Thursday, November 5, 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

It has been a year since we have returned to Niger.  The year has been filled with lots of change from the previous term.  New city, several moves, new team, language learning, new dog, different ministry expectations, let’s not forget the horrific driving situation.  It should be a recipe for stress, but it is not.  We are thriving in our new environment.  We have felt the presence and abiding love of God throughout the year, and in all this we have continued to find healing and restoration from the past.  The scars are fading and we are grateful to our Lord and Maker who is our Great Physician.

Launching into Year #2. God works in mysterious ways, His ways are higher than our ways.
Due to a new believer wanting to be able to read the Scriptures for herself, literacy began in the prison.  Now it would seem that literacy is in demand in our local community. Not everyone has the opportunity to go to school.  The tribal heart language is Hausa and church is done in the heart language, so we have begun a literacy class in our home. We thought 3 people were coming, however 8 came and we just got news that more may be coming.  We are grateful for this challenge.  It will also be a challenge to our Hausa knowledge.  Pray for us and the students that God will use each of us to become more knowledgeable and bold in our faith. 

It has been interesting to see the change of heart in the students.  I was introducing numbers and they thought that it was irrelevant to reading, so I asked how they planned to find anything in the Scriptures without understanding the chapter and verse numbers. The transformation was instantaneous in their desire to learn numbers. Literate adults are more passionate in helping the next generation to get educated.
English as a Foreign (Second) Language - EFL
Since most people already speak 2 or more languages it is better to refer to English as a foreign language. The public school system here does teach English, as English is the language of science, medicine, and technology worldwide.  However, EFL classes are still in high demand for those who want to advance their current knowledge or for those whose previous school did not provide this option.
We collected many resources while in Canada and look forward to putting them into use starting today.  The program uses God’s word as our text book.  It’s a program developed by a godly woman and educator that can meet the needs of all levels of language learning.

Pray that God will use us in this endeavour to demonstrate and share His word with others, and that we can foster respect and friendship with our students.

Women’s Prison Ministry
I stand amazed.  Nothing is too great or small for the Lord we serve.

God had put a burden on Esther’s and my heart for the women in the sex trade in the city of Maradi.  We wanted to be able to tell them that they are loved by God and by us.  As you know, several months ago 6 had been brought into prison, however their ongoing drug use rendered them inattentive, with some unusual behaviour.  The warden discovered what was happening and did a lock down in the women’s section of the prison.  Therefore last week when we arrived the women were drug free, peaceful and attentive.  Instead of the literacy class we had planned we took the opportunity to speak with these ladies about what God was speaking to each of our hearts.  God also used that moment to speak to them and each came to know Jesus that day.  One of our secret believers also made her new faith known to everyone.  Last Friday Esther received a call from one of the ladies in prison with two stories to share.  First, one was faced with the choice of sleeping with someone in authority in the system and in turn obtain release.  She said no because she wished to follow her new nature in Christ. The second story was of another woman having seen the transformation in the other women and wished to follow Jesus.  Presently 11 of the 18 woman in the compound are now Christians. They are encouraging and looking out for one another. When we returned a week later, the first question they asked was “How do we pray?” They have only known rote prayers.  I was really pleased with the community that is developing between the women within the prison.

Additional Points of Prayer
Sani and Saratou’s house has deteriorated considerably during rainy season.  Sani owns other land and they wish to build. Pray for them to have resources and wisdom in construction.

Mama A’i, Saratou’s maternal grandmother is battling cancer. 

Pray for the church and its leaders to be people of righteousness and integrity

Pray that appropriate opportunities for employment and housing would become available for women being discharged from prison.

Since 2012 there have been dialogues taking place in most major centers in Niger, including Maradi. These discussions bring Christian and Muslim leaders together with the goal of fostering mutual respect and understanding between these two groups. The hope is that the dialogues they participate in will be an avenue to peace, cooperation and resistance to radicalism in the country, particularly to help stem violence and intolerance like we witnessed this past January.  Our local pastor and friend Pastor B. has been an active participant in this process, and has been the executive secretary .  He has won the respect and friendship within the M. community leadership.  However, he feels his time is now better served returning to his first passion, that of teaching at the Bible school and leading the church.  Pray for Pastor B to endeavour to answer God’s call to equip and educate people so they can serve Niger and the church well.  Pray that the above mentioned dialogues will continue in a constructive manner.

Pray with us that God will use us, and that we would be willing workers in each opportunity that presents itself.

Be Joyful in hope, Patient in affliction, Faithful in prayer.
Romans 12:12

Blessings to you all,
Grace and Orest Pelech