A Thirst for the Gospel in Niger

February 1, 2018 •
Samaritan's Purse evangelists are bringing the joy of the Gospel to rural Niger.
Samaritan's Purse evangelists are bringing the joy of the Gospel to rural Niger.

The joy of the Gospel reaches rural villages in Niger through the work of Samaritan's Purse evangelists.

Desiree Carlson is a Samaritan’s Purse intern serving in Niger.

Dusty paths created only by animals and foot traffic weave through sand and scattered brush throughout rural Niger. These “roads” are all that connect our evangelists with the numerous villages they visit each week.

After traveling some of these rough wilderness routes I understood a little more about the difficulties our evangelists face as they navigate as many as 50 kilometers a day by motorbike.

“Every day I leave early in the morning to start visiting villages,” evangelist Chaibou Gouzaye Souley told me during a ministry conference we attended. “Sometimes I don’t get back until late at night or I spend the night in a village. I try to visit all thirteen villages every week.”

In Niger, Samaritan’s Purse works with local churches to train evangelists like Chaibou who work with our projects and share the hope of the Gospel throughout this majority-Muslim country.

As our teams develop projects to help communities in tangible ways such as clean water, food and nutrition, or livelihood skills, evangelists also help address spiritual needs. Our partner churches continue to follow up with evangelists like Chaibou, providing them a home base that supports them with prayer and regular visits.

“I got to experience the life of an evangelist,” said Delema Prosper, pastor of Chaibou’s sending church. “I was there for only three days, and yet with all the traveling between villages, my head hurt and I was tired. It was discouraging to visit a village where you see so many people rejecting the Good News.”

Difficult travel, rejection, and separation from family are all daily challenges for evangelists in Niger. Yet, they also experience immense joy as they carry out the work to which God has called them.

Chaibou said that working alongside Samaritan’s Purse projects and staff has made it possible to have Gospel conversations in some of the most difficult areas.

“Visiting project sites allows me to build relationships and to have one-on-one conversations with beneficiaries. Samaritan’s Purse opens doors for me to share the Gospel and to reach the people of Niger,” Chaibou said.

Pastor Delema’s and Chaibou’s eyes lit up as they told me about all that God is doing. Even in the places where they are rejected, there is usually at least one villager who is, as they like to say, their “Nicodemus” – the Pharisee who visited Jesus in private.

They told me about a man from a village that did not want to hear the Gospel. However, this man accepted Jesus Christ and is now learning about God from the evangelist.

Chaibou has started two churches since he started this work seven months ago. People are thirsty for the Gospel in this dry desert.