Introduction to the Songhai of West Africa
Struggling to survive . along the banks of the Niger River, the 3.5 million Songhai were once rich and powerful. They ruled much of what is now known as Mali and Niger. Centuries ago kings, sorcerers, and warriors used their leadership skills, magic, and armies to establish the greatest medieval empire in West Africa.
But things changed as fierce invaders from the north pillaged the land and the desert consumed the crops.
Their proud way of life was no more. Their faith in Islam could not help. They became enslaved to the sprit world and its darkness. Their sacrifices to demons brought only bondage. The sorcerers could not make things return to their days of glory.
However, through all of these traumatic changes, the Songhai family unit remained firm. They continued to work together on their small farms. Respect for their elders remained. Boys and men continued to care for the fields and livestock, while girls and women performed household chores. Marriage was only allowed to family members and entire villages still trace their heritage to one common relative.
Today, the Songhai struggle to survive in one of the harshest climates of the world. Little rainfall and heat indexes in excess of 150 degrees punish their land. Three out of five children will die from hunger or diseases before their fifth birthday. Survival depends on the water from the Niger River and working together.
The Songhai has endured much. They know how to survive where others would fail, but they do not know Jesus. Nearly all of the 3.5 million Songhai continue to show their allegiance to Islam, and, at the same time, cling to their practices of magic and sorcery. There are very few followers of Jesus Christ. (Overlay with number of believers)
Is it any wonder that they have a fatalistic outlook on life? They feel that an impersonal and non-caring god is in charge and nothing that they say or do will make a difference.
They are a people living in darkness, needing Jesus above all else. Walking among these down trodden people are a few who are bringing the message of a personal and caring God. The team is small, but it is backed up by thousands who are praying and by many who are volunteering their time and talent to the task of bringing hope to a hopeless people.
Slowly changes are occurring
Several small churches have been established
Leaders are being trained
Believers are emerging.
YOU can help by
Ð Joining the Songhai Prayer Team
Ð Joining one of the short term medical, prayer, or teaching teams
Ð Joining the Songhai Team as a short or long term missionary
You CAN help introduce the Songhai to a God who cares.
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