A Sunday in Niger

The 'Son' shining on Niger

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…

Almost there….

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!

The Nursery…

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?

102 thoughts on “A Sunday in Niger

    1. Thanks! For some reason this post was featured on the front page of WordPress yesterday, so was read by over 2000 people in one day, and counting….Pretty wild. Thus, all the comments.

  1. Calebrentex Rantaxis

    Amazing work you are accomplishing through Jesus here, I pray that it continues to grow and that no one would ever loose sight of the amazing God we serve!

      1. I spent most of my time in Maradi…about 5 weeks there and one week in Niamey. I worked with Assembly of God missionaries while I was there and we traveled to various villages in the area. It was life changing and I hope that I could one day return again.

  2. Pingback: A Little Perspective « Kingdom Bard

    1. Thank you! Please do share…the more focus on the 10/40 window the better. Before coming to Niger we were youth pastors ourselves, and encouraged all to take at least one mission trip. Appreciate your prayers as we work together to bring in the harvest.

  3. this was a great “picture tour” of one of your sundays. wow, thanks for all the work you put into it — and for the work you guys are doing in niger. but i do have one complaint:

    i’m jealous. my wife and i are missionaries in tanzania, and we’re never served anything in villages that looks as good as your “rice mixed with pasta and a red sauce with goat meat.” and we for sure don’t have a place to have ice cream afterwards. we may just come and visit.

    God’s blessings.

    1. Thank you! Yep – we’re pretty blessed with the village food. And it is quite tasty. And our ice cream place has been a huge blessing – it’s pretty new. God bless your work!

    1. Thank you so much! We have been in Niger since 1998 – don’t have plans to go anywhere else at this point. Appreciate your prayers so much! Until all have heard!

  4. John Whitbread

    Wonderful to see the worship touching people at their deepest. Jesus is alive!

    Thank you for sharing your work ‘

    God Bless you and the people of Niger


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  9. iwu2012breanna

    I am sooo pumped to see your post on Freshly Pressed!!!!!!!!!!
    Praise God for how He is working through you and those with you in Nigeria. 🙂

  10. Bri

    Awesome post and congrats on being featured!

    I’d totally love to go on a mission trip one day, especially to Africa; it would be awesome, as I just love Africa and my faith is so important to me.

    Praying for you and what you’re doing in Niger. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much. I don’t even know how that happened – but happy to bring more exposure to the unreached! Thanks for your prayers and encouragement.

    1. Well, the languages can be a challenge – but we know the Word will be preached everythere – then the end will come. Wish everyone could experience a multi-lingual service! Thanks for your encouragement.

  11. What an awesome experience for you and your family. What an awesome adventure with God! God bless you and your efforts to reach the ‘unchurched’ in Nigeria! Thanks for the great pictures.

  12. OH my goodness! This is so beautiful! What a testimony! Praise the Lord for His work in Niger!
    I don’t know any of you or your story or the miracles or trials that led you to Niger. . . but may He reward you above and beyond for your sacrifice there!
    Thank you so much for those pictures – this brings me closer to the missionary home front than any photo journalistic essay ever could.

    P.S.: I love the part where you said, “Spirits are full, bellies are full”. . . that’s the way it should be! The majority of Christian churches here in the states leave the spirit empty but the flesh fulfilled.

    1. Thank you so much. What an opportunity to expose more to the unreached and bring focus on nations like Niger! There are challenges for sure, but who doesn’t have those? It is our honor to serve in Niger.

  13. I really liked your pictures! I’d love to be in Niger. Is it safe there… for Christians? Is there a lot of persecution? Actually, I really like the pretty dresses you all had on with the head piece. I love Christ Jesus with all my heart, but I became mentally ill in the U.S. Air Force, and it got worse when I visited Tulsa, Oklahoma after I got out of the military. I won’t go into detail, but I wish you’d pray for me so that I can do God’s will, which a lot of religious right people don’t want me to do because of what happened to me in Tulsa. Right now I live with my elderly, widowed mother and I help her a lot. God bless and I wish I could send you all some money, but my mother handles my finances. Love ya’! ~~~Anna Marie Isgro

    1. Thank you for your comment. Trust in the Lord with all of your Heart and lean not unto your own understanding. In ALL your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight!
      Yes, it’s safe here for Christians. Though Muslim culturally, there is religious freedom so we have the ‘right’ to preach the Gospel. There is persecution – at some times more than others. But right now the window for Niger is open!

  14. Yes very inspiring!!! What wonderful work is being done for Jesus!!! Oh I’m so glad this was front page I truly enjoyed it all!! May God continue to bless big time as you continue to minister in Niger. I’d love to be there if only for a little while,”whew” the heat,it’s 99 here South Carolina today and I know it’s even hotter there,but God be praised for your loving kind hearts and obedience.
    Love ya

    1. Thank you! The front page thing sure was a surprise to me. But thank God as it can bring more focus to the unreached. FYI- you’re right, 99 would be a cool day around here!

  15. andydbrown

    Great post! It was SO nice that you took the reader on the journey with you. Awesome!
    May God bless you as you bring God’s Word to a people hungry who seem so hungry for it.
    My prayers are with you and your family. Here’s a scripture verse for you, as you leave all behind, to share God’s good news with the people of Niger:
    25 A generous man will prosper;
    he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” (Proverbs 11:24-25)
    God bless you and your family and co-workers there and may God establish the work of your hands. Yes, establish the work of your hands (Psalm 90:17) !!!

    1. Thank you and Amen! Love both of those verses. Thanks for the encouragement. You’re right – it is awesome to share the Gospel with someone who has never heard!

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  17. Kathleen

    Your pictures and the work that you and Jesus are doing…..encourages my heart to continue to serve Him with more passion and love. thank you

  18. Wow amazing pictures. You all have done a wonderful job. I think this is best thing which every people have think to do it. I see the pictures and you give them lots of support and care which is really great. Keep it up good work.

  19. Fnatastic pictures and you’re all doing amazing work.

    I have to say, your comment “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!” sounds rather similar to the Gospel of St Thomas……….


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  21. ‘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…’
    I just believe God has shone his face throughout all the individuals I’ve seen in this ablum, It has truely blessed me to see how passionate they are about praising God, this has motivated me to go even further in my faith and move up! I think this ablum is a powerful message interpreted through images and it has moved me in such a way that I’ve never been moved before.
    Thanks so much for this blessing, Hope to hear more from you soon!
    ‘How will they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?’
    Carry on doing your amazing works, because I’ve been moved to do so 😀

    1. Wow! How wonderful that this has inspired you to go further in your faith. We all have the responsibility to reach the lost and to be involved in missions. Do what you can from where you are. God will continue to direct your steps. It is an honor to serve him. Thanks so much for your encouragement.

  22. anewcreation

    Hello there,

    It has been a great blessing for me to read your account of a Sunday in Niger.

    Our church is closely linked with a Mission in Uganda and my husband has visited it twice. His account was quite similar to what you describe her. I am hoping one day I will get to go there, but for now I don’t hear the Lord calling me to serve there, but here where I live. The Ugandan children from this mission have stayed at our house twice now and they are such a blessing to be with.

    I wish you all the very best for the future. May you always have such a joyful and grateful heart.

    God bless you

    1. Thank you! That’s wonderful — you can be involved in missions right where you are, by doing just what you are doing. It would be wonderful though if you could actually go yourself, if even for a short trip. It would be life-changing. I appreciate your encouragement.

  23. justjoxy

    Very engrossing post. Well done for doing what you do. Is there a way to donate towards your ministry? I have taken the liberty of reblogging your post. May God continue to strengthen you and yours IJN.

    1. Thank you for your encouragement. And happy reblogging! The more we can get focus on the unreached in Niger and in other nations, the better! Yes, we are 100% supported by friends/partners who want to invest in the harvest. Our sending organization is Agape Missionary Alliance in Little Rock, AR. A link to their website is on my blog for online donations. Support can also be mailed directly to AMA. Checks are made payable to Agape Missionary Alliance, writing ‘Neal Childs’ on the memo line. They can be sent to Agape Missionary Alliance P. O. Box 22007 Little Rock, AR 72221. We receive notification once a month of donors. All giving is tax-deductible and a receipt is sent to you. Thank you for asking! God bless you.

  24. Yvonne Goodmanson

    Reading this Blog brought back so many momories of the time we spent there.As your parents & grandparents we Praise God for your obedience in serving our Lord Jesus Christ in all you are doing.God knows how much we miss you but what greater joy could one have than to see our children and grandchildren serving the Lord.We Love you & are so very proud of you.

  25. Wow, Danette!!!

    This post is AWESOME!!! I just love how you give such clear a glimpse of a day in your life and ministry. So beautiful!!! It’s amazing how captivating simple photos and captions can be! I know that Christi is looking so forward to coming soon . . . in just a bit over a week. I’m definitely going to be sharing this post with our friends and family too, to help them to know your wonderful family.

    Thanks for your passion for the lost, your dedication to the people in Niger, your love for your family, and your overwhelming love for Jesus. I know that Trae is going to be so happy to be home with you SOON!!!

    Love you!

  26. P.S. I posted a link to this page on facebook and twitter, along with a specific request (with a link to that BBC news article) to pray for immediate release of that 40-foot container with relief food for ministry. Already several of my friends have commented that they are praying for you!!!

  27. Alice Matthews

    I loved this visual Sunday and the story line. Made me want to be back in Niger. Couple of questions where is the restaurant? and who is the young man who is going to be Trae’s roommate.

    1. Thanks Alice. The restaurant is across the street from Score. It has become the local hangout. Great variety of food and prices, great AC, and wireless. Rufus is a student from Benin that has been at Sahel for several years. Trae was his roommate the year they stayed in the dorm.


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