Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Volunteer Testimony: LHBC (December 2012)

 Niger! God, really!  That was honestly my first thought when the Holy Spirit told me obedience to God included a mission trip to Niger.  When God gave the same call to my husband, I knew we must go.  The trip certainly did not make sense from a temporal point of view.  Our business was not doing well financially and the trip was expensive. It was right at Christmas and who would do "Christmas” for the family if I was busy with a mission trip.  Little did I know that God was going to give me a Christmas gift of understanding His will.

When I became a Christian, I had to leave the faith of my family (one of works salvation) and attend a church that taught salvation by grace through faith.  My mother was so upset with my decision she kicked me out of the family.  No communication with me from her, my father, or three brothers.  No coming home for the holidays.  I was dead to them.  I remember my first Christmas as a Christian sitting in my apartment completely alone questioning God’s will.  Does being a Christian have to hurt so much?

Now back to Niger.  The Songhai are a community.  In each of their villages they understand information and make decisions as a community.  Children wander about freely for the community watches out for them.  Food is shared depending on who has money that day.  In the harsh climate of Niger, community means survival for the Songhai.  When a Songhai follows Jesus he is immediately separated from his family.  He is no longer a part of that precious community he needs to just physically survive.  The beautiful Songhai believer truly gives up all to follow Christ. 

Now I knew why so many years ago God allowed my family to reject me for my belief.  I had a testimony to share with the Songhai believers.  Without speaking the same language, we both understood the pain of becoming a follower of Jesus but also knew that following Him was worth the price.  We understood that we get a new and better family starting with Christ as our brother.  And they came to know becoming a Christian can mean rejection in any culture not just theirs.  It was a testimony that was shared with believers I taught and one that resonated with even nonbelievers in Karma and Kakassi.  God had given me a totally undeserved gift to share with others, my family’s rejection.  
-- Annie D, LHBC, Bowling Green, Ky

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