Monday, February 20, 2012

february newsletter

Dear Prayer Partners,

We again thank you for your faithful prayers over the last month. God has been so alive & active among the Songhai! We've seen people coming to know the Lord here in Niamey, in Boubon & in Burkina Faso. We have seen believers growing in their faith by leaps & bounds. We've seen our national partners commit to reach even more villages with the Good News of Jesus Christ. Thank you for your prayers for our team & for the Songhai people. We are eternally grateful for your prayer support & ask that you continue to pray for God to send His Light into the darkness across the Songhai lands! Plead with us that many would hear & know of the salvation that is found in Christ alone!

that ALL may know HIM,

Mark & Parker Phillips <><

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Weekly Prayer Focus: Saouga

Mark, Randy & 2 national partners recently traveled to Saouga, Burkina Faso to minister to the Songhai alongside a team from FBC Madisonville, TN. Mark & the others were only able to stay for 3 nights but, in that time, were able to share Christ with numerous villagers as well as showing the Jesus film on multiple occasions. The team reported that after Mark & the others left, six people came to faith in Christ. For the village of Saouga, this makes for a total of 7 believers!

Praise the Lord that He was faithful to call these men to salvation. Praise the Lord that a church can now begin in this village. Praise the Lord that He is sending His Light into the darkness.

Pray for these believers as they grow in their faith. Pray for their wisdom of the Lord to grow by leaps & bounds as well as their boldness to share the hope of Christ with their lost friends & family. Pray for the Lord to protect their minds from attacks & give them endurance during persecution from those that oppose their decision to follow Jesus.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

news from Gomer: February 2012

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your continued prayers during this time.  We are going in what seems so many directions, it seems like we are caught in a whirlwind.  So many things are changing, the ministry here is growing and God is continuing to mold us and shape us into what He wants.  I am blessed to have you praying for us, and I am blessed to be here seeing first hand what God is doing in the hearts and lives of so many people.

Does God hear our prayers? Yes, He does!  Just the other day I was moving some things at the house and picked up a notebook I had used to write prayer request in when I first came to Accra. As I flipped through the pages I noticed a prayer request from exactly two years ago.  It said, "Pray for the onion sellers that I can reach-out and gain opportunity to share the Gospel with them"!  Did God answer that prayer?  YES, and in a big way.  Mitch* and I laugh sometimes that when I first came here I was having a problem finding the Songhai, and now they come to us, everyday! 

For almost two years the onion sellers have been coming to the house for cold water and bread. We have grown to be family in so many ways. We have always tried to have plenty of food for them, cool water, Nescafe coffee, Lipton tea, a place to rest, a place to shower and use the restroom.  We tried to always have first-aid supplies and medicine for them in case of injury or illness. We have always had the Gospel on display for them in multiple formats. We tried to always have the Jesus video available for them to see, cassettes with the Gospel in their language, the Bible in audio format for them to listen too, and we have always tried to live each day with them in a manner that they could read the Good News of God's Divine love for them in our daily walk with Him.  I marvel at how God answered that prayer request.

Praise God that through the relationship God has built between us and the Onion guys many have heard the Good News of Jesus.

Pray for the many Songhai that have heard the Gospel and are contemplating in their hearts accepting Jesus.  Pray for the Songhai that have accepted Jesus that they will grow in their love and courage, that they will know the peace and joy that is in Jesus.

Just two weeks ago there was a Songhai man that came by the cloak of darkness to Mitch.  He is an older man from Niger and is one of the "onion bosses" from the market in Niger where most of the onions are shipped from to come here.  He came and asked to see the Jesus video.  He sat for two hours and watched the video from start to finish, then asked for a copy to take with him and also for copies of the cassettes he has been hearing because the young guys have been carrying them back when they go.  He said he had been hearing about this Jesus video and had heard bits and pieces from the cassettes and just needed to hear more so he could know more.  Pray for all the unknown people God is speaking to through the Holy Spirit.  They are unknown to us, but to God they are very much known and loved.

As I said last month, we are seeing many changes here in the ministry.  Please be in prayer for us all through this time.  It has been rough on us all in so many ways, but we all know and realize it is the working of God and so we are happy and content with all that is taking place.

What is happening?  Well, I will try to explain as best I can.

I am preparing to come to the States for a few months.  I will arrive mid-March. While in the states I hope and pray for many opportunities to share what God is doing here and what we are envisioning to take place in the near future.  I would like to raise some funds to help build upon the ministry.

Mitch will still be here and will continue to minister to the Songhai and to help guide the little schools.  Please pray for him and his family. They are very nervous about all the changes that are taking place.  They have many things on their minds during this time of uncertainty.  Will there be a paycheck each month? They are expecting a new little baby in the next six to eight weeks and school fees are getting higher all the time here for their son, almost out of reach for them at this point.   But Mitch is happy to be able to still minister to the Songhai.  He is excited about the ministry he will be able to do while I am gone.

We are in prayer over what actually happens next.

I am praying and planning to come back to Accra in mid-July, getting some work done on my truck, getting it tuned up, getting some new tires and then Mitch and I would like to drive from Accra to Niamey visiting the Songhai that dot the landscape all along the way.  In Niamey I want to work to improve my language skills, to improve my ability to evangelize and disciple in the Zarma language.  I also want to develop a deeper relationship in the village area where so many of the onion guys are from.  We have family members calling us to thank us for the help we have given to their sons.  We even had one Dad come to Accra, call us and ask if we could come meet him.  He asked if we would be coming to the village this year.  We feel God would have us go and minister the Gospel to them also in both word and deed.  Mitch would only stay a couple weeks then come back to Accra to be husband, dad and minister.  I would like to remain in Niger for about three to four months.

In the village I would like to continue to help them with the village school.  We delivered school supplies this past year and I would like to do so again, and I also feel it would be good to be able to buy some material to build desks.  I would like to go and work alongside them building desks for the future of the village, their children.  I pray that through this we would gain the opportunity to share Jesus.  That through this many would come to accept Jesus as Savior.  I would love to see a true Christian congregation form in this village area.  People, children of the most High God worshiping and praising Him in this remote unknown land of Niger.

Please join us in prayer about all this.  This would be no small undertaking.  The travel involved, the money it would take, the logistics, everything involved in this is just more than I can imagine, more than I am capable of.  But yet, I know God can do all things through me if I am faithful to just follow him and stay focused on the mission ahead.  I have had the feelings of uncertainty before, the realization that it is more than I am capable of.  I had those feelings just over two years ago, and now I see the hand prints of God all over what He has done here.  Praise Him for His Love and faithfulness.

In the mean time, we have a group from First Baptist New Orleans coming this week and we are praying for God to do great things through this team while they are here.  There are many young men I would would love see come to accept Jesus before I go to the States and I feel this is the time.  Pray for this team that they will come prepared to minister in all the ways God calls us to, that they will come saturated in prayer and that the Holy Spirit will work many wonderful things through us all while they are here.

  • Praise God for all He has done in the past two years.  Praise Him for all the answered prayers.
  • Pray for the onion guys that God will continue to work in and through them.
  • Pray for the people hearing and seeing the Gospel that we are not even aware of.
  • Pray for all of us as we experience all the changes that are taking place.  Pray for the ministry that it will be able to grow and reach more and more people as time goes on.
  • Pray for Mitch and his family as the ministry changes, grows and develops.  Pray for peace and joy for them.  Pray for Barbara* as she prepares to bring this new little one into an uncertain world.  Pray for the whole family as they prepare to welcome this new addition to the family.  Pray for their son as he becomes the "older" brother now.
  • Pray for Mitch as he leads the Ministry here.  Pray that God will renew his boldness, his desire to share Jesus and that the Holy Spirit will teach him all things.
  • Pray for our future.  Pray that if it is God's will for us to travel to Niger we will go boldly and with resolve, to minister the Gospel, sowing seeds all along the way.
  • Pray for my time in the states.  For rest, and time with my family.  Pray for opportunities to share all God is doing among His Songhai and for the funding we need to carry on this ministry.
  • Pray for the team from First Baptist New Orleans as they prepare to come in just a few short days.  Pray that while they are here we will see a ground swell of Songhai coming to know and accept Jesus as Savior.
  • Praise God, for all He is doing, for all He will do.  Praise God, above all, He is God and He reigns!!  Praise God, Jesus Saves!!

       In Christ the Savior,

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Weekly Prayer Focus: Tagabati

Please pray for the village of Tagabati this week. This is a very dark village known for its sorcery, witchcraft & strong ties to animism. Of course, it also has a veil of Islam covering it as do the majority of Songhai villages.

Since beginning work on the "Road to Karma," we have seen interest & fruit (some false, some fleeting & some lasting) in Boubon & Karma but have yet to see one person profess faith in Christ in Tagabati.

Would you just simply pray for the salvation of the people of Tagabati this week? Pray that they would hear, see, and KNOW the Truth. Pray that their eyes would be opened. Pray that Light would enter the darkness. Pray hard. Pray fervently. This is tough ground & has been held in the hand of the enemy for centuries upon centuries. Pray that the Light would burst through & His sheep would hear His voice.