It’s always good to get away – and it’s always good to get home. We arrived home from our trip to Benin Republic yesterday (Monday) at about 4:30pm. Though we were met with extreme heat, we welcomed the dryness. Benin is HUMID! We had a fantastic trip – I will write more about it in the days ahead. I don’t want to forget any of it!
We unpacked and visited with Mom and Dad, giving them the low-down on the trip. By-the-way, today is Mom’s (my mother-in -law’s) bday – Happy Birthday! The kids crashed early, as we were all thankful to be back in our own beds.
Not wanting to waste any time getting into the swing of life, we were up at 6:15, kids were off to school, and I was off to my 8am class. (All the while finding it difficult to believe that only 3 days ago I was playing in the Atlantic). It was good to be back with the students. Sadly, 3 of them didn’t come back last week. We are still trying to figure out their individual reasons. One of them was a younger guy (Ibrahim), and we weren’t sure of his committment. This is about the time of the year that those who are coming for a free ride (3 meals a day) and not to be discipled, start to fall away. We are particularly disappointed that Zaku didn’t come back. He is an excellent student and a sharp guy with lots of potential. Sometimes the persecution gets to be more than they can take. We heard that Ibrahim didn’t even go back to his village because he said his dad would be upset with him (for going to Bible School in the first place). So we’re not sure where he is. I’m so thankful that Sido is still with us. Keep praying for him – and for all the students.
I asked if there were testimonies anyone wanted to share – since I’d been gone a week. Aishatu, one of our pastor’s wives stood up and testified that she witnessed to 2 women over Easter weekend. They said that when she was talking about Jesus they could see him standing behind her. They weren’t ready to receive. She visited again, and again, the women could see Jesus. They came to church on Sunday. One of the women received Christ, the other one said she wanted to, but wasn’t ready just yet. Wow! This is what we’re here for!
This past week, Bible School students Sido and Soumana went with Alio, an Evangelist and one of our Bible School teachers, to Karma. Karma is a village that we are ‘spying out’. We want to plant a church there. Neal has visited and talked to the leaders to get their ‘ok’. We don’t need it officially, but things go better if we can get it. They witnessed and spent the night in the village. I think what they said is that 2 people received Jesus! This is great – and a great start for a church! Open doors! We have a pastor ready to put in Karma. Again, the reason we’re here. Jesus’ words in John (“My meat is to do the work of my Father”) become more and more real to me as we find our strength in doing what He’s called us to do.
As soon as classes were over today, we had a water baptism in the Niger River. There were several students (Sido was one of them!) that hadn’t been water baptised, as well as some church members. Baptisms are one of my favorite things. It is such a public display of committment to Christ. It’s done right out there in the open – the river is a very public and busy place. People are washing their clothes, getting water for their nearby farms, and many are just sitting around enjoying the ‘coolness’ (this is relative) of being near the river. Neal & Pastor Moctar entered the water first as one-by-one the candidates walked in to declare to all those around them that they belong to Jesus! It was powerful and there was much rejoicing. In fact after all were baptized, they didn’t want to stop singing and praising God! I wish everyone could experience this…I’m getting bold and attempting to include a slidshow with this post. I would like to hear if it works…
After the baptism, Neal had his monthly meeting with this region’s pastors. In fact he is still there now.
Things are moving forward in Niger – Jesus is Lord!