Prayer

Life Among the Songhai in Niger

Songhai women and children

George and Megan Lane* serve as church planters among the Songhai [song-GAHY] people in Niger. Around 99% of the Songhai are Muslims. While this creates a barrier to the gospel, the Lanes have discovered that the Songhai people are very welcoming and will sit and listen to their stories of Jesus. Because most people in this culture do not read, the Lanes use storying to share the gospel.

The Lanes are church planters, so they share the gospel with anyone willing to listen, including children. They say that the children are grateful for hearing God’s Word. Singing songs, playing games, and coloring are all special treats among the Songhai children because they love to learn, and they don’t have coloring books or crayons at their homes.

The Lanes’ experience in Niger is that while ministering and living among the Songhai is challenging, the Songhais’ hospitable culture opens doors to sharing God’s love.
 

God Speaks to Us in the Quiet

Have you ever noticed that you hear a lot of sounds at night that you don’t usually hear during the day? Maybe it’s a dog barking, a quiet clock ticking, or even the wood in your home making clicks and pops as it settles. The Bible tells us that when Samuel was a young boy, God spoke to him one night as he was lying in bed. Samuel did not know it was God at first, but once he figured it out, he responded, “Speak. I’m listening.” Then God gave him a message. For the rest of Samuel’s life, God continued to speak to him in this way.

God speaks to us, too, but we often have to settle down and listen so that we can understand His message. This is one reason it is so important to make time to spend in prayer with God. When nothing else can distract us and we can listen carefully, God can speak to us the best. Samuel knew this well.

Do you want to find out what God has in store for you? Just start listening!

Have children practice these exercises with a friend to see just how much they can hear when they are focused. Give these instructions:

News from Holly Procita

Prayer, Calgary, Holly Procita, Preschool

With the arrival of summer, many churches in the US relax their children’s ministry schedules. This is not the case with Southwinds Church in Calgary! Holly Procita, Community Outreach Coordinator at Southwinds, tells us Calgary experiences snow and cold weather for 8 to 10 months each year. Calgarians love the opportunity to be outside when the weather is warm. So, summer is the prime time to reach out to families.

Southwinds hosts between 6 and 10 summer camps each year. As you read this, Holly and her ministry team are working tirelessly to wrap up all the details for this year’s summer camps. The camps include sports camps, music and drama camps, and Kid’s Camp, which most of us would call Vacation Bible School.

God Hears the Prayers of Preschoolers

God hears me when I pray

“Tell all the Mission Friends to keep praying.” These were the words we heard from missionary, Tobey Pitman, after hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. I do not think it was by coincidence that Mission Friends® featured Tobey and Cathy Pitman as our missionaries that August. Preschoolers learned all month about New Orleans and the Pitmans’ ministries to the people of New Orleans. Immediately after the devastation of the hurricane, Mission Friends leaders from across the country contacted WMU with concerns about the Pitmans. Their preschoolers had heard about the flooding in New Orleans, and the preschoolers were asking about Mr. and Mrs. Pitman. The leaders told us their preschoolers were praying for the Pitmans. When we heard from Tobey Pitman and told him all the Mission Friends were asking about them, his response was to “tell all the Mission Friends to keep praying.” What a difference it made to these missionaries to know our preschoolers were praying. This is why I believe that God hears the prayers of our preschoolers.

From Zero to 169

It seems we struggle to grow missions discipleship organizations. Getting people to participate in ongoing meetings is a challenge. Here is a very simple idea to go from zero to 169 participants in less than a year. Ask 12 friends to join you in starting an Adults on Mission ministry group to impact your community.

Purchase a Gifts of Hope Ministry Set and get started. If you have 13 people in your small group, everyone contributes about $10. For $125, you receive a Gifts of Hope Ministry Set to put in a high traffic area within your community such as the office of a lawyer, doctor, dentist, chiropractor, veterinary, a diagnostic testing center, food pantry, clothes closet, even an auto repair service shop or tire store waiting room. The possibilities are endless.

Update from Guatemala

White family in Guatemala

David and Regina White recently sent us an update on their ministry. We pray that these updates will help shape your prayers for the White family:

In Guatemala now, the hot season has arrived. With daily temperatures over 100 degrees, families have to deal with water shortages and power outages. The Whites have been experiencing some head colds and congestion. The heat makes these illnesses even more difficult. Please pray that their health will be fully restored.

The Whites held 10 Bible studies last month. In 1 village, there is only 1 family of believers. Pray that this family will remain strong and will be a light in their community. Additionally, a Bible study group from 1 village is visiting another village to begin a weekly study. Please pray for the visiting group to soon see fruit from their visits.

The Whites are involved in the construction of a new church building. They report that this construction is going well, and ask for continued prayers for this project. They ask that we especially pray for the construction workers and the project manager.

Update on the Woolstenhulmes

Woolstenhulme Family

Jeff and Tessa Woolstenhulme have added a new member to their family! Join us in thanking the Lord for their wonderful 4-month-old son, Nate.

Jeff reports that he and Tessa are persevering in their ministry. He says that their primary prayer request is that students will begin building community within their ministry. Students often attend ministry events, but they socialize elsewhere with other friend groups. Jeff says that he would love to see the college students building strong relationships within the ministry so that they can all grow together. Jeff says that seeing a community that enjoys being together is a power testament to the gospel. This is a reminder of Jesus’ statement, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:13 NIV1).

 

Ways to Pray for Campus Ministries

This month, as you study the Woolstenhulmes’ ministry at Riverside, consider ways that you can pray for campus ministries in your area. Ask God to guide you in praying for your local schools. Use this prayer list as an idea generator:

All Things Big and Small

When I think of missions, my first thought is a big trip taken overseas. I think of going to Africa or Asia, eating strange new foods, forging new relationships and working hard, and meeting the needs of people who have never heard of Jesus.

Then I look around me and realize there are people right outside my front door who have never heard of Jesus. I realize that anywhere I am is a missions field if I’ll just let God use me as a missionary.

It’s hard to remember that we are called to be missionaries as soon as we accept Jesus into our hearts. It’s hard to be intentional about sharing His love with others as we go about our sometimes mundane day-to-day tasks.

We don’t have to pack a giant backpack and head to Africa in order to be missionaries. In fact, there are over 269 million lost people in North America, so we need to consider taking off our giant backpacks and reaching out to our many neighbors who are lost.

Teaching Preschoolers the Significance of Prayer

Last week, during National WMU’s all employee meeting, our executive director, Sandy Wisdom-Martin, shared excerpts of her prayer journal with us. She emphasized that prayer should not be assigned to specific times or places. Sandy’s words created a beautiful picture, "When prayer occurs with frequency and passion, communication transforms into communion. When people pray together, it creates a climate for God’s Spirit to dwell in our midst. If we lead with prayer, God can do immeasurably more in and through us."

What if our preschoolers caught this vision? Preschoolers are ripe for learning about prayer. They accept matters of faith that our jaded adult minds may not accept. From birth, we can pray with our children. As you pray with your little ones, you are building a foundation for deeper, more fervent and faithful communion with God.

Use these suggestions to help your preschoolers understand the significance of prayer for followers of Jesus:

Are You Willing to Follow Where He Leads?

As I read the words, my eyes began to tear. The Prayer Patterns focus in Missions Mosaic was on Moses. Judith Edwards wrote, "‘Burning bush’ experiences come without warning and often in ways that are indescribable in human words. Any encounter with God causes us to examine where we have been and what may lie ahead, but ‘burning bush’ encounters are those that catch us by surprise, take our breath away because of their inexplicable wonder, and sometimes leave us asking, ‘God! Are you sure?’”

That sums up my journey to national WMU. In a way, that sums up my entire life. I am the daughter of a coal miner and foundry worker and have been caught by surprise time and time again. Repeatedly I have asked, “God! Are you sure?”

A friend sent me a book by Alton Lee Webb. In Go Outside, he writes, “So, if you feel completely called and completely inadequate at the same time, you are in the perfect place to get up, get out, and change the world.”1 I do feel completely called and utterly inadequate.

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