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!