Importance of Outreach in Niger
Words of Hope is dedicated to sharing the gospel through media in order to build the church. This is especially important wherever people are lacking the monetary resources necessary to carry out media outreach among their own people.
Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world, and the Sahara Desert covers over half its area, making both farming and travel difficult. Add to this the fact that almost everyone in Niger (over 90% of the population) is Muslim, and the result is a very difficult place to carry out Christian ministry.
Words of Hope produces native-language gospel radio broadcasts that are aired throughout Niger. The Media Research Institute conducted a survey in Niger to assess the effectiveness of our radio broadcasts there, and the results were striking. Nearly ⅔ of the people in Niger have heard our broadcasts, and, in a country so thoroughly Muslim, a surprising 73.5% of those who heard the program reported that it was either “good” or “excellent.”
In Niger, where only 1 out of every 100 people has Internet access, 94.6% of the population does have access to a radio. We hear numerous stories of radio listeners who are attracted to our locally produced programs. While scanning stations they hear a broadcast in their native heart language.
In Niger we broadcast in French, the national language, and also in Hausa, the native language of nearly 50% of the population. People listen to our broadcasts because they hear their own language, then they are offered information to contact representatives of the local church if they would like to learn more. From there, we connect them with mentors, radio listener groups and pastors.
We know that this manner of evangelism is most effective when local church leaders have been trained to follow up with the listeners who call with questions in response to the radio programs, but many pastors in this region are under-trained and ill-equipped to shepherd their small congregations.
Our partner in ministry, the Evangelical Church of Niger (EERN) provides necessary training for pastors, but in a country with limited resources and harsh travel conditions, few pastors have been able to find a place to stay when they travel to the EERN headquarters—until now!
Words of Hope has nearly completed building a small dormitory on the grounds of the EERN compound, adjacent to the studio facility we built for the church in 2006. This new building will provide pastors and various laypersons with a safe and convenient place to stay while they receive Biblical instruction.
Vision for the Future
Our prayer is that the people of Niger will become fully equipped to proclaim the love of Jesus Christ among their own people. We hope that someday the truth of Christianity will prevail in this Muslim-dominated country. We picture a time when Nigeriens are so on fire for Jesus that they send out their own missionaries to other countries to carry the Great Commission further.
Is this too much to hope for? We don’t think so. By providing sustainable resources and training for Nigeriens, our witness can multiply through them, and more and more people can come to know Jesus. This new lodging facility will make it feasible for more people to attend gospel leadership training classes, and as a result these same people can provide the follow-up services needed for our radio broadcasts. New churches can be formed, existing congregations can grow, and new Christians can be strengthened in the faith.
Look for pictures of the completed building in the next few months!