One of our goals is to help foster friendships and partnerships between our supporters in the United States and our friends and colleagues in Niger. However, because our supporters are spread out throughout the United States and around the world, this is not an easy task. The distance makes it challenging to create a sense of community. Perhaps, by sharing our stories, we can help “bridge the distance.”
Today’s contribution comes from Cameron Smith, Associate Pastor at James Island Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC. Cameron and James Island PC (USA) have been supporters of Remember Niger since our start in 2008.
Overwhelmed. This is the first word that comes to my mind when I think about the struggles around our world. As a mom of two young boys and an associate pastor at a growing church, I am often overwhelmed by the state of my laundry basket or my to-do list. If I can be overwhelmed by my small and seemingly inconsequential problems, how could I ever make a difference when faced with huge obstacles like global poverty and oppression? My temptation is to sink into an attitude of defeat and simply do nothing.
This is where Remember Niger steps in. In faith, I am called to respond in real ways to suffering, trusting that God is greater than any individual’s effort or suffering. I know that I cannot solve our global crises. However, through Remember Niger, I am able to help chip away at one of them. Because Remember Niger is a small coalition, I have firsthand exposure to the schools that are being built, the children who are eating nutritious meals, and the families who have been given the gift of hope for their future. As a part of the Remember Niger Coalition, I am offered many ways to give my time, energy and financially to further its mission. Because Remember Niger promotes quality Christian education, I know that my partnership will help develop long-term change as children are given the gift of opportunity and hope.
Through the child sponsorship program, my children have learned that we are all connected. My sons talk about our “daughter,” Halimatou, and hope to meet her one day. They imagine what life might be like for her going to school on the other side of the world.
When I think of the state of our world, I am still easily overwhelmed. However, when I reflect on the work of Remember Niger, I am left feeling inspired and hopeful. My faith is strengthened. Not only does Remember Niger offer opportunities to the people of Niger, it offers me the opportunity to serve.