Faith, Hope, and Soap

By Alliance international worker Esther Schaeffer

Conducting home visits is an important part of our discipleship ministry in Burkina Faso, West Africa. Our children are with us for the summer, so they recently accompanied me.

We went to see a man, Mr. Garame, who several years ago made the dramatic decision to turn from his religion and trust in Jesus as his Savior. His two wives followed his example. I have had the privilege of praying with this family through numerous persecutions and difficulties and rejoicing with them as other family members have come to Christ.

“A Bit of Soap”

As we were preparing for the visit, I looked in my cupboard for something to give to them. But I didn’t see coffee, rice, or any of the typical food items that we usually give on home visits. I picked up a package of spaghetti and then put it down, deciding to stop along the way for something. But as we were going out the door, I remembered that I had an extra box of soap. We quickly picked it up and set off.

Everyone was happy to see my children, and when we presented the box of soap to one of the wives, she started laughing. Then tears came to her eyes. It’s just a bit of soap; no need to get emotional, I thought.

During our visit, her husband retold how he had come to Christ and all that the Lord had done for him. After an hour or so we were ready to depart. But the wife who had received the soap stopped us and said, “I must tell you something.”


She explained that on the previous day, a woman had come by their home begging for money. Our Christian friend had just 200 francs—about 40 cents. [The average Burkinabè family survives on little more than $1.50 a day.] Feeling sorry for the woman because she had a baby on her back, Mrs. Garame told her that she would give her the francs if she would wash a few clothes. But after the woman was taken into the back courtyard, she stole all the soap.

“I was so angry,” Mrs. Garame said. “Here I had tried to do something nice, and now I was without my money, without my soap, and still with laundry to do.” But after the Holy Spirit prompted her to pray, she felt a peace that the Lord would provide what they needed.

That very next morning I showed up at her house with a box that contained many more bars of soap than had been taken.

Although visitation can consume a lot of time and energy, please pray that the Lord will continue to lead us to make timely, meaningful home visits.

What You Can Do


Join the Alliance family in praying for our international workers in Burkina Faso and worldwide who expend themselves on behalf of the cross, leading the lost to Christ and discipling them in His ways. Use the Alliance Weekly Prayer Requests to assist you.


  • When you give to the Great Commission Fund (GCF) that supports Alliance workers like the Schaeffers, you partner with them in sharing the joy that life with Jesus brings.
  • Give now

Learn More

  • Read Esther’s article,”It Takes an Alliance to Build a Church,” to learn how a Burkinabè pastor and his congregation experienced answered prayer through the faithfulness of believers on two continents.

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