Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Heading Home

Hi there. I am writing from my hotel room in LA. In a few hours I will be heading home on AirNZ - more than 12 hour flight to Auckland. I can't wait to see the family. I have been away for a month and I really miss the boys. It was great to have Riche with me on most of the trip, but I haven't seen her for 2 weeks either! It was a fantastic trip but it is time to go home.

Since my last post we travelled back to UK, Riche headed home and I came stateside for a clan gathering of directors - at this awesome place up in the NC mountains (with an internet fast hence no posts). It was so good to spend time with others who have done this role for a long time - a real encouragement to me who is just starting out. In Africa I learnt that our home office role is important, because we serve those who are out there doing it. Here I learnt that it gets easier, but never easy to lead.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Danja Hospital

Mark & Faye Griffiths are on their way back here. Mark is a doctor at Danja Hospital. It is a leprosarium as well as offering a general clinic and some surgery as surgeons are available. The guy in this photo greeted us at the gate. He is a great witness to what a difference this place makes in the lives of leprosy sufferers. There are not many people who would want to work in this difficult place, but they desperately need another doctor with surgical experience.


We visited the Markets with Ceciel just after the rains. It is like one of the older markets (PPG) in Guayaquil and there was a wide range of veges, spices, second hand parts and clay pots. This picture is of desert sand that is sold for camel feed. Bartering and such games are the norm.

Hausa Church

Purple robes, amazing singing, translated songs, heat, men on one side women on the other, preaching about tithing as much as anything else and seeking funds to complete the pastor’s house – all these are impressions I take from the church service we went to on Sunday. The service was in Hausa, the language most commonly spoken in Niger. But there are a number of believers who speak English and an old man translated for me.
The church has been 80 years in Niger : estimated 1% of the population in a sea of Islam.

Sowing Seeds of Change in the Sahel

Who would have thought that planting Australian Acacia trees around the plots of millet that everyone grows here would generate income and help people survive during the harsh heat that is Niger most of the year, but it works. Chris Nicholson is involved in this project that shows villagers how to plant these trees that produce bushels of seed and also firewood from pruning that generate income in the dry season. Niger is all green at the moment with the heavy rains that fall June-August, but most of the year it is barren and sandy. This project is also helping subsistence farmers to use better growing techniques for their millet (staple diet). The village visits provide opportunities to develop relationships with M people. Evangelists are also shown these techniques so to have a creative access point to begin working in a village. The project also has a research aspect. (photos)

Fulani Ministry

The Fulani are a minority group in Niger. They are a semi-nomadic unreached people group.

Mike & Ceciel lived up north in Tahoua & also in a little Fulani village even further north. Recently they came to Maradi to help Tambaya a Fulani Christian leader. They are putting the scriptures and good Christian teaching on to MegaVoice players (mp3 players with fixed content), so that the Fulani believers (mostly illiterate) can have the bible in their own language. Hand in hand with this is a translation project that has almost completed the NT in Fulfulde. What a fantastic privilege to be able to bring the Bible in such a practical way to the new believers.


We arrived here Saturday. Richelle is much better PTL so we could make the 2 ½ hour journey by road from Galmi.

(The photo is yard sale day on the road).

Tomorrow we leave for Niamey.

The Hughes & Nicholsons are doing a fantastic job. They speak Fulfulde & Hausa respectively and have adapted well to living in this hot & hard place. In fact it doesn’t surprise me to meet and also hear of many down-unders who are part of the story of the gospel in the poorest and harshest country on earth. It has been great to meet with these families. Their kids are great also. We have known Mike & Ceciel for many years so it just like catching up with old friends and our conversations have ranged from their ministries to the bigger issues of life and missions. In the next few posts I will outline some of the ministries here & the experiences we have had.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Crook as a dog

Riche was up all night crook as a dog. She is also running a fever. Please pray for her. Bloods show it is not malaria. We think it is just a virus, but she feels like crap. We are hoping to go to Maradi tomorrow, but that will depend on her improving.

I got my trouser zip fixed today: 300CPF ie. about NZ$1. Coudn't even buy the zip for that in NZ.

Hello…Hola….Salam Malak...Bonjour…Sannu

I realized today that in a week I have been in 6 countries & spoken in 5 languages (English, Spanish, Arabic, French & Hausa). Here in Niger, the main languages are French & Hausa. The French I can understand some, since it is close to Spanish at times.

Had a funny experience at an airport in North Africa. Our plane was late and we (read I) was concerned we might miss our connecting flight. A man had greeted me in French, so I got out our French phrase book and asked him did he know why the plane was late. He replied something that was to the effect of he wish he knew. At that point I said I only spoke a little French but more Spanish. It turned out he was ½ Spanish, ½ Belgian, so we switched in Spanish and had a great conversation. Then he asked the officials in French about the plane, translated into Spanish for us, and we in turn translated for a Russian woman who spoke English but no French or Spanish! The plane turned up an hour late, but we managed to catch our connection.