so, i’ve been here a month, now.
wait, it’s only been a week and some change?!? this time has really flown by and it feels like bleaching fruit, dust storms and power outages are just a normal part of daily life.
but the week has been full. and it has been good.
before i get to my first week, i feel the need to share how i got here, because it is a story of surrender. you’ll have to check back for updates on my first week in Niamey.
originally, when i committed to coming to Niger for 5 months, our plan was for me to live with april so that she could finish out her Journeyman tour in her town, with the ministry she had begun. i was working on learning Zarma and coming up with ideas for my assistance and involvement in her outreach there. i was extremely excited to be fulfilling a long-term dream and calling of mine to do evangelical foreign missions- something i knew God had for my life since i first heard Him tell me in 2005.
a few months ago, the personnel here experienced a bit of a shake up and the baptist mission guest house was in need of a manager. after i read the initial email april sent me, the email discussing the critical need for someone to come take care of this compound, my heart sunk. i knew almost immediately that i was supposed to offer my service here. but, in all honesty, i did it as an act of obedience, not of desire.
i had hung up my conference center/hospitality management keys over a year ago. i was done booking rooms, making housekeeping inventories and settling bills with guests. i had put my time in. i didn’t need to worry about employee payroll anymore or about resetting the internet. i was done with that ministry.
but it seems as though God had different plans for me. today i officially started my service as temporary guest house manager here in Niamey. and while i was very reluctant to take this assignment, i am very excited to serve the missionaries and volunteers here. this is not new for me. after working up the ranks and serving for 14 years at Skycroft, i am quite adept at guest services and hospitality management.
and now i have another opportunity to organize (stop laughing, douglas), develop operational systems, oversee compound improvements and provide clean respite for missionaries and volunteers alike. i have the opportunity to plan guest house activities, cook meals for people when they return from serving out in the bush, and practice language learning with the staff that work here. so, i am excited. i’m excited that the Niger team has opened up their arms to welcome me and allowed me to easily become a servant with them. and i am in constant prayer that i stay focused on Jesus first, and the work second. it is essential.
it’s not what i expected when i initially told God i would come here and serve for a few months. but, then again, how often does our life’s path take a few roads we didn’t expect? my own life is a testament to that. there have been roadblocks and forks. dead ends and swiftly moving freeways. unexpected curves and plenty of joyrides.
and now God’s path for me has led to a new city. a city i am excited to bike around and learn its intricacies. it has led me to a brave adventure of learning a very foreign tongue and being forced to use it as i navigate the city on my own. it has led me to an awakened sense of my desperate need of a life of constant prayer. it has led me to once again trust in the faithfulness of Jesus.
so. though not the path i would have planned to get here, i am ever thankful that i am here.
For you make him most blessed forever; you make him glad with the joy of your presence. (Psalm 21:6 ESV) (jeremy riddle- sweetly broken)