We’re in Maradi for a citywide evangelistic crusade. Nothing like this has ever been done here – so we’re quite excited about it. It’s being called ‘Festival of Life’. I’ll write more on that soon.
Maradi is very close to our hearts because this is where we cut our teeth on the mission field. We have lots of relationships here. Usually when we’re here we’re hosting a mission team and of course they are the ones that do the ministering. So it was a treat for Neal to preach in the Maradi church yesterday.
In the above picture he is ‘proving’ that the stool will hold him. It’s one thing to know it, but another thing to prove it. And to do that, we can’t be afraid. We should be strong and courageous, according to Joshua 1:9 (and many other places). But I’m getting off the point of this blog…
On Saturday evening we were at the church for a meeting with the pastors regarding the above mentioned festival. When we were leaving, I commented to Neal about the cross at the top of the church. It was in bad shape. Not a huge surprise since it has been there for over 10 years. But it needed to be replaced. Neal agreed and said that he had just talked to Pastor Yahaya about it. Good.
Sunday morning. Pastor Yahaya gave an incredible testimony. He said that he had been planning on talking to Pastor Neal about the cross when he got there but Neal beat him to it. (by ‘talking about it’ that meant that he wanted to ask for our help to replace it). That morning he was in the church at 8:30, praying before the service. He said a chinese man walked into the church and put 1000 cfa (about $2) into the offering. (No, this isn’t a normal occurrence) Pastor Yahaya tried to talk with him but the chinese man spoke only English (well, and I suppose Chinese), and P. Yahaya speaks only Hausa and French. So they smiled and nodded. The man began to leave. He walked out of the church and then walked around the outside of it. He looked up and noticed the disheveled cross. He tried to speak to P. Yahaya about it. They found someone else on the compound that spoke some broken English and he helped to ‘translate’. The chinese man wanted to know how much it would take to replace the cross. Pastor Yahaya told him 40,000 cfa (just under $100). The man pulled out a hundred dollar bill and handed it to Pastor Yahaya. He gave him an email address and told him to replace the cross and let him know when it was done. Wow! That may not seem like a huge thing to some, but 40,000 cfa is a respectable monthly salary around here.
And that’s not all!! As a ministry, our churches have given their tithe (10% of the church income) and it is put in a general fund and used for various needs people have. A year ago, the decision was made for the tithe of this ministry to be given to another ministry – outside of Niger. We needed to sow some seed. So we collected the tithes for the first 6 months of this year and we sent them to Mission China – a mission that is doing church planting and discipleship in China. Yep. China! Now that’s just a cool miracle of provision!! It’s so much fun to witness God’s faithfulness. And that is just the beginning.
Pastor Yahaya was planning to get a carpenter working on the cross right away. I’ll post picture of the finished product when it’s done.