Sani Djibo, Leader of Life in Jesus Ministry
Flooding and drought have resulted in famine conditions for millions in this desperately poor West African country. Children are especially at risk. Christian Aid’s Africa Director Rae Burnett, travelling in Central and West Africa, received this urgent cry for help from indigenous missionaries helped by Christian Aid in Niger.
Girls as young as 8 years old walk 4 miles in search of water. Some wells are over 200 feet deep, so fetching water can really be strenuous.
“In some areas we have had excessive flooding. In others we have had drought. The effects from both are the same: severe famine, threatening starvation for up to eight million people according to government sources.
“There has been a bad harvest in some of the places we are working, such as Tillabery, Tahoua and Zinder. Food prices have drastically increased over the months. Even cattle and other livestock are affected due to lack of pasture. The government is now seeking help from other countries and NGOs.”
This woman is one of many hopeless Nigeriens digging up ant hills just to find grains of corn stored by the ants.
The Real Crisis in NIger is not Physical Hunger, but Spiritual Darkness.
Where no wells are available, people fetch water from rivers or streams, often distant, which their livestock have contaminated. In 2009 a primary school was built in Bani-Tondi village. But because their only water source is a polluted stream, the teacher who was sent there refused to stay. Missionaries remain to minister the love of Christ through every hardship and difficulty.
The domination of Islam and generations of animism are a shroud of hopelessness over the country. Fewer than 1% of Niger’s 12 million souls know Christ. Most have never heard the name of Jesus.
Opportunity for the Gospel
Christian Aid is in contact with indigenous missionaries who see this crisis as an open door for the gospel. A door that has always been closed, with the result that all 36 ethnic groups are unreached. Tens of thousands are streaming into the cities, worsening the emergency, but providing fruitful fields for fishers of men.
Nigerien indigenous missionaries are not just feeding with beans and rice, but they are feeding with Jesus, the Bread of Life.