It always feels good to get out of the city and let the wind blow my hair and be able to see the horizon. I was telling John today how closed in I feel in the city. I mean, we can barely see the sky! The dunes are just outside of Niamey, but I really feel like we've put the city behind us whenever we go out there.
Because about 3/4's of Niger's land mass is in the desert you may think all Niger is is one big sand dune. But we live in the Sahel region (which actually means "shore"). The Sahel, as I explained in my last post, is the band between the desert and the savanna or the grasslands. So we do have trees and scrub brush growing. While there is sand everywhere, there aren't sand dunes everywhere.
It feels great to sit on top of the dunes and look at the world around us. The quiet soothes my soul. The immense piles of shifting sand fill me with wonder at God's creation.
There are always some people who live nearby who follow us up the dunes. One of them is employed by the government to make sure people don't destroy the dunes or ruin them for other people....kind of the idea of a park ranger. He seemed to have a young man that he left in charge who made sure little kids didn't annoy us. The other missionary we went with was able to talk to him a bit, but they were having a hard time understanding each other. Even though they were speaking the same language, they were speaking different dialects.
As evening came on we saw people heading home. Then the cows passed by in the dry stream bed below us, ready to be milked and to eat whatever dry stalks their owners could give them. Two little boys went by carrying fodder for animals on their heads. As darkness descended, cooking fires became visible. Voices could be heard in the distance, carried to us on the wind. My friend remarked, "I love this time of day. It has such a homey feel to it."
But as we looked around and saw little hamlets where people live, I had to think of how most of them have never heard the Gospel. All across Niger there are village after village where people are living and dying without having heard the message of good news.
Today started the yearly fast. Can I ask you to join us especially during this month in praying for our friends and neighbors here? Please pray for God to reveal Himself to many during this month.
Pray for us to be faithful, too, and to take the opportunities given to us. "How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of them that bring good news!"