Gathering Together

Mission Trip to Africa

We are featuring a wonderful young couple who want to return to the mission field back in Africa. Joshua & Jodi Mulholland.  We are raising as much  money as possible for them before they leave in January/February, 2012.  If you would please give $5.00 to  $25.00 for their traveling costs, it would be most appreciated. Thank you all so much for your giving spirit.

by Kristine Mulholland

Founder of Gathering Together.webs.com

My name is Jodi Mulholland. I am 22 years old and married to a very wonderful man named Joshua (In Hebrew, meaning Jehovah is salvation!). I would like to tell the story of how I came into my calling of ministering to the Wala people group in Burkina Faso, West Africa.

          

I can tell you, even as a young Christian I held missions in a special place in my heart. I knew when “I grew up”, G-d would send me somewhere for his work. I was also, from a very young age, fascinated with reading about the world, especially the beautiful, exotic, “perfect” places of the world. I remember praying, “G-d send me somewhere beautiful and warm” (especially having grown up in Chicago winters). As I got older the desire to go did not diminish and when I was 17 I KNEW in my heart where G-d wanted me.

While reading an article on Ghana I felt a tug in my heart. No! I felt a tug in my soul. (Totally normal! When you see a picture of a dirty child with crocodile tears running down their face, half naked because no one can afford to give them proper clothing, of course you feel a tug at your heart strings!) Then I went to bed. In the morning, there was a little tug again. I recognized quickly, after a few days of this tugging, which turned into pulling, and finally yanking what it meant, but that doesn’t mean that I accepted it. Africa sounded like absolutely nothing I would enjoy: hot, dirty, odd food, not the safest place on earth, it couldn’t have smelled good… it did not look a resort, that is for sure! Finally, after probably 6 months of dreams, fighting overwhelming emotions for the people of Ghana, and trying to convince G-d (and myself) that there must be tons of other people willing and eager to go to Africa (“I’ll take Hawaii or Paris, thank you”;), I accepted that this was G-d’s plan for me and my life. I spoke with my father to tell him about what I felt G-d was asking of me and he said he would look into it and pray about it.

A few months later, an opportunity and need arose from a missionary stationed in Burkina Faso, West Africa. I felt that tug again, but it was very confusing because I knew I had heard a specific calling to witness and work with the people of Ghana. It was very upsetting to me because, “Obviously, I heard wrong!” So an initial group was put together, consisting of the pastor, and a few fellow church members, and soon they went on the initial prayer and vision walk. (The initial trip, in a long term commitment, should heavily consist of the prayer walk to fine tune your connection with the Lord, and ask for better understanding of your exact and personal mission)

                      

While they were there I prayed for them often and one day as I was looking at a map to see where exactly they were, I saw that Burkina Faso is the country directly above Ghana. - Still not Ghana! - Of course, my love for research produced… well… research. I found out that the “Wala” people group, whom the focus of the mission would be, are actually from - Guess where! - Ghana, and the village to be our main concern, was about 20 miles from the border of Ghana. It was like a veil of fog was lifted as the confusion over me instantly cleared. I understood. G-d put the desire in my heart to work with the Ghana people, and though I tried to ignore, He persisted. Then when I accepted it, he made the way possible for me to do His work.

The next trip was planned not long after the first with the same group, plus my father and me. However, soon after planning began for trip #2 it was decided that my safety, as a young, American girl, may be a concern as we would be staying “out in the bush”. However, I did not want my father to miss out as he, too, had dreams when he was younger to go for G-d. So the group went again, without me, and continued to build the relationship with the Wala people.

Six months later, while I was at college, most of the same group went again, including my father. After this trip, it was “okayed” for me to go and they planned a very quick trip only a few months after that. But there was a problem. I was in school. I couldn’t take off two weeks in my first year of college! I became very discouraged, asking G-d why He would put the opportunity in front of me if I would just be “teased” by it.

    

A while after that trip, I felt the need to take matters into my own hands, as the planning was not being done by the others in the group, and most were obviously “burnt out”. I spoke with my father and asked him if we could head the planning of the next trip. He agreed and informed the others. They seemed alright with it, but every time a discussion came up on a date and time, they did not agree. Finally a time and need became apparent and in December 2008, my father and I made the lone trip to Burkina Faso. I didn’t let the others discourage me because G-d has a different plan for every person, even in the same “mission”. I was so thankful for my opportunity.

The trip to Burkina Faso took a little over 1 day and I was so excited to be getting off of that plane, or so I thought. We stepped off of the plane in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso and immediately into a small building, about the size of my living room… along with everyone else from the plane and their families waiting for them, and the police, and “customs”, and the people waiting to help with your luggage so they can make some cash… probably easily 300 people (in a room the size of my living room!). It was hot, it smelled of something I had never smelled before and never cared to in the first place, and the people were pushy, in a hurry, and did not speak English. What had I gotten myself into?! We finally spotted Phillip, our missionary contact and his beautiful   American family. Just breath, Jodi.

    I will have to write of my experiences in Burkina at a later time… as I could easily write a book from my father’s and my combined close to 10 trips. But I will give you an idea of what we have done so far: We have made a lasting contact and friendship with the Imam and chief (as well as many, many others in the village), and we believe a true effect on them as well. The chief gave us land to build a house/church in his village. With 2 groups, including some of the same original group, my father, myself, and a new “goer” we built the house, which was acknowledged as a Christian home, in the middle of a Muslim village, as well as doubling as a Christian Church. Also, knowing all of this, our Muslim friends and contacts gave of their own time, sweat, and strength to build this with us. (It was truly amazing!). We had a team just recently go to repair the roofing of the house.

                 

The last trip made, we brought over 4 suitcases of t-shirts and ‘pillowcase dress’ donated and/or made by people in our church and town (those kids were so cute!)

                  

As for the future: Through my experiences in the village, my quick pick up of both French (the national language) and Wali (the village language), my magnetism to and for the children in the village, I feel that my mission is to communicate (I have always been able to talk!). A lot of the people in the village suggested and requested “English as a foreign language” as well. I want to, eventually, go on an extended trip to make this happen, but first more contact and planning is needed. This EFL will make it easier to minister to the women and children, as until now, the main focus for verbal discussion and witness has been with the men (due to cultural doing and customs, not by our intent). My husband and I are planning to go January/February 2012, should the road be open. My main concern for this trip will be to start the way for this endeavor, as my husbands will be for his prayer walk.

              

Let me close for now by saying this (I promise I will write of my experiences at a later date):

For missions to be possible and successful it takes three actions:

1. Pray

2. Give

3. Go

First and foremost, it takes people to pray. It takes personal prayer as well. Either way, without prayer and relationship with G-d it is 100% impossible to be successful in this (or anything, honestly). Prayer is always first (and second and third, as it needs to be underlying every step). Then it takes people to give. Unfortunately, one cannot get up one morning, hear G-d’s instruction, and go to Africa with no money, supplies, or planning. It takes roughly $3,000-$4,000 to pay for airfare, bus and ground transportation, lodging, food, etc, for 1 person to go on the trip we go on. Finally, it takes those to go. EVERYONE can pray. MOST can give. SOME can go.

By Missionary Jodi Mulholland

 If you would like more information or would like an update on the planning, the trip itself... or would like specific prayer requests, please feel free to contact Jodi Mulholland directly.  Please send inquiries to;

[email protected] and put "Burkina Faso" as the subject.

Thank you again for allowing us to return to the mission fields in Burkina Faso, Africa.

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