Friends of Faith is a registered non-profit founded to bring hope and help to people around the world. Friends of Faith is very active in Latin America. They were gracious enough to bring me on board to help send me to Africa. Denzel and Rebecca Hood are the founding missionaries; they serve in Mexico and have been very kind. Ken Isom is the treasurer, and I would not be able to do what I am trying to do without his help and guidance.
My family moved to Oklahoma from Africa when I was about 9 years-old, and we started attending Mustang Assembly of God. The church would sponsor a mission trip to Mexico every summer. When I became old enough (I believe I was in 6th grade) I went on my first trip to Puebla, Mexico. I enjoyed the trip and went almost every year until I graduated from high school. The missionaries we helped were Denzel and Rebecca Hood. Ken Isom, an associate pastor at our church, coordinated the trip every year. My dad even went on a few trips with me, and over the years we developed a friendship with the Hoods.
After high school, I went to college for 5 years and then served as a missionary in Niger, Africa for 4 years. When I left Niger, I had it my mind to stay in the States for a couple of years and then return to Africa in some fashion. I was gathering information to make a decision when I consulted my friend Ken. He informed me that he was the treasurer of Friends of Faith World outreach, a non-profit established by the Hoods to help facilitate fundraising. I was excited about the connection and asked Ken if the organization would be willing to take me on as a missionary and send my to Africa. He consulted the board, and they were pleased to help. And so, I am a missionary being sent to Niger, Africa by Friends of Faith World Outreach.
Denzel and Rebecca began in Mexico as missionaries who were convinced that the best way to reach a nation is to reach specific people. They invested their time with a few Mexican Christians to ensure that these individuals became true disciples. These disciples in turn invested their own time in a small group of other individuals. And, the process continues. The idea of small-group discipleship motivates me.
My goal in Niger is to find 8 to 12 people and invest my time with them to lead them on a path of friendship with God. The culture of Niger is strongly influenced by Islam but it is also influence by African tribal religions. Nigeriens are very spiritual people and desire to appease a multitude of gods. It is difficult to convince a Nigerien to commit to Jesus only. When a Nigerien does commit to Jesus only, the individual’s family often shuns them for bringing shame upon them. Islam has been present in most Nigerien families for countless generations. When a single member of the family decides to leave the family religion, that individual is thought of as being prideful and selfish. I intend to invest as much time as needed to support individuals who decide to become Christians. The cell-church is the tool that I intend to use to accomplish this goal.
Another aspect of my intentions in Niger is to befriend and mentor the children of missionaries. Most people are shocked to discover that a large number of missionary children grow up to be non-Christians. The children of missionaries are asked to float easily between two or more countries without complaint. These children did not choose their missionary life and are told that God is directing the decisions of their parents. The children then equate God to the strife that they feel as they are bounced around the world between various cultures. Being a missionary kid can be exciting and adventurous, but it can also be confusing. As a missionary kid myself, I find that I am uniquely equipped to help missionary kids with various life transitions.