Introduction and Recap
Many of you will remember last August when the Niger River swelled and tremendous flooding occurred. The flood claimed lives, destroyed countless homes, and, according to some reports, left over 400,000 people in need of shelter. The need was overwhelming and staggering.
Sahel Academy, an International Christian School in Niamey, Niger, was drastically affected by the flooding. The entire campus was quickly underwater and buildings were rendered unusable. The school was forced to relocate and continues to meet in these temporary locations.
In response to this crisis, FBM sent out an appeal for contributions to our West Africa Relief Fund to help us respond to this urgent need. Many of you, our ministry partners, responded in an overwhelming fashion. Over $80,000 was sent to help with this crisis. We continue to be humbled by this response.
With a response like this, we feel a strong need to communicate how we are using these funds. Today’s report begins this process.
One of the primary ways we are helping those affected by the flooding is by helping them rebuild their home. We are currently in the process of helping three families rebuild the homes that were destroyed by the flooding. Pictured below is the temporary housing where some of these families have been living. Because of your generosity, we are able to rebuild using cement blocks instead of the mud bricks they typically use. As you might imagine, mud bricks succumb to floodwaters every time. Cement blocks will hold up much better in case the floodwaters return.
It is important to understand that we are attempting to be wise in choosing who we help. Creating dependency in West Africa is a real concern that we must always be mindful of. Giving someone a free house is always a big deal, regardless of what country you are in. In these three specific situations, our missionaries have long term relationships with each family. While each of these families is unbelieving, our hope is that this act of generosity will strengthen the friendships that already exist. We pray that Gospel conversations will continue and will ultimately lead to their salvation. Please pray with us for the salvation of these friends.
Another area where our West Africa Relief Fund is helping is in the purchase of new radios. One of the first requests that we received after the flooding was for new radios. Sadly, the floodwaters carried away countless of these radios. These radios are not your typical radio. First, they are solar powered, which is critical in areas with no electricity. Second, they have a built in light which is also vital in many of these villages. Finally, and most importantly, they can play audio files from SD cards. Because of this, they are a powerful evangelistic tool. Our missionaries fill these SD cards with recordings of Scripture in the local dialects. Thus, these radios become Audio Bibles.
One unique benefit of these radios is the realization that one radio can have an impact on many people. Often, in these villages, a radio is given to the chief or another important leader. Then, many in the village will gather around to listen as the Gospel is played from the radio. The reality is that just one radio can often impact an entire village.
This brief report shows you just two areas in which we have been able to use our West Africa Relief Fund. Thank you so much for your partnership in the Gospel in this unique way. Stay tuned for Part Two of this report as it will detail additional ways in which we are helping.