Radio ministry in a mostly illiterate country is an interesting paradox: We know intuitively... studies show... research "proves..." that radio is the most effective and efficient way to communicate crucial, life impacting messages to majority illiterate people groups, particularly when they are scattered over a large geographical area. Those words describe Niger to a tee.
The irony in this paradox is that while we know this, the very illiteracy that emphasizes the importance of this type of ministry prevents us from ever (or often) receiving letters or communication from listeners, letting us know for sure and consistently that programs, songs, words or verses or truths communicated through the programs we produce are touching lives, have been fruitful and that the result is God's name glorified in this spiritually dark place.
Just this week, however, we received an awesome piece of encouragement...
Folks working in another W. African country (and not one just next door) contacted Tim and I via our web page, Wrights Broadcasting Truth to Niger. They explained that they had a Zarma man working for them and he was a recent believer, therefore could we send them a Zarma Bible, Zarma "gospel" music with parables and stories ("Trust" and "Choose" are the names of the two we sent) on cassette, and some literacy materials so they could teach him to read and truly begin discipling him. We gladly collected materials... then they had to be hand carried back to the States where they were mailed back to a W. African postal box and this family then came in from their place of work to pick them up there.
This past week, we received the following letter:
Dear Tim & Richelle,
Thank you for mailing the Bible and other Zarma items. We have received them.I've started teaching him the letters and sounds, and he is excited that he will soon be able to read and write. He wants to read the whole Bible for himself.... I was surprised that he was singing along with some of the songs [on the cassette tapes]. He later explained to me that he had heard some of the stories while he was growing up. His father would turn on the radio in the AM to listen to news, then leave it on all day. He and his brothers would change the radio channels, looking for music. He had heard some of the stories told in parables (like the tiger wanting to be as powerful as the lion). He had also memorized some of the songs.At that time he was a Moslem in a Moslem family. Only one of his brothers is... [a] believer at this time. His father would often leave the radio on and then leave for the day. The children would... change the channel to look for music and ended up hearing Christian programs and learning the songs.Thanks for all your help!R-
Isn't God amazing? The daddy in this family turned on the radio hoping to hear the news... and his children ended up hearing the best and most important "news" of all, and for at least two of them, it has changed their eternity.
Please pray with us as we learn to choose to continually trust our God's faithfulness in cultivating the seeds that He allows us to sow, whether in person or via broadcast mediums and audio-visual tools... whether or not we hear of results this side of eternity.
this week's gratitude list:
(#'s 1372 - 1389)
letters that encourage
God's faithfulness, even when I doubt because I do not see... just like Thomas
sisters and nieces
the reminder of God's power as we took time to observe many amazing parts of His creation this week - hippos, powerful waves and rapids on the river, giraffes, dust storm, thunder and lightening,...
boston creme donuts (again)
safe plane travels
new arrivals, new colleagues
listening, reading stories of how God is providing for Sahel's most recent graduates
mornings chez Mamata and our literacy class
restored health for my friend and her newborn Noé
two delightful and new young friends, Aichatou and Madinatou - their smiles every time I come to visit just make my day!
having the policeman stop me, for no real reason, and allowing my sister to see that little but sometimes very frustrating aspect of our lives here... and how cheerful politeness (and a few strategic Zarma words thrown in at just the right time, thanks to Holy Spirit prompting) allowed everyone to "save face" and no ticket
brochettes, frites, playground, bats and a setting sun
having Tim walk into a local grocery store where one of our friends was showing some some newly arrived folks around... and one of the new arrivals said to him, "I know you! We follow your family's blog!" =D
sharing with friends
cameras to capture, and later treasure, special memories
guitars, flutes and voices... singing praises to our God for several hours one evening
looking forward to pizza, cookies and creme ice cream and a movie with friends