WMU Blog

Life Among the Songhai in Niger

Songhai women and children

George and Megan Lane* serve as church planters among the Songhai [song-GAHY] people in Niger. Around 99% of the Songhai are Muslims. While this creates a barrier to the gospel, the Lanes have discovered that the Songhai people are very welcoming and will sit and listen to their stories of Jesus. Because most people in this culture do not read, the Lanes use storying to share the gospel.

The Lanes are church planters, so they share the gospel with anyone willing to listen, including children. They say that the children are grateful for hearing God’s Word. Singing songs, playing games, and coloring are all special treats among the Songhai children because they love to learn, and they don’t have coloring books or crayons at their homes.

The Lanes’ experience in Niger is that while ministering and living among the Songhai is challenging, the Songhais’ hospitable culture opens doors to sharing God’s love.
 

Simple Hospitality

Bill and Betty were a sweet couple in our church. Several years ago, Betty and I were involved in a mentoring group where she was my mentor.

Our times together were encouraging. Yet they were nothing elaborate. Betty just simply invited me into her home for conversation each week. We shared coffee and some of Bill’s fabulous desserts. He was quite the cook!

Just a few years ago, they both went to be with the Lord just 1 day apart. When I heard of their deaths, I was sad; however, God reminded me of their gracious hospitality and encouragement when I needed it the most.

He also reminded me that I need to find someone to whom I can show hospitality. I have such a great example of what that looks like, so I have no excuse. Will you join me in showing hospitality to someone today?

Real-Life Relationships and Hospitality

I’ve been “taken in” by friends a few times in my life. This has ranged from moving into a friend’s basement for 2 weeks between gaps in apartment leases to my campus minister allowing me to be in her home regularly. In each extreme, I was able to better observe what “real life” in my friends’ lives looked like. My campus minister walked through the single, dating, and engaged phases in a 3-year span in my life. I learned more about how to conduct myself in each of those stages because of my time with her. My friend who lent out her basement also opened her home. I was engaged at the time and got a glimpse of what life as a wife, mother, and full-time employee looked like. In each situation, I was inspired to walk into the next phase of my life with more grace and understanding than when I started.

Christmas in August gifts create 'pathway to sharing the gospel'

Kathy Parsons with daily delivery of items from donated through Christmas in August

Do you ever wonder if Christmas in August matters to missionaries and church planters? Just ask David and Kathy Parsons who serve as missionaries through the North American Mission Board in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. They were recipients of Christmas in August gifts in 2016.

“The Christmas in August items sent to us expanded our vision and gave us resources we did not have,” David shared. “This program caused us to humbly stop and see how God works and that He has used others across America to provide for our needs.” 

For 90 years, members of WMU missions organizations such as GA, RA, and Acteens have purchased and sent items to NAMB missionaries to help advance their outreach efforts.

David and Kathy provided WMU with a list of items they needed and soon received 20 to 30 boxes a day, with around 500 boxes received in total.

“We received the boxes on our front porch and I would bring them into the living room to stage for delivery,” he reflected.

Start Doing Your Homework

Believe it or not, fall is right around the corner. I know it’s hard to think about those crisp, cool, autumn months while the summer sun shines bright. But trust me, it’ll come faster than you think! That’s why this is the perfect time to do a little research.

Finding Leaders

Mission Friends Leaders

I don’t have one of those buttons you could push that says, “That was easy!” Sometimes it is not an easy task to find all of the leaders you need in your preschool area at church. Especially at this time of year, churches are looking for leaders to fill all of the teaching positions for the new church year. What can you do to make it easier to find leaders for Mission Friends®? Here are some tips for finding leaders.

  • Pray first of all. Begin with prayer that God would lead you to new leaders who have a heart for preschoolers.

  • Follow your church’s procedure for securing new leaders. Your church may have a nominating committee who contacts prospective leaders, you might work with the WMU director of your church, or there may be a staff person for you to work with, such as minister of education or preschool minister.

  • Be positive in asking people to serve. Present this as an opportunity to be part of your church’s preschool ministry. Help them to know how teaching makes an eternal difference in the lives of preschoolers.

Hospitality on Mission

“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it” (Heb. 13:2).

Hospitality is often thought of as an event usually in someone’s home where people are entertained. However, hospitality goes so much deeper than that. Hospitality is an attitude of welcome. It does not matter what kind of home you own or how good a cook you are. It just means you welcome others with open arms.

How can you use hospitality in a missional way? It’s quite easy, actually. It’s as simple as inviting unsaved friends, family, or neighbors into your home. When people feel welcomed, they are more open to hearing about the gospel.

Provide them with a meal and conversation where you learn more about them and their needs. As you learn more about them, you can begin to share the gospel and relate it to their current situation in life.

Lessons from around Dinner Tables

I’m usually confused when I see hospitality listed as one of the spiritual gifts. The others seem more tied to spirituality and ministry. The gifts of discernment, encouragement, and leadership are so obviously linked with the Holy Spirit and the daily Christian walk that the gift of hospitality, for me, seems only distantly related.

The idea of outstanding hospitality in our global culture is so foreign that I have stopped expecting it from others and even stopped focusing on it myself. It was only on a short trip to Ireland that I learned hospitality means something more than simply maintaining a house.

Over the course of a week while studying abroad, 2 friends and I took a road trip through the Irish countryside and then ended up in Dublin for a few days. Overall, the Irish people were welcoming and kind enough, but we were not expecting the hospitality we received.

How Your Family Can Live a Missional Summer

There's a misconception that in order to do missions as a family, you have to go somewhere or your church has to organize it. But I'm going to let you in on a little secret: that couldn't be further from the truth! Now, don't get me wrong—missions trips are amazing, and your church can be a great resource; but that is not the only way to do missions. Living your life on mission means turning your community into your missions field.

As leaders, parents, and family members, is it our duty to not only teach our kids how to live a life on mission, but to show them as well. Missional living starts right where we are. And if where we are is our hometown, then that's where we need to do missions. Summer is the perfect time to do it!

Bitten by the Missions Bug

Missions is in my blood. I grew up with a mother and a grandmother who loved missions and it has always been a part of my life. Even though my love for God and missions started at a young age, becoming involved in missions requires no set age or way.

People both young and old can pray for missions, give to support missions, and participate in missions close to home or far away. Once you have been bitten by the missions bug, praying, giving, going, and serving are things you will continue to do forever as you develop a missions lifestyle.

Find ways to get others involved in missions by connecting the DOTS

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