Friday, October 21, 2011

Volunteer Testimony: Blake Richey (September 2011)

I "stole" these journal entries from Blake's family blog. I couldn't pick just one day so I posted all of them here for you to read & enjoy.

Day 1:
"Today was another great day for the Lord here in Africa. We had the opportunity to disciple 7 new believers in the N.D. Village. When we arrived, the believers came up and welcomed us unto the village. Shortly thereafter we found ourselves surrounded by a crowd of nearly 40 people consisting of men, women, and children all there to hear the message we had brought. The fact that several women were there was very interesting. This is usually not the case. They were all very engaged in the message and began to discuss it afterwards. Mark and our translator Cephus questioned these ladies on the fact that they said they do believe what we were saying to confirm the gospel. They did acknowledge this and indicated that one of the other believers would Baptize them tomorrow. This was very encouraging to see this response from so many people at one time. After this time with them, we walked through their village and then on down to the river. When we got there we had another opportunity to sit down under a tree to answer questions and tell a couple of bible stories to the same 7 guys along with some other men that had walked up to hear what we were saying. At this time, we had a couple of guys asking questions which allowed us to share some life experiences as to how we pray and also what we do when a child is born into the world. This was another encouraging time of discipleship as we finished our time in the village"

Day 2:
"Today we traveled to Niamey to Aroyou to spend time and disciple some believers in this village.  The morning consisted of them welcoming us into the village and also learning more about where they are in their walk. After having lunch at a local market, we went out with Ibrahim to work in this field.  It was very hot out there but we all enjoyed our time walking along side out brothers.  Once we got back, Tom and I shared our testimonies with Bouba.  When Bouba was ask to start telling his testimony, he gave us a brief description of when he was saved and then from there started going through the gospel with us.  From Adam and Eve in the garden, to Noah and then to Christ dying on the cross for our sins.  This was amazing because he has not read any portion of the scripture that would tell him this.  He truly has learned from his other brothers along with listening to a radio that is already loaded with the new testament in his native language.  Near the end of the afternoon, 3 ladies walked up and sit down next to Santos. Santos is a believer and has been sharing the word with them. It was at this time these ladies verbally said they believed.  They agreed to be baptized in the morning, which is great.
We ended the day by hanging out with these people as we set up camp for the night.  Tomorrow is already shaping up to be another exciting day, since we will be starting it with 3 baptisms!  We are all looking forward to what will happen tomorrow."

Day 3:
"Our time in Ayorou has come to an end.  We started the day by having breakfast in the village market.  I had no idea what to expect here, but we had omelets which were good and it was an interesting experience. Children would gather around us as we ate, waiting for left overs from our meal. It was humbling.  After breakfast, we went down to the river and baptized two young men that are new believers.  This was great to see these guys make their public profession of faith before their other brothers.  Please pray for "Z"'s family to accept them and his new faith in Christ.  He was fearful that his father would cast him out from the family.  Although, he was fearful of this, he still wanted to proceed with baptism! Later in the morning two of the three ladies from yesterday returned to be baptized.  We loaded the truck back up again and headed down to the river.  This time *Abe* had the honor of baptizing his new sisters in Christ.  Neither of these women were married which Mark and Cephus said was out of the ordinary.  Most women believers are married.  On both occasions we took several pictures with our new brothers and sisters in Christ to celebrate along with them. Before we left for the day, we spent more time with our brothers encouraging them in their faith and letting them know how much we appreciated our time in the village with them.  It is truly amazing to see them share their faith and also their dedication in serving the Lord everyday."

Day 4:
"Today was moving day for The "F" family.  J & S are new missionaries here that will be primary working in Boubon.  This morning we met over the Compound to load a moving truck with their furniture. Once we got everything loaded we begin the trip to to the village.  Upon arriving there, many people in the village came up to greet us.  These people ended doing more than greeting us.  They helped us unload this truck and carry the furniture into their new house.  It almost seemed at one time we had too much help, but we certainly didn't say no. We had planned to spend some time this morning with the only believer in the village.  However, he was really sick today and was not able to visit with us.  Pray that he will be feeling well again soon.  Since we didn't spend time with "S", we went to greet the chief of the village.  The chief wasn't there so we greeted his wife "H", and she was very welcoming.  We really enjoyed our short visit with her.  This afternoon we were craving something that none of us had since we had left the states. That craving was a hamburger, french fries, and a coke!  While eating here at the Embassy we fellowshipped with other missionaries in the area.  Tomorrow we will be heading out for a long day in the villages of Kakassi and Koulikoira. There is only ONE believer in each village.  Pray for them to be receptive to the gospel." 

Day 5:
"Our last day here on the field in Africa we spent our time in the villages of Kakassi and Koulikoira.  We headed out this morning for a short drive.  Along the way we had the opportunity to experience a ferry boat ride in getting over to these villages.  As Mark would say, another item to check off the Africa to do list. It was certainly interesting to say the least.  When arriving in Kakassi we had the opportunity to be greeted by "I" at his compound.  He is the ONLY believer in this village.  To be able to spend more quality time with him, we went out to the field to help him out him some farming.  As we were finishing and walking back to the truck, another guy walked up and started talking with us.  This turned out to be his brother.  So during our time of discipleship with "I" we had the chance to share the gospel with his brother.  He seemed very receptive but wasn't ready to make a commitment either way.  Although, one interesting point was after he finished praying in Arabic, Cephas asked him if he knew what he just prayed.  His answer was NO.  This certainly proves that most of the Songhai truly believe in a Folk Islam and they don't actually communicate with God, they just repeat prayers. Pray that God will continue to work in this man's life.  We felt like he showed up there for a reason, so we remained hopeful at the same time.  After taking a short break for lunch, we headed on over to Koulikoira.  We were going there just to stop by and encourage the only believer in this village.  When we arrived, "D" greeted us and you could instantly tell he was very excited to see us.  He invited us into his compound and while there we had the opportunity to pray with him about his son.  He has not had any contact with his son in close to 2 years and he is very concerned about him.  He feels like he has spent a lot of time and money searching for him and at this point would just like to know if he's even alive. We shared with him Proverbs 3: 5-6 and just encouraged him to trust in the Lord with this situation.  Lastly he let us know that the next time Mark and a team come to the village, he wanted to know so that he could gather some other people around.  These are people that he feels like are very interested in the gospel and could make a decision.  How great this was to hear about such a wonderful opportunity to share the gospel. "

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