We are going to Niger as church planters. After a few months of culture and language learning in the capital city of Niamey, we will move out into the village of Boubon to minister among the Songhai (SONG-high) people. There are two to three million Songhai people who live mainly along the Niger River from Timbuktu, Mali to Niamey, Niger and also into Burkina Faso. The Songhai people are 99.5% Muslim, however they mix in animistic beliefs such as spirits controlling their lives, charms, family secrets, and sorcery. They live in great darkness, oppression, fear, and hopelessness.
In Boubon, there are no churches and only 1 known believer. There has been abundant gospel sowing over the past few years, but our family will be the first permanent residents/Christian witnesses in this village. As we develop relationships with the people we will be sharing the gospel with the goal to plant a church that will multiply into other churches throughout this village and other villages of Songhai people.
The village of Boubon (approximately 10,000 people) is an important market village and every Wednesday many people from surrounding villages come to market. The market actually takes place directly outside of the compound where we’ll be living. This means Wednesdays will be very loud and wild, but also full of many opportunities to meet new people.
Boubon is known for two things – hippos and pottery. It is located on the Niger River, so the hippos are close by. I’ve been told they stay in/near the water during the day but come up away from the river in the evenings…better keep our gates locked! I don’t know much yet about their pottery, but as I was reading in the Bradt Travel Guide of Niger, it mentioned a Swiss woman who moved to Boubon in the early 1990s who worked as a potter and developed new methods of the art that fit in well with the existing ones. The reason I tell you that is because she actually moved out of Boubon about a year ago and as an answer to prayer, we will be living in her house! We will have running water and electricity (though not constant) in this home.
Of course there will be much more to share once we are there and experiencing things, but I just wanted to give you a quick overview. Please be in prayer for the Songhai people, specifically those in Boubon. Pray for God to prepare their hearts to hear the gospel message. Pray also for Emily and Erin who are living in Boubon this summer and sharing the gospel mainly with women and children.
If you have any specific questions that I didn’t answer, I’d be glad to try to answer them!! Just post a comment…