These posts are from the pre-blogging days. This is the journal I wrote when we moved out to Diffa, the far eastern region of Niger. We lived there for a year and a half. A church was established and today is very alive and self supporting.
Monday, March 22, 2004
I started today organized. I do much better if I know what the lunch plans are before the day begins. I’m getting better at that. We had “Haystacks” which everyone seemed to enjoy. Also this morning Gift delivered to us some pounded yam and egusi that Blessing had cooked for us. It was a blessing!
Neal brought the carpet home that we have been waiting for. It’s blue and it’s a big piece. Matches everything really nicely. It’s like having wall to wall carpeting in our living room. He’s on his way now to get the chairs.
This past week, 3 people received Christ. Zabeyrou prayed with them all. Rabo, the Magarie of one the the Carties, and his daughter in law Aisha. Also a friend named Moussa. They didn’t make it to church yesterday because of some problem with their animals, but Rabo sent 3 of his children. Today Neal and the guys started a formal discipleship program with the 2 men. They taught for over an hour. Then after lunch I went out with the guys to meet Rabo’s wife. She wasn’t there, but we met his mother, who according to him is the only one he’s concerned about or afraid of as far as persecution goes. But she appeared to be very accepting. Also met 2 of his grandchildren who made an impression on me. It’s the first time since I’ve been in Niger that children have seemed to see as just another person – not a white person. It was very different. They weren’t afraid, but very fun loving, joyful and mischievous. I pray we reach this entire extended family. After that, we went to meet a man who apparently was a Christian in the past, but because he has had no support, has dried up spiritually. He seems to be very open to renewing his relationship with the Lord. He said his wife has never repented though. We’ve set up a meeting with him for Wednesday evening. I’m very impressed with the guys – I was with Zabeyrou, Ousmanne and Abdu. Z. especially is very bold. They are all zealous, but walk in love. I believe they have true compassion for the people. Children everywhere in general seem to be happier here than I remember in Maradi. More joyful. I don’t know if it’s a cultural thing or not. Maybe I’ll figure it out. I enjoyed going out and meeting some more people. Also learning the roads a little better. For some reason I can’t seem to remember things nearly as well if I’m not driving.
Last week there were 12 visitors at church. Yesterday, there were 13. Many of them are from the EERN church and are ‘just visiting’. We have a pretty solid Nigerian family that considers Vie Abondante their church. Michael, his wife Blessing, daughter Hope, and his sister, Gift. I believe they will be a blessing to the church. Yesterday I talked to a lady named Salamatu. She says she’s been a Christian since she was born… I will talk to her about that. But she married a Muslim – he is Gendarmarie and very committed to Islam. She’s been married 7 years but has no children. She came forward for prayer to get pregnant, but when I talked with her afterwards, she said even before that, she wants her husband to receive Christ. She came with an unsaved friend, Rakiya, and her sister, Balki.
There is another lady that has been visiting me. Yobe. Her husband is not well and is in Niamey. That’s what she told me. She has children, but nothing else. She gave me a Kanuri purse. Very nice gift. She came a few days later and asked for help. I know she has great need. This is one of the areas that we really need wisdom with. How to help people. She has been attending the EERN church, but I know I’m not understanding her full story. I helped her with 3000cfa, but I know that won’t go very far. When I asked her if she knew who the Holy Spirit was, she said no. She was in church yesterday and Zabeyrou preached a good message about patience. God WILL answer and perform His word. It was good for her to hear. Her daughter, Hadiza is sick and we prayed for her. I encouraged her to confess faith and healing over her daughter, and not doubt.
Tanika continues to play with Mariama. On Saturday Max followed her to M. house, and bit someone – Babye’s sister. His father came yesterday, and then today came and showed us the bill for medicine – it was over 12,000cfa. I have a hard time believing it was that expensive. Hopefully that won’t happen again. I feel bad for the girl. I’m sure it was terrifying. Also for Tanika who was getting yelled at by everyone for bringing her dog out. Since then we’ve been tying Max up when we go out.
Trae spends time with Babye – who came to tell him yesterday that he was traveling to Maradi for a week. Trae also likes to hang out with the guys and play cards.
Friday, March 26, 2004
The week has gone by quickly. Our life here is quite a bit different than Maradi. There, things were established and we were working on maintaining, strengthening and growing. We do those things here, but it’s a different level. Everything we do is establishing. There is nothing pre-existing. We are loving it. We are thankful we have email and phone communication, otherwise we would feel completely cut off from the Western world.
On Tuesday Lawali led prayer. Ousmanne led P & W. Salamatu was there again and we told her we would visit on Wednesday. She wants to be filled with the Holy Spirit. She grew up EERN. Her husband Amadou is a committed Muslim. She is believing for his salvation, and she wants to have a baby.
Wednesday, the team came over for volleyball. Several guys they invited showed up as well. It’s a good time for relationship building. In the evening we (Neal and I, Abdu and Oumma) visited Salamatu. We prayed for baptism in the Holy Spirit. She didn’t start speaking in tongues – although really wants to. I think there is some fear, as well as lack of understanding. We will continue teaching her, and the testimony of manifestation will come. We prayed loudly, and are sure the neighbors heard. We’re praying there will be no negative repercussions on her when her husband hears about it.