We are in the midst of youth camps. Three of them. Yesterday was Day 1 of the final camp. It was out in Tamou where we have a ministry among the Gourmantche. Over 100 were gathered for 3 days of teaching – growing in the Lord, and taking hold of your destiny. The first 2 camps of more than 200 youth were awesome. They were in Niamey and Maradi respectively. (cities 8 hours apart) Great response, great youth, great disciples in Niger.
Here’s a couple pics of yesterday’s meetings.
Needless to say by this last camp, we were “swagaliga-ing”. If you haven’t heard Neal’s message on that, it means ‘pressing in or moving forward’. This camp is a 90 minute drive from our home, and since there is no place to stay out there, the plan was to make the drive back and forth every morning and evening. We went in 2 vehicles on Monday morning because Neal had to leave camp early to come back and teach in our evening discipleship school.
Honestly, the whole day was challenging. First of all, it rained all morning.
This is just before the storm.
Because of the hot dry desert sand, there is nowhere for the water to go, so it just piles up. Quickly.
This is the church compound after a couple minutes of rain.
So this meant that all of our activities had to be inside the church. And not only did we have about 100 active youth, they are people that are not used to being inside for long lengths of time. But swagaliga is what we continued to do.
And you know how people talk about the lovely sound of rain on a tin roof? Believe me, it’s not quite so lovely when it drowns out the message or the rules of the game you are trying to get across- using 3 languages.
We were encouraged though by those who were diligently working on their pressing toward the mark worksheets, and others who can’t read or write were following along.
As I said, Neal had to leave early. Which he did – at about 3pm. By then, the rain had stopped. Before he reached home, he called me to let me know about an issue on the road. There is a place where the road is completely gone for a distance of about 30 feet, and the ravine it creates is about 15 feet deep. Thankfully, there is a temporary road (not sure how long a road can be called temporary, this one has been there for over a year) that goes down into the empty riverbed, and around the bad section of road. We’ve driven on it countless times. I’m sure I have a picture of it somewhere…. As I said it is an empty riverbed. We passed it that morning on dry land. But then it rained for a few hours. Neal told me that he had no problem getting through on his way back – even though there was a transport vehicle stuck. No surprise there, they’re always stuck in something. He just wanted me to be aware of it – and reminded me that when going through water, you don’t let up on the accelerator. I remembered that, because I learned that lesson firsthand-and the hard way. But that’s another story.
The team and I left 3 hours later – at around 6pm. Since it hadn’t been raining for nearly 4 hours, I fully expected the area to have less water. After all the flooded area of the church compound in the picture above was already dried up.
We arrived on the scene. To this. The expanse of water wasn’t like the Red Sea, but it was probably about 120 feet across.
Huh. What to do, what to do. If I wasn’t driving, I would have twiddled my thumbs for a moment or two.
In our lovely white 2004 Toyota 4Runner was Pastor Scott, Josiah & Tara from the US, and Delphin, one of our ministry team members on ground here. Pastor Scott and Delphin got out, rolled up their pant legs, and entered the water to see what they could (or couldn’t) see.
That’s Delphin looking at us – probably thinking I was a crazy person…And possibly he was right.
Yes, those are 2 other vehicles stuck in the rushing water.
But Neal told me he went to their left. What neither of us knew, was that rather than seceding the water level had risen significantly.
I called Neal and told him what things looked like. I tried to think like him. And the Neal I know would go through that water. And then…a Hilux (a double cab Toyota pick up), came through that water from the opposite side. He even smiled at me and gave me a thumbs up as he drove by.
That’s all we needed. If he could do it, we could do it. I held my breath, I heard other car members praying and I hit the gas.
You may notice my change in pronouns here – to try and spread out the responsibility for my actions….
I’ve been told that I need to keep my blog posts shorter. So I’m ending the story here. I will write the remainder in the next post – which I will start right now.