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Spiritual Life Conference

Imagine this...tired, exhausted, discouraged missionaries from all over Niger coming together to spend five days with each other. Imagine a big family reunion and you have a pretty good picture of our spiritual life conference. Throw in superb music and excellent teaching along with delicious meals and you've got the makings of a memorable time.

Our spiritual life conference is probably the highlight of the year for many of us missionaries here in Niger. Many come exhausted and discouraged. Others come encouraged and excited about their ministries. All come ready to listen to the messages and participate in the worship and just to hang out together. It's probably safe to say that all leave encouraged.

John was in charge of the worship this year, but there were some pretty big challenges in getting it all set up. A team came from Green Valley Community Church in CA. They brought with them the speaker, Pastor Ken Burkey, people to help with the kids and youth program, a professional photographer and a professional videographer, and a worship team. Ahead of time John had to coordinate with the worship team to make sure they did a fair number of songs we already know. Nobody enjoys worship if ALL the songs are new! He also needed to make sure that we did a lot of French songs. It's not always easy to communicate from out here when you're never quite sure if your email was received or not.

At any rate, they pulled it all together. A lot of it was last-minute, which isn't John, but he went with the flow and it came off well. They were a young, energetic group and John, knowing the mind-set of a lot of the missionaries, asked them at the beginning to tone it down a bit. They submitted to him and did the cultural thing...adapted themselves to their target "audience". They showed a lot of humility, love and Christ-like character. By the end of the week they had earned enough love and respect that they were able to pull out all stops and do music the way they enjoy doing it. It was really great!

The speaker was also excellent. His messages spoke right to the heart and confirmed that now is the time for us to move to Niamey. God really used him to speak to both John and me.

Suzanne enjoyed the youth meetings and she was also on the worship team. I don't have any photos of her singing, though. She was sick with asthma one day so she took all these photos. Her class, with my help, did a spaghetti supper the first night and they sold Cokes everyday. All the profit they made will go towards their senior trip. They are still juniors but wanted to get a head start. They made a good bit of money!

I was behind the computer doing power point, so no photos of me, either!

One night during conference the music team put on an outdoor concert. They did another one when the Sahel Academy students came back. This photo is from that night. In this picture the kids were all up front with the band. Suzanne is in the center.


Amanda said…
I remember the SLC we went to at Galmi in 2001. It was a great time. Michael is about to go to the SLC in Peru in a week or so!
Anonymous said…
I would choose this over Creation hands down! It sounds like both you and John were super busy, were you able to get away and just enjoy it at times? I remember hearing you both talking about it this Summer so it was really cool to see and read about it now.
Does the group that came out have a website I want to see more pictures!!!
I love and miss all of you!
Love, JO
Hannatu said…
Their church has a website. Just search for Green Valley Community Church. I don't think they had any pictures up. Also Cameron Stymeist has a Myspace site. His band is called The Reel, so you can do a search for that. I don't know if they have any pictures up or not.

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