Friday, July 5, 2013

Volunteer Testimony: Summer Interns (May/June 2013)

Six weeks have passed and in those six weeks, we have seen, experienced, and learned more than we ever could have expected. Stepping out of our compound each day, whether it was to prayer walk, go to a local orphanage, greet our neighbors, or attempt to communicate with locals, we encountered darkness. Darkness presented itself in the form of hunger, sickness, deceit, and a community driven by the commands of a Quran that most can recite but don't understand. More often than not, we felt defeated because the darkness and need seemed to outweigh any efforts we made. See, we came into this internship with big plans- plans to share the Gospel with people who have never heard it.  Plans to teach children to praise Jesus. Plans to disciple hardened women to have hearts softened towards Christ, to teach them what love looks like after living in a society that hardly even uses the word love. This may come as a shock, but those plans did not play out the way would have hoped they would. In fact, the surface was barely scratched for many of them. It's a reality that daily we all had to face as we saw our time here growing shorter and shorter. It became easy for us to question our effectiveness as witnesses for Christ.  As we turned to scripture for direction and wisdom, we found encouragement through the example of Jesus and his ministry. Before Jesus began, he prayed. We realized that the area we were in, the people we saw daily, the children we grew to love may have never been prayed for before we got there. That was a difficult concept for us to begin to understand-to think that no one had ever approached God on behalf of this community, praying for their salvation.  It was our privilege to pray for them. Daily we prayed for the homes we passed, the smiling faces that greeted us, and the backs that were turned to us (belonging to the people who knew we were Christians). We prayed and prayed and prayed and 2 weeks before our internship ended, Biba and Cephas were kicked out of their home (with us in tow) for being Christians. God was in no way shocked by this and in less than 24 hours a new home was found, contracted, and moved into a week later. Just like that, we left our neighborhood for a new one. The Songhai team's theme became very relevant to us in that time: Sow with hope, reap with humility. We don't know what the future holds for our friends that we made, but we do know our efforts were not in vain. We may never see the fruit of our labor this side of heaven. We will continue to pray for the community of Bobiel and ask all who are willing to intercede on their behalf, trusting in God to once again bring among them the truth of his word. The enemy lurks searching for his prize but we know who has already claimed the victory. God has begun a work in the country of Niger and it was an honor to play even a small part in it. John 1:5 has been our motivation through these weeks and will continue to be as we head home: "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."

- Morgan G, LHBC, Bowling Green, KY

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