27 March 2011

Spring, 2011 Prayer Letter

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you,
always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all,
in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.
For I am confident of this very thing,
that He who began a good work in you
will perfect it
until the day of Christ Jesus.

(Phil 1:3-6)

As we sit down to write this letter, our hearts are filled with praise and thanksgiving!

We are thanking God for additional space that so many of you helped to make possible! We wait only on the arrival of a few cartons of sound isolation tile as the final detail for the recording booth; even so, the studio addition is in use, recording radio programs.

We owe a HUGE debt of thanks to Larry and Pam Macklin from Calvary Baptist Church in Midland, Michigan. Larry has a background in IT and electrical engineering. They traveled out for a week, braving heat, disease, dust and threats of political instability to finish wiring the new studio sound panel. Pam helped Richelle tremendously in her daily activities around the house and also in ministry at Sahel Academy.

The large studio has likewise seen lots of recent activity. This room, usually reserved for recording choirs and live music groups, this past month hosted a seminary module from the Tri-M ministry and 2 modules of the Evening Bible Institute. These classes are normally held in our mission office, but while our new office is “under construction,” we are delighted to see the room used in this way, and we are eternally grateful to Steve and Julie Nunemaker for their continued commitment to Niger and the training of godly men and women to lead the church in this land. By the way, builders placed the trusses on the office this week! Next fall, Tri-M and IBBS classes should take place in our new and improved field office!

We’ve also been thankful for a visit from Tim’s dad, Gene Wright. He spent most of the month of March with us, getting a taste of life in Niger, visiting the different ministries with which we are involved, enjoying and entertaining his grandchildren and working in the studio finishing details on several projects for Tim. He left this past week, and it just hasn’t been the same place since. If you doubt the truth of that, just ask Elsie Mae and Mary Michelle!

Current studio projects include language tracks for the evangelistic film “The Godman” in Zarma (99% done) and Fulfulde (recording begins soon). Please pray, in particular, for the Fulfulde version, for the revision of the script and the recording process. The Fulfulde Christian community in Niger is not very large. We need God’s guidance, directing the producers to the right people and the right voices for this film. These films have the potential to reach thousands with the clear message of the Gospel in their mother tongue and heart language.

We do have a few financial needs related directly to the studio. Ministry funds raised as a part of our support provide for a percentage of studio operating expenses. We receive funds from the EBM Niger field and charge minimal studio fees for outside projects. With these monies, it is a challenge every month to keep the books in the black. Typically, we have to bring out extra funds from our personal support account to finance any special needs.

With that said, we have two programs available to the studio for which we will soon need to purchase airtime:
  • One of these programs is Thru the Bible, a French version of the well-known radio program by Dr. James Vernon McGee. Several years ago, we tried to receive this program via satellite, but due to our location relative to the transmitter, never met with success. We can now download it directly via internet and then prepare it for airing on local stations. It is a Monday thru Friday, half-hour program which takes the listener through the Bible in 5 years. With minimal production costs (primarily audio CD purchase), we are convinced it would be an effective investment in both time and money to air on one of our local radio stations. Stations here in Niamey have the potential of reaching at least a million listeners! However, before we decide to engage in the distribution of this program, we need to know that others will be behind it with their prayers and giving. A tremendous and serious need in Niger and particularly within the church is consistent, comprehensive and reliable Bible teaching. This program is be an effective tool, providing teaching and access to the Bible that many in this largely illiterate country do not have. Not only is Thru the Bible readily available, we believe it is the right program. Purchasing ½ hour of airtime per day, five days a week, will cost approximately $300 a month or $3,600 per year. Would you or your church consider undertaking this project with the Niger Radio ministry?
  • The second program is Sheep Tales. Sheep Tales is a series of 36 ½ hour radio programs that will air once a month as a feature of our regular French program called “Words of Life” Scripts are now in their final revision, and we would like to soon begin recording this program in collaboration with a local Christian radio theater group. Financing is required to help with the actors’ honorariums and taxi fares. We are still in the budgeting phase, and will try to have some firm numbers available by our next prayer letter. We ask all of you who read this letter to take these two programs before the Lord in prayer. Pray that His name and His Word would be lifted up here in Niger, and that many would hear, believe and accept His plan of salvation.
“I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat;
I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink;
I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;
naked, and you clothed Me;
I was sick, and you visited Me;
I was in prison, and you came to Me…
Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine,
even the least of them, you did it to Me...
[and] to the extent that you did not do it
to one of the least of these,
you did not do it to Me.”
(Matt 25:35, 36, 40, 45)

The Goumanche village of Pencangu is located approximately 15 kilometers east of Makalondi (the last city before leaving southwest Niger and entering Burkina Faso). It has a population of close to 450 living in several family compounds. Most are farmers raising millet, sorghum, corn, beans and peanuts during the July-October rainy season. Some have goats or sheep which they raise to sell for family needs during the “famine season,” which comes after their food stock has been depleted.

After the rains end, they draw their water from small, muddy pools that collect during the rains and/or from shallow 3-5 meters deep ground wells that they regularly dig. Both sources of water are unclean and unhealthy, leading to dysentery, worms and sometimes, for the young and weak, death.

One of the bush churches where Tim regularly teaches is in Pencangu. Recently having called a pastor (who is shared with other nearby Baptist churches), it is growing in both number and maturity. Church services take place on Sunday morning and three evenings throughout the week. Although most of the people in the church are illiterate, the pastor and elders teach them from the Bible and other Christian literature available in their language.

Shortly before our family began our year of home assignment in July, 2009, the church leadership approached us about helping them finance the drilling of a well for the village. A deep, drilled well would provide a clean source of water for the people of Pencangu, as well as others in the area. It would eliminate the need to haul water by bicycle and donkey carts from other wells many kilometers away. And it would allow the church to demonstrate tangibly to her neighbors that God is concerned about the real physical needs of men, and that He empowers His church to help address and meet those needs. Please contact us if you would like to participate in the provision of a well for this village.

Thankful to be serving our Lord together with you,
Tim, Richelle,
Brendan, Rebekah Joy, Nadia, Anna, Victoria, Jonathan,
Elsie Mae & Mary Michelle Wright


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