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


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?

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!

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