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Niger: Christians Plead for Help From Th...

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Niger: Christians Plead for Help From Their Brothers and Sisters as Famine Looms

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Niger: Christians Plead for Help From Their Brothers and Sisters as Famine Looms

Project(s): 38-568

Country/Region: Niger

niger_map.jpgThe vast African country of Niger is the focus of an escalating food crisis. Half the population face food shortages, and these are expected to get worse in the coming months until the 2010 harvest is due. Malnourished children, emaciated cattle, and families existing on a daily meal of boiled leaves are all too common. Many people have left for other countries. Barnabas Aid is already assisting the tiny Christian minority with basic foodstuffs, but the need is far greater than we can currently cover.

A recurring pattern, but even worse

One of the poorest countries in the world with one of the highest birth rates, Niger has faced repeated food crises in the past, most notably after droughts in 1973, 1983 and 2005. Much of the country lies in the Sahara Desert. Last year rain fell so heavily for a four-day period in September that severe flooding occurred with many homes destroyed. Yet overall the 2009 rains were poor, and the cereal harvest was 31% lower than in 2008. "2009-10 is very much like 2005 and has become catastrophic in recent weeks," wrote our project partner in Niger on 27 April.

Government warehouses, opened for grain distribution on 1st March, are already largely empty. Food prices for staples, including millet, rice, sorghum and maize, are "at an exceptionally high level" according to a government bulletin a month ago. Our project partner comments that "Prices climb dangerously and this is a warning sign."

The Christian community

Around 97% of the Nigerien population is Muslim, with Christians making up an estimated 0.3%. There is considerable religious liberty at present, but Islamic radicals are seeking the introduction of sharia law. As ever, a minority is particularly vulnerable at times of crisis. A military junta seized power in February 2010.

"Eternally grateful for brothers and sisters who care about our survival"

Barnabas Aid has been providing food aid for Nigerien believers since 2006. "We are eternally grateful for this great support for the Christians of Niger and are encouraged to know that we have brothers and sisters who believe in us and who care strongly about our survival," says our project partner.

Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Aid, comments, "Niger is a country that rarely hits theniger_38_568_needy_child.jpg news, yet it is vast and is suffering a prolonged series of natural disasters. The small Christian minority is appealing to Barnabas Aid for help from their fellow-believers around the world at this time. Please help us to help them at their time of need. You can send your gift through Barnabas, just as the early Christians in Antioch sent a gift through Barnabas and Saul to help their brothers in Judea at a time of severe famine (Acts 11:27-30)."

We are currently providing millet and rice to 312 Christian families, but a further 1,122 families need help as well. With rising prices the cost per family is currently around £25 per month. The families need food for at least four months more until harvest-time in September or October.

Donate today

If you would like to make a gift to help Christians in Niger, please click to donate online using our secure server (Please quote project reference 38-568).

If you prefer to telephone, dial: 0800 587 4006 from within the UK or +44 1672 565031 from outside the UK. Please quote project reference 38-568.

If you prefer to send a cheque by post: Click this link for the address of our regional office. Please quote project reference 38-568.

Please Pray:
  • "In urban slums and desert villages, one word is on all lips: famine", says a recent press report from Niger. Pray for the whole population of this arid country, that their food needs will be provided. Pray for good rains in 2010.

  • Pray for the new military government of Niger, which has put far more effort into trying to help the starving population than the previous government did. Pray that they will continue to work for the good of the people and will protect the existing secular stance of the country, with its accompanying religious liberty.

  • Pray that Christians in Niger will remain trusting and confident in their heavenly Father at this time. Pray that their faith, hope and peace may be a powerful witness to the Muslim majority around them.

  • Pray that our project partners in Niger will find ways to help people to become self-sufficient even in drought years by means of imaginative income-generation projects.

  • Barnabas Aid has supported a number of other projects in Niger including a Bible School, women's income generation projects, discipling and Scripture distribution, Scriptures for youth work, and a children's ministry. Pray that these ministries will bear much fruit.
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Niger: Christians Plead for Help From Their Brothers and Sisters as Famine Looms

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Daily prayer

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  • Praise God for the release of John Short, an Australian missionary who was detained in North Korea for distributing Christian leaflets. John, who is 75 and based in Hong Kong, was reported to security officials in Pyongyang after he was spotted leaving a Christian leaflet at a Buddhist temple, an act that is illegal in North Korea. Further Korean-language Christian pamphlets were subsequently found in his hotel room. John, who was released on 3 March after two weeks in custody, was required to sign a confession probably scripted by the authorities. Other foreign missionaries arrested in North Korea have been given long prison sentences. Give thanks to God that John has escaped further punishment, and pray for him as he recovers from his traumatic ordeal. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 22 hours ago

  • Pray for Barnabas Aid partners in South Sudan who have been supporting Christians forced from their homes by violence. Conflict between supporters of President Salva Kiir and his sacked deputy Riek Machar in December and January displaced around 860,000 people. Churches were burned down and a number of pastors killed, while many people lost their belongings and were left destitute. Give thanks that churches in and around the capital, Juba, were able to provide food and other essentials to many families with help from Barnabas. Pray that they may continue to be salt and light in their country at this unstable time (Matthew 5:13-16), and that it will soon be safe for displaced Christians to return home. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Pray for the residents of a mainly Christian village in Borno state, Northern Nigeria, in the aftermath of a horrific attack by Boko Haram militants on 15 February. Ask for God’s comfort for the relatives and friends of the 106 people in Izghe who were gunned down and slaughtered in their houses or in the open as they tried to flee. Pray for strength for the numerous residents who were wounded or whose properties were looted and torched. Pray too for the many Christians who fled into the neighbouring state after the attack, and ask that the Christian community in the North of Nigeria will be preserved in the face of Islamist violence. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Violent attacks by militants from the Islamist group Boko Haram continue unabated in Northern Nigeria. On one horrendous day of violence on 26 January, at least 138 people were killed. A church in Wada Chakawa village in Adamawa state was targeted; the attackers locked the congregation inside and then detonated bombs, shooting and cutting the throats of people who tried to escape. They then went on a four-hour rampage in the village. Later the same day, Kawuri village in neighbouring Borno state was burned to the ground. Boko Haram is fighting to establish an Islamic state, and Christians are among its main targets. Pray that the Nigerian authorities will succeed in containing its insurgency. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we give You thanks on this Easter Day for the living hope that You have given us and all Your people through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (1 Peter 1:3). We pray that the prospect of an enduring inheritance and future salvation will encourage our persecuted brothers and sisters to persevere in their faith, whatever may happen to them. We pray that we too may be sustained by this hope in the sufferings that we experience for the sake of Christ. We ask that the joy and resurrection power of the Lord will give strength and peace to persecuted believers today and every day. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Apr 2014 00:00

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