Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it:
except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.
Richelle was sitting at a staff meeting for Sahel Academy staff recently when the director quoted this verse as a reminder to the staff before he started detailing “lock down drill” plans for the school campus. As this region of the world has made international headlines recently, some of you are probably aware of escalating conflict going on… literally just upriver from here. We listen to military aircraft fly overhead, are stopped at checks where military police search through our veggie bags, and we watch our first grader drag her pink “Hello Kitty” backpack into the school yard, slipping by two heavily armed guards standing next to the door.
We can honestly say we’ve never lived in this sort of a “climate” before; it is unsettling. And so we follow suggested “guidelines:” keep a few more staples in the pantry, store up extra water, keep the gas tank at half full or above, and collect all important documents and papers into a readily accessible place. We alternate routes through town, listen more attentively to sounds on the street, read the news from a myriad of sources, ask our local friends what they are hearing and generally try to be prudent and circumspect. Thankfully, all of these “changes” do not seem to have disturbed or overly worried our children.
However, as the school director so aptly pointed out, we make our plans and do what seems wise and careful, preparing for possible eventualities – but in the end, we must remember that God builds, God keeps…
Lots of other things have also been going on around Niamey. We’ve phased ourselves out of ministry at the Harobanda church, although we still look forward to fellowshipping with our brothers and sisters there from time to time. In fact, we are hoping to have a get together at our house with the church members later this week. Some Sundays, the entire family is thoroughly enjoying listening to the previous week’s sermon preached (and recorded) at our home church, back in Midland, Michigan.
Tim has spent several hours this past month archiving the 2012 radio programs and updating the studio inventory and program listings. We’ve hosted several television recordings of sermonettes in Tamajeq, Zarma and a few other languages. These will eventually be aired on the private television station, Fidelité, operated by the Institute Hosanna. These sermonettes were shot in the large basement television studio and we are very thankful for this large purpose-built room which includes an overhead lighting grid allowing for this type of videography.
The book of Psalms in Zarma has been edited through chapter 44; through chapter 100 has been recorded. We are still recording actor’s lines for the Tamajeq language version of the film The Godman. Please pray for us as we are working on a plan to facilitate the continuation of both “The Hour of the Gospel” (weekly 30 minute radio program in Hausa or French on the government station) and “Thru the Bible” (daily 30 minute radio program broadcast on the private station, Radio Lumière) during our upcoming home assignment.
Richelle has made several visits to local schools scheduled from now until March. Consulting with Nigerian Christian teachers who seek to minister to students with disabilities in the classroom has such exciting potential. Typically, these students never have an opportunity. In those classrooms where teachers have decided to love children with exceptional needs and their families in this way, God is doing some pretty exciting things. Richelle is delighted to have even the tiniest part in this effort… led by a Swiss missionary and Nigerien Christian educators! Please pray that the Lord provides a French-speaking expert in this area to help encourage and stimulate conversation and problem solving among the teachers and administrators keen to participate.
We have two additional items for prayer. Sahel Academy, where our children attend school, is looking for volunteers: 1) work teams to travel to Niamey to help in the clean-up and restoration of the school campus from last summer’s flood damage and 2) teaching and other school staff for the 2013-2014 school year. To find out more information about either of these opportunities, please go to Sahel’s website: www.sahelacademy.com , or take a few minutes and drop us an email for more specific information.
Finally, we have had the privilege of working with the Evangelical Baptist Church of Penchiango during much of our time here in Niger. They have struggled with inadequate church building facilities for as long as we’ve known them. By the grace of God, they received a new well for their church and village this past year, and they are much looking forward to having this well of water in proximity to the church, as well as to the multitude of ministry opportunities it will surely provide for them.
Over the past few years they have been setting aside money for the construction of their new church building (approximately 30 by 45 feet). We have often remarked about their hands-on attitude when it comes to setting some realizable objectives, and then their perseverance in pursuing their goals. They have now completed the construction of foundation and walls. We have been considering for quite some time helping them with the next phase of construction - the installation of metal roofing, windows and doors.
Our home church has given us permission to try and raise the funds necessary for both materials and labor to install metal roofing on this church building. The approximate cost will be $2,700 USD. If you are interested in supporting this project, please send a contribution to Faith Baptist Mission (address on the bottom of this page) with an enclosed note stating that the gift is for the "Penchiango Church Project."
As always, we are forever grateful for your partnership with us in this ministry.
All because of Jesus,
Tim, Richelle,Brendan, Rebekah Joy, Nadia, Anna, Victoria, Jonathan, Elsie Mae and Mary Michelle Wright