Monday, January 20, 2014

Weekly Prayer Focus: NLTS 6.1

We are in the midst of our 6th NLTS classes!! We are still so humbled & amazed that God has allowed us this opportunity to create an Oral Theological School for our national believers (who are predominately illiterate).

What we are even MORE amazed by is the fact that our believers & leaders have grown so large in number that we not only have 1 set of students in this course but 2 sets!! The class was getting so large at the last NLTS that the Songhai team had to decide to divide them in half. So while we would normally teach 4 classes over the course of a year, we now have to teach each class twice for a total of 8 classes. Praise the Lord for continuing to call these Songhai brothers out of darkness & into the Light & for raising up these men to be leaders in their villages & their homes!

Pray for the men this week as they study Personal Evangelism. Pray that they would retain all they learned & would increase in their desire to share their faith & their boldness to do so. Pray that they would also be able to adequately communicate all they've learned to their churches or outreach groups in their villages.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Adopt a Road

We'd like to issue a challenge to y'all for this year. We truly believe that 2014 is going to be another great year among the Songhai but it's going to be one that NEEDS to be rooted in prayer. R.A. Torrey said, "Prayer unlocks the storehouses of God's infinite grace & power." We are asking that at least 100 of you commit to praying with a more intentional focus for the Songhai this year & unlock the storehouses for the Songhai in 2014. As you know, we have 8 areas of focus (the 7 Roads plus Niamey, our HUB). We are asking that you "adopt" one of these roads & pray daily for it. You can see the image below for more info, if you are interested. If you'd like to join us in this challenge, you can simply email us with the name of the area you'd like to adopt.

January 2014 newsletter

Dear Prayer Partners,

2014 is here & we are so excited about all that God is going to do among the Songhai this year! Thank you so much for coming on board with us for another year of praying for the Songhai. We are so humbled & so grateful for your prayer support! Thank you also to all of you who gave to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. If you didn't have a chance to give yet, it's not too late.

If you'll notice in the newsletter, there are "bold" statements under each of the Roads. These are our Songhai team goals for 2014 for each of these roads. In the last newsletter, we listed all the things that God had done among the Songhai in 2013 & now we are asking you to pray for these goals to become a reality in 2014. You will also see some things that have happened over the last month & we are just amazed at all God is ALREADY doing this year!! We truly serve an amazing God who is able to do more than we can ask or imagine!

Thank you again for your commitment to pray for us, our team & the Songhai!
that ALL may know HIM,

Mark & Parker Phillips <><

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Weekly Prayer Focus: Discipleship Training for Women

I had hoped to write this post to ask y'all to pray for the first-ever Discipleship Training for women that we were to conduct this weekend. However, we had to postpone it. The female believers among the Songhai are small in number & we had hoped & prayed that we would be able to provide them with an in-depth time of teaching & training, much like what Randy does with the men (but not quite as extensive as an NLTS). For some women, they are the only believers in their families & the only female believers in their villages. This time of training would allow them to not only grow in their knowledge of their faith, it would also allow them the opportunity to have fellowship with other like-minded Songhai women.

So, for now, the training is postponed until a further date. Women have so many responsibilities here from caring for the children, cooking for the entire family, & cleaning. They also have obligations within their communities to care for extended family members during the birth of a child or helping with the festivities involved in a wedding. All of these responsibilities (& more) is what kept most of the women from being able to commit to come to Niamey for a 36-hour period. There were a few who would've been able to attend but we decided to postpone it until the majority could attend together.

Please pray that the Lord would allow these women a "break" from their responsibilities just long enough for them to receive this training. Pray that we'd be able to do this first round of training soon as we'd like to provide this for them at least 3 more times over the year.

Pray that these women would grow in their knowledge of the Scriptures, their love for the Lord & their boldness to share with their families & friends the hope they've found in Christ. There are so many "obstacles" to overcome with women here about who they think they are vs the truth of who God has called them to be & how God view them. Pray that, more than anything, they know they are loved & adored by the One True God & He thinks they are so worthy!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Weekly Prayer Focus: Kandi, Benin

In late fall of 2013, Mark was doing a regular check-up of the Songhai whereabouts on the internet. It's a thing he likes to do a few times each year to see if there are any mentions of the Songhai on the world wide web & to also see if the Songhai have been located elsewhere in the world. Well, sure enough, on one of his checks on Joshua's Project, he found that they had located Songhai in Benin & were considering them a UUPG. This was brand new information to our team!!

And, not only that there were Songhai in Benin, they were on the same road that we are already engaging ... just further down & across a country's border. So in early December, the men on the team (Mark, Randy, Jody & Cephas) decided to go check out this town & see if it was true. They arrived in time for lunch, grabbed a bite to eat & headed to the market. They gave themselves 2 full days to find the Songhai in this large town because they had no clue where they were at, just that they were there somewhere. Upon entering the market, they decided to start greeting people in Songhai to see if anyone responded (then they'd know they'd either found the Songhai or found someone who knew enough of the language to point them in the direction). It didn't take long (about 2 seconds, actually) before they realized that 90% of the people in the market spoke a dialect of Songhai! They had found the Songhai & it only took 2 seconds!!

They made a few contacts & decided to come on home the next day (much to the wives & children's delight!). The Phillips family (now of 5!) decided to do a follow-up trip to this town the first week of January. Now that we knew for sure there were Songhai there, our goal now was to find what areas of town they lived in & establish more contacts. We found that there are 3 areas of this town where the Songhai live: 2 are still in the town (1 close to the market & 1 at the edge of town) & the other is an entire village 5 km outside the town!! We were able to meet with the chief of this village & he told us that he'd been living there for 20 years!!

So now that we know the Songhai are there & we know where they're at, we now need your prayers in determining how to reach them. There are many options for this, some of which are engaging them as a team, engaging them with volunteer teams OR working with local churches in the town (we came across at least a half dozen but we're sure there are more) to engage the Songhai who are literally living as their neighbors. Please pray for our team as we prayerfully consider how the Lord wants to use us to engage the Songhai of Kandi, Benin!