Sunday, February 18, 2018

Sharing God’s Love During Hardship

Women participating in an education group.

Women participating in an education group.

Evangelists bring hope to struggling villages in Niger

In the villages of Zangon Sabia and Zangon Karin Kawra in Niger, hardship is constant and comes in the form of hunger, famine, and poverty.

Niger is not an easy place to live. In the villages, food from the previous harvest usually runs out around April and the next harvest doesn’t produce crops until July. For almost four months, villagers are left with little to no food or income.

In these two villages, like many in Niger, the closest water source is more than a mile away. Women travel multiple times every day on foot, each time carrying 20 liters of water on their heads that they will share with their families and use in their gardens. Not only is it hard work to bring water home, the water is dirty and unsanitary, increasing the risk of sickness and disease.

One of the gardens in Zangon Karin Kawra.

A garden in Zangon Karin Kara village.

Samaritan’s Purse has started the OPTIC project in these two villages. The project is based on the tent-making evangelists model—a Christian couple moves into a village and teaches about topics such as agriculture, health and sanitation, water safety, and savings and credit. The life of these evangelists is a testimony to God and they share God’s love in the village.

Nourou Mohamad and his wife are the evangelists in Zangon Sabia and Zangon Karin Kawra. They are experienced in training adults and teaching about the Gospel.

But even with their experience and knowledge, their work is hard and they are ministering to hurting people. The people in their villages have no beans or millet because crickets eat their crops. Some women don’t have enough food to eat. One man’s wife left him to go home to her parents in search of food, and children in the villages have died from hunger.

The villages were skeptical that the couple could help. Some people thought Christians were evil and dishonest. People in other villages told the communities that their prayers didn’t matter to God.

In the midst of these difficulties, Nourou Mohamad and his wife are persevering. They’ve started education groups and savings and credit groups and hosted agriculture trainings.

They are teaching the communities how to provide for themselves, helping them to realize that with knowledge and skills, they can do a lot to change their situation. The couple also built a borehole for water so families would have access to clean water. One village has already started to see results in a better crop this year.

Over time, the villages have come to trust the evangelist couple and people are coming to faith in Jesus Christ.

“All we do is show Christ,” Nourou said.

And this is what will provide true, lasting change in the villages.

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