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Lessons from the Field–Niger

“And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armor, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the Lord will work for us: for there is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few.” 1 Sam 14-KJV

Whenever I feel like something is too big for me, the Lord brings to mind that I am merely the glove on his hand and that often will use small things to bring great glory to his name. Niger is one of those God adventures that will be forever burned into my mind.

In 1998 the Lord lit the hearts of the pastor and many of the congregation in a small church of 57 families with a passion for adopting an unreached people group for prayer and involvement to see them have the Gospel. They sought the Lord in prayer for His choice of an unreached people and missionary to them that they could begin supporting. The Lord spoke independently to several members about the Wobaabe Fulani tribe in the sub-Sahara region of Niger.

People began to pray both for the missionary and the Wodaabe people. But prayer was not enough. They wanted to be involved. They wanted to go see the missionary and meet the Wodaabe people. The congregation sponsored two trips. God bless me to be able to go on the second visit.

We had two days in the headquarters of the missionary in Niamey. They were impressed with the heart and commitment this small church. Many wanted to connect the mission teams of their home churches with the church mission team. Within three years, one of those home churches in California sent 23 YWAM missionaries to the Wodaabe. Our host missionary came home on furlough and visited this church of 57 families and was amazed at its small size. He thought the church was at least 1500 people based on the impact. He also said that the visits the team made kept them on the mission field. They had felt isolated, but after our visit the Niamay staff began to visit them at least monthly.

Now 22 years later, “U”, a young man is raised up by the missionary, is now ministering in four nations around Niger. There is a major movement among the Wodaabe. Even the gatekeeper we met during our visit is an evangelist. The church continues to support “U” so the ministry of this church is impacting four nations. All from a church of 57 families who allowed the Lord to work fully with and through them. There truly is no difference to the Lord whether He saves by few or many.

Exerpted from a forthcoming book, Lessons from the Field, by Kenneth W. Shirkey

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