Niger Summer Mission 2011 – July 29/30

Rising and shining this morning went fairly well with only one straggler finally groping out of bed in response to a serious pounding sur la porte du chambre … at 10:30.  One of the adjustments outside of jet lag and time is sleeping under mosquito netting in a hot room.  Often there is considerable tossing and turning and wishing the ceiling fan were a jet engine; each night gets a bit easier if not cooler.  Yesterday’s sleeper shaved two hours off yesterday’s.

I combine my blog’s second and third day installments not because there is so little to say, but much of these two days is about acclimation … and not just to heat and humidity overnight.  We continue to get to know one another moving quickly through strangers to acquaintances to friends.  This group will work well together.  That is a main concern of mine that our teams of volunteers mesh for the sake of the work … but perhaps even more importantly can come together in friendships that make the whole experience more fulfilling and fun.

Days two and three were mostly about fun.  We took a drive through the city in the morning on Friday, followed in the afternoon by an excursion to an Artisans Market, where we each bought some gifts and other objets d’art.  In the evening a dinner out; here is where sense of purpose, fellowship and fun came together.  Our dinner was hosted by the Secretary General of the Evangelical Church of Niger.  The food was great, the conversation was interesting even if challenged by language, and we were inspired by the comments of Pastor Hassan of the EERN.  The essence of what the Pastor said was this: what Remember Niger is doing is providing the opportunity for children to get a foothold in the world of technology and education in a way they would not otherwise have.  But equally important is that we know that there are young adults …  university students and others … who are coming to faith in Christ and being inspired by God through the Holy Spirit to learn and to train so that they can become the leaders who transform their own country.  In doing that, he said, they will be bringing the gospel to this country because their actions will be witness to workings of Christ through the Spirit.

During our nightly meeting after the dinner, each one of us mentioned how inspiring Pastor Hassan, along with the others, is and what a gifted leader and man of God he is.  That was Day Two.

Day Three … after a morning of making sure the computers had what they needed to be used for the training, we ventured out to see the giraffes at the preserve.  They were awesome.  Last year we saw so few, but this year an adult and a young one were foraging together … around the corner a larger group.  Our guide told us the government decided to create the preserve when the count of giraffes was less than 50!  After several years, the population has grown to more than 200 and by the end of next they are hoping for 300.  Along the way we were reminded of the vastness
of this country as we drove further away from the population center of the city.  We returned hot and tired, but happy for having taken the trip.  Our evening ended with good conversation over dinner.  Then we had our meeting, which again brought us to a deeper understanding of each other and ourselves.  Tomorrow we head for Maradi.