Missions fundraiser set

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Young men work on schoolwork at a school in Leba, Burkina Faso. A fundraiser is set for this Friday to add a new room to the school.

Young men work on schoolwork at a school in Leba, Burkina Faso. A fundraiser is set for this Friday to add a new room to the school. (Submitted Photo)

The third annual Night Out for Africa fundraiser is set for Friday in downtown Suffolk, and organizer Red Barnes hopes plenty of people will come out to support missions projects in the African country of Burkina Faso.

“There are a bunch of folks around town who are all involved in this ministry,” Barnes said. “The last two years, we really have focused on a small village named Leba.”

Leba, roughly in the center of the country, is in a rural area where most people are farmers, Barnes said. There is a village school and a church, and most money raised at this fundraiser will go toward adding a classroom onto the existing school building, he said.

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In Burkina Faso, children must apply to go to what Americans would consider high school, Barnes said. Recently, every student from the school passed the test, and two of them were ranked first and third in the entire region, Barnes said.

“High school for these kids is the first time anybody from their family has ever gone,” he said.

Unrest visited Burkina Faso recently as President Blaise Compaore, who has been in power for 27 years, stepped down after protests against his efforts to continue as president. The military tried to take over the government, but the African Union and the United Nations “said they had to stand down,” Barnes said.

Barnes became involved in the work there as the missions director at Southside Baptist Church. A missionary from Burkina Faso spoke to a missions conference at the church, and some members subsequently did a pastor’s conference in Africa, Barnes said.

“The rest is history. There’s been at least eight trips that have gone over there and supported this work.”

Projects such as churches and well-digging as well as school projects have taken place, Barnes said. Leadership training is also an important facet of the ministry.

“We have done some great, great training for the church leaders over there,” he said.

Friday’s fundraising event will be held at the Second Floor, 136 S. Main St., from 6:30 to 9 p.m. The donation is $15 per person or $25 per couple.

From 6:30 to 7:30, a social hour with dessert and silent auction to benefit the school construction project will be held. From 7:30 to 9, worship, updates on the Africa projects and a live auction to benefit missions projects will be held.

For more information, call Barnes at 871-4517 or Brian Rowe at 651-9144.