Thursday, December 30, 2010

her faith has become sight

Hourey is now with Jesus. Her faith has become sight. She has seen him face to face, she knows no pain or hunger, she is truly healed.

We have been so overwhelmed by the amount of people who have prayed for Hourey over the last few days. Please do not think for one second that God did not hear or answer your prayers. He did answer ... maybe not like we would have thought but He did heal Hourey & bring her to full health. She had the most miraculous healing of all ... now being in a perfect body & standing in His presence. One could not ask for more than that.

We received the call from Ibrahim early this morning & made our way to Ayorou shortly thereafter. Isabelle & Mark's parents stayed behind in Niamey while Mark, Luke & I made the trek. In a culture without funeral homes, a person who dies is buried on that same day & as quick as possible. By the time we reached Ayorou, they had already buried Hourey & a large group of people had come to pay their respects to Hourey's mom & to Ibrahim.

We were unsure of how this situation would be handled by the believers in Ayorou as well as those from the Muslim community. Hourey is the first believer to pass away since the church was formed in Ayorou. One of the belivers' greatest fears was this very situation ... "What will happen to me after I die? Who will bury me?" Most, if not all, of their families have told them that they will not bury them when they die because they have rejected Islam. They've told them that they will just leave them to rot like a dead animal.

When it came time for Hourey to be buried, the Muslim leaders told Ibrahim that she could not be buried because she was a Christian. Ibrahim could have very easily caved in so that his wife could be buried properly but he did not. Even in his grief, he remained strong in his faith & told them that he would bury his wife by himself if he had to. But praise the Lord for the church! Ibrahim's brothers in Christ came to his side & helped to bury Hourey. Three men burying a wife and a friend but rejoicing because they knew that she was now with Jesus!

As the day progressed, the obligatory visitors slowly stopped coming by & the house was left with a handful of men. As Mark looked around, he realized that all those remaining were believers. One by one they started sharing stories about their faith in Christ, recounting times of meeting together & studying the Bible, sharing what God had done in & through them since they had accepted Jesus as their Savior & laughing as they listened to each other talk.

Mark sat back in silence & awe at what he was seeing - a small group of men in a 99% Muslim village who have been united by Christ & yet finding joy in death as they all realized that for one of them her hope was finally attained as her faith (the same one they all cling to & have left everything for) had become sight. And they know that one day it will be the same for them to!

As sad as we are to say goodbye to Hourey, we have such a great peace & joy in knowing where she is spending eternity. As sad as Ibrahim was today to say goodbye to his wife & the mother of his children, he has a calmness & peace at the same realization. And he is surrounded by a great group of brothers in Christ who are holding his hand & sharing his faith as they marvel at the great miracle that was performed today.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mark spoke with Ibrahim this morning & he told us that Hourey is taking the medicine. That's definitely a praise since she was refusing water as of yesterday. Please continue to pray for her & that these medicines will take effect ... quickly!!

Ibrahim also told us that if Hourey regains enough strength, he is going to defy his mother-in-law & take her to the hospital in the city that's an hour away from Ayorou. Their medical care is not quite as "advanced" as the capital city but it is a few steps above the village medical care in Ayorou.

And just a thank you to everyone who has sent an email to us, posted a comment or left a message on Facebook letting us know you are praying. We are truly overwhelmed by the tremendous number of you who are praying for Hourey. I am utterly humbled & amazed! Thank you!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

she's still alive

Thank you all for your prayers for Hourey yesterday & today. The Lord answered them in that she is still alive. I don't know if I can quite communicate to you what I saw today but I will surely try.


When we arrived, I immediately headed for Hourey's house & her mom greeted me & showed me to where Hourey was at. I don't think I was quite prepared for what my eyes were about to behold because, when I saw her, all I could do was weep & weep. Of course, in the Songhai culture, no one cries over anything ... life, death, sickness, nothing. Hourey's mom told me to stop crying (& also proceeded to tell everyone who came in after me that I was crying). I told her I would NOT stop crying because Hourey is my friend!

Y'all, when I said goodbye to Hourey just a few weeks ago (when she was at the hospital in Niamey), she was walking & talking & even joking a little bit. Although she was skinny as a rail from being sick for 2 months, she was regaining her health & there was a light in her eyes. What I saw before me today was a woman who was ghastly thin, whose veins protruded from underneath her skin, who could not speak, who had no mind to know that I was less than a foot from her & that I was grasping her hands in mine. This was one of my dearest friends dying right before my eyes & my heart could not handle it. Even as I type this, I still ache at the possibility of never seeing her again on this side of creation.



I asked her mom why she wouldn't allow Hourey to go to Niamey to see another doctor. Again, I just don't understand their mentality because her response was, "What can they do for her now? It's in God's hands." Indeed it is but, as I continued to hold Hourey's hands, I prayed & prayed for God to heal her right then & there.



Ibrahim (her husband) asked for our help in trying one more try at getting her medicine. He went to another city about an hour away & purchased what he hopes will help her. When we spoke to him after arriving home today, he said he had also just returned home & was administering the medicine to her.


We cannot even begin to thank you for your prayers for this dear woman & her family. Her mom, who is not a believer, has even said she is thankful for all of the prayers. Please, please continue to pray for Hourey. We know and believe, without a shadow of a doubt, that God can indeed heal her (with or without medicine) and He can restore her to full health. Whether He does or not, He is still God & He has a plan for Hourey's life. We trust Him in that. But we will still pray, until God shows us otherwise, for her to be healed.


Thank you again & we will continue to update the blog with any new information.

Monday, December 27, 2010

PLEASE PRAY!

We have yet another URGENT prayer request for you! You may remember about a month ago when we asked you to pray for our dear friend Hourey. If you kept up with all of the updates, you would've seen that she did go home from the hospital but it was against the doctor's orders & also against our concerns. She & her mother & her little girl were ready to be out of the hospital & back to "normal" & they ignored our pleadings for them to stay. Ultimately, the decision was theirs & we could not keep them "prisoner" in a hospital. Hourey's mom promised to bring her back to full health when they returned home to Ayorou.

Fast forward a few weeks & here's the latest ... Hourey is not back to health. She is the worst she's ever been. We've been in constant contact with Ibrahim (her husband) for days & we have begged & pleaded to have them send her back here to Niamey so we can get her in a hospital. Hourey & her mom do not want to return to the hospital here & so we offered to send them to one closer to Ayorou. They refused.

We, for one, cannot even begin to understand the African mentality when it comes to health & death. Therefore, we cannot even begin to communicate it to you. Death is such a normal part of life to them. They don't try to fight it. They don't have the resources to do it. Oh, they may try & get medicine or see a doctor when they are sick but they ultimately believe "what will be, will be." As privileged Americans, if a medicine doesn't work for us or if we don't agree with a doctor's diagnosis, we fight it. We try a new medicine. We find a new doctor. We do not let death take us that easy.

It's not that way for Africans. I guess, somehow, in Hourey's mom's mind, they've tried all they could (although, we do not agree). Hourey's mom is calling the shots right now. She says that Hourey is going to die & they are just waiting. Hourey cannot talk. She cannot walk. She has not eaten in 3 days. If you saw her before she left the hospital, you would know that she could not afford to go one day without eating.

Ibrahim does not want his wife & the mother of his children to die. He wants her to see a doctor but his pleadings are falling on deaf ears. He seems to have also accepted Hourey's fate. He did say that he knows when she dies she will be with God & has a peace of her spending eternity with Jesus. He said that he knew the only way she could get better is if God performed a miracle & healed her.

We are asking & BEGGING you to pray for Hourey. Pray that God would MIRACULOUSLY heal her. Pray that her health would be transformed right before the very eyes of all those who are waiting for her to die. PRAY that she would NOT die! Please, please, please pray!

We are packing up & heading to Ayorou tomorrow. We do not know what we will find. We are praying that she'll still be alive. We do not want to say goodbye to her. Please pray that we won't have to.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Please Pray!

Gomer emailed this morning & asked for a couple of specific prayer requests for Mark & I to pray over. I immediately asked him if I could post these on the blog because the more people praying, the better ... right? Would you please stop for a minute & lift these things up?

Barbara*
When Gomer came to visit Niger last week, he brought 2 guys with him from Accra. One of the men is Mitch*, Gomer's ministry partner. He has been a believer for about 4 years and, although he is not Songhai, has really developed a passion for the Songhai people and is even attempting to learn the language! He is a genuine man who loves the Lord, loves people & desires for ALL to know HIM!

However, his wife Barbara* is not a believer. She has been resistant to the Gospel despite numerous times of hearing it. Recently, she approached Gomer & requested a copy of the Bible. This has been a huge step for her!

Unfortunately, after Mitch* & Gomer returned from Niger, she "has been in a rage and filled with violent anger ever since we got back.  Mitch* realizes it is satan trying to destroy what God is doing in her heart," says Gomer.

Please pray for Barbara*. Pray for God to soften her heart; pray for Him to speak to her LOUDLY amidst all the lies satan is telling her; pray for her to believe & know the Truth!

Wyatt*
Gomer also brought one of the albasan (onion) boys with him. Wyatt is not a believer but has not been resistant to hearing the Gospel. With this trip, he was able to spend a lot of undivided time with Gomer & Mitch*. They were both able to speak much Truth into his life. He was also able to visit a few villages in Niger & meet Songhai Christians face to face.

As Gomer said, "Wyatt* was truly taken by the fact that, to a tee, each told him they made the best decision by accepting Jesus as their Savior.  One guy told him of being hated and feared in his village, but after he became a Christian how God changed his heart and now everyone is amazed at the change that has come over him.  He is kind, loving and gentle, this all made a big impact on Wyatt*."

However, Gomer reports that "Wyatt* is having a tough time since we got back and it is also satan working to unravel God's work in his heart."

Please pray for Wyatt* as well. Pray that he also would be able to hear the Truth above all the lies satan is throwing his way. Pray that God would continue to speak to his heart & remind Him of all he heard & saw this past week while in Niger. Pray that Wyatt* would let go of the false religion he clings so tightly to & make the decision to follow Jesus.

**********************************************************************************

Thank you all for your prayers for the Songhai!! They truly make a difference & that is why we are so strongly petitioning you to pray for these 2 people!

*Names changed for security reasons

Sunday, December 12, 2010

desktop calendar

Here is yet another GREAT Songhai resource from the incredible Joneo! Save this file to your computer & then upload it as your desktop background. You will ALWAYS have a reminder to pray for the Songhai ... plus the addition of a handy calendar!!


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Songhai T-Shirt

Another ingenious idea from the creative Joneo

We all know you want to get the word out about the Songhai but maybe find it a little intimidating to move the conversation from last night's dinner to a people group in West Africa. How about a T-shirt? Nothing creates a great conversation like an interesting & unique t-shirt! The instructions are simple. The time & cost involved are minimal. The questions & conversations you'll receive will be priceless as you spread the word about the Songhai!

For those of you who take the challenge to make your own Songhai t-shirt, please email us a picture so we can post it on the blog!

The first picture is your instruction sheet. The second picture is for a large design for your shirt, the third picture is for a medium design & the last picture is for a small design.









Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Weekly Prayer Focus: Gomer in Niger

Please pray for Gomer W who is on his way right now to Niger. Mark has spent the last 5 days with Gomer in Accra, Ghana. Mark was able to meet many of Gomer's contacts & see the work that's been going on down there. They have had a great week & Mark was so excited to meet so many Songhai people in an English speaking country!

Mark & Gomer are on their way back to Niamey as I type this. Gomer's partner in ministry, Mitch*, will be traveling by bus with another one of Gomer's contacts from Accra, who will be serving as their "tour guide" in Niger. They will spend 5 days here & Gomer hopes to make many connections here in Niger from his contacts in Accra.

Please pray for their time here, that it would be productive & fruitful. Pray that as Gomer meets some of the family members of the young men he works with in Accra, that he would have the opportunity to share the name of Christ with them. If someone in the "home family" accepts Christ, it makes it so much easier for the young boys to let go of their traditions & be more open to following Christ as well. Pray that as Gomer & Mitch* share of God's love that Wyatt*, their "tour guide", would also respond & accept Jesus as his Lord & Savior.

On a side note, Mark is suffering from his 3rd bout with malaria since we returned in August. We believe it's the same strand but he's not been able to "knock it" yet. He needs rest! Pray that amongst all his activity, that he would find time to rest & allow his body to recover.

Thank you all for your prayers for us & the Songhai people!! Pray that many, many Songhai would hear & respond to the love of Christ!

*names changed for security reasons

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Urgent Prayer Request!!

For those of you that know Hourey from Ayorou (Ibrahim's wife) - PLEASE pray for her today. She is BEYOND sick ... she can't hardly walk or talk & has lost so much weight that she's basically a skeleton. We finally got her to Niamey & she's at the doctor right now. She has 5 children, one of which is Nafissa (Izzy's best friend from Ayorou). She's been sick for about 2 months & the "doctor" in Ayorou was unsuccessful in treating her. She can't keep anything down & is very, very weak at this point. Please pray that God would HEAL her & restore her health!!

UPDATE (5:28 pm or 10:28 am CST):
... She's been admitted to the hospital. The doctors have said she will probably need to stay there for a week. She's got IVs pumping in her right now. I just went to visit with Isabelle & she was sleeping. She looks SO frail! I'll go back after supper to check on her & update again later.

UPDATE (Saturday):
... visited this afternoon & wish I had better French to speak to the doctor (Mark's in another country til Monday). They were doing an ultrasound on her & all I could get is that there is lots of fluid somewhere (the doc said kidney in English but she wasn't sure if that was the right word). Hourey still looks just awful ... please keep praying! Her legs are seriously smaller than my arms. There's not much too her right now. I also got from the doc that they really have no idea what's wrong with her but that they can't believe she's still alive!

UPDATE (Monday):
latest on Hourey ... docs says she has a severe urinary tract infection & has had it for over 2 months. That's all they can find at this point. Thanks to everyone who is praying for her ... she's still got a long road to recovery.

UPDATE (Sunday 11/28):
We had hoped to send Hourey home yesterday as her UTI has completely healed but when we went to visit her, she was in BAD shape. She was screaming & shouting & seemed to be out of her mind. The nurses had no clue what was going on but the doctors wanted to run more tests. Her poor mom was just ready to leave & go home and Nafissa, her little 2 year old, has been begging to go home since they got here! 

After the results came back, it showed that her potassium level had bottomed out & that can cause symptoms of abnormal psychological behavior including psychosis, delirium, confusion & hallucinations! We were all a little scared to say the least!!

Today, however, she is back in her "right mind" & walking around! It looks like she may get to go home in the next couple of days! Thank you so much for all of your prayers for this wonderful woman & sister in Christ!

UPDATE (Thursday 12/2):
It is sometimes difficult to understand the mindset & rationale of someone from a different culture. Although Hourey has been feeling much better for a few days now, the doctors have not been quite sure if her infection is completely gone. It had gotten pretty bad from being in her system for 3 months & had begun to go outside of her bladder & kidneys & into her blood. Her kidneys took a pretty hard hit & the doctors proposed the possibility of having one of her kidneys surgically removed.

The doctors wanted to run one more test on her before they released her. This test would involve injecting her with a solution that would cause her blood to show up on a ultrasound or radiology exam. Therefore, they would be able to determine if the infection was completely gone or if they needed to proceed with an operation.


Hourey & her mother, however, have been asking us for days to go home. Mark & I, along with the doctors, kept trying to explain to her that, although she was feeling better, her infection may not be completely healed. The women were tired of the hospital, tired of receiving IVs & desperately wanted to return to their "normal." After many days & hours of explaining to them that infections as bad as Hourey's needed time to heal & that it was very important to do this last procedure, they went against our judgement & asked to go home.


Mark & I both told them that this was not a good idea & the doctor practically begged them to stay but, at the end of the day, we were not in the position to keep them "prisoner." Again, we don't understand their reasonings & they probably don't understand ours. So we just pray that Hourey has been completely healed & that she will regain her strength & appetite & return to full health in Ayorou. Thank you all for your countless prayers for this woman. We know that many of you have never even met her but it means the world to us (& to her) that you would pray for her!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

One Minute Prayers

Here is a great new resource to use with your children or in your church's Children's Ministry ...


These are "One Minute Prayers" to use with your child in helping them pray for the Songhai. Each day is assigned a specific topic & has a correlating small prayer to go along with it. You are free to print this out & stick it anywhere in your house to remember to pray for the Songhai with your child ... put it on the fridge & pray with your child as you eat breakfast together, put it in the bathroom & say a quick prayer before they brush their teeth, put it in their bedroom & lift up a prayer as you tuck them in bed at night ... whatever you do, PRAY!

Email us if you'd like the PDF version of this resource.

This wonderful resource was designed by, one of our prayer partners & faithful volunteers, Joneo.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Project: School Supplies

There are many different "projects" that churches in the States have done to meet a need of the Songhai people. Many churches have sent prayer dolls to little girls to form a prayer partnership with a specific Songhai child. Other churches have given soccer balls to little boys with the same desire of praying specifically for the child or children who receive that ball. And other churches have even sent homemade dresses to little girls!
 
Capitol Heights Baptist Church in Bismarck, ND sent us an email a few months ago asking us about meeting a specific need for Songhai children. They asked if children had need of school supplies. They were preparing for their summer's VBS & wanted to accept donations of notebooks, pens, pencils, etc. to send to Songhai children. We, of course, answered, "YES!"

A few weeks after arriving back in the field, we had a message from the post office that we had packages waiting for us. Lo & behold, Capitol Heights had sent us FIVE boxes of school supplies to give out!! We were overwhelmed!! We coordinated with a school in Ayorou to pass out these supplies to children who had the most need. We involved our believers in Ayorou as well. The children & school were so grateful & appreciative to receive these gifts.

I'll have you know that handing things out in an impoverished country does not always go well. You can ask a volunteer or 2 that has tried this & some of them may show you a scar or 2 they received in their efforts! For this particular "handing out," we were able to coordinate it through the school & the administrator of the school did the "passing out." It was one of the most organized & calm events we'd ever been a part of!

We gave each child an "equal" gift of a notebook, pencils & erasers. Extra items that were sent to us, such as pencil sharpeners, markers & crayons, were given to the school teachers to use in their classrooms.


Thank you SO much to Capitol Heights Baptist Church for meeting such a specific need among Songhai school children!! And please know that the school in Ayorou is sending a BIG "Thank You" in return!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

just a little taste ...

As was mentioned in the November newsletter, we recently hosted a media volunteer team from Living Hope Baptist Church in Bowling Green, Kentucky. They came ready with tons of cameras & equipment to capture the Songhai people. They did a wonderful job of doing it!! They took a ton of pictures & video footage while they were here & were also able to interview a handful of Songhai people. They did a great job of capturing who the Songhai are in their day to day life but they did an even better job of capturing who the Songhai are in relationship to their desperate need for a Savior.

The team began their short week here in a village that has no witness. A Songhai actually told them on video that no one had ever shared the name of Jesus with them before. This person had NEVER heard of Jesus!! They went on during the week to a few villages that have 1 or 2 believers and then ended their week in Ayorou where there is a small growing church of healthy believers. To capture all of this in pictures & in video is remarkable ... from seeds just being planted to growing fruit!

Through their pictures & video footage, they were able to capture the work that is being done among the Songhai, the need for more people to come alongside us & share the name of Jesus where it has never been shared, the need for people passionate about Jesus to help us disciple & encourage believers in their walk with Christ and, most importantly, the vast need for people to PRAY for the Songhai. We are so grateful for this team & cannot wait to see what kind of invaluable resources we will be able to produce as a result of all their hard work!

Here is just a little sampling of some of the great shots they were able to get during their time here ...












Volunteer Testimony: November 2010

Coming to Niamey for the second time was such an incredible blessing that words simply cannot display.  Separated by only 15 months of time between my last visit and now, I was able to witness, first hand, how a spark of hope and faith became a flame and that flame became a fire.  I saw the two opposite ends of the spectrum - total darkness from villages who have never heard the name of Jesus all the way to “new” believers who are shining a bright light and leading others to Christ.  I saw the pain of not knowing Jesus to the joy of knowing our Lord.  How could I not come here and be a witness to the perishing and an encourager to the faithful?  If you don’t know what to do in your walk, go where God is already working.  And He’s working here in West Africa!

- Jonathan O (Bowling Green, Kentucky)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Weekly Prayer Focus: Bangawi

Please be in prayer for the village of Bangawi this week. This village is just down the road from Karma & has a completely different "feel" to it than the darkness one feels when entering Karma. The village is open & receptive to the Gospel. After hearing the Good News for the very first time, one man has already accepted Christ! He was immediately baptized & has received little persecution that we know of. Please, please, please pray that this village will remain open to hearing God's Word. Pray that many, many more would be bold like this man & accept Christ as their Savior. Pray that God would use this tiny village to be an enormous light in the darkness that surrounds this country. Pray that those who follow Jesus will stand strong in their faith regardless of what persecution may come. Pray!

november 10

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Calling all authors ...

Does anyone out there love to write? Maybe ever dream about being a children's author? Do you make up stories & tell them to your kids at night? Have a little creative "itch" you'd like to scratch? Well, here is your chance!!!

We are working on compiling a short story about the Songhai that is geared towards children. After spending 7 months in the States and visiting with a few dozen churches, we realized that a bunch of our time was spent speaking to children. Mark & I both loved doing this (although Mark was more center stage this time while I took care of our own kiddos). We were both taught about missions at a very early age & this education helped shape who we are today. And we want to return the favor!

At the end of our speaking engagements, we also realized that we did not have anything "cool" to leave in the hands of the children we encountered. Oh sure we handed them a Songhai bracelet that may have lasted on their wrists for a day or 2. But what we'd really have loved to left them with was something they could read or look at over & over again to be reminded of the Songhai, how they can pray for them & how they, even as children, have a huge part in the work among the Songhai people.

This is what we are looking for ... a short story about the Songhai. It could be written through the eyes of a young Songhai boy or girl. It could just be factual information about the Songhai that is written on an elementary level. It could be whatever your creative mind allows! We already have a graphic designer/illustrator who will design pictures according to the story. We would like for the story to be 1,000 words or less & will be fit into a 12 page story format.

You can find a ton of information about the Songhai right here on our blog! You can also email us to ask us specific questions!

Deadline for the story is December 31!

We can't wait to see what you come up with!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Weekly Prayer Focus: Tagabati

Please be in prayer for the village of Tagabati this week. This small village is about 30 minutes outside of Niamey. We are still in the "beginning" stages of work here. The people & the chief seem to be very open but we have yet to see any professions of faith. Please pray that many would hear & respond to the Gospel & to calling Jesus as their Lord & Savior. Please pray that as they hear the Good News, their eyes would be opened & they would see & know the Truth & leave behind their false gods.

We have plans for a few volunteer teams to enter this village in 2011. Pray that each volunteer would take every opportunity to share their faith. Pray that they would be bold in naming Christ to a village that does not know Him yet. Pray that the doors would remain open in this village for volunteers to come & work.

As always, thank you so much for your prayers. Please know that they are absolutely vital to our work among the Songhai. We love you & appreciate you for committing to pray for the Songhai people to know Jesus!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Weekly Prayer Focus: Volunteers

Please pray for the volunteers who are serving the Songhai this week in Niger. There is a team of 2 men from First Baptist Church (Hurst, TX) along with a team of 4 men from Nigeria who are serving along the Mehanna Road. Today they will begin their ministry by doing a Health Seminar to villagers in Mehanna. They will continue the rest of their week by doing the Creation to Christ story along the road and also following up with local believers. Please pray for the village of Mehanna as it is the only village on the road that has yet to see a harvest. Pray that many will hear, believe & respond to God's call of salvation.

Please also pray for a team of 3 men from Living Hope Baptist Church (Bowling Green, KY). They are here this week to do media projects for the Songhai team. They will spend their time photographing, videoing & interviewing Songhai in villages between Niamey and Ayorou. The projects they will create will be used by the Songhai team to educate churches & partners about the Songhai, recruit and enlist more prayer support for the Songhai and encourage more people to come work alongside us as we seek to reach the Songhai for Christ. Please pray for them that they would have no "snags" in order to get everything accomplished that needs to be done this week. Pray also for the team to have opportunities to share their faith as I'm sure many will wonder what these white men are doing toting around all these cameras! Pray also for their time with the believers in Ayorou - that it would be encouraging for both the team and the national believers!

Thank you SO much for all your prayers for the Songhai. Lives are being changed forever because of your faithful prayers! We are SO grateful for you!

Monday, November 1, 2010

thanks again

Just wanted to give you another follow-up.  We had our first teaching time ever in Bangawi on Sunday.  There were around 20 people who listened to us talk about Jesus.  They all listened very respectfully (sometimes a rare thing) and at the end one man, in front of his family and friends said "I believe! I believe!" We asked him some questions and talked to him about baptism.  He said "let's go to the river now!"  And so you have a new brother in the faith.  Satan's grip is loosened even more as the powerful name of Jesus changes history!  Thanks again for your continued prayers!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Weekly Prayer Focus: Gomer (Accra)

Here is a newsletter with a list of items you can lift up for Gomer W who is serving in Accra, Ghana:

I once again must start by thanking each of you for your prayers and support.  God is at work here and your prayers mean so much to many.  I praise God for you all.

Praise God for the friendships that are growing here each and everyday.  Today Mitch* and I took a young Seminary teacher to the Accra market where we buy blank cassettes.  While on the way we passed by the area where Mike* sells suits by the road side.  We stopped to greet him and while there he told of his new life praising God as a Christian!!  He said he wanted to sing hymns to our God and sing praise to his Savior!!

While in the market, we were going about greeting some of the other Songhai we have been sharing the cassettes with.  We were given a warm welcome everywhere and then we passed into the lower area where the second hand clothes are brought in to be distributed.  As we were walking down one of the alleyways, a fellow in one of the shops yelled out, "Anasara, Matu gaham?" ("White man, how are you?")  As I turned to look he yelled out, "Did you bring us a cassette?"  Wow, we once again were treated to the surprise of them knowing us before we knew of them.  God is working!  They told us we were talked about and that many knew we were here as Christians looking to minister to them!  Praise God.

After we returned from the market this afternoon I was walking to the area they call the "37 market," when I came upon a fellow carrying cloth. I greeted him with the Songhai greeting and he broke into a big smile, then went on to tell me that he had gotten one of the cassettes and listened to it. It was wonderful to hear him tell what he had heard and that he was listening to it again and again and that he thought it was good and true!!!  The Gospel speaks to people and reveals the truth!!

Please continue to pray for the albasan (onion) guys. In the last few days, they have had a couple bad experiences.  Two of them got shook-down and slapped around pretty good, then a few of them got chased off from an area they usually work selling along the road.  Please pray for their safety.  Some of these guys are young and small, and with the human trafficking that takes place in countries like Ghana I worry about these guys.  I worry about them all working along the road selling, chasing cars to make a sale, running in and out of traffic, but it is what they have to do until something better comes along.  They live daily, meal by meal.

Pray for our community relations.  The English classes have gotten off to a rough start.  The first night, as we were starting to gather, a house in Nima just below where we were meeting caught fire and burned. Two little children were burned to death & no one was in the mood then to go learn English. The next two times we were to meet, the electricity was out, and then the last time a "church" showed up with a set of loud speakers and started singing to the top of their lungs. It was loud!!! Needless to say, some thought we had set them up & used the draw of "English class" to entice them and tricked them into coming to Christian church!  It took a couple of days but we are back on track and starting over this week.

Pray for the folks who are volunteering to come here and be a part of the Mission Ministry here in Accra.  First Baptist New Orleans is sending another team at the end of the year.  They are to arrive December the 28th and we are going to minister to the Songhai in several different areas.  Pray as they prepare and make ready.  Pray that God will work through them and we will see many accepting Jesus as their Savior.

Pray for Mitch and me as we look and pray about taking a couple of trips in the next few weeks. Many Songhai are in these areas and we want to make that initial contact with them and greet them in the name of the Lord.  Pray for us as we make ready to travel and as we go.

God is doing much here, I am still awed each day as I watch what He is doing and I am blessed to be a small part of His great workings.

Praise God for the friendships and relationships He is building here.

Praise God for touching the heart of Mike. Thank God for this wonderful young man that has found a love in God that has him overjoyed and wanting to sing God's praise.  Lift Mike up in prayer.  It is tough on Muslims who accept Jesus as their Savior.

Pray for the cassettes we have given out and the ones we are planning to give out that God will work through the Holy Spirit to touch the lives of any and all who hear the gospel through them.

Pray for safety and health for all the Songhai.

Pray that our community relations will grow, but most importantly that through these relationships, we will have the opportunity to share Jesus and that many will respond by accepting Him as their Savior.

Pray for the team from First Baptist New Orleans as they prepare to come share Jesus and His birth with the Songhai in December. Praise God for them also, they have each come once before and are following God here for the second time this year!

Pray for Mitch and me as we prepare to travel to new areas to meet other Songhai.  Our prayer is to be obedient and follow God into areas as He directs.

Please be in prayer for me on Sunday.  I am guest speaker at a local church that morning.  I look forward to sharing with them.  I have gotten to be good friends with the pastor there.  He is a wonderful man who loves the Lord and lives to serve Him.


Once again, thank you for standing in the gap!  Your prayers are cherished.  You are cherished!


*Names changed for security reasons


Sunday, October 24, 2010

thanks for your prayer

When we petition your prayers I hope to get back with you about how they were answered.  That is what this post is about. 

I went to Karma yesterday and was praying the whole way there (as I've been praying all week) that the scene would be different.  We pulled up and there was Henry* smiling and waiting for us again.  He said he'd tried to find all the "believers" and all that he spoke to told him not to come back and talk to them ever again.  Needless to say, I was more than a little disappointed.  If I'm honest, I even had one of those "come on God, this is about your Name here.  How many people faithfully prayed all week and nothing's changed."  The Holy Spirit quickly prompted me to realize the many errors in my thinking but that was the raw emotion.

After our meeting, Henry said he'd like for us to visit some friends of his who were a little outside of town.  We loaded up and drove several kilometers to Bangawi ("the hippo killing" - cool name, eh) but which is technically still Karma.  There we met four older men who said they were ready to hear about Jesus, the Christ.  Not only that, several of the elders of the village were hanging around trying to hear what we were saying.  I thought to myself, "these will be the ones to squelch whatever we start here." 

One pulled me to the side to ask what we were doing.  I braced myself for a conversation I've had countless times.  I was sure he'd either tell me the people here didn't want to listen to this or that they would listen but only if we gave them gifts.  However, after I told him what we were doing he said "that's very good.  Bring your message and we will listen.  Our people need to hear your message."

After I picked my jaw off the ground I stumbled through some final good-byes and got back in the truck floored by God's grace and mercy. 

I just wanted you to know that God responded to your faithful prayers!  Please pray as we go back to Bangawi next Sunday!


*name changed for safety concerns

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

attention:

Due to increased security measures, we will no longer be posting the real names of our contacts in this country. Unfortunately, our world is not as safe as it used to be! As our supervisor put it wisely: "I do not have a problem when a person receives persecution for the sake of the gospel, but when they receive persecution because WE are not smart - that is a different case." So we are being smart from here on out!

Weekly Prayer Focus: Brazilian Colleagues

Please pray for our Brazilian colleagues. They have recently packed up their entire belongings & moved from their home in Dargol to the capital city. With one year left in their term, they are searching for a new place of ministry in Niger. Please pray for them as they look for a new village. Pray that God would grant them wisdom & discernment. Pray that God would show them a "person of peace" (someone who is open to the Gospel & open to them being in the village). Pray that many would be receptive to the Truth of the Gospel & many would come to know Jesus as their Lord & Savior through the testimonies of the Brazilians. And please pray for their safety & protection.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

pray

We know that our ministry in Ayorou would not have been possible without your prayers.  We are so grateful for praying people.  And so to our prayer warriors, please take these requests.

Karma is a village we just re-entered last year.  Many have come to faith in this village and we've begun meeting there on a weekly basis.  However, this village, more than any of our other current work, sums up the statement 'where God is at work, so is the enemy.'  Let it be noted that this is widely known as one of the darkest villages in all Niger. There is a deep tie to the demonic in this village and a demon possessed man even threatened to stone our team one day (holding a very large rock he was pretty convincing). 

I went to this village Sunday hoping to meet with a group of believers and especially two men who recently prayed to receive Christ.  I took a national partner with me who has been a part of the work there.  When we arrived, no one was waiting so we decided to walk through the market and try to find Henry* who is the most faithful to come.  It seemed we couldn't walk 50 feet without the national partner pointing out someone and saying "you see him, he prayed to receive Christ a few months ago."  And yet, person after person either refused to even greet us (an unthinkable act in this hospitable country) or make up some lame excuse about why he has not been coming.  One guy even stopped dead in his tracks when he saw us and turned to run the other way!

We returned back to our truck discouraged and ready to head home when we found Henry waiting for us smiling as he always does.  We spent some time praying for these men and Henry explained to us that the level of persecution has been raised over the past few months.  People are too scared to be associated with the Christians for fear of the consequences.  One guy even told Henry that if he came to his house again to invite him for our Bible study he would beat him up!

Yet Henry has remained strong in his faith.  Even though it appears he is the only one in his entire village who is following Jesus, even though all the persecution is now directly on him, even though his wife, his wife's parents, his own parents curse him now, he has stayed strong.

So pray for Karma and pray for Henry.  Whatever level of disappointment we feel in the people of Karma, his is ten times that.  He so desperately wants a true brother in the faith to walk with him.  Pray for this former stronghold of Satan that as it slowly slips away from his grasp through the powerful name of Jesus, he does not relinquish control without a fight.

Also pray for David* of Ayorou.  David is a young man who prayed to receive Christ in 2008.  He has remained very faithful and is always eager to learn more.  He is the only believer in his entire family.  I have seen him on every visit to Ayorou until this past one.  I asked about him and I heard that a family member came from Niamey to physically remove him from Ayorou and send him to a Koranic school in Tillaberri.  Our hearts break at the thought of David being forced to recite the Koran all day long and go into the streets to beg for money.  Please pray for David to remain strong.

Finally, pray for our country.  It is increasingly an unsafe place.  It seems that the areas of greatest need and lostness are the areas that are becoming closed to our access.  Our Brazilian partners had to move from their village because of security concerns.  The entire country of Mali (where so many Songhai live) is completely closed.  The area of work for one of our partnering churches has just this week (2 weeks before their trip) become more hostile.

This is a long post just to say please pray for the Songhai.  God is moving in their hearts, they are responding to the Gospel like never before.  Areas where Satan has had full reign for literally centuries are being plucked right out of his hands.  The powerful name of Jesus is going forward but there is a real fight, a real battle going on.  Thank you for your prayers.


*names changed for security reasons

Thursday, October 14, 2010

october 10

Here is a copy of the newest prayer newsletter for the Songhai Team. If you, or anyone you know, would like to be added to the email list that sends these out each month, please let us know! Email us at thephillips@pobox.com.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

september 10

Here is a copy of the newest prayer newsletter for the Songhai Team. If you, or anyone you know, would like to be added to the email list that sends these out each month, please let us know! Email us at thephillips@pobox.com.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

under construction

FYI - This blog is currently "under construction." There is some information on here but it is not at all organized like it should be. It will hopefully be nice & tidy by the end of September ... after we've gotten settled back into Niger & in the swing of things! In the mean time, you can check out what's here & let us know if there's any other information you need or would like to see on the blog!! Thanks!!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Volunteer Testimonies: Prayer

In February 2008, a partnership team from First Baptist Church, Madisonville, TN recently traveled down some of West Africa’s best bush “roads”, in search of the Songhai living in the north-eastern most corner of Burkina Faso… tiny, unmarked cow paths actually, lumpy and bumpy, dusty and dirty.

The road into a certain Songhai village was filled with travelers on this Sunday morning . By the hundreds they came, traveling by camel, by donkey, and on foot. With joy and excitement the locals were heading to the market.

We dream of another Sunday morning, far in to the future, on The Narrow, Smooth Road, where people will be streaming into every Songhai village in Burkina Faso to worship Jesus, Our Risen Savior and Lord. Join us in praying for that day! Join us in sowing the seed of the Word among the Songhai.

The Songhai Team and Lon
First Baptist Church, Madisonville, TN
February 2008

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My trip to Niger has given me a whole new perspective for the vast spiritual needs that still exist in our world. Far too often we are lulled into a sense of comfort that technology will spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. How we have deceived ourselves! While in Niger, I had the amazing opportunities to share the Gospel Message in the shade of a Muslim mosque, with the staff of an entire school, and with countless Songhai people going through their daily chores. Oh that God’s Holy Spirit would crumble the wall of lies built around their hearts and lead them to true freedom in Christ!

Mike
October 2008
Southern Baptists of Texas Convention

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Where the desert sands of the Sahara meet the water of the Niger River there lives a people whom the rest of the world has passed over, who live in great poverty. Our SBTC team ministered for one week with these people in prayerwalking, evangelistic cassette distribution, and discipleship for local believers. We saw children dying, and yet people were polite to us. We saw the hungry, and yet they invited into their homes and offered us food. We saw the workers: farmer, brick makers, taxi drivers, market vendors, and fishermen who would all stop their work to talk with us. We spoke of Jesus Christ, and yet they were not offended.

Personally, God showed me that He loves people from every dark corner that exists in this world. We, as believers in Jesus Christ, must go to these dark corners that are so neglected by the rest of the world.

There is a hunger to know God here that is not fulfilled in traditional religion. Jesus Christ will be the fulfillment of all joy for the Songhai. Come, the hungry are desperate.

Brian
October 2008
Southern Baptists of Texas Convention



Saturday, May 15, 2010

Volunteer Testimonies: Field Support

Sensing the missionary call as a child but not following through until adulthood could cause one to give up on that dream. But just when you think “It’s too late” or “I can’t go,” a miracle unfolds right before your eyes.

That miracle happened to me. It seemed as if God walked up to my heart’s door and clearly said, “Look what’s been waiting-just for you, just for now!” For many years I wanted to serve as a missionary, specifically to Africa. God, in His wonderful mercy, opened many doors of impossibility for me to come and work in Niger.

In December 2007, I came from Fort Caroline Baptist Church in Jacksonville, FL to be a part of God’s work with the Womble family here in Niger. I worked with their children for several weeks. Immediately I could tell what they were thinking, “Wow! History... the Colonial Period... just what we wanted to do over our Christmas break!” No, seriously, they were great students, and I enjoyed spending time with each of them.

I do remember a group activity where they encountered more than their share of communication problems, while building the ‘Tower of Babel’ as we like to call it. Their individual personalities and giftedness became evident as they worked through various projects. I saw Mary’s creative side in her southern plantation replica. Brady’s love for adventure emerged as he traded the routines of life in Africa to ride the high seas in search for whales! Ruth’s gift of detail was amazing! You should have seen her Triangle Trade Route. The ships were full of various imports / exports she created and strategically placed aboard each ship. Many more stories to tell... for another day.

I also had the opportunity to go to one of the villages and help distribute dolls, balls, and other gifts provided by North Point Baptist Church, Gaffney, SC. The sights I saw while traveling to the village brought a sad reality of the harshness of life in Niger.

I saw first hand what it’s like to wake up each day in the face of a vastness of spiritual lostness. I’m deeply moved by the overwhelming sadness, sickness, poverty, uncleanness, and death all around. My heart aches for all the people groups here in Niger and across the African continent. In the midst of it all, I know God’s hand is at work demonstrating His love to these hurting people... one life at a time.

I’m very grateful to those who have sacrificed and committed their lives to serve the Lord here. I saw God’s faithfulness in the way He abundantly provided and protected them.

Although my journey here was for just a short time, I pray God has used my ministry in a purposeful way to help reach lost souls for Jesus. I’ve grown in my walk with the Lord because of my experiences among the missionaries and Songhai people. God has changed my heart forever!

Peggy, MK Education
December 07

Friday, May 14, 2010

Volunteer Testimonies: Discipleship

"Is this what it was like when Jesus walked the earth?”, I found myself wondering many times as I walked the dusty village of Dargol and Tera. Day after day, our small team walked through the village streets surrounded by the tall walls of each family’s compound. It reminded me of a maze in a carnival where you made turn after turn, not quite sure where the next turn would lead you. One such street, so very narrow, vividly reminded me of Jesus walking the roads of Jerusalem.

As the little children seemed to come from every direction and run toward us, they would begin to follow us wherever we went. Before long, we would have twenty or more kids walking with us. On three occasions, our team stopped in the shade and used a story cloth to tell stories. As it would near the time to walk back to the compound to begin discipling a few women believers in the village, it was very hard to tell the children goodbye each day. Tears would come to my eyes as we could see the children’s feet under the gate as they stood outside hoping to spend more time with us.

During our brief time here in Niger, we truly saw our Lottie Moon Christmas Offering in action. We came along beside our missionaries as a source of encouragement to them and the Songhai believers. It was a powerful thing to see with our own eyes what our gifts given over the years to the annual Christmas Offering had accomplished. The believers we discipled had a good knowledge of the Bible. Why? Because the missionaries that are here before us and those that we are leaving behind have done a wonderful work.

I have been blessed beyond measure to see my monetary gift to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering in action. But a stark reality hit me right in the face. Each day as we traveled between Dargol and Tera, we saw many small villages along the way. It broke our hearts as we wondered “who will come and tell those people about Jesus?” We have a great commission to “go and tell”. Who will come behind us as volunteers? Who will provide the monetary means for more career missionaries to come to this region?

Will you come? Will you provide the means for someone else to come? There is a wonderful Songhai team of missionaries here that need you.
Pam
Second Baptist Church
Lancaster, SC
November 2008

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Volunteer Testimonies: Children/Youth

The whole experience of this mission has been very humbling to me. Why would God use me to lead a team into an area such as Niger? Why did God bless me with such great people to travel and minister with? Have I ever done something to have found favor with God? No. It does not seem so.

Yet He still used me to give leadership to four wonderful people as they each made a discovery trip into God’s world of missions. Each of them dealt with and grew in different ways and I was able to be part of God’s wonderful plan to make it all happen.
 
Why did God choose Niamey, Niger in an area wrought with darkness, desperate in poverty and HOT(!) for these folks to start a life of missions. Why not a trip to Disneyworld to hand out tracts and Kool-Aid in the parking lot? That is more what I am capable of doing. I know now that God was showing me a glimpse of how great He is. Not me, but Him. God is greater than any place HE created. He can overcome my shortfalls, my lack of ability. He is greater than the darkness of false religions, hot weather, and He is able to work everything.

I feel so blessed that God allowed me to be a part of this wonderful mission. I thank Him for allowing me to be part of all the lives of the people involved… I thank God and praise Him that He allowed me to share the Gospel with Songhai children. I praise God that He once again showed me, “For God so loved the World…”
- 1 John 4:8, Gomer, Sunnyside Baptist Church, June 2008


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With this being my second trip to Niger, I thought I would be a little more prepared for the hurting people here. But I was wrong. It broke my heart just as much, if not more. Our debriefing worksheet asked if there was a Scriptural Truth I learned, and I put “love one another” because it takes the smallest gesture, such as a smile, a wave, a handshake or a big hug to let those children know how much they are loved. I wondered when we started the week if we were getting through to them. Then after a few days they learned the verses and could answer questions about stories, and we knew they were listening. And to some of it may be just a story now, and they may not understand the true meaning. But I believe that every team that comes makes it easier for the next to teach the true meaning. And my prayer is that some day a team will come in and that little dirt field will be full of children and adults who want to hear about the man named Jesus, their one and only Savior.

For over a year our team planned to come to Niger to work among the Songhai. For many it was a return trip. For the second year in a row we planned to work in the village of Dargol. We would be doing sports camp and Bible teaching each day for six days. The three churches represented by this team also supplied clothes, money, and a fun day for an orphanage that we support.

We found that when working in the “bush” there are many adversities at times. Adversities like: extreme heat, road construction, bush taxis, river ferries, sand storms, and language barriers, to name a few.

But ask any one member of our team and they would tell you they would do it again for six more days. They would ride with our friend, Oudou, in his bush taxi on the bumpy, dusty roads. Each teacher would gladly choke back coughs to speak during sand storms. We would gladly break the language barrier with our brothers Hama and Billo, our interpreters. All of us would gladly drink what seemed like gallons of water again to play kick ball and soccer with the children. All of us would gladly repeat each strenuous day for one purpose-- to share the love, grace and mercy of Christ, that He has blessed us with.

To see the smiles as the children recalled the stories of Jesus was worth every day of preparation, every bump in the road, all the dust we inhaled and all the water we drank. To think that one day we may be standing around God’s throne, hand-in-hand with these children, worshipping Him, is worth it all!

Please pray for Songhai children that God would call them out of darkness into His Light, His Kingdom!
Joel, Missions Pastor, Oakbrook Community Church
2 April 2008



Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Volunteer Testimonies: Evangelism

Howdy, my name is Gabe, and I went on a mission trip to Africa last year and this year. These two trips have really shown me God’s calling in my life. One of the most wonderful things that has ever happened to me happened this year. Before this trip, my life had really gone south. I was into some pretty bad things. I really needed prayer. Through a dream, God told one of the missionaries stationed in Dargol that I was in trouble. He told the other missionaries, and they all prayed constantly for me. My life got straightened up, and I came to the trip ready, and it has changed my life forever. That really shows how big God is.
-Sunnyside Baptist Church
Sports Evangelism
June 2009


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Five men from the Meadowdale Baptist Church in Calhoun, GA recently served as volunteers in Niger, West Africa. The team was Charlie, Russell, Rodney, Garry, and myself. We worked with Randy and Susan in the village of Karma. We did prayer-walking, Storying, testimonies, and general evangelism. It was a tremendous blessing for us, a time to remember. It was hot, difficult, and extremely rewarding. We all loved every minute of this trip.

We divided into two groups of three (the five of us and Randy) and worked in different areas of Karma, hoping to cover as much of the massive village as possible. One day my team stopped under the shade of a small tree. It was very hot, and we needed a break. Very few people had invited us into their compounds because of fear of local religious leaders who were opposed to Christianity. I had prayed that particular morning for God to move someone to invite us into his compound.

As we sat in the shade, a woman came to us and said that a man was asking for us to come to his home (prayer answered!). We went immediately. The man told us that he had practiced "Ju Ju" (animistic spirit worship) for many years but now he knew that this was wrong. He was searching for the truth, searching for God. He was kind and we talked for a good while. We shared the stories from Creation to the Cross. We prayed for him, but he did not publicly confess Christ.

For the next two days, the witch doctor invited us into his "shade", and we gladly accepted his invitations. Each time he invited us in he would have more people there to hear our witness (wives, children, and neighbors) but he did not confess Christ openly. The last time we were invited into the compound, the witch doctor had his adult son there waiting for us. The son shared with us how he had become a Christian several years ago and kept it from his father for two years. The father told us that now he knew about his son's faith, and he supported him. This was almost as if the man was telling us that he was close to becoming a Christian himself.

We do not know if the witch doctor was saved during our visits. Only God really knows that. But we were thankful for his invitation for us to come share his shade. We know that we did our best to invite him into the Shade of the Almighty, the true Light, the everlasting life of the believer. I hope that he has found the Truth. I am convinced that our invitation from the witch doctor was a God-thing. It is in God's hands. We were just one piece of the great plan that God is putting together for souls in Karma.

Our journey began in September of 2008 as we started the preparation process for this trip. We have grown spiritually through each aspect of this adventure, from our weekly team meetings to our daily team devotions on the field. We sowed seeds, smiled, saw people saved, sweated, laughed, loved, prayed, stayed, gave, and experienced God, even in a witch doctor's compound. It was great!

- Dr. Steven F. Pearson, Pastor

Monday, May 10, 2010

Destination: Mali (Timbuktu)

History of Town / Population / People Groups 
   Historians tell us that Timbuktu had a great place of importance in the course of West African history; its renown also influenced Europe and Asia. The city was the center of power for several West African empires that flourished during the middle ages of European history, including the Songhai Empire in the 14 and 1500’s. Legend has it that was founded in 1100 AD by the Tuareg people along a channel of water inhabited by hippos, a meeting place of Tuareg camels and Songhai canoes. Eventually it became a great city of commerce and Islamic studies. It is now a unique, venerated, Muslim city, home to 30,000-50,000 Arabic, Tuareg and Songhai people. Circling the town is a “band of misery” giving home to thousands of poor and needy. It is a stronghold of Muslim faith, containing ancient mosques, a world renowned Islamic university, and a library that houses ancient manuscripts.

 
Church Status 
   The first evangelical missionaries arrived in Timbuktu in the 1920; they left in the 1950’s saying that even the water in Timbuktu was not wet. In the 1950’s EBM arrived and established one church in 1980 that ministers mainly to the Tuareg people; most church members are related to the pastor. It is inter-related with a non-governmental agency. The pastor’s brother-in-law has also established an Assembly of God church in town. These churches have struggled against persecution for many years; membership remains very small. In the last five years many missionaries from different agencies have come to minister to those living in Timbuktu, however hearts seemingly remain unresponsive and the work has appeared to make little progress.

 
Housing for Guests / Estimated Costs 
   There are several small hotels in Timbuktu. The tourist season is during the cooler months of November - February, and during this time, the hotels are fully booked in advance.

l'Hotel La Colombe (The Dove Hotel) 

Rooms: 2 twin beds per room at 23,000 / night / room
Breakfast: 2,000 CFA
Lunch and Supper: 4,000 CFA

Contact information:
Phone: (223) 292 14 35
B. P. 05
Tombouctou, Mali
West Africa

 
Specifics Unique to Your Stay 
Airport 
   Flights to Timbuktu are through Bamako, Mali for larger groups or Niamey, Niger for groups no larger than three. The airport tax in Timbuktu is paid separately from the price of the ticket, and is usually around 20,000 CFA.

Transportation 
   There are very few taxis in town, so plan on doing a lot of walking in deep sand. A team can rent a 4x4 vehicle.

Weather 
   Timbuktu is situated in the middle of the Sahara Desert; you will experience very hot, dry days and cool nights. November to February you will need a light coat at night and in the early morning.

Money 
   Currency exchanges are possible with a valid passport at a local bank. It is also possible to make currency exchanges in the Baptist Mission Office in Bamako or Niamey when arranged in advance.

Ministry 
   The IMB Songhai Team is currently working in partnership with Brazilian Evangelicals to reach the Songhai people in the Timbuktu area. Current ministries include: soccer teams, women and youth Bible studies, women’s sewing classes, prayer walking, media distribution, and evangelism.

 
Timbuktu Contact Information

Mailing Address:
B. P. 166
Tombouctou, Mali
West Africa

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Volunteer Testimonies


Volunteers are a valuable and honored resource for our team. As of January 2010, our team has hosted over 500 volunteers over the last ten years. You can read some of their testimonies are below. 


Evangelism
"...
These two trips have really shown me God’s calling in my life. One of the most wonderful things that has ever happened to me happened this year. Before this trip, my life had really gone south. I was into some pretty bad things. I really needed prayer. Through a dream, God told one of the missionaries ..."

Discipleship

"... As the little children seemed to come from every direction and run toward us, they would begin to follow us wherever we went. Before long, we would have twenty or more kids walking with us. On three occasions, our team stopped in the shade and used a story cloth to tell stories. As it would near the time to walk back to the compound ..."

Prayer Ministry
"...
My trip to Niger has given me a whole new perspective for the vast spiritual needs that still exist in our world. Far too often we are lulled into a sense of comfort that technology will spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. How we have deceived ourselves! While in Niger, I had the amazing opportunities to ..."

Children & Youth Ministries
"... But ask any one member of our team and they would tell you they would do it again for six more days. They would ride on the bumpy, dusty roads. Each teacher would gladly choke back coughs to speak during sand storms. We would gladly break the language barrier. All of us would gladly ..."


Field Support

"... I saw first hand what it’s like to wake up each day in the face of a vastness of spiritual lostness. I’m deeply moved by the overwhelming sadness, sickness, poverty, uncleanness, and death all around. My heart aches for all the people groups here in Niger and across the African continent. In the midst of it all, I know God’s hand is at work ..."

And More ...
   First Baptist Hurst, February 2011, Discipleship Conference 
   First Baptist Hurst, May 2011, Discipleship Training
   Living Hope Baptist Church, May 2011, Evangelism & Discipleship
   Trammell Creek Baptist Church, June 2011, Construction & Evangelism
   Trammell Creek Baptist Church, June 2011, Construction & Evangelism
   FIrst Baptist Hurst, July 2011, Construction & Evangelism
   Living Hope Baptist Church, August 2011, Creative Arts, Evangelism & Disicpleship
   Mt Olive Baptist Church, September 2011, Evangelism
   Living Hope Baptist Church, September 2011, Evangelism & Discipleship
   Living Hope Baptist Church, September 2011, Evangelism & Discipleship (VIDEO)
   First Baptist Hurst, October 2011, Discipleship Conference
   First Baptist Franklin, January 2012, Children's/Music Ministry
   First Baptist Franklin, January 2012, Children's/Music Ministry
   Campbellsville University, May 2012, Construction & Evangelism

Monday, May 3, 2010

Destination: Burkina Faso (Ouagadougou)

History of Country / Population and People Groups 
   Burkina Faso, a land locked country of the Sahel, is home to over 10 million people; the Mossi (who speak Moré) comprise 52% of the total population, which includes 72 distinct people groups and four major language groups. French is the official language. Literacy is estimated at 19%. 83% of the population subsists as farmers. Religious make up consists of animism 40%, Muslim 50% and Christian 10%. Ouagadougou is the capital city of Burkina Faso, a former French colony called Upper Volta. The present government is favorable to Christian involvement and aid programs. There has been an increase in crime and some political tensions in the recent past.

Housing for Guests / Cost Estimates 
IMB Guesthouse 
   Many of the rooms have doubles and a twin bed inside, but it varies. Some are just twins. It has 10 rooms. Each room, except for one, has its own bath and shares a common kitchen/ living area.

Costs 
   Adults over night stay - 5000 CFA/ night
   Air Conditioner - 400 CFA/ hour
   Washer Loads - 500 CFA/ load
   Dryer Loads - 500 CFA/ load
   Telephone Card - 2000 or 5000 CFA card

Check Out time is 12 noon. You may pay your fees in the office Monday through Friday from 7 AM to noon and from 2 PM to 5 PM or you may place your envelope, keys, and fees in the drop box as you exit.

Recommended Hotels 
Soritel 
   Prices are currently around 35,000 CFA per night, A/C, bathroom in the room, TV, small fridge, pool, and Internet. They also offer hotel shuttle. You can find them on the Internet if you input “Soritel Burkina Faso”.

Hotel Les Palmiers 
    Prices are currently 30,000 - 40,000 CFA per night (same amenities as the Soritel and also found on the Internet)

Specifics Unique to Your Stay 
Airport 
   Porters are available; the going rate is around 500 CFA (1 dollar) per bag.
Customs is not too rigorous, but they do inspect the luggage. A nice smile, handshake and greeting will go a long way.
   A phone number is necessary when filling out white immigration card on airport arrival. (There is not a place for it on the card, but they always ask for it.)
   Air France comes in 6 out of 7 days during the week, but the schedule changes about twice a year.
   Air Maroc is another possibility, but the arrival and departure times are inconvenient. The price of the ticket is a strong motivating factor.

Transportation 
   Taxis are readily available in town. There is also a decent bus service between major outlying towns.

Money 
   Bank machines are also readily available to access money. A Visa debit card is the most universal.

Restaurants 
   There are many good restaurants in town. A list of reputable places to eat and a map of their locations are available from the business facilitator at the guesthouse.

 
Ouagadougou Contact Information

Office phone: (226) 50-30-72-58
Business Facilitator: Kathy

Office and Guesthouse Physical Address:
Mission Baptiste Méridionale
338 Ave. President Blaise Compaore
Ouagadougou