When we moved to the small town of Guecheme to concentrate on improving our Hausa language, one of the first things we had to do was get electricity connected to the house. It took a couple of weeks before we could finally click the switch and suddenly we had lights and a fridge! During those two weeks we had learned how to live without lights. We would do all our cooking preparation and wash as many dishes as possible before it became too hard to see what we were doing. We learnt to go to bed early and get up early. When we finally had lights we so much appreciated them…up until that point we had always had light to live by. At about this time we helped the two pastors’ families on the compound to improve the electrical work in their homes. The report we had was that the children were all overjoyed to be able to read at night! Wow! In NZ everyone has light to do their homework by! It got me thinking about how we take things like light so much for granted.
Following this string of thought, I thought about how we take The Light for granted too! In our western nations we assume that everyone has access to the wonderful news of Jesus. It has been that way for us and so we seldom think of others that may not have been exposed to the light. Even in our western nations there are more and more young people who are not taught about Christianity and in fact in the school system and in the media, they are most likely to receive a negative view. Thinking of Niger, however, the lack of light is an overwhelming and urgent problem! Even among the Hausa, the most reached group here, there are 100s (probably even 1000s) of villages without any known Christian witness. There are people groups in Niger with virtually no gospel penetration at all. Are we going to sit at home with the light reading the paper, when there are whole black-out areas in our neighbourhood? What about lands like Niger where millions live a miserable life shuffling around in the dark? We don’t need to dispute whether it is better (and cheaper!) to send money for nationals to evangelise or whether it is better to send missionaries…whatever we can send of both will only be a drop in the bucket here…the needs are immense!
Do you have The Light? Consider sharing it with your neighbour, consider also joining with someone to send mission partners of every description to Niger, better yet, what about taking the light yourself?
Mark and Faye Griffiths are serving in Maradi, Niger, in medical and outreach ministries.