(Written by Jody)
Its been awhile since we have posted our last blog. So I thought, I would give you all a quick update on our life and ministry.
First off if you have been following the news in recent days, Mali the country directly to our north has been a mess. With AQIM attempting to take over the country of Mali and the French stepping in to keep that from happening we have been told to just stay vigilant. We live about 3 to 4 hours from where the fighting is going on and are concerned that maybe one day the effects of the war may pour over into Niger. But at the moment we feel safe and not threatened. We are blessed to be close to the capital city, have a night guard that is well connected and knows of what is going on in the villages around us, and work for an organization that is not lax about keeping our family safe. In saying that, please pray that the conflict continues to stay away from our area so that our family can continue to do ministry among the Songhai people.
Second, we have had a few fruitful months in ministry. Let me give you a run down of what is going on. In December the Songhai team officially started theological education for some of our Songhai believers. We opened the doors to what is now being known as the NLTS (Niamey Leadership Training School) or as we like to refer to it the Hub. Every few months a handful of our believers come in from several villages among the Songhai people for basic training in the Scripture. The first class took place in December with our missionary colleague and a partnering church co-teaching an Old Testament overview class. We had around 20 people attend for the weeklong class, and are excited about the next class, which begins next week. I will be co-teaching that class with one of my colleagues and a partnering church. This next class is on the personal spiritual disciplines. Please pray as I continue to prepare and teach the Songhai believers.
We are also so blessed to have had the opportunity to baptize 3 new believers this past month. Since this is going to be posted on line, I will refrain from sharing their names, but I will tell you a little about them. First there is a 12 year old boy who I have been teaching the Bible for about a year now. The second is a young lady about 20 years old who is my wife’s friend. She came to Christ when one of our short term teams was here in October. Sarah is currently discipling her. Finally, just a few weeks ago a young man came to Christ in a village across the river. He has been very faithful the last few weeks to listen and learn and was baptized just the other day. We are grateful for these new believers and pray for their growth in Christ.
Finally, let me give you a quick update on our family. In late November we got to spend a week in Kenya doing some training with the IMB. Wow Kenya was very nice and much, much different than Niger. In December my parents came to visit and spent 10 days with us doing ministry, visiting, and playing with my children. We enjoyed having them here and look forward to their return one day. They got to look for hippos in the Niger River (My dad only – I refused to go with him, I hate hippos), found elephants fearlessly in the Niger game park, and love on my children. Finally in just a few weeks my family will enjoy a short vacation in Burkino Faso. We look forward to getting away together.
Our girls are all healthy and are continuing to learn the language. They are homeschooling 5 days a week with Sarah and Jordan is starting to get the hang of reading little by little. However, it seems they are developing a love for Science, shocker, since Sarah loves science.
We thank you all for your prayers and pray that God will bless you and watch over you in the days ahead.