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


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

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