Monday, March 26, 2012

2012 PCUSA Mission Yearbook - Niger - March 26, 2012

From the PCUSA Mission Yearbook for March 26, 2012.

Niger is one of the poorest and least developed places on earth.  The 2010 United Nations Human Development Index ranked it 167 out of 169 countries worldwide.  Life expectancy is just under 53, and the average Nigerien has attended school for only 1.4 years.

The country has an overwhelming Muslim majority, which exceeds 95% of the population.  The two main Christian denominations are the Roman Catholic Church, which ministers almost exclusively to foreign expatriates, and the PCUSA partner, the Evangelical Church of the Republic of Niger (EERN), whose membership is comprised of the Zarma and Hausa speaking people of the country.

One of the main mission focuses of the EERN has been its elementary schools.  The church sees these school as a way of both improving the education level of boys and girls in the country, as well as a means of Christian evangelism. 

In many towns in the country, Muslim families strive to enroll their children in these EERN schools, because of their high academic achievement.  There is an incredible openness to the Gospel message.  We also thank God for the high degree of peace between Niger’s Christian and Muslim populations. 

Prayer:  God of justice and mercy, we pray for the church in Niger, whose mission and ministry is taking place in such a difficult setting.  As your children, you have called us to let our light shine, so that others may see our good works and thereby give glory to you.  May the EERN be a true and abiding light to the people of Niger.  May it provide the people with food that nourishes both body and soul.  In the powerful name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen. 

 Rev. Sani Nomaou, Mr. Ibrahim Adbou, and three elders of the EERN meet with Rev. Debbie Braaksma, Africa Area Coordinator.   

Saturday, March 24, 2012

2012 PCUSA Mission Yearbook - Nigeria - March 24, 2012

From the PCUSA Mission Yearbook for March 24, 2012.

Although the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria is one of the oldest Christian denominations in the country, founded when Scottish and Jamaican missionaries arrived in Calabar in 1846, for many years it remained a small, regional church, based in Nigeria's southeast. 

Since 2008, the church has been undertaking a campaign to triple its membership.  It hopes to do this by planting new congregations and mission stations in unreached areas, and by evangelizing in parts of Nigeria where it has never been before.  During the past two years, the church has added about 150 new congregations and mission stations, raising the total number in the country to about 1400. 

The Presbyterian Church of Nigeria now requires all of its new seminary graduates to go through a two-year period as “Provers of Ministry” before they enter the ranks of the ordained ministry.  During this time, Provers are assigned either to plant a new congregation or shepherd a newly founded one.  Although the work isn’t easy, the number of students entering seminary remains high. 

The church believes that this emphasis on church planting and evangelism will not only allow it to grow, but will help spread the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Church to more parts of Nigeria.

Prayer:  Lord God, we lift up the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria as it works to spread your love, made known to us through Jesus Christ.  May the church touch more lives with the Good News of the Gospel.  May it be an inspiration for us, as we took work to spread the message of Christ in our own communities.  Amen.  

The Deputy Clerk of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, Rev. Daniel Etim, with a pastor of one of the newly established congregations.