of six months. PTL! We are driving now and buying our own groceries. And we are working on French. So we have to make our popcorn the old fashion way, it is a small price to pay. We are learning that living with out television is no real sacrifice. The internet is very slow, when you have it. A three minute Skype call is pretty good here. The city electricity is very unpredictable and erratic, but the campus has two big generators that can be turned on pretty quick. One thing we have learned very quickly is that things are expensive here. As best as we can figure, cheddar cheese is over $4 a pound and such. We came out of the store with a little bag of items and it cost us almost $40. So food will be our greatest expense. I needed to cut back anyway. For the first time we are washing and keeping Ziploc bags and hording the plastic bags we get.
We enjoyed our first Sunday service at the church here on the WAAST campus. It started at 7 A.M. and lasted over three and a half hours. It was in French and in African English. We decided we are a bit out of practice in our listening skills. We did not make it to the baptismal which started at 6 A.M. There were over 1300 people gathered to worship praise God.
In closing let me just say that all of the months of itineration and challenges we faced to get here have been worth it. All of the “haven’t you left yet” questions were worth it too. Vickie and I feel such a peace about being here. Sure we miss our children, our parents and family and our friends, but we know that God has His divine plan and we are honored to be doing our little part.
“Merci”, Thank you so much to all of you who are praying for us and have given financially to make it possible for us to be here. In 1 Corinthians 9:22 Paul says “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.” Lord please help Vickie and I as well as we are “Reaching All People By All Means!”

We love you all.

Mark and Vickie

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Time to Leave

Sitting in a motel room while attending our Kansas District Council is where we find ourselves today. Last week we shipped our household goods to Togo, West Africa and we also moved out of our home. We were told it could be from four to six months for our household goods to arrive in Africa because due to the weak US Dollar most containers and ships are taking American goods to Europe and very few are going to Africa. So we find ourselves somewhat homeless at this time. At least we are between homes at this time. We are sort of living out of our car for a while. After District Council we will be traveling and saying a few farewells to Vickie’s family and my family before we fly out on the 5th of May. It is very strange knowing that your life at this moment is reduced to the suitcase you carry
Our two kids, Ryan and Cristi, have been with us for the last couple of weeks and we have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of our time together. Ryan is leaving tomorrow for five months in Alaska and a tour director and trainer for Holland America. This is our first, and one of the hardest goodbyes we will have. At any age, they are still your children. After goodbyes to other family members we will be leaving Cristi at the airport in Wichita on May 5th. Cristi will begin her itineration process as she has received her ministerial licence and she has also been appointed as a Missionary in Training to Eurasia and she will eventually be living in Istanbul, Turkey. She has a year and a half of traveling and raising her support ahead of her. She will be basing out of Russell, Kansas.
Vickie and I have felt an increasing passion in our hearts for the people in West and Central Africa that God has called us to minister to. We continue to pray for the region of our calling and we find that a love has already developed in our hearts for the people there. We are well aware that they are the ones who have to accept us and we will be entering into their world. We ask God to give us the wisdom to Love as He Loved and to completely give ourselves to His work and His people. We are going there to serve Him and them.
Please pray with us as we face the many challenges ahead of us in the next few weeks and months, such as long flights through Atlanta and Paris, learning French, adapting to a third world environment, facing diseases and health issues, separation from our families, feeling alone in a crowd and other unexpected adjustments. I keep telling myself that even at our age we are still adaptable. I guess we will see.
This entry has seemed to be never-ending as I guess I am a bit reflective at this time. We do really appreciate all the prayers and support from everyone. We will try and put more entries on this blog as we experience life in Lome, Togo. So until later, God bless you all.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

“With God all things are possible!”

We have finally received our official release from AGWM to leave for Togo West Africa. PTL! Our monthly budget is not complete, but we are trusting that God will provide the balance needed and meet the needs.

Vickie and I are delighted to be preparing for our soon departure. Of course it will be a bitter/sweet event. We are ready to return to Africa and fulfill the calling that is on our lives. But we are not looking forward to leaving our children, parents and other family and friends behind in the States.

Now comes the monumental task of packing (again), virtually shutting down our life in the States, dealing with cars, a house, shipping, vaccinations (ouch), saying those hard “goodbyes” and much more. Then there is the other side when we arrive in Lome, Togo. Setting up our house, getting to the process of living and existing in a third world country where we do not speak the language (yet), just to mention a few of the challenges. We have to learn the money system and the exchange rate for the West African Franc. I think the exchange is somewhere around XAF445 to one American $1.

Our son Ryan will be leaving soon to work in Alaska for Holland America. He is training tour directors as well as directing tours himself. He has found favor with the company and he really enjoys the interaction with the clients.

Our daughter Cristi is now a licensed minister with the Assemblies of God and she is preparing for her missions appointment to Istanbul, Turkey. She is leaving on February 29th for a ten day trip to Istanbul and Tajikistan. She will begin her itineration in May of this year.

Vickie and I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has blessed us with your prayers and giving to make this ministry possible. Our hearts are heavy as we become more and more aware of the incredible needs in Africa for clean and safe water. Something that we take for granted. The needs across Africa for water solutions are overwhelming.

I saw a woman in the Namib Desert struggling up out of a dry river bed carrying a bucket of water in each hand, a bucket of water on her head and a baby strapped to her back. I had not seen water anywhere in the area and at that point I had no idea how far she had come or where she was going. About 2 kilometers down the road I saw an old military type tent out in the desert and near it was a man sitting under a bush with several goats near by. I thought to myself, survival is a very real issue out here. Water makes all the difference between life and death. Oh Lord, a fresh water well would change their lives. The Africa Oasis Project can help these people. Let us have the opportunity and the provision to do it.

Again, thank you to all of you who have expressed your concern and support through prayers, financial offerings and calls and letters of support. We appreciate each and every one of them.

We will try to keep up with this blog a bit more as we go through the next months on our journey back to Africa.


Mark and Vickie