West Africa

                       06 Dec 2007


 For most of the Songhai, their day begins with a call to prayer.  Loud speakers mounted on the minarets of mosques throughout their homeland are used to issue the five obligatory calls to prayer each day.  Islamic practices define the Songhai’s daily life.

 Islam was introduced in this area and to the Songhai some 500 years ago.  Today, 99% of the Songhai people claim Islam as their religion.   Despite their outward devotion to Islam, they have never completely rejected the spirit world of their past.  …  It is still part of their daily life.  … Dances and costumes are used to communicate with the other world.  … Magic potions, animal parts, bird feathers, and other assorted items are commonly used to appease the evil spirits and to cause sickness to an enemy. 

 Among the 3-1/2 million Songhai living along the Niger River, there are only a few hundred Christians who worship and pray to the one true God. 

 Missionaries are working with these Believers to better equip them for sharing the truth and light that only Jesus brings. 

 In the village of Tagabati (TAG a bah te—long e), … Daouda (DOW—like the sound you make when you smash your hand only with a d… DOW dah) … with very basic training, equipment, and books, … uses antibiotic ointment to treat pinkeye for Hamidou (HAM e—long e doo).  After the treatment of this common ailment, Daouda watches and listens as his patient, a new Believer, learns about baptism.

 The villagers watch … and some even join the group … as they head toward the river for the baptism.  Rains have filled the low spots in the pathway making it difficult to get to the river.  Hamidou is baptized on the flooded path.

 Š        Pray for the Believers here in this small village of Tagabati. 

Š        Pray that they will follow Hamidou’s example of obedience to the one true God.

 In the village of Tillaberi (TILL ah bear e—long e), Christians are hard to find.  There are less than a dozen in this village.  Yet, … one Christian family living here is easy to find.  Along the main street of town, Caroline (Carol + line, as in a straight line) watches over her display of plastic dishes that she sells.  While waiting for customers, she faithfully reads her well-used Bible.  Her roadside stand is next to a carpenter’s workshop.  Across the ditch, … in a small two-room mud and stick apartment, … Caroline lives with her husband, Femi (FEY me), and their children, Joy and Jonathan.  Femi and Caroline are missionaries from the neighboring country of Nigeria.  Their desire is to tell the Songhai people about Jesus.

 Š        Pray for these missionaries and their family. 

Š        Pray that Femi and Caroline will see many come to faith in Jesus Christ.

 There are a few Believers in the town of Gotheye (GO tey).  Here these Believers are learning how to share the love of Jesus with their neighbors and friends.  Since most Songhai cannot read, some learn how to share the Word of God using pictures.  First, the missionary teaches them the lesson.  They practice teaching the material to each other.  Then they share The Word with those who have not heard.

 Omar (O – mar) is also following the example of Jesus as he is baptized.  This spot in the muddy waters of the Niger River is in full view of those in the large market nearby.

 This small garden plot provides a source of income for some of these Believers in Gotheye.  Here, … as in other places, … following Christ has its price. This price includes the loss of jobs as well as being ostracized by family and friends.  A small number of plants can be watered from the river by using buckets. However, a much more efficient method …  is the foot driven pump that was donated to the group by Christian volunteers from the United States. 

 Š        Pray for this small group of Believers as they witness in the town of Gotheye and in the surrounding villages.

 A group of Believers gather together in a family compound in the village of Guria Bon.  Once a week a local church planter from Tera travels out to disciple these new Christians.  They have been very obedient to apply Scriptural Truths to their every day lives.

Š        Pray for these new Believers, and others like them,  that they would continue to mature in their faith.

 In the city of Tera (TER ah), … some three hours drive northwest of Niamey (KNEE ah mey), … a church planter’s conference was held.  Seventeen Songhai Believers attended this workshop.  For some, this was the first time to visit Tera even though they live less than 50 miles away.

 The conference provided a time of worship together.  The participants were also able to listen to lectures in French that were then translated into the Songhai language.  The small group studies helped them to better understand what must be done to reach the Songhai for Christ.   It was also a time of fellowship and food.

 Š        Pray for this small group that they will have boldness as they reach out into the Songhai villages, towns, and cities.

 There is a new day for the Songhai.  But … the workers are few.  …  Your help is urgently needed!

 Will YOU be a part of reaching the Songhai for Jesus?


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