Jody and Sarah Fox - this phase of our Journey as IMB missionaries in Niger, West Africa

Monday, May 13, 2013

Ministry and Family Update

Written by: Jody

It’s been a while since we posted a blog update about our ministry and our life so I thought I would give you a quick look into what is happening in Niger.

Ministry:

Ministry can have its ups and downs.  The ups are very encouraging.  Recently we have started a meeting for the believers in our village on a weekly basis.  We were hoping that this meeting would be initiated by the believers here, but after months of talking with some of them about it, I think they were just lost, confused and even skeptical that they could do such a thing.  So we started it, but from our second meeting we have been handing over responsibilities to the believers in the village.  This has helped them grow in confidence and see that they don’t need us, but have been blessed by the Lord to do this on their own. 

We have had 4 meetings now, and each one has gone well.  One non-believer has joined us the last two weeks and wants to know more.  And many kids come and sit in as well, listening to the Bible teaching.  At the moment I am teaching the group, but we are working on helping them learn how to listen and learn.  We teach children in the states how to listen and learn from their first day of school.  However, most people here have never been to school and if they have they have not learned how to listen or learn.  So when we play for them a portion from the Bible, many have no idea how to repeat the story back to me, or even what the story means.   If you ask them what the meaning may be, they give you a blank look, because in reality no one has really asked them questions like this.

Then there is the reality of teaching and re-teaching the stories again and again.  The first two times we met, I taught the same story each time.  They could hardly remember it from the week before.  We forget that we have heard these stories 100’s of times and they are burned into our memories, but for these people they are hearing them for the first time.  Just processing what the story says is hard enough at the moment, discovering it’s meaning just adds to the difficulty.

Just this morning I met with one of our main men in the group.  I taught him the story of Jonah and the great fish.  When I was done I asked if he would teach this story and it’s meaning to the believers this week in our meeting.  Although a little skeptical of whether or not he could do it, he agreed.  Pray for this believer this week, as I go back to see him on Thursday and Saturday to go over the story again with him and help him understand how to teach it to the group.

Also pray for our meeting at the moment.  If you noticed we have not called this meeting a church yet.  That’s because we don’t believe we have a church here quite yet.  A church is more than just a group of believers who meet together, although that is one qualification.  We are talking and praying through how we will know this group of believers is officially a church according to Scripture. 

We are also excited to have 6 interns coming to work with us for 7 weeks this summer.  Their main job will be sharing the gospel with as many people as possible and building contacts for us to follow up on when they go home.  Please pray for them as they will be hitting the ground here in early July.  

Family:

Now on to our family.  Our girls are doing great.  They are continuing to learn the language and make friends here.  Sarah has been homeschooling since August last year and now they are in their last week.  They all are ready for a break from homeschooling and are looking forward to the many teams we will have out here this summer. 

Recently their daddy, built them a super cool play/tree house.  Although it is not quite finished yet, they are enjoying playing with and on it and their daddy had a good time making it.  I have never built anything quite like this and it’s been fun learning along the way.    
Jordan in the playhouse
 
Camryn's oven and sink

Pray that our girls would also one day confess Christ as their Lord and Savior.  We have been talking and teaching them much about what it means to trust in Christ and they are asking some good questions.  We long for our children to believe in Christ and one day see His glory.

Sarah has had a very busy year.  Homeschooling is not an easy task, especially when it’s well over 100° on many days.  She then moves from homeschooling to cooking from scratch for dinner.  She amazes me continually at what all she has accomplished and seeing all that the girls have learned.

Although it’s been hard for Sarah to get into and do a lot of ministry this year because of homeschooling, she has been able to get out and do some.  Her language skills are better then she lets on to, and she is discipling a young lady in our village now who has recently come to Christ.  Pray that the Lord gives Sarah lots of opportunities this summer, since there is no home school, to meet and to teach women about the word of God.

Finally me, Jody.  Things are going well, ministry can be very slow and the hot days make me tired pretty much all the time.  However, we are seeing growth in some of our believers and new people are hearing the gospel.  God is also teaching me many things and although it sometimes feels that with every step forward there is an equal one backward, I am grateful for the opportunity to teach God’s Word.

We hope all is going well for you and if we can pray for you in any way, please let us know.

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