Church planting is one of the things we are doing in Niger. So it stands to reason that we would also attend those churches. And in our family, ‘Sunday’ is synonymous with ‘church’. It is a very rare occasion that we would not be in church on Sunday. But, we are not always in the same church every week. Vie Abondante has 33 churches and counting across the nation of Niger. Here in the Niamey region, where we live, there are 9 of those churches. This past Sunday, we attended 2 of those services. It is my attempt for this blog to do a ‘pictoral post’ to record our Sunday. And if a picture is worth a thousand words, I’m not even going to tell you how many words this represents!
We left our house at 7am. By ‘we’ I mean Neal, Tanika, Tobi, Don and I. On the way we picked up Rufus and Tam who normally attend church with us in Niamey. Here are some pictures of our adventure.
This is our house on Sunday, June 6th as we were leaving for church. Come along for the ride!
This is downtown Niamey – leaving the big city.
Crossing the Niger River. It’s nearly dried up. Where you see cows will soon be covered with water (hopefully!)
Getting further out of town – more into the ‘bush’ as we call it. There’s a herd of sheep/goats and a broken down vehicle – pretty normal scenery.
We’re more than halfway to church. We’ve left the ‘main’ road.
Further into the bush. The cows are searching for food. You can see there isn’t much to be had.
The road grows more narrow as we go. That doesn’t really make sense, does it? To say the road grows more narrow…
About 90 minutes later, there it is – the church! This is the dedication service for this new building. But wait til you see inside the building. That’s when you’ll see the real church!
Pastor Sule did a great job finishing this building. Thanks to everyone who was a part of making it happen! The people are eagerly waiting to begin worship.
Yenyaba is leading worship. He is one of our discipleship school students. Check out Tobi on the drum. I posted a few second video of this on Facebook if you’d like sound. It’s pretty cool.
Neal asked “How many of you are followers of Jesus?” You can see the response! Now there’s the true church! I’ll bet some of you wish you could have been there for this.
This little guy was just adorable.
Tanika, Tam & Rufus were the special music. My guess is that this is the first time the majority of the people have seen a guitar. Pastor Sule is at the far right. A few seconds of this is on Facebook too.
Neal doing what he loves to do. Preach the Word of God. And he does it well!!
Because this was a Gourmantche village, Neal had to preach in Hausa, and be interpreted into Gourmantche. Both Tam and Rufus speak French, but no Hausa or Gourmantche so Tanika had to interpret from Hausa to English for them. But it looks to me like they’re just chatting here! Or could it have been something funny Neal said?
We’re expecting these children at our children’s camp next month. What fun they will have!!
The message was that though we have been blessed with a new building, the presence of God is not in the building, it’s in the believer! It’s in me! It’s in you! Better be careful, I’ll preach myself happy here…
But this building is pretty cool. And how do you like my fancy black and white version? Getting creative…
I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see. All these people were in darkness just a short time ago. Now, they see clearly! I bet I’m tempting you more and more to come and see it for yourself! There’s nothing like it!
After the service in Yambingina, we headed to Tamou for round number 2. Pastor Sule is now taking care of 4 congregations, so the services have to be staggered. We were able to be there for 2 of them. While in service, there was a little bit of a muddy rain, so the windshield is quite dirty…
This is a rented place in Tamou – but we have land now and are beginning to build on it. Until that’s finished, this is where the services are held. Pastor Sule’s house is to the left.
Rufus is clearly enjoying the service. He’s going to be Trae’s roommate at ORU this year.
This is Cima, Pastor Sule’s wife. She’s checking to see if there is any more room inside – and there always is.
Don preached here- in English, Neal interpreted to Hausa, and Sipo into Gourmantche. Every tribe….every tongue…
Neal even preaches as he interprets!
It’s crowded in there – as it should be! But I can’t begin to describe how hot it is!
Homemade slingshot…preaching better be good!
Offering is a time of worhsip and rejoicing.
They dance to the front with their gifts.
Learning to give is an important part in the life of a believer – new or old!
The future of Niger – hearing the Word of God!
All these kids were in church today. The white and black shirts are the t-shirts from last year’s kid’s camp.
After the service in Tamou, we went down the road to see the land that was given to us by the mayor. Here we are with Pastor Sule and the builder.
The wall is going up around the property right now. This is really going to establish the church in this region. Tobi’s looking a bit scary…
The wall is partially done. It’s a big piece of property. Rufus is standing near one corner of the land. We are trusting God for all the money needed to build the Pastor’s house and the Tamou church here. They have outgrown the straw ‘building’.
The mud bricks for the wall are made right on the property.
The sun was hot and we were getting faint from hunger =)
Did I mention we were hungry?
He was explaining to me how much it would cost for the different parts of ‘meat’. Too bad I didn’t have any money on me! This was down the street from the church.
A side of beef anyone?
Fortunately, Cima had prepared food for us because we really were hungry!
It was good! Rice mixed with pasta and a red sauce with goat meat.
Yummo! Better than Mickey D’s any day! I’m being serious.
Tam & Tanika polished off a bowl. Tam is holding water, which one drinks right from the plastic bag. Great way to keep washing up to a minimum!
It was obviously quite tasty. Now I know you’re really itching to come for a visit!
Before we left, Pastor Sule’s youngest son Bitrus (Peter), gave Tobi a bag of mangoes. So sweet! (The mangoes and Bitrus – Tobi too, for that matter!)
After 2 great services, fellowship and food, our journey home begins. It’s a pretty nice road.
Thankful that we were going by Land Cruiser and not Donkey Cart.
Leaving the laterite road for the paved road. Four-Wheelin’s over!
Spirits are full, bellies are full…now it’s time for a nap! Tanika is going to love me for posting this!!
Except for Mr. Don and Tobi, who were doing their best to stay awake!
Getting closer to the big city.
And closer…check out the traffic light.
Crossing the Niger river. (It’s not very river looking just now) Up ahead – the skyline of Niamey.
That’s the Petit Marche’ (small market) up ahead. We’re on our way to Amandine to get dessert! Bet you wish you could come too.
Nothing like cake and ice cream to top off a perfect day!
I opted for a cream puff. And yes, we’re still in Niger!
Yes, the boy really did consume all that sugar…But in my defense, he did sweat a whole lot! Sweat for sweets.
Though I love the sweets, my favorite thing about this restaurant is that big item above the TV. You cannot beat a good air conditioner when it’s 120 degrees outside. I know this from vast experience. Here, we can have our cake, and eat it too!!
Driving through the Petit Marche’ on our way home. Full of sugar. This is the view right outside the restaurant.
Almost home. This is the road our house is on. The Muslim cemetery is to the left of the wall, and you can see a mosque up ahead on the right. Our gate is straight ahead.
There it is. That’s our gate. That’s a big mango tree right inside the gate. Isn’t that cool?
We’re home. And that’s a Sunday in Niger. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your visit!
How will they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?