Monday, April 29, 2013

Weekly Prayer Focus: Campellsville University BCM

Please be in prayer for a group of 10 that will be traveling to Niger from Campbellsville University's BCM at the beginning of May. This group will assist the Songhai team in targeting unreached areas & opening doors to these villages. They will spend much of their time sharing C2C in villages that have had little to no Gospel access. While here, they will not only be ministering to the hearts of people but also to their bodies as they will conduct "wellness clinics" for women & children. These clinics will consist of distributing infant formula, malnutrition mixes & vitamins to eligible women & children. They will work in partnership with local clinics that desperately need assistance while also sharing the love of Christ through meeting such physical needs in these villages.

Pray for the team in their last minute trip preparations, spiritual readiness & safety in travel.

Pray for openness of hearts & minds of all they will encounter will here. Pray that these students may boldly & clearly proclaim the Gospel to every individual they encounter. Pray that many will hear of His love, many will see it & many will accept Him as Savior.

Pray for the safety of the team as they travel in & around these Songhai villages. Pray also for their health as they will spending many hours in the hot, hot sun with little to no relief from it.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Weekly Prayer Focus: Summer Interns

The Songhai team will have a total of seven summer interns over the course of 2 6-week terms. Three of the interns, working with Mark & Parker, will arrive at the beginning of May & will be focusing on ministering to children & conducting ESL classes. The other four, working with Jody & Sarah, will arrive in July.

The Phillips' interns will be centered in Niamey around the HUB. We've desired, since beginning the HUB, to begin reaching out to this specific community in Niamey where it's located. Pray for these girls as they endure extreme temperatures, sporadic electricity, & the task of taking Light into the Darkness. Pray for their ability to communicate (with minimal language skills & using audio resources) to boldly & clearly present the Gospel to all they come in contact with. Pray for openness of hearts among the children & students they teach in Kids Club & ESL classes. Pray that the Gospel may go forth in & around the HUB & many will come to hear of Christ's love & find salvation in Him.

The Fox's interns will be living in their village with them & helping to establish new contacts in that village & surrounding villages. They will also be helping to establish children's ministries in the home village. They, too, will live in extreme temperatures & sporadic electricity. Pray for these interns to boldly proclaim the Gospel in all they say & do. Pray for relationships to be established with men, women & children that will assist & further the Fox's ministry along the Road to Karma. Pray also for the interns' health & safety.

Pray for all the interns as they make their final arrangements & plans for their summer. Pray for not only physical readiness but also spiritual readiness.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Weekly Prayer Focus: Accra, Ghana

Please be in prayer for Mark & Cephas as they make their upcoming trip to Ghana. The capital city of Ghana, Accra, is filled with over 50,000 Songhai people. For some of the Songhai, they come to Ghana to seek work to help provide for their families in Niger. For some, they have made Accra their home & there are now 2nd & 3rd generations living there.

As Mark & Cephas seek out the Songhai in Accra, pray they would be led & guide to those who are also seeking Christ. Pray that they would have many opportunities to share the name of Christ boldly & often with those that have never heard. Pray for wisdom of how to follow-up & disciple any of these men or women who seek to follow Christ. There is a HUGE population of Christians in Accra & many churches there. However, many of these churches are not targeting the Songhai. Pray that Mark & Cephas may establish partnerships with one (or more) of these churches to assist in ministering to the Songhai that, literally, "live in their backyards."

Monday, April 8, 2013

Weekly Prayer Focus: Village YK

Please be in prayer for village YK this week. There has been a lot of work going on in this village over the last 18 months & we've seen almost 2 dozen profess faith in Christ. We've also seen 2 key leaders emerge from this group who have a desire to see a church planted in their village. However, in recent days, there has been some "conflict" between these 2 leaders. It is not physical & does not involve persecution, it simply involves lying. And where there is lack of trust, there is lack of growth & unity.

Please pray for wisdom for the Songhai team (specifically Mark, Jody & Cephas) as they deal with this. Pray that the Lord would give them clear direction in how to handle these men & continue to disicple the believers in this village.

Pray for the group of believers who are struggling now with trust. Pray that they may forgive quickly, their unity would increase & their faith would grow through this.

Pray for the main leader involved that needs to truly repent of what he's done to himself, his fellow brothers & restore the bond that has been broken due to distrust. Pray that he would truly have a broken heart over his sin & he would seek forgiveness from all involved.

Pray that the Lord would use all of this for His glory & the church in YK would only grow stronger as a result.

Monday, April 1, 2013

sow with hope, reap with humility

I’ve tried to grow a garden multiple times.  I’m afraid I don’t have a green thumb.  If anything I have a black thumb.  Plants see me coming and they just start trembling. I’m the grim reaper of horticulture!

However, I continue to try and thus I continue to fail.  Even as I type this, I have begun yet another attempt to grow something successfully. 

It’s gotten so bad that even as I’m planting the seeds into the earth, there is a voice inside my head that says, “This is useless, it’s all going to die, it’s all for nothing.”  And so, even as I’m planting, I’m already defeated thinking this is a fruitless pursuit.

If I’m not careful, I can carry this same attitude into my sowing of Gospel seed.  We see lots of disinterest and even hostility towards the Gospel when we take it out.  Sometimes, even those who quickly believe turn out to be false “conversions.”  If I’m not careful I can hear that same voice inside my head as I’m casting the Gospel seed which says to me, “This is useless, no one is going to listen, no one is going to believe, it’s all for nothing.”  And so, even as we’re out sharing the Gospel, we’re already defeated.

Our Songhai team has adopted a team theme for this year taken from the 4th chapter of John.  That theme is this:  sow with hope, reap with humility. 

Jesus was talking to his disciples about an unexpected harvest in an unexpected place.  His disciples hadn’t even considered working in Samaria and were simply trying to pass through as quickly as possible.  Yet, here we find many who believe.  John is showing us faith where we’d never expect it (to contrast the disbelief he’s shown us where we thought we’d find it, namely Jerusalem). 

If you’d asked Jesus’ disciples about sharing in Samaria they probably would have scoffed and said, “That’s a pointless pursuit!”

Jesus is teaching them (and us) that we should never carry this attitude into our sowing of the Gospel.  And thus, we should sow in hope.  We try to go out prayerfully when we share with an attitude of expectation.  We expect the Gospel to transform lives and to make dead hearts alive!

However, the other lesson Jesus taught those disciples that day was to reap with humility.  A harvest was literally approaching Jesus as he spoke to the disciples as a crowd of Samarians were coming to Jesus to believe.  Jesus taught them that day that they will reap a harvest where they have not sown.

For us as well, we are in a very fruitful season of ministry.  We’re seeing things so many of our colleagues aren’t seeing and so many of our former colleagues longed to see.  Why is that?  The temptation is towards pride.  The temptation is to think, “This is because of our great faithfulness” or “This is because of our great strategy” when the reality is this is because of our great and faithful God.  We are simply reaping a harvest where we have not labored.

And so we go out expecting God to bring about fruit but when He does, we only boast in Him!

May we all sow in hope and reap in humility.