If I had to use one word to describe my recent mission trip to Niger, Africa, it would be blessed. For weeks I worried about being stranded in Istanbul for two days. We had sixty-five minutes to make our flight connection and if we missed it, the next plane to Niamey would be two days later. We made it to the gate in fifteen minutes. The Istanbul airport is huge, chaotic and bustling with people. I consider this feat a miracle. When will I learn to trust Him completely? “Depend on the Lord; trust Him, and He will take care of you.” Psalm 37:5.
Our plane circled the Niamey airport for an hour due to a thunderstorm and the Muslim man sitting next to my sister asked her to hold his hand and the two prayed together. It’s unusual for a Muslim man to touch a woman not a relative, much less to ask her to hold his hand and pray. “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44.
Attending a church service in a remote village that held fast to the gospel when the missionaries left was one of the highlights of my trip. We don’t know who first visited this tiny village, but a missionary I will call John Smith stumbled upon them and now visits regularly to teach them more. More than fifty people attended the church service and stayed all afternoon for more training while the children learned Bible stores and colored outside. “So then brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions, which you were taught, whether by word of mouth of by letters from us. 2 Thessalonians 2:15.
The women of Africa always touch my heart. They work from before dawn until dark gathering water, cooking over an open fire, cleaning, and caring for children. A baby is usually strapped to a mother’s back as she works. We are always treated as honored guest and welcomed to sit in the best chair if they own a chair. A mat is also pulled out for us to sit on. These women and men show respect and listen to our testimonies as we share God’s plan for salvation. Many people fear visiting a Muslim country. The people wandering the aisle of my local Walmart scare me more than the people in Niger. All the people I met in the villages were kind and generous. We have many things in common, especially that we want to spend eternity in heaven. Unless something drastic changes, most will die never having heard the name of Jesus. I pray many more will answer the call to go to Niger so that all may be saved. Don’t let fear stop you.
What a blessing to be allowed to travel to Africa again. I am the most pitiful of missionaries and I often wonder why God has allowed me to be a part of his plan when there are so many more qualified. An example that will make you laugh out loud is a picture of my tent. When I purchased an air mattress for camping, I had no idea of what I was buying. The kids in the village got a kick out of seeing the size of my twin mattress grow higher and higher. It wouldn’t fit inside my tent, so I placed the tent on top of it. I might have floated away during the rainstorm. Believe me, if I can travel to Africa, you can probably do it too.
For those of you who prayed for our team, THANK YOU. Everything went smoothly and our team had a spirit of unity and love.
If you ever have the opportunity to join a foreign mission team, I hope you will grasp it with joy. I’m always reluctant and just like Gideon, I ask for signs. God never lets me down. Even though I am inadequate, He supplies me with everything I need. I can’t do anything without God. It is He who will reap a harvest.
This is a photo of me with one of the best blessings of my life. She is my Sister in Christ who interpreted for me, cared for me and treated me like royalty. I won’t post her name for fear of persecution. I cannot imagine the number of people who will be in heaven because of the seeds she and her family have sown. Of course it is God who will reap the harvest. Pray for her health and safety and that God will continue to bless her and those she loves.
Maybe the reason God calls me to go to Africa is so more scales will be removed from my eyes. I pray God will help me bless others as he has so generously blessed me. I am a weakling, but He is strong. “So that, Just as it is written, Let him who boast, boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:31.