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Angèle Fischbach moved to Niger last year to live among the agricultural Fulani people. She tells us about the people and their beliefs, as well as how the team have been settling in to their new home and building relationships in the Fulani community.
Sharing our hope in Christ
The first Training in Ministry Outreach (TIMO) team partnership between SIM (Serving in Mission) and AIM started in Niger, on the 4th May 2016. Now we’re eight months into our assignment and life among the Fulani. Our team is composed of three families with eight kids and three single ladies living in two little villages separated by three and a half kilometres. We are a multicultural team gathered from the USA, Australia, Kenya and France. TIMO is intensive and challenging training but most of all it’s a marvellous opportunity for our lives to be transformed into the image of Christ and to share our hope in Christ as we live among the Fulani.
After our home stay week we started to visit different households in our neighbourhood. During that time we met Abel* and his family who live near us. This family were so welcoming. Quickly we realised that they would be perfect language helpers. God put on Rachel’s (one of our team members) heart a desire to develop a friendship with that family and improve her language with them.
After spending some time together Rachel discovered that Abel is really open to the gospel and that he has some relatives who are Christians. He likes to listen to the Bible stories that we have given him on a recording device. So does his first wife. Now Rachel and Clare (another team member) are reading Scripture with them and both he and his wife want to understand more about life with Jesus. Slowly Abel’s second wife has shown an interest too. We pray that all the family will understand the marvellous message of the gospel and become disciples of Jesus.
* Names changed for security
Joining the community
The Fulani are gentle, kind, patient, and have been really welcoming. All of us have been surprised by how friendly they are. Now, we are part of their community, they are our friends and even, for some of them, we are viewed as family members!
The Fulani were a nomadic people group but now most of them are settling in villages and towns. They are shepherds and farmers and live off millet. They are an animistic people group who embraced Islam in addition to their traditional beliefs. In our communities most people practise a moderate form of Islam but some people have been to Nigeria to study in koranic schools. Increasingly the neighbouring Hausa people and their Muslim teachers are seeking to enforce Islamic beliefs.
Bridges for the gospel
As our team leader and his parents, who are missionaries too, prepared for the team’s arrival they started to build good relationships with the two communities we are living in. They began the work of sharing the gospel with them, distributing voice recorders with Bible teaching and songs in Fulfulde.
There is an openness for the gospel here and we pray for the wisdom to know how to share the precious message. To do that well, we need to be diligent in learning the language and in trying to understand more about Fulani culture.