Monday, March 12, 2012

Pray for the people of Niger

About Niger:
Niger is more than three times the size of California and is a landlocked country consisting of 80% desert. It is one of the hottest, poorest, least developed, and least reached countries in the world
86% of Nigeriens live under the international poverty line
The population is approx 16,000,000 people
49% of which are 14 years and younger - that's 7,840,000 children
Furthermore, two-thirds (66.7%) of the Nigerien population is under the age of 25
98% of the population in Niger is Muslim
There are 38 people groups in Niger. 29 of them are unreached. It is estimated that 98% of the entire population in Niger have not heard the Gospel
Still, the church in Niger is believed to be 30,000 believers strong (and growing!)
Over half of the population of Niger belongs to the Hausa tribe, who live in the arable southern tier of the country. The remainder of Nigeriens are nomadic or semi-nomadic livestock-raising peoples
There is an estimated 12,000 villages in Niger
Niger's economy centers on subsistence crops, livestock, and some of the world's largest uranium deposits; agriculture contributes about 40% of GDP and provides livelihood for about 80% of the population
Rainfall varies, and when insufficient, Niger has difficulty feeding its population and must rely on grain purchases and food aid to meet food requirements
The child mortality rate in Niger is 274 deaths per 1,000 children. Meaning, over 20% of children die before their 5th birthday due to malnutrition/malaria, unfortunately, that is in the best of times
Niger has the highest fertility rate in the world with 7.8 births per woman
More than 36% of girls, ages 15-19, have already been pregnant and/or have children
There is 1 doctor per 33,000 people and 1 nurse per 10,000 people in Niger
28% of adults, ages 15-49, are literate. Literacy rate: 20.9% for Men, and 7.5% for Women
About 60% of children who finish primary schools are boys, as the majority of girls rarely attend school for more than a few years. Children are often forced to work rather than attend school
Slavery is rooted in the traditional customs and culture of Niger. The precise number of slaves in Niger is uncertain, (besides traditional slavery, slavery also exists in the form of human trafficking, forced labor, forced marriage, and forced prostitution), but there is a low estimate of 43,000 slaves and a high estimate of 870,000 slaves in Niger today. Slaves are told that, under Islam, their paradise is bound to their master and that if they do what the master tells them, they will go to heaven.
The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; beseech the Lord to send out laborers into His harvest!

The Sahel region of West Africa is bracing for one of their worst famines in nearly 40 years, with Niger being the epicenter of the crisis. Nearly 6,000,000 lives face severe food shortages in Niger alone during this upcoming year due to low rainfall, locusts, and compounded by a 2010 famine where many Nigeriens sold off their livestock and seed crops to survive. Sadly, the main victims are the children who often have no immunity to fight such malnutrition. It hasn't rained in Niger for four months now, and the rains usually won't start again until June-July. Both their crops and seed crops have already been consumed. As of January 2012, some villages have already completely run out of food. In some areas food prices have already tripled, (a few months ago a bag of millet cost $20, it is now $60). With no available jobs, Nigeriens are scavenging the land for whatever they can find and resell. Usually they find something to resell (sticks, wood, straw, etc) to stave off starvation, but the vulnerability to infections and malaria then hit them, which is what takes their lives.

Effective, fervent prayers of a righteous man or righteous woman is what is so badly needed in this world today. Not an army of people committing to a glorious cause...just the quiet prayers of faith. I've come to see the importance in understanding that the Holy Spirit lays it on the hearts of specific believers to fervently pray for specific things. Also, that the fervent prayer that avails much is ONLY possible through the Holy Spirit, anyways. " is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go 
Believers in Niger receiving food to distribute to those in need  Feb, 2012
away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment" Jn 16:7-8. The absolute power of the Holy Spirit is far greater than anything we can do to move the hearts of mankind, especially in light of eternity. I may not fully understand the extent of this truth, but I do know I've witnessed His power recently. Although I have no connections to the people of Niger, the Spirit has put such a desire and need in my heart to fervently pray for them. I am writing this post to present a need. The need is great, to say the least, for the people of Niger facing a famine. Greater than that, most of these people do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior or have ever heard of Him. If the Lord has impressed your heart, would you pray for them? Trusting the Spirit will burden the hearts of those whom the Father desires to have praying fervently for the people of Niger? Knowing He answers the prayers of faith? The Lord Jesus Christ so deeply loves the people of Niger and gave up so much for them, may we learn how to follow in His footsteps and love them like He does.

"rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep" Romans 12:15