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Thankfully Basically Normal

Thankfully Basically Normal

Well, life is basically normal, now. The summer was not basically normal. Your prayers and thoughts were appreciated (and still are).

At the end of July, a high-ranking general staged a successful military takeover of Niger. The process was rather short-lived, a few days. However, the ramifications are long-lasting. Many other countries in the region were not pleased. Two other nearby countries, which have their own forcefully installed military leaders, were very supportive. During the first few weeks, radical threats flew back and forth from both sides. The disapproving countries threatened military intervention, and Niger’s council of generals dared them to do so. Though no fatalities occurred, the potential for catastrophe was quite high. Rallies were staged in support of the takeover, but the broader population seemed mostly ambivalent and would probably tolerate whatever basically decent government that happened to win the day. Aside from a few instances of minor property destruction, the transition to military rule has been generally smooth.

On the Sunday following the coup, I was scheduled to preach at the church where I regularly attend. I considered not going, but (as I said) the overall atmosphere was one of relative calm. Nevertheless, my levels of stress were certainly elevated. I had prepared a wonderful sermon based upon Numbers 6:24 – 26 (“The Lord bless you and keep you…”). The problem is that, the positive message of this passage notwithstanding, those verses are located in the context of Israel’s wars and wanderings. And so, for the sake of historical context, I had planned to discuss a few events that are rather violent. I woke up, ate a boiled egg, strapped myself into my two-door Rav4, suspiciously eye-balled every taxi driver that I passed, bounced along the dirt roads, arrived contentedly at church, entered the building, and sat down beside the pastor – a man who has been my friend for a long time. Midway through the singing portion of the service, Pastor Boureima leaned over and showed me a message on his phone. The text had been distributed to several people throughout the city. The message called on all good Nigerien citizens to burn the houses of Europeans and Americans. Pastor Boureima asked me if I had already seen the text. I answered that I had not; and then I asked, “Do you want me to preach now?” He said, “Oh, this group is basically harmless; there’s probably nothing to worry about.” I grabbed my Bible and withdrew to a nearby storage room for a few minutes. I preached on the Lord’s Prayer that morning. 

Here is a topic that you can keep in your prayers. Throughout the world and throughout time, humans are… sinful. A teenager with a complicated situation has been visiting our church. The biological family members of this young man are professing Christians, but they disowned him for a social reason that is in no way his fault. He found limited refuge with extended relatives who are Muslim, but they don’t fully accept him because his immediate family is Christian. He lives in a state of constant rejection and frustration. Despite his banishment at the hands of his Christian parents, he is somewhat interested in the Bible. The hope of Christ has been dimly but persistently glimmering through the clutter of human cruelty. I have invited him to meet with me and discuss the Bible. Pray that he will take me up on my offer.

Once again, thank you so much for your support. I continue to teach at a local Bible school and at an international English-speaking academy. Mikey is now an active-duty member of the Army. I am thankful for your prayers and thoughts.   

Here are two links to church music.

New Bible school building
New Bible school building

Bible school students waiting for class


Bible school students

Whiteboard of notes for Bible school students


Whiteboard of notes