Posted by: essolaba | February 10, 2010

Jesus Loves the Little Children…

I am so glad that Jesus’ love does not depend upon elite status, cleanliness, intelligence, wisdom, riches, perfection, color of one’s skin, social position or any of a myriad of factors so often set by society at large for acceptance into a group, organization or a certain slice of society. As humans who are flawed we so often demand these precursors to fitting in or being a part.  God does not operate this way. As I look around myself here in Togo, I see the clean and the dirty, the rich and the poor, the educated and the uneducated, the powerful and the weak, sinners a plenty (just like myself) and I know God loves them all and will receive them all as his children.  Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his site. Jesus love the little children of the world. This precious song has taken a hit in recent years for it’s supposed lack of “political correctness.” However, I have to simply say, “Pooh!” What a simple and pure way to communicate the beautiful diversity of God’s love! Not the diversity of his love for different colored peoples of the world, God’s love is certainly blind to ethnicity, but his deep love for each and every one of us regardless of where we find ourselves. God loves us in the diversity of who we are, where we live and what we do. He loves us in the diversity of our sinfulness and our goodness. We are loved and served by an amazing God.  Shouldn’t that make us want to love him back and serve him in whatever way he asks? “But God showed his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 ”  Let us give deeper thought to this beautifully diverse love and ask ourselves how we might respond as God would in our own little communities and beyond.  Blessings!

Posted by: essolaba | January 16, 2010

Jesus Loves Me, This I Know?

Responding to God’s expectations of our lives begins with our recognition of his love for us and our acceptance of who he created us to be (Ps 63:1-8, 1 Ch 16:34, Isa 54:10, John 3:16, 1 John 3:1).   For many of us, this is a very big first hurdle.  We sometimes struggle with accepting or seeing ourselves for who God made us to be and accepting his immeasurable love.  This struggle can originate from a selfish heart that is unwilling to yield to the one who created us or from a heart that is filled with false humility.  These are the ones who say, ‘I am not worthy or not good enough to accept God’s view of myself.’  This false humility is actually a pride that cripples us and removes us from full participation in God’s kingdom.  Real humility exists hand in hand with action towards God and others (Eph 4:2, Phil 2:3, Col 3:12, 1 Pet 5:5).  In order to fully participate in His kingdom, we must first accept God’s love as genuine.  To not accept God’s love is to call him a liar and make impotent the very power of Christ’s life, death and resurrection.  It also makes us impotent to be the servant God calls each of us to be as that service hinges on our ability to love and serve.  How can we love and serve others if we do not love God or ourselves.  I am reminded of Jesus’ words in Mark 10:13-16 where he said, “Let the little children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.  Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”  How powerful is the unrestricted acceptance of love from a parent by a child?  Even when I screw things up and do not love my children perfectly, they continue to come to me for that love.  We, however, serve a perfect father who offers us a perfect love.  We must be like little children.  In order for us to love the Father, we must accept his love.  Again, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

Posted by: essolaba | December 29, 2009

Love Equals Obedience – John 14:15

What does God expect of his people?  This question has been weighing on my mind for some time now.  In Deuteronomy 6 God tells his people that he is God and that they are to love him with all of their being (heart, soul, and strength) and that they are to obey all of his commands.  He also goes on to say that they are to pass on that committment to others.  Later Jesus says in John 14:15, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”  There is an unbreakable connection between love of God and obedience to all of his commands.  I want to explore the commands of God together and come to a place of deeper, truer love for God that is reflected in our obedience to his desires no matter what. Please join me and bring others along on this journey as well.

Posted by: essolaba | June 17, 2008

22 Meters!!

We have finished digging the fourth well in Lassa Tchou.  After just two days of digging, the well team in Lassa Tchou arrived at a depth of 22 feet and have now begun the process of development.  This well is different from each of the other wells not only because of it’s increased depth, but also because of the challenges in development if brings.  With each of the previous three wells in Lassa Tchou, each about nine meters in depth, we dug through mainly sand and gravel with only a small amount of clay holding these substances together.  Because of this, the development was rapid as water passes easily through them.  However, with the fourth well the development has been challenging and will take some time because the primary substance we drilled through was a very sticky red clay.  This clay is great for drilling, but a sticky mess for actually working to free up the water table to release water.  Therefore, we are currently working not only to increase the amount of water being release but we also want to decrease the time necessary to recharge the well after use.  The water team that has been trained in Lassa Tchou is doing a good job and will soon begin a new well completely of their own initiative and training.  It is really exciting to see this happen as they are empowered to serve their community through the giving of good clean water sources.

Today in Ndjei we begin a new well and the training of a new water team.  Please be praying for the training of this new team and that God will bless us with a good first well in Ndjei.  We will be drilling very near to a well that was drilled by the UN and if you are wondering why we would do this please allow me to explain.  I asked Jerome Armana, one of the elders in the Ndjei church about the UN well and he informed me that the total cost for the well was nine million francs CFA (currently about $21,000).  Currently the cost of one of our well, at a comparable depth, is about 30,000 francs CFA (currently about $70).  Our desire is to show the difference not only in cost, but also help them see that they can be empowered to bring good, clean water to their friends and neighbors in a way that is cost effective and sustainable for years and years to come.  This is so exciting to me and I hope it excites you as well.  If you would like to help financially in the drilling of a well, then please see the previous blog entry for information on how you can make that happen.  Thanks to each of you and please continue praying for this project.   

Posted by: essolaba | June 1, 2008

More Water!!

Since my last post, and that has been some time, much has happened on the well drilling front.  Matthew Waller came and during his time here we not only drilled the well spoken of in my previous post but also drilled two other wells.  In Lassa Tchou there are now three good quality wells that are producing more water than the people can pump out.  It is very exciting to be involved in this project and see how people’s lives can be changed  with just a little bit of water.  We are currently drilling the fourth and final test well in Lassa Tchou and it has been great.  This is my first complete well without Matt Waller being here and things are progressing nicely.  We began the well on Saturday morning and by 4:00 that afternoon we had drilled to just under eighteen meters.  At times the drilling went so fast that we barely had time to get a new piece of pipe ready to add on to the drill stem.  It was crazy!  All we could do was look at each other and shrug our shoulders.  It was such a great blessing.  Monday morning we will continue drilling and who knows how deep we will be able to go?  Those who live nearby and have seen what we are doing and want wells dug in their area as well and it looks as if the Lassa Tchou drilling team will have plenty of work ahead of them.  I say team because from the beginning of the work our hope was to not only drill a few test wells, but train a group of people who could in turn go and drill many, many wells in their immediate area.  The fourth well that is currently being drilled is being done almost completely by the Lassa Tchou team.  I have simply been a consultant of sorts.  So please pray for this well drilling group that God will bless them and empower them to drill many wells but also do the work in the name of Jesus.

Following the drilling in Lassa Tchou, my plan is to move on to another location and begin the training all over again with a new group of folks.  Please pray for that process.  Also, we are continually in need of funds for the purchasing of materials.  If you would like to contribute you can send the funds to the Preston Road Church of Christ in Dallas, TX.  They have graciously agreed to act as our collection point for this great project.  The address there is:  Water For Togo, c/o PRCC, 6409 Preston Road, Dallas, TX 75205.  Your gift will be deposited into a special account and will be accessible here in Togo through our wonderful ATM.  Thanks to each of you who are involved in this project either through your prayers or financial support.  I believe this project is truly going to be a great blessing for the Kabiye people.

Posted by: essolaba | April 6, 2008


For over a year now our team has been talking and praying about drilling wells.  These discussions took us through a broad range of possible ways to drill wells.  Those ways included possibly buying a big drilling rig and starting a large well project that would have needed large sums of money to maintain and could have drilled many wells.  However, the people here could never have maintained the wells much less one day completly oversee and finance the project.  Because of this, we looked in other directions and continued to pray for God to open a door so that he could bless the people with clean water.  In October of 2007, we began a dialogue with the wonderful people from Water For All International (WFA) and they began to share with us about their low cost well drilling  technique.  Very quickly it became apparent that this was the method we were looking for and soon the dialogue became a concrete plan of action.

Matt Waller, an intern with WFA, arrived in Togo on the 12th of March and soon thereafter we began our first drilling project in the village of Lassa Tchou.  Two weeks of searching for and buying all the parts necessary for drilling proceeded the first project, but God was faithful to us and led us to all the parts we needed.  We have already developed relationships with welders, plumbers and others shop owners who have been so helpful in finding and fabricating all of the pieces we need for our drilling rigs and well pumps.  

The drilling in Lassa Tchou began on Tuesday the 25th of March and concluded on Friday the 28th.  The  following Monday we began the pump installation and as of today the people living in the area of the church have a well that is pumping out clean fresh drinking water.  Our first attempt collapsed and we had to start a second well.  With the second attempt, we drilled to 9.5 meter (31 feet) and at that depth found water.  We cased the well and after perhaps an hour of pumping and developing the aquafer we inserted the rising main and pump stem.  A couple days later, we put a steel cover over the well and were finished.  I realize that some of this means nothing to you and believe me it is hard to describe so that you can fully understand it.  However, suffice it to say that the people were overjoyed to see water exit the pipe.

Drilling this first well was an amazing experience.  I had no idea what to expect.  I had been told, almost warned about the difficulty of the work and all that was said was an understatement.  Yet, it was so much fun to work side by side with my Kabiye brothers and sisters for such an amazing purpose.  Their amazing work ethic and refusal to be overly discouraged when the first well collapsed and when we hit rock in the second well was inspiring.  There were times when we would drill and drill and drill and only descend two inches in an one hour and yet they would persevere.  Then we would punch through the rock and hit sand or clay and would descend one meter in twenty minutes.  They would begin to sing and shout and work harder and harder.  Their enthusiasm was contagious for me.  And of course when we removed the drill stem and inserted the casing (telling them all the time that there might not be water) and then began to pump the well, their excitement grew and grew.  Their excitement crescendoed when they began spraying themselves with the water as it pumped out of the half inch diameter pipe and tears of joy came to my eyes as I realized the the enormity of what God had done in bringing clean water to these people.  Praise God for all that he has provided to make this moment possible.

Currently we are drilling in the village of Kaacade.  We are on our fourth attempt and this attempt seems promising.  The work has been harder than Lassa Tchou and we would appreciate your prayers.  Continue praying for the well project in general and if you want to help sponsor a well or a drilling rig please email us and we can get you involved in this wonderful project.  The cost for fabricating all of the parts for one well is approximately $60. Email me at for more info. or leave a comment.  Thanks!

(More pictures to come.  WordPress is having difficulty loading more than one picture at a time to a post today)

Posted by: essolaba | November 20, 2007

Praises “Behind the River” (po wayi)

This past Sunday our family, along with Becky’s mother and our school teacher, went to worship with our brothers and sisters in Soumdina Po Wayi.  It is normal for us to travel out each week to one of the 18 churches that have been started here in Kabiye land.  However, what doesn’t occur so often is for us to be encouraged in such a powerful way.  So often in our interactions with the churches, we are the ones doing the feeding and encouraging and do not often receive an outpouring of encouragement in return.  This is not to say that our Kabiye brothers and sisters do not encourage us as well, but this past Sunday was special.  Sitting among these wonderful Christian people, we felt a part of their fellowship in a special way.  We were not there just to teach and encourage as “the missionaries”, but we were taught and encouraged as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.  Halayem, one of the leaders in Soumdina Po Wayi, shared a wonderful message from James and it was so nice to see him teach in such an effective and powerful way.  Also, it was nice to share in the Lord’s Supper with them as we gathered in a circle at the front of the building in a special time of fellowship.  Throughout the worship time there was no sense of pretense or expectation, just a desire to worship Elijah Reading in Soumdina Po WayiGod together.  Voices were raised joyfully to God in song and the true nature of their praise was reflected in the smiles that covered their faces.  Dogs were even allowed to come into the building and sack out on the cool dirt floor without being a distraction.  I couldn’t help but think of a blog post I had read about a church in the states that has a pet friendly policy.  I am not arguing for or against a policy such as this, I just know that these people’s hearts were so filled with worship that they did not care about the dogs or the dirt floor or the small pole benches they were sitting on.  All of us, together, were attuned to God and I know that the praise we offered up was reverberating in the throne room of God.  Another blessing was seeing Elijah take part for the first time in worship in the village.  He had read a prayer that had really touched his heart and wanted to read it in Soumdina Po Wayi.  He read, I translated and the people were touched by the sweetness of his heart.  And then if all this were not enough, their hospitality spilled over to us as they fed us bean cakes and shared their blessings with us at the end of the service.  Praises be to God for the way he works in the lives of his people.  God is truly being honored in the lives of the Christians in Soumdina Po Wayi.    

Posted by: essolaba | November 1, 2007

I Am Rich!

During my more recent visits out to churches, I have been focusing on the idea of finding our satisfaction in God and His Kingdom.  One of the passages that study has taken us to is the story of the rich young ruler in Luke 18.  In spending a great amount of time studying and focusing on this passage and others surrounding it, I was struck by how I and so many other Christian people like me have completely missed the point that Jesus is trying to communicate.  So much focus is given to verses 24 and 25 where Jesus said, “How hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!  For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”  I have discovered that it isn’t so much what Jesus says here that is important as it is why he said it.  It is so easy to get wrapped up in debating the issue of wealth and riches and whether a Christian can be wealthy or not and if one is wealthy shouldn’t he be giving all of his wealth to the poor as Jesus instructed the rich young ruler in Luke 18.  I am afraid that by entering into that debate or discussion we miss the more central idea that Jesus is trying to teach us.  The main issue was not the man’s wealth, but his heart.  Jesus saw straight into the heart of this man and knew that his delight was in his riches.  He knew that his heart was closer to his money that it was to God.  The context of this entire passage (18:1-30) is the reality of the kingdom of God and our living in it.  James says something about this in James 4:4 and he says it emphatically!  “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God?  Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”  In other words, where are we living?  Are we current, fully engaged, passionate residents of God’s kingdom or are we splitting time between the summer home in Montana and the winter home in Arizona?  Are we like snowbirds living in whatever place best suits us at the time?  The rich young ruler came before Jesus with an excellent question.  However, when Jesus challenged the inner recesses of his heart and demanded full allegiance to God’s kingdom the man’s heart was sad because his allegiances were split.  Jesus demanded that he choose Montana or Arizona.  This passage asks the same of us today.  Anytime the pursuits of this world come between us and God, we need to ask ourselves some serious questions.  Can we honestly pray, “Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” as Jesus did in Matthew 6:10?  If we cannot perhaps it is because we are not really satisfied by the riches of God’s kingdom.  Jesus tells the rich young ruler to sell all he has, give it to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven.  In other words, stop delighting in your earthly riches and delight instead in the riches of God’s kingdom.  Jesus says very clearly in Matthew 6:19 to not store up treasures on earth but instead to store up eternal kingdom treasures.  How are we to take these words of Jesus?  Do we take them literally or is he somehow speaking in symbolic terms?  Personally I see no symbolism here.  The ultimatum is to choose.  Choose earthly treasures or heavenly treasures!  Choose one master not two!  Choose to be delighted in the kingdom of God or the kingdoms of this earth.  Choose to be a faithful lover of God or an adulteress!  In the title of this post, I boldly claim, “I am rich!”  By that I proclaim possession of riches that the most wealthy individuals in the world cannot obtain outside of Jesus Christ.  This proclamation is of living, vibrant and indestructible riches.  Moths, rust, fire, flood or even death cannot take these riches from me and only I can choose to lay them aside for things of much less significance.  These are the riches that Jesus offered to the rich young ruler and that he offers to anyone who would choose to abide in and be fully satisfied with God and his kingdom.  My prayer is that all of us, regardless of where we live or how much earthly wealth we possess, can stand fully in the kingdom of our God and be filled to overflowing by His abundant riches in Christ Jesus and by being fully satisfied we will fully honor and glorify our Lord!    

Posted by: essolaba | October 31, 2007


Are you?  See the page on Clean Wells.  I will be updating well information there and I hope it will help maintain knowledge concerning this new aspect of our work here in Kabiyeland.  Thanks so much!    

Posted by: essolaba | October 28, 2007

Ah Sunshine!

I don’t know where all of you are in the world right now, but where I am it is so beautiful.  The sun has risen and as I sit here typing it bathes our entire yard in warmth.  God’s power is amazing and the consistency of the sun rising and setting always reminds me of His consistency.  Similarly would be the tide and the crashing waves of the ocean.  It is so wonderful to know that we serve a God who is consistent!  In Him there is no shifting or changing.  His righteousness endures forever, his love constantly accompanies us throughout our days and we are continually immersed in his forgiveness.  I am thankful for my God and so filled with joy when I think of the eternal relationship that we share together.  Praise you Lord!

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