In the sub-Saharan African nation of Niger, less than fourteen percent of the population are literate and only five percent of the people are Christian with the majority of them being Catholic. Niger is the poorest nation in the world, ranking last on the UN’s Human Development Index, but the church is alive and growing and in need of spiritual instruction.
When the opportunity arose for Delron to visit Niger while on his way to minister in Nigeria, his contact in the country decided to hold a one-day pastors’ conference so he could get acquainted with a few of the nation’s Christian leaders. Delron arrived several days before the conference so he could spend some time teaching at the regional Bible college every morning and preaching in local churches each evening.
He discovered that although evangelical Christians comprise less than one percent of the population of the nation, there is a vital and growing church in the country. Although the nation is essentially totally Islamic, the people are open to listen to the presentation of the gospel and there is very little organized persecution of believers; but there is still a social stigma about converting from the Moslem faith which keeps many who are open to the gospel from making a public confession of faith in Christ. This obstacle didn’t seem to be an overwhelming barrier as I saw results at every church where Delron ministered. Each altar call brought only one new convert per service forward to publicly pray the sinner’s prayer; but this one-by-one grow is one way the Lord adds to His daily, and each individual salvation causes a celebration in heaven as well as here on earth.
The pastor’s seminar was blessed with full participation from the evangelical as well as the charismatic ministers. A large percentage of the pastors had been in an all-night prayer vigil the night before but still came and participated in our all-day seminar. We closed the meeting by distributing a suitcase load of books he had brought to give to the ones who could read English in this French-speaking nation. When Delron learned that my flight to Nigeria was canceled, he was rather upset that the only way to get there was to fly on Monday to Corte d’Ivoire and then catch a flight to Nigeria on Tuesday. Eventually, he conceded and comforted himself with Romans 8:28–that this situation was going to work together for the best. And it did! He was invited to minister in a local church in Niamey on Sunday morning and then have some “down time” with an American missionary family. The missionary then made contact with a friend of his in Abijan who met Delron when he flew into Corte d’Ivoire on Monday evening and extended an invitation for him to minister at a prayer rally on Tuesday morning before leaving for the airport that afternoon. When Delron finally was on the flight to Lagos, he was able to look back and see that the Lord had truly guided my steps and allowed him to bring His blessings into the lives of many beautiful African believers. At the same time, He blessed Delron’s life with new friends in these distant lands.