Couple prepares for Burkina Faso

Published 10:27 pm Friday, July 7, 2017

At this time next week, a Suffolk couple and their youngest three children will be settling in to their new home in Burkina Faso.

Jeremy and Jessie Effler and their three youngest children, ages 14, 12 and 8, will leave on July 11 to follow the Lord’s direction to the mission field.

“What God is doing is an amazing thing,” Jeremy said. “God’s just doing little things along the way.”


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The Efflers have been to the mission field many times on short trips, including to Haiti, Nicaragua and Thailand. But no place has broken their hearts like Burkina Faso, a French-speaking West African nation with a population of about 17 million.

Jessie and Jeremy Effler

Jeremy’s first trip there was in 2011.

“The first time I went was one of the worst droughts ever for Africa,” he said. “People were dying because of dehydration and simple things like that.”

Jessie saw the change in her husband after he returned from his first trip.

“It had very much changed his world view,” she said. “This is where the Lord is calling us.”

She made a trip to Burkina Faso in 2012, and the children have also been there.

“We knew we were going to be involved in missions,” Jeremy said. “We just didn’t know what that would look like.”

By the end of 2015, they had made a decision.

Jeremy stepped down from his job as missions and youth director at Southside Baptist Church in 2016 so the couple could begin raising support to live in Burkina Faso full-time.

“It’s been a several-year process,” Jessie said.

Finally, they are now ready to make the move. They’ll be living in the central, capital city of Ouagadougou.

Their primary focus in Burkina Faso will be working with a group called Friends in Action to dig wells in communities that don’t currently have access to fresh water.

“They have an amazing water table there and just can’t get to it,” Jeremy said. “Three hundred feet underneath those people is life-giving water.”

Jeremy’s goal is to dig 30 to 40 wells in their first year there. Digging the hand-pump wells allows the missionaries to reach people who have never heard the gospel.

“It’s a gateway into communities that are hard to reach,” Jeremy said.

The couple want to be careful not to force American culture onto the people of Burkina Faso or try to quash the African culture.

“We try to be very vigilant to protect them from our culture,” Jeremy said. “Our goal is not to have little American cities but to present the gospel within their culture. We don’t want to change the things that make African culture unique.”

Eventually, they hope to train Burkina Faso natives to minister to their own people.

“We’re following God’s call and hope he uses us to make a difference,” Jeremy said.

The Efflers are brushing up on their French language skills — not to mention the scores of dialects and tribal languages — and preparing to say goodbye to their two oldest children, who are staying in the United States to work and attend college.

“We look forward to flying out on the 11th, getting situated and simply getting into the community,” Jessie said.

The couple can be supported at the website