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

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Giving out of Poverty

Written by: Jody
 
Here in Niger we have a number of believers.  Many are scattered in little villages up and down the Niger River.  About 5 or 6 years ago a man by the name of Isaac* came to know Christ as his Lord and Savior.  Because of his faith Isaac has undergone some persecution in his village on the border of Niger and Mali, but through it all he has continued in his walk with his Savior.  Currently through Isaac's and others witness a small church has formed in his village.  Because of the war in Mali this past year, our supervisors are unable to get to the village to do follow up work.  It's unsafe for westerners in that area, and unless you have a military escort you cannot and are not allowed by the government to go that far northwest.
 
Isaac also knows about the International Mission Board (IMB).  It was IMB missionaries who came to his village through the giving of the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and taught and discipled this man.  Isaac knows about the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and he is grateful that people give so that missionaries can come and bring people like him the hope of Jesus Christ. 
 
During this past rainy season, the heavy rains destroyed Isaac's mud brick house.  Isaac is extremely poor, he lives on less than 2 dollars a day.  He depends on the poor land to produce crops for his family to eat for the year.  Yet, his love for the Lord is strong.  Recently when a church back in America heard that Isaac's house had fallen they took an offering to give to him so he could rebuild his house.  The money was sent to our supervisors who then gave it to Isaac.  He could have easily taken all of the money given to him and used it to rebuild his house and buy a large quantity of food for his family.  However, knowing that IMB missionaries were sent to his village to share the gospel with the gifts provided through Lottie Moon, he asked on his own initiative, if a portion (about $30) of the money he just received could be given to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.  A man in a village in Niger, that lives on $2/day and had just been blessed with money he needed, gave out of his poverty so that, in his words, "More people can be sent to share Christ with people like me."

 
Thirty dollars may not seem like a big amount of money to give to Lottie Moon, but for Isaac it was a great sacrifice.  This would be about a months wages for him. When Isaac gave up this money, he was not giving up a few Christmas presents, no he was giving up a big amount of money for him and much needed money for his family.  This is truly a man who has given out of his poverty so that the gospel message can go forth among the nations.
 
We STRONGLY encourage you to give to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering this year and to give above and beyond.  If you are not a member of an SBC church, this offering is a big reason we are able to serve the Lord in Niger, West Africa.  This offering goes to support current  missionaries and to send more missionaries overseas to tell the nations of the saving work of Christ. Please consider giving this year through your local SBC church or through the link I have provided here.


*name has been changed for security reasons

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Beautiful Feet


 

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed?

And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?

And how are they to hear without someone preaching?

And how are they to preach unless they are sent?

As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

Romans 10:13-15

It always amazes us when we find someone in our village who has never heard of the name of Jesus.  However, we have found out recently that many of those who have not heard of the name we use for Jesus (Yesu) probably have heard of Isa, whom many Muslims are familiar with.  Isa is the Arabic name for Jesus.  Some accurate things have been taught about Jesus, however many important and necessary truths are missing.  Muslims view Him as only a prophet, and not God incarnate and not the Son of God.  They do not believe He died or was resurrected, or that He atoned for the sins of mankind.  Of course, this is NOT what the Bible teaches about who Jesus is and there are many in our villages who have never heard an accurate presentation of the Gospel message and how they can be saved.  They live in fear, clinging to an empty hope that maybe through enough good works they will obtain eternal life, but in reality without faith in Christ they await a Christless eternity in hell.  This is just one of the many reasons we desire to take the message of Christ, the true and faithful message of Christ, to the Songhai people -- that the glory of God may roll off their lips in praise to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for all eternity.     

The verses in Romans 10 tell us that people must be sent with the true message of Jesus to those who have never heard.  Well, we have been sent here to bring the good news to the Songhai people.  But this task is too great for us.  There are too many people, too many villages, too much lostness.  This is a task for the body of Christ.  We’ve already seen the church at work by supporting us financially to be here and by so many people praying for our family and the Songhai people.  We’ve even had numerous people come on short term assignments.  But we need more of those beautiful feet talked about in Rom. 10.  We need ‘feet on the ground’, running around preaching the good news! 

So how ‘bout it?  Do you want to have beautiful feet?  Well, in all reality you will have some of the dirtiest feet ever imaginable after walking around our village…but in God’s eyes they will be full of true beauty.  This summer we are looking for people to come and serve as summer missionaries with us.  You will be living in a village, living among the Songhai people, and bringing the good news of salvation to the lost.  That’s your task – share the gospel boldly and often.  We are looking for those who can commit to come for 6 weeks in May and June 2014 and who are college students or young adults (unmarried).  If you would like more information, just contact us by e-mail and we will send you a document with more details and we will be happy to answer any of your questions.

AND…if you aren’t a college student or young adult but want to come join us in ministry to the Songhai people please let us know!  We can start a conversation about how and when you can be involved.  We can use your help whether it is for short or long term service.

Last summer we had 5 college students who came and served as missionaries to the Songhai people.  They were a great encouragement to us and they were able to plant and water many gospel seeds.  They also grew in their faith and learned more about how God may be calling them to be involved in missions in the future.  Here are some pics of their time here.  Also, I’ve included a video from one of our summer missionaries, April, as she shares about her experience in Niger.


Here's the group with our village in the background
 

Emily holding baby Husseini
Caitlin at the market
April learning how to make pottery (our village is known for this)
Thomas and Logan getting ready to cross the river
Sharing the gospel
The boys enjoying some lunch
Caitlin and Cherifa
 
April and the cutest baby ever!
The boys with their host family
Thomas, Idressa, and Logan
 

Camels!

Body surfing down a sand dune



 Seeing giraffes in their natural habitat
 
And...here is April's testimony about her time in Niger last summer: 
 
 
 
 
DISCLAIMER: This will NOT be an easy 6 weeks.  You are not coming here for vacation!  You will be in an unfamiliar culture and you won’t be able to communicate very well.  You are coming in Hot Season and so you will experience HEAT as you never have before.  And you will see great poverty and lostness (Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world and our people group is 98% Muslim).  And above all those things you will be on the front lines of a great spiritual battle.  The Songhai people are in darkness and they have been for a long time.  So make sure you pray about this and have your church pray for you in this decision.  If God is sending you here that is wonderful and we would love to have you.