They searched Scriptures by flashlight to disciple the man with the sprouting gray hairs and infectious smile. He had been hungry for more teaching since the last students from Arkansas came through his village three months earlier. The previous team named him Nick -- short for Nicodemus -- because of his questions about being born again.
“This guy, Nick, came up and had been studying his Bible like crazy,” Wadlow said. “He had all kinds of questions about God. It was awesome because he didn’t see the rain or the dark as a reason to wait for later.”
|Journeyman missionary Nate Gunter works among the Tuareg people in Niger. Gunter spends much of his time speaking with fellow villagers and developing relationships with the Tuareg people. |
“This is the hardest part,” Nate Gunter, a journeyman missionary working in Bankilare, Niger, said. “They’re saying it’s just not enough.”
After working among the Tuareg people group in a bush village for two years, Gunter said he became accustomed to people begging for food, medicine and money. It wasn’t until he returned from a three-week conference in July 2005 that Gunter said he realized the despondency of the situation.
|Nate Gunter, an IMB Journeyman, initiated famine relief efforts in Niger, and continues to work closely with Niamey partners to distribute rice to those villages that are in the greatest need. |
“I started asking around town and found out that some people out in the bush encampment areas had already died from hunger,” Gunter said. “Many were sick. Many had been eating grass for a couple of months and had developed sicknesses related to nutrition. It was at that point I came back to Niamey and met with my supervisors and said, ‘We need to do something about this.’”
During his senior year at Hannibal-LaGrange College in Hannibal, Mo., Gunter struggled with the decision of how to use his college degree. While juggling the demands of classes, ministry and work, Gunter said he contemplated everything from church work to seminary to military service.
|Clint and Harriet Bowman, IMB missionaries in Nigeria, study a map on the wall of their home reflecting their research into about 200 people groups in West Africa.|
“Left the highway,” she prints in her black notebook.
With frequent GPS readings, Harriet and her husband Clint later will plot newly discovered villages on a handmade map at home.
NIGERIA, West Africa (BP)--Newly formed Zion Baptist Church meets in a clearing near the chief’s compound in Nigeria’s Bauchi State. On a recent Sunday he greeted Harriet Bowman and her 12-year-old son, James, with these words: “The house that does not receive strangers is not a blessed house. As we receive you, our strangers, we are blessed.”
|General practitioner George Faile, an IMB missionary, makes his rounds seeing patients at the Baptist Medical Centre in Nalerigu, Ghana. |
With only one other doctor and a handful of assistants and volunteers working that day, a “doctor sighting” is a significant moment to those desperate for medical attention. While making his rounds, Crawley tends to as many patients as possible before prepping for surgery. The others will have to wait.
MIDDLESBORO, Ky. (BP)--You’ve seen it displayed on car bumpers, printed on posters and worn as jewelry. The Ichthys, or Christian fish, has long been a symbol for Christian communities. For one congregation in Kentucky, the symbol has become a special reminder of answered prayer.
|Elliot Nichols (center) prays for a village chief who has been sick for many weeks.|
|A Wolof Christian in West Africa, who was disowned by her family after becoming a believer, tells a Bible story in a village northeast of Dakar, Senegal.|
Not necessarily disastrous –- just bad. Something distracting or debilitating enough to make it hard for Elliott and Pat Nichols to get to the village.
Tuesdays were the days the Southern Baptist missionary couple had set aside to drive from the town where they live in northern Senegal to a Wolof (WUH-luf) village in the area. The village chief had given them permission to come every week for a year to teach 52 chronological Bible stories. Each story builds on the previous one to lay the foundation of God’s salvation from Genesis to Revelation.
SENEGAL, West Africa (BP)--A tear rolls down Jim Vaughn’s cheek.
SENEGAL, West Africa (BP)--Coumba* knows how to tell a story.
|International Mission Board missionary Tom Smith talks with a Futa Toro man in West Africa.|
|Missionary Debbie Hawkins smiles as she receives a hug from a Futa Toro woman. There are few Christian believers among the 2.75 million Futa Toro in West Africa; most are Muslims.|
As a missionary strategy coordinator, Smith and his wife Shirley face the daily challenge of reaching the Futa Toro (FOO-tah TOR-oh), a Muslim people numbering more than 2 million in West Africa.
It’s not just their size that gives Smith pause. It’s their far-flung locations and bewildering diversity.
The Futa Toro actually comprise two major subgroups of the Fulani peoples of West Africa: the semi-nomadic cattle-herding Fulbe (FULL-bay) and the more settled Tukulor (TOO-kuh-lor). They live in many clans and castes scattered throughout northern Senegal and parts of Gambia, Guinea, Mali and Mauritania.