This week has been a challenge for Christians in Niamey, Niger. According to BBC News Africa, over 70 churches have been burned by protestors angry about French Magazine Charlie Hebdo’s illustration. But the believers in Niger are proving that their joy is in the Lord.
Look at these faces. Can you see the joy? The Christians in Niger’s know they already have everything they need. “As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.” 2 Corinthians 6:10
I’ve visited Niger three times in the past three years, and the violence caught me by surprise, but I should have been expecting persecution of Christians because the mission teams in Niger are reaping a harvest. The name of Jesus is spreading like water in a flood. All along the great Niger River, people are hearing the name of Jesus for the first time on the Road to Wanzerbe, the Road to Ayorou, the Road Between, the Road to Mehanna, the Road to Tera, The Road to Namaro, and The Road to Guya. We should expect to hear of more persecution in this country that is 99.9% Muslim.
The gospel is spreading because national believers continue to share their faith with their families, neighbors and community. It’s impossible for IMB missionaries to visit areas that where previously open, but local believers are spreading the “Good News.”
Last week I read the book, The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken. This book includes countless examples of Christians being persecuted and the impact their persecution has on the spreading of the gospel. It’s by the believers’ faith and joy in the face of persecution that draws others to Christ. God uses what Satan means as evil to grow His kingdom. Consider Pastor Sani Nomoa’s words. “I call on every single believer in Niger to forgive and forget, to love Muslims with all their heart, to keep up the faith, to love Christ like never before.” See the entire article: (https://www.worldwatchmonitor.org/2015/01/3630042/#.VL6QYv7bcvA.facebook
Pastor Sani Nomoa is living according to God’s holy word. “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32. The Christians in Niger are an incredible witness to their persecutors. I have to wonder how my faith would stand under similar circumstances. One of the reasons I’m drawn to Africa is because I learn so much from the believers who have a faith that I cannot fully comprehend – even when I see it.
A Good Samaritan Orphanage I visited in February 2013 was attacked because it is run by Christians. I’ve been told by my friends in Africa that the devastation at the orphanage was exaggerated, (Praise God). The protestors burned the children’s mattresses, but the buildings have not been destroyed.
This child is singing a praise song in the orphanage. You may feel pity, but these orphans are blessed. They are among the few in Niger who have heard about Jesus and His love.
I was unable to organize a mission team to return to Niger this year and I’ve been frustrated, but I can still pray. Praying for our brothers and sisters in Christ, in Niger is the most important thing we can do for them. “You must also help us by prayer so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayer of many.” 2 Corinthians 1:11. Please pray for the Christians and the Muslims in Niger. Pray for the harvest.
Giving money to organizations in Africa can be risky because it’s difficult to discern what organizations are trustworthy. That’s why I give to the International Mission Board (IMB) and to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. The IMB is a branch of the Southern Baptist Convention. To learn more about this organization, you can visit their website:
IBM, PO Box 6767, Richomond, VA 23230-0767
To learn more about the Lottie Moon Christmas offering, you can visit this website.
To learn more about the missionaries I’ve visited in Niger, you can check out this website.
The Songhai are a beautiful people group, loved by God. Many are still waiting to hear the name of Jesus for the first time. If you can’t go or send funds, please pray. To sign up to be a prayer partner with the missionaries in Niger, you can subscribe to their newsletter: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hosea 14: 3 In you the orphan finds mercy.
#Africamissions #seekingthesonghai #theinsanityofgod #persecution #niger #IMB #lottiemoon