Wednesday, September 30, 2009

College of Prayer comes to Makalondi

This past Sunday was especially significant for those of us who live in the Makalondi area. We were receiving a visit from the National Committee of the College of Prayer Niger (COP). All of our Pastors and church leaders from the outlying churches had been invited to come in to an information meeting at 3 in the afternoon. The day was hot, humid and sunny, and many of those coming were walking or biking to the meeting, some coming from as far away as 30 kms!

Gary and I had decided that the only place big enough for all of us to meet in, was probably the main student room of the dormatory. As the time drew near, Gary went down to make sure that the benches were in place, a big water barrel had been filled and put under a bush for shade, and the nice stick chairs were in place for the special visitors. I waited at the house for the cars bringing the COP visitors to arrive.

Shortly after 3:00, they arrived and after welcome greetings, I hitched a ride with them and showed them where we were meeting. Already quite a group of men had assembled and bikes were parked everywhere. Greetings were passed around freely, everyone enjoying seeing each other.

When a significant group had gathered, and some worship singing (with accompaning drum) had happened, it was time to begin the program. Gary introduced our visiting COP members, and we turned it over to them. With one of our own pastors translating from French into Gourmantche, the President, Pastor W. gave a good explanation of the purpose of the College of Prayer, which is operating in many countries now. He explained that we need to bring Prayer back into our lives and thereby bring renewal in our churches so that we can then become an agent of change (through the gospel) in our nation. As we was sharing his passion to see us unify as different Christian groups, through prayer, to battle together against Satan's kingdom, the people were intently listening. His illustration stories from Congo brought truths home and even though sometimes humerous, the point was clear. The Gourmantche really understood.

Later the whole group, which was now over 60 men and 4 women, from many different evangelical churches, decided that they wanted to begin their own College of Prayer in the region. They made that decision clear by taking up their first offering, even though none of them had known that would take place. And the amount collected was very significant (even though this is the leanest time of year for them as they await the harvest next month!).

After some joyous worship singing, the Intercessory Prayer leader led in a time of prayer for ourselves, our churches, for our nation and our leaders.
By the end of the meeting, two and a half hours later, we were reluctant to see it end. It was such an encouraging time for all of us who were share in prayer together. We are excited to see what God will do as we join together in prayer for our region and for Makalondi.

After feeding the team a quick meal of rice and sauce and apples, the committee soon got in their cars to head back to Niamey. Night was falling and it's not good to be on the highways after dark. What a joyful way to come to the end of the day. There is a College of Prayer in Makalondi!

(Note: I have the privilege of being the Registrar/Treasurer on the COP Niamey and Gary is the new Treasurer for the COP Makalondi)
To find out more about the College of Prayer in the U.S. and International, you can visit their site at:

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Most Valuable Accessory!

In all our years in Makalondi, 10 to be exact, there is one little appliance that has made life there possible. It has helped us to make it through 112 degree heat during the after-lunch rest hour and 90+ degree nights when not a breath of air was moving! It faithfully runs with little or no maintenance and it has become my Number One bedroom Decor Accessory! In my book, it goes with ANY style and it's more precious than any item you can buy at Pottery Barn!

This Most Valued item is our 12 volt Battery Run Fan which is charged every evening when our generator is on. At bedtime we turn the generator off, and turn on the 12 volt fan. It quietly blows air across our bed, enabling us to get our sleep...even on a killer-hot night! The next day, when the heat is overwhelming, we turn on the battery fan in the office and work in front of it. Or we may fix our lunch and take it into the office and eat at the little table in the corner, with the fan blowing directly on us.

Living on the edge of the Sahara, one must find ways to adjust to the climate. Gary made the WINNER move when he hooked up our very first battery fan! He's still got the prize in my book!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Rain Storms

Being in the middle of rainy season, we've seen some veritable storms. Many times the rains are accompanied by strong winds which do a lot of damage. Many times, when a storm comes through Makalondi, mud brick homes are knocked down, tin roofs are torn off and walls fall. Often people are hurt as well.

These winds do significant damage because there is nothing to break the wind's force, like trees. And that is because the trees in our area have all ben cut down to provide fire wood to be trucked into the capital city for cooking fires. Sadly there isn't any reforestation being done either.

This past month, the roof was ripped off of one of the Jr. High classroom blocks and the ceiling was torn out. School starts in two weeks...

New Acquisitions

Since returning to Niger, Gary and I have acquired two new items for our home in Makalondi, which will make living there much more pleasant. The first is our new gas refrigerator. Big and spacious, it actually works like a refrigerator should! This is such a blessing after our last fridge, which never kept food cold. Now we can bring fresh food out from the city and know that it will stay fresh until we use it! Some dear friends gifted us with this big blessing!

Our second new acquisition is a kitty named Snowy. She came to us from a couple leaving Niger to return to the U.S. Snowy is a lizard hunter and a mouse catcher and has already rid our whole home of both critters! Last term we were constantly fighting to keep mice from moving into our ceiling, so having Snowy has been a big help. She's also a friendly companion around the house and loves to be with us. We're especially pleased that she and our dog, Leah, get along very well and enjoy each other's company.

I do miss the lizards though...

Back in Niger

In September, Gary and I arrived back in Niger, all green from the rains. This time back is slightly different, since we have moved back into our home in Makalondi and also moved into a temporary home in Niamey. Since Gary's ministry will include being a regional director for Niamey, we were given a house to live in when we are in town helping out our fellow missionaries.
That meant dividing clothes between the homes, supplying two kitchens with groceries and carrying my pillow back and forth between the two places. We're not yet used to the feeling of being in constant commute, but we're getting there. The hour long drive is seeming shorter and shorter now.
As our regular ministries start back up after the rains are done and the harvest is in, we will begin to have a more dependable schedule... We Hope!