Sia Yambire


Sia is from Bolgatanga, Ghana, which borders Burkina Faso. Every year, he goes back there for four months. Like nearly everyone over there, Sia grew up happy but simply—with a large family in a primitive mud hut—no electricity, running water, or plumbing. It was subsistence living off the land. And that’s how all the people of Yorgo still live. “Bolga” is world famous for their beautiful African baskets, and Sia makes a humble living by bringing back a few thousand of them each year to sell at local markets. He’s everywhere–you’ve probably seen him at our farmer’s markets yourself.

Over there, churches are the focal point of communal living and sharing, and it’s been Sia’s vision that Yorgo might have their very own. Sia, with his beautiful tribal scars all over his face, grew up practicing a form of traditional African spiritualism; but at age 18, he became a Christian.

Back in 2009, while Sia was here in Sonoma County, his wife Linda was pregnant and leading their church-building effort in Yorgo. But when she gave birth, there were no doctors to stop her blood loss, and tragically, she died. Accepting this different path, Sia named his daughter Ayinema, meaning “God’s Will”. Now that’s the church’s name, too.

Last year, a couple of our church members visited Ayinema Church. It only had an outer foundation and walls, and no roof, no floor. But still, because it is made from concrete and cinderblocks,  it was a source of pride. There are many African churches like this–walls but no roof (roofs are expensive, so they often remain only a “one-day maybe” hope). This Refuge family provided a metal roof, and now the villagers are protected from sun or rain.

About Yorgo, Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in West Africa around 105,900 square miles in size. It is surrounded by six countries: Mali to the north; Niger to the east; Benin to the southeast; Togo and Ghana to the south; and Ivory Coast to the southwest. Its capital is Ouagadougou. As of 2014, its population was estimated at just over 17.3 million.