Evangelists Bring Love and Learning to Niger

July 27, 2017 • Niger
Evangelist couple in Niger

Villages in Niger learn vocational skills through the love of an evangelist couple.

Renae Chrystal is the communications intern in Niger.

Nigerien evangelist couple Abdou and Ouma Issa demonstrate their love to people in the villages where they live and work. Originally from Maradi region, they received a call on their lives to evangelize when they became Christians.

They worked with Samaritan’s Purse Niger and then became evangelists with the Samaritan’s Purse OPTIC project, which trains evangelists to teach vocational skills. These skills are in areas such as building latrines, educating pregnant mothers on health and nutrition, starting women’s savings and credit groups, and teaching agriculture techniques.

Women in the village welcome our team.

Women in Hamso village welcome our team.

As they share skills with their neighbors, the evangelist couple also shares the Gospel and teaches about Jesus Christ. They may show the Jesus film, pray with individuals and groups, and lead Bible studies.

Abdou and Ouma Issa work in the villages of Hamso and Maimagaria as evangelists and educators. Samaritan’s Purse has also implemented a water and sanitation project in Hamso, and latrines have now been built under Abdou’s direction. Villagers have been trained in how to build the latrines. Hamso even has drinkable water. Health has improved through better health practices, and villagers understand the importance of going to local health centers, especially for childbirth.

When I visited Hamso, women in the village greeted us with singing and dancing, welcoming us and singing about the work that Samaritan’s Purse has done in their village. Their song was full of joy and thankfulness, recognizing the value of what they have learned.

Gospel Impact

The village chief and the evangelist couple welcomed us to the chief’s house to hear about the OPTIC project in their villages, sharing small cups of tea as we talked. The evangelists and the chief agreed that the couple has become an integral part of the community.

Abdou and Ouma are known as Christian evangelists, yet Muslims ask Abdou to pray for them at weddings and baptisms. God has provided healings and miracles through the couple’s prayers, and many people now ask Abdou and Ouma to pray for them.

The evangelists share in the joys and struggles of the villagers. Even in the evenings and on weekends, they are available to their neighbors and community. This provides a testimony of faithfulness to the villages, building trust among even the Muslim leaders.

A women's savings group.

A women’s savings group in Maimagaria.

Several men in the villages asked to start Bible studies and are asking questions to learn more about the Gospel. The women also want to know more about Christianity, and many have asked to show the Jesus film in their homes.

Hamso and Maimagaria are both well-situated to spread the Gospel, and were chosen for the OPTIC project because they’re central to extension villages where other Samaritan’s Purse projects are taking place. In every village where we work, evangelists and Samaritan’s Purse staff share the Gospel and serve in Jesus’ Name.

After speaking with the evangelists and village chief, we visited Maimagaria and a women’s savings groups, one of two women’s groups in Maimagaria. Between the two villages, the evangelists work with 80 women and teach them about savings and credit, along with proper health practices.

The women led us to a courtyard with mats spread on the ground and a cashbox in the center. They then began their weekly meeting, when they receive an update on the cashbox contents and remind each other what they’ve learned so far in the groups, such as hand-washing, exclusive breastfeeding for children under 6 months, and the importance of using mosquito nets.

Each woman contributes money every week to the cashbox in front of the group so that everyone is accountable. When there’s enough money in the cashbox, the women will receive individual loans in order to do commerce. Some plan to buy peanut oil or flour to make and sell food, or to make traditional water jars to sell.

The opportunity to see the women’s group showed me their determination to follow the practices they’ve learned. Abdou and Ouma have inspired the villagers to learn new skills and techniques that will change their lives and the lives of their children.

Through the love of the evangelists, their teachings have taken root and changed not only the physical situation of people, but also their hearts. Their lives are a testimony to the Gospel. They show the love of Christ to people who want to know Him more.

Abdou said that although there have been challenges, they aren’t afraid, because, “when you surmount challenges they become glory.”