The time has come for me to write about something that happened last week. I have to admit that it is still quite painful. I probably should have written last Friday morning in the form of a prayer request, but I just couldn’t do it.
It’s about Sido. The Bible school student that many have been praying for. If anyone doesn’t know or remember who he is, you can check out past posts that I have written about him. Briefly, he is a new convert, a Muslim who came to us, begging to be saved. He was so motivated and asked if he could please be in the discipleship school this year. He has been with us for 3 months and has been an excellent student. He withstood strong family persecution. I really feel that he has great leadership potential, and that God wants to use him to be a part of reaching the unreached in Niger.
Last Thursday, Neal came home from classes and mentioned that Sido wasn’t feeling well – and that he had a bad attitude. Pastor Nelson, our Nigerian missionary that directs the Bible school in Maradi has been with us all week to teach in the school here in Niamey. One of his ministries is in the area of deliverance. He ministered in this area to some of the students. Sido was not one of them, but Neal said it felt like there was an overall heaviness in the class and he prayed for them.
Thursday night we had our first monthly combined service, joining our Plateau and Harobunda churches. There was special music, and the students did a skit. Sido narrarated the skit. It was about the lives of the students who had dropped out of school, and how unsuccessful they were, versus the successful lives of those who finished the course. (The successful ones started a church in Niamey that now has 20,000 members! – maybe this is prophetic!) Pastor Nelson preached a great message. I asked Sido how he was doing before the service and he said he was feeling much better and really seemed back to himself. After the service I encouraged him to be a part of the choir, as that would help establish him further in the church. He agreed and said he would come to practices this week.
Friday morning Neal called me from the school. He told me had some sad news. Sido had been given a key to the office, as Pastor Abdu has been helping to disciple and mentor him and wanted to give him some responsibility. Thursday night he took that key after the service, went into the office, took the church ‘bank’ as well as that night’s offering. He also took Pastor Abdu’s cell phone and one of the student’s cell phones. There were still lots of people milling around when he left, saying he was going out to buy some yogurt. We haven’t seen him since.
It was heartbreaking to hear how he gave into temptation after resisting much greater temptation in the past. Also very sad was that Neal asked me to print out the picture that I used in this blog to ask people to pray for him so they could give it to the police. It has become a ‘wanted poster’.
We made out a police report. He took $150 in cash, and though that doesn’t sound like a ton, it was a discouragement as it was money the church has been raising to buy a keyboard.
It has really grieved me and we have been praying alot for Sido. The enemy is really working against this man – because I know God has powerful plans for his life. We got a phone call from Pastor Abdu after getting home from church on Sunday. During the service, Sido went into Pastor Abdu’s house and took the TV and many of his clothes. He uses the TV at his house but it belongs to the Bible School. That was quite a shock. Another heartbreaker. The police are now very angry, and couldn’t believe that he would do it again. We all assumed Sido had hit the road. Neal and Pastor Abdu went to where Sido’s family lived. Neal was shocked to meet his mother who appeared to be a very well put together older lady with good English. She didn’t know Sido was in Bible School, hadn’t seen him in a couple weeks, and said that though she is a Muslim, has several Christian friends. Sido wasn’t around. They told her they were looking for him, but the family doesn’t know what he’s done. Monday, Neal had to go around with the police and hand out the wanted posters at the checkpoints, and to show them the house so they can look for him there.
I will admit that I’m really bummed. Neal is bummed. So is Pastor Abdu and his wife. It can really make you wonder about your effectiveness. But then we encouarge ourselves by looking around and seeing the fruit that does remain. And we know that the investment is worth it.
Please pray for Sido. Pray 2 Tim 2:25,26 …in humility correcting those who are in opposition. If God perhaps will grant them repentance so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taking captive by him to do his will.