And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Luke 10:2
It was a beautiful moonlit night and the desert air was still hot. Sitting among the leaders around their personal fires for evening tea and listening to praise in French, English and Fufulde made the evening almost surreal.
I began reflecting on what the Lord was doing during our three day training of nomadic Christian leaders in the Muslim nation of Niger. We had flown three and a half hours over empty sub-Sahara desert to the village that was the outreach base to a stil further out region.
Earlier, I had talked with new missionaries coming into the home base in the capital and asked them how long it would take to be fully functioning. They said it would take two years to learn French and the trade language of these tribes to be fully effective in sharing the Gospel. I had pondered this as I looked out at the seemingly endless desert during our flight by small plane to this destination. I asked the Lord, “It takes so long to prepare, and the people are so scattered. How will you ever reach all of them
A sudden commotion brought my focus back to the present. A scout team had just returned from an oasis about 150 kilometers beyond our base camp. They had borrowed the missionary’s 4-wheel drive vehicle to cover the desolate terrain between us and the oasis. Rumors had come that 100 families were gathering (a rarity among nomadic tribes there). They had sent word asking this mission organization to send someone to tell them about Jesus. Two missionaries and two Niger staff workers from relief organizations embarked on the quest to meet with them.
Tonight, they came back excited to report, “It is true!!” The people had begged them to send someone out to teach the families that had gathered. But the sad truth was that they and everyone they knew had no one to send. So they prayed and asked the Lord to help them.
I sat there and watched these men and our host gather around a table working on a strategy to bring more workers in the harvest. As the joy of the sight swept over my heart, I heard a little voice that said, “See Ken, I am already working to bring my Gospel to these remote areas.”
Two years later 23 missionaries were sent out to work with this people group, but that is another story.