Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Monday Through Saturday are Important Too.

IMG_2438       I have been reading a wonderful book by Max Lucado that has helped to express something that I have been thinking about for some time. We put on our “Sunday best” in clothes, attitudes and general friendliness every Sunday, but do we act like Monday through Saturday are important too? We may call ourselves a pastor, missionary or child of God, but do we act like it all week? What others observe in us during the week speaks to who we really are. What is in a name, or a title? Check out the following story by Max Lucado in his book “A Gentle Thunder”.

A Jewish couple were arguing over the name to give their firstborn. They finally asked the rabbi to come and intercede.
“What is the problem?” the rabbi asked.
The wife spoke first. “He wants to name the boy after his father, and I want to name the boy after my father.”
“What is your father’s name?” He asked the man.
“And what is your father’s name?” he asked the woman.
The rabbi was stunned. “So, what is the problem?”
It was the wife who spoke again. “His father was a horse thief, and mine was a righteous man. How can I know my son is named after my father and not his?”
“The rabbi thought and replied, “Call the boy Joseph. Then see if he is a horse thief or a righteous man. You will know which father’s name he wears.”Vickie with children at the drilling site

     And we find that all through the week our actions speak louder than our words. Again, a story from Max Lucado’s book “A Gentle Thunder”.

Saint Francis of Assisi once invited a young monk to accompany him to town to preach. The novice was honored at the opportunity. The two set out for the city, then walked up and down the main street, then several side streets. They chatted with peddlers and greeted the citizens. After some time they returned by another route to the abbey.
The younger man reminded Francis of his original intent. “You have forgotten, Father, that we went to town to preach.”
“My son,” he replied, “we have preached. We have been seen by many. Our behavior was closely watched. Our attitudes were closely measured. Or words have been overheard. It was by thus that we preached our morning sermon.”

     Remember, actions do speak louder than words, and sometimes we are screaming and we don’t even know it.  I just thought I would share some thoughts that I have been contemplating lately.

Have a great week.

Missionary Mark

Matthew 12:34 (NIV)
34For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Two Villages in Togo Receive Fresh Water Wells

     May and June of 2009 was a busy and joyful time as the Africa Oasis Project was able to put in two villageCopy of IMG_2099 wells and we also hosted a team from Austin, Texas. In Togo, West Africa, the villages of Tsito and Djeta, both needed wells. The people in both villages had to walk over a mile to a source of dirty, unsafe water and then carry the water back to the village on their Copy (2) of IMG_2297head.

      Tsito  chee-toe) is the village where we unsuccessfully attempted to use a hand drilling rig to find water. After drilling two holes and hitting rock that we could not penetrate, we gave up on the hand drilling idea (as stated in a previous blog entry). The village desperately needed water. They were walking two IMG_4305kilometers to a dirty pond to get unsafe and unclean water. Even though our hand drilling attempts did not work, we knew we had to put in a well for this no matter what the challenges were. With the financial help of two Adult Sunday School  classes from Bethel Life Center in Wichita, IMG_4060Kansas we  were able hire a drilling rig and put in a successful deep well and provide the only source of fresh, clean water in the village of Tsito. The well that  was provided by the Africa Oasis Project was placed next to the Assembly of God church where it could serve the entire region. The people were so excited when the fresh water began to flow from IMG_4066the  new hand pump. At the sight of the new pump, with tears in her eyes, Vickie said “They don’t have to go to the swamp anymore.” We had the joy of distributing buckets to the “mamas” in the village  as well. BGMC (Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge) provided the “Buddy Buckets” for ladies of Tsito and the surrounding area.IMG_4183

     Djeta (jet-a) is  located Togo very close to the border of Benin in West Africa and the Atlantic Ocean. This village depends on fishing from the nearby Mono River. Voodoo and spiritism are very prevalent in IMG_4256the region. A new church has been planted and a tabernacle has been erected.  There was a great need for a fresh water well and with the help of a group of five young  men from Glad Tiding Assembly in Austin, Texas we were able to put in a well and pump next to the new Assembly of God church. In the evenings over IMG_4234 - Copy180 people  came to the one  service and 25 people accepted Christ as their Savior for the first time. PTL! Fresh water and the Living Water of Jesus Christ are now flowing in Djeta. We decided to that the team of young men from Texas needed to experience just a bit of what the people of Djeta had IMG_4212 to go through to get water before the village well. We each carried a Buddy Bucket of water for almost two kilometers from an open well to the center of the village and gave the buckets and the water to the “mamas” in the village. Only the women of the village were making this journey several times a day. Now they can go to the village pump  provided by the Africa Oasis Picture1Project.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


      It has been a pleasure to partner with the well Copy (2) of IMG_3415drilling division of World Hope International in bringing three new wells to the villages of Rogboro, Masuba and Mile 91 in the country of Sierra Leone. Mark spent several days with District Superintendent Pastor Tommy Bangura in the village of Rogboro in late April for the drilling process. The swamp water had dried up during the past 5-6 months of the dry  season so a hole had been dug in the swamp for the water to seep in…and this was the drinking water clip_image003for the village. Because of the new well near Pastor Tommy’s church, the women now come to pump clear, fresh water for their families…and Pastor Tommy continues to share the good news of The Living Water!
On July 4th a brand

well was completed in the town of Mile 91 where Albert Laundeh is the pastor of Peniel Assembly of God. This well is deep enough to have water year round even in the dry season when Copy of IMG_3605other wells go dry. Pastor Albert says that this is an advantage because it will bring many new people into his sphere of influence. He has led many in his village to Christ including many Muslims. Pray that the  "Living Water" will also flow freely as Pastor Laundeh shares the Gospel of Christ with those who come to the well.

Timbuktu Update

     Just a quickTB2 drilling update to let you know that we are rejoicing as fresh water is now flowing in the Sahara Desert outside of Timbuktu, Mali.  Thanks to the Africa Oasis Project and our missionary friend Rick Casswell, we were able to finish the fresh water well project on July 4th, 2009.  Timbuktu waterThe people in the Touareg encampment repeated “merci, merci, merci”, or “thank-you, thank-you, thank-you”.  We also want to say a gracious thank-you as well for all who have given to make this well a reality.   


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Timbuktu, Mali

The End of the World ~ The Middle of Nowhere ~
A God Forsaken Place ~

None of these misconceptions apply to Timbuktu, Mali. Some people may think it is the Copy of IMG_1876end of the world and the middle of nowhere since it is located on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert. But God has definitely not forsaken this place. Timbuktu is a very special, historic and religiously influential town where there are evangelical works and outreaches in spite of the Copy of IMG_3074many challenges that come with being one of the five holiest cities of Islam.

In April 2009 I had the opportunity once again to go to Timbuktu with the understanding that we would be putting in a well and pump for the Touareg encampment just outside the town in the desert. The Touareg are a nomadic people that traverse the desert on the ever present camels and they live much like their ancestors have for centuries.

At this point it is important to tell you  Copy of IMG_3128that the plans made by the missionaries do not always work out. We made the trip to Timbuktu and on Monday morning we found the driller was ready and the drilling truck and other equipment was in place and ready to go. Then it was discovered that the distributer that was providing the plastic pipe for the casing had Copy of IMG_3158supplied the wrong  pipe. You cannot drill a well in the desert without the strong casing pipe to keep the sides from falling in. Of course there was no other supply of the correct pipe available in Timbuktu at that time. There was some of the correct pipe stockpiled by another group that was led by a very high profile Muslim political leader but they would not consider selling the pipe to Copy of IMG_3100a Christian group. The casing pipe had to be shipped in from the Ivory Coast and it would take at least a week to get the pipe through customs and trucked up to Timbuktu.

I am sorry to say that at that point I was  questioning God about the whole situation. “God, Copy of IMG_2920we did not accomplish what I had planned, but did we accomplish what You had planned?” I have to believe we did. We had opportunity to have a very productive interaction with a pastor that deals with these issues every day. We also had the oopportunity to visit THE SCHOOL OF LIGHT, an Assemblies of God Elementary School that has the highest ranked  education program in the region. We were able to see the tremendous need for fresh water at The School of Light. They are trying to plant trees and grow a garden to help the students and the Copy of IMG_3016staff and the surrounding community. There are 93 students in kindergarten through the second grade and over 90 percent of them are from Muslim homes. The Africa Oasis Project really wants to help the school get the much needed fresh water well and pump. The well will cost $19,000.

The well for the Touareg encampment is resched- uled and we will do whatever we can to bring fresh water and the Living Water to the desert of Timbuktu, Mali in the next few weeks. Won’t you join us Copy of IMG_3133by praying and giving financially so that others might have life? The Touareg have a proverb in the Tomasheq language that is actually quite common across Africa. It says “Aman Iman”, which means “Water is Life”. Please prayerfully consider helping us reach the people of Timbuktu and the School of Light with the life giving water they so desperately need. Help the AFRICA OASIS PROJECT bring fresh water to Timbuktu, this place that is ...

Not the End of the World
, or
Not in the Middle of Nowhere and especially
Not a God Forsaken Place.

It is a place where people need fresh, clean water and people need the Lord.

Friday, March 20, 2009


SENEGAL: A very special place with a very special need.Copy of IMG_2365

Recently we drove across the dry and sandy countryside of Senegal seeing the ever-present baobab trees scattered across the landscape. Legend says that the baobab tree was a very proud and arrogant tree and so God turned the tree over and planted it upside down with only the roots showing. How much of the world today is like the baobab tree with heads planted in the sand and not seeing the needs that are all around us.

We stopped in villages Copy of IMG_2372and at farms and again and again we saw the need for fresh water. The few wells that we found were either seasonal, had completely dried up, or the water had become salty and was not usable for crops, animals or human consumption.

Senegal is 95 percent Muslim and in desperate need of the Living Water and fresh water. All thCopy of IMG_2354roughout the day you hear the haunting chant of the call to prayer coming from one mosque or another. The prayer beads are constantly in use as people go about their daily lives, whether they are doing the deadly dance with the impossible traffic of Dakar or walking the sandy lanes of the country side.

Pastor Raphael DioCopy of IMG_2438ne, the President of the Assemblées de Dieu National Church in Senegal, feels it is his responsibility to set an example for other pastors, young and old, that God can and will sustain them as they plant new churches. Pastor Raphael left his larger church in the city and is now planting a church in a rural area called Khalambasu and he is wCopy of IMG_2402orking to support himself and his family with an agricultural project; a large garden. In this Muslim country it is very difficult to start a church and bring it to a place where it financially supports the pastor and the church. Many Muslim women who accept Christ are forbidden by t heir husbands to pay tithes or offerings. Pastor Raphael has planted corn, tomatoes, manioc, rice and other vegetables to eat and to sell. He needs a good open well to be able to water his plants and for drinking water. Pastor RaphaelCopy of IMG_2465 said; “The women are going 10 kilometers looking for water to drink. Many have lost their animals because their villages have no water.” These are very special needs.

The Africa Oasis Project can help the people of Senegal WITH YOUR HELP. The “simple wells” can be put in for only $2,000 each. This makes plentiful, fresh water available for the people, the animals and the farm crops.

There is also a need for a deep well at the Bible School near Dakar. The students are currently drinking unhealthyCopy of IMG_2337 water from a shallow well. This will be a more expensive well since it involves a well, tank, tower, and pump. We are also piping the water to the campus, so the Bible School well has an estimated cost of $30,000. The Bible School is a beacon of light in this dark country as they are training pastors to face the battles ahead of them.

Please do not be one of those with their heads in the sand. Look at the need for water in Senegal and;

FIRST: Thank God for Copy of IMG_2424the blessing you have of plentiful, healthy water.

SECOND: Pray for the Pastors and believers in this special place called Senegal.

THIRD: Prayerfully consider helping financially. If you want to give please contact us at

A river cannot be stopped forever. The WaterCopy of IMG_2401 of Life is flowing in Senegal and we pray that it will produce a bountiful crop for this very special place with very special needs, and very special people, …by the grace of God.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Well Dedication at Bible School in Sada, Togo

There was a great celebration as we dedicated a well and water tower for the Institut Biblique in Sada, Togo, West Africa. We also distributed over 150 "Buddy Buckets". BGMC completely paid for this well. PTL! We are joined by Director Hanani and the entire Bible School family. It was a great day!

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Well that Will, and the Well that Won’t

I recently experienced one of the joys and one of the sorrows of missions. You can help many, but you cannot help all. Let me start at the beginning and I will tell you a story.

Recently we were graciously given a hand drilling tool to use drilling shallow wells in West Africa and we were very excited to use it for the first time. We visited several villages with the regional leader of the Assemblées de Dieu (Assemblies of God), Pastor Kodjo Logossou, and finally chose the village of Tsito, Togo where they use a pond of dirty water as their water supply. Laté Lawson, our coworker, and I loaded our new drilling rig and tools and drove the hour and a half out into the bush and arrived in Tsito full of faith and anticipation. The pastor and the people of this village church were so gracious and receptive. We were quite an attraction as adults and children came to see what was going on since I was the only “yovo” (white man) for miles. We began to dig about 6 meters from the church and found the drilling to be hard physical labor in the 102 and 104 degree heat and 85 percent humidity. With the help of several of the men taking shifts we made progress for about three hours and about three meters until we met the obstacle that would stop this small hand drilling rig. We hit a rock. Not just gravel, or hard packed dirt, but a rock. With this tool we cannot penetrate through a rock. So the decision was made to start another hole about eight meters away. The drilling commenced again and on the second day and we are now down about 4.7 meters and hoping to find water at five to six meters. Again, the packed dirt started at about three meters and now the progress is inch by inch. But we pray that we will find water soon. This is the “well that will happen”.

Now let me tell you about “the well that won’t.” As the drilling progressed in Tsito, Pastor Logossou and I went on a research trip to the village of Tokpévia about 10 kilometers away. We are expecting a team of college age students that are coming in June and we were looking for a village where the team can help us drill a well, work with children, hold a crusade and other ministries. As we drove to Tokpévia Pastor Logossou told me that this village also gets their water from a stagnant pond. As we approached the village I saw many people gathered at the pond doing their wash, bathing, and collecting water to take to their homes. We went on to the village and met at the Assemblies of God church with several of the elders. After greeting each one we told them why we were there and then asked the two important questions. How deep do you think the water is and are there many rocks in this area? Our drilling tool will only go down 15 meters. With regret they told us that the water is probably around 10 meters down, but there are many large rocks in the area. So with disappointed hearts we thanked them and bid them farewell.

As we drove away from the church Pastor Logossou said we must stop and greet the chief. Protocol is very important, even in the small villages, in Africa. As we stopped at the chief’s small house and compound we were ushered into the central meeting area for the village. It is a round area covered with a grass roof and it has benches sitting in a circle with a wooden chair for the chief. Now you must realize that I understood nothing because all the conversation is in Ewe, the local language of the rural people of Togo. I am struggling just to learn French, the language of the cities. Ewe is way beyond my language skills, so at that time I was totally dependent on the pastor. I greeted the chief by removing my cap, bowing a little and shaking his hand. As we sat down a beautiful little girl about 8 years old came to me with a tin cup containing “the water.” I thought, “Lord, protect me because I must drink the water the pastor has been telling me about”. So I took the smallest sip and said “umm” and in my best French I said, “Merci beaucoup”, meaning “thank you very much”. When I said the refreshing “umm” that we all know, all the men in the circle smiled and responded like they thought it was the greatest drink I had ever had.

After the drink of water much talk followed and I just listened. From time to time the pastor would fill me in on the conversation. As I sat on the bench I took my cap and put it over my bended knee. There was a man that sat at the right hand of the chief and it became apparent that he was the chief’s main “yes man” because it appeared that everything the chief said he would repeat and approve. Early in the conversation I saw the “yes man” talking very animated to a small boy behind the circle and pointing across the way. Soon the boy went off and returned with a cap for the “yes man”. He then proceeded to open his cap, fold his leg and put his cap on his knee, just as I had my cap. I guess imitation is a form of flattery.

We explained that with much regret, we would not be able to help them because of fact that our drilling rig could not penetrate the rocks. They were disappointed as well, but very gracious. As the conversation went on the chief told me, through the pastor, he would give me a piece of land to build a house on if my wife and I would come and live with them. Now that was a shock. I thought to myself, “wait until Vickie hears this.” I told the chief that I was very honored, but our work takes us to many places and so I must decline his gracious offer. I told him that since we had first come to Africa in 1992 we had learned to love the people and we are now glad to be in Togo.

The conversation went on and they proceeded to tell me that the chief had a baby boy that looked like me. The “yes man” proceeded to come carrying an approximately 8 month old boy to me and I had some strange thoughts race through my head. “Oh Lord, are they really trying to give this baby to me?” As the “yes man” stopped I looked at a beautiful boy with skin just a shade lighter than everyone else and with beautiful almond shaped eyes. I told them he was a handsome boy, which was true, and how I am sure he makes his parents proud.

After all the formalities and discussion was finished, pastor Logossou and I made our departure. We drove out of the village and past the watering hole with great regret. I was thinking about these gracious people that have so many needs and we cannot help them at this time. I was also thinking about the well that will not happen, but thankful for the one that will in Tsito.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Water from the Rock In Benin, Africa Oasis Project

What a joyous day it was, January 22, 2009, when we saw the drilling truck drive onto the campus of the Institut Biblique, (the Bible School), in Dassa-Zoumé, Benin. We were in a morning chapel service and looked out through the nonexistent walls and saw the truck arrive bringing with it hope for a plentiful supply of clean water. The students and their families often had to walk into the surrounding neighborhoods looking for drinkable water. The municipal water supply was very erratic and unhealthy. The campus never had enough water for everyone that lives there.

After 8 meters of drilling they hit what turned out to be a large rock. For the next 13 meters they pounded away and finally broke through. At 55 meters they hit a large reservoir of the sweetest water you ever tasted. There was rejoicing from us all as the water began to flow.

At first they calculated that the water flow was 2,000 liters per hour, which is fantastic. The director of the drilling company went to the municipal water office for Dassa-Zoumé and told the city water director about the fresh water and the wonderful volume. The man said that is impossible. The city has done three geophysical surveys and drilled three wells in that area and they did not find water. The drilling company director brought the man from the city to see the water himself and he was amazed. What they did not know at that time was the water flow increased to 9,000 liters per hour and continues to flow at that rate. God is still in the business of bringing water from the rock. This water will assure the students and the people in the surrounding area an unlimited supply of fresh and healthy water until the Lord comes.

Now a 10 meter (33 feet) tower is being constructed and a 5,000 liter (1320) gallon tank will be on top to provide water pressure for all the buildings on campus.

Once again we want to thank Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge (BGMC) for funding this well. Buddy Barrel and Buddy Bucket were there to lend a hand. They represented BGMC very well.

And thanks to everyone who has been praying for and giving to the Africa Oasis Project and Mark and Vickie Alexander.

Blessings to you all.

Mark & Vickie