May 2003

Thank you all for your prayers for our Zerma team and the Zerma people. The Bible has already been translated into the Zarma language. Yet, they remain less than 1% Christian. Prayer alone has the power to break the strongholds that are keeping the Zerma in spiritual bondage. Here are some requests for your prayer time in May:

May 1
-- "I'm not sleeping or eating well. My heart hurts with all the war and killing in the world" commented Idé. Alhadji Idé is a well respected successful businessman. Ide is also a devoted Muslim having made the pilgrimage to Mecca. Pray for this man as he searches for true relief that can only be found in Christ. Don and Phil have shared with him several times.

May 2 -- Warize reports that a church building is being constructed in his village of Gathwan. Phil Cain began Bible storying several years ago here and the believers are few in number. Pray for Warize the "wise old leader" of this small group and that God would grow his wisdom and bless this effort to make Christ known.

May 3 -- "I will be a Christian no matter what anyone has to say and there are many more of us," said Amadou in a meeting at the village of Simiri. Don says this comment took him by surprise as it is rare that a comment such as this is made and with such force and determination. Alhassan is a local leader who brought the good news to Amadou and the village of Simiri. Pray for these two men and their ministry.

May 4 -- Rick Leavitt writes "I have no idea what I am going to do or what is going to happen to me (after the Ledlows return to Africa). Since Mark Ledlow is the Business Facilitator - when he returns my job will be completed. The IMB wants me to go career and serve as a mobile business facilitator in the West Africa region, which means I would travel all over West African filling in for BF's who are absent,on vacation, taking a leave of absence or whatever." Pray for Rick as he seeks God's will for his career path and his life.

May 5
-- Please pray for Mark and Deanna Ledlow. They are busy packing crates for their return to Niamey, and the job looks overwhelming right now. Pray that they will be able to take everything that they need.

May 6
-- Pray for Soumana, an African Christian. His wife, Maimouna, is not a Christian but he is trying to live his life in a manner pleasing to the Lord. Pray that his wife would come under the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

May 7 -- Please pray for Salamatou as she continues to work with the Kid's club in Ouallam. Participants vary from 13 - 75. Pray that she will continue to be dedicated and excited about sharing with the kids and that they would understand and someday respond.

May 8
-- The estimates are that 66% of the Zerma people have not had the opportunity to hear the Gospel. The Zerma people are agriculturists; pray that the Lord of the Harvest will send workers, who will "lift up (their) eyes, and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest."

May 9 -- Pray that God would give the Zerma team wisdom and direction as they seek ways to evangelize the lost and disciple new believers. There are many things they can be involved in, many things to keep the team busy, but they want to be doing that which will best accomplish God's purposes among the Zerma.

May 10
-- Pray for the church in Goudel. This is a brand new church that Mark Ledlow helped to build. Pray that they would remain strong in their faith and be witnesses to their village.

May 11 -- Pray that today, as Zerma Muslims kneel on their prayer mats and say their ritual prayers, that God would speak to their hearts in a personal way, revealing Himself as Creator, Sustainer, and Savior in the person of Jesus Christ. Pray that the Holy Spirit would convict them of their lostness and draw them to the One who forgives sin and gives eternal life

May 12 --Many Zerma have heard gospel messages on the radio and by listening to audio cassettes. Pray that God's word will continue to go forth, pray that every village would have opportunity to hear His word.

May 13
--Knobby knees crossed, tucked into a ramshackle shelter away from a brutal sun with only a few goats for company, Taweye sings quietly to her wooden doll. But lullabies for dolls may soon give way to the real burdens of motherhood. Taweye's father, a healer in a village north of the capital, Niamey, has arranged to marry her to her cousin Abdou, an emigre living in Libya.

The 11-year-old will soon join a husband, whom she has never met, in a land she has never known.

"How can one ask a little girl to run a household?" whispered her mother Zonoh.

Arranged marriages, once a thing of the past, are back. These young girls are victims of financial, moral and traditional pressures that wield fierce power in Niger. Pray that this practice will be stopped and that the light of Jesus might come into these darkened lives.

May 14 -- Pray for the many that are preparing their fields. Rains should start in Niger in the next few weeks. Pray that the seeds that will be planted will produce fruit. Also pray that the "seeds of the gospel" that have been planted will continue to grow and that someday soon there will be a harvest of believers among the Zerma.

May 15
-- Pray for Hassan, a new Christian, who is struggling whether or not to make his belief in Christ known to his family and friends.

May 16 -- Pray for Aissa and her husband, Tyrou, and their children. Aissa has been very close to Deanna Ledlow but has yet to make a profession of faith. She loves her Bible and comes to Bible study with Deanna.

May 17
-- Halima accepted Christ over a year ago in Ouallam. While she lived in Ouallam it was much easier for Bible studies and question/answer times. Now that she is living in Tondibia it is much more difficult for study time. In some ways she has started to mélange animistic practices with her newfound faith. Pray that the Holy Spirit would be able to minister to her and help her with some of these struggles.

May 17 -- Pray for Pastor Moussa and his wife, Khadija. They lost their 3-year old son in December of malaria.

May 18
-- Although 80% of the Zerma profess to be Muslim, their Islamic beliefs have been somewhat intermingled with animism (belief that non-human objects have spirits). The Zerma follow the usual Islamic practices of prayer and fasting. Religious ceremonies and the rituals are led by marabouts (Islamic leaders who are knowledgeable in the Koran). However, the Zerma also take part in various cults, which involve spirit-possession, spirit worship, and magic. The cults are headed by priests who have been possessed by evil spirits and are said to have healing powers. Spirit-cult ceremonies include the yenendi ("cooling off"), which is held near the end of the long hot season. It is a time of music and dancing. During this festival, the spirits are asked to bring heavy rains and plentiful harvests for the people.

Pray that through dreams and visions, our Lord Jesus would reveal Himself to the Zerma people.

May 19 -- This is finals week for the Jeremy and Stephanie Ledlow at their high school in Tucson, Arizona. Pray that they will do well in their studies. Pray also for them as they make preparation to leave their high school friends behind.

May 20
-- Pray that Christian broadcasts and the Jesus film will soon be made available in the Zarma language.

May 21
-- As Zerma believers place their faith in Christ, pray that they would have opportunities to grow in their faith, in their knowledge of God, and in their understanding of what it means to follow Jesus. Pray that older and wiser Christians would be compelled to disciple younger Christians.

May 22 -- Pray for Rick Leavitt, who has filled the position of Interim Business Facilitator in Niamey, Niger. He has to make decisions, including "If I want to go career, I have to go to seminary. If I go to seminary, I will probably go to Golden Gate. But I have no idea how I am going to find a job, a place to live, a mode of transportation and pay for school. It is all very overwhelming. But I trust the Father and know He has a plan and will meet the needs. The hard part is letting go and allowing Him to do His job." Pray that God's will for his life will be made clear, and that all his needs
will be supplied.

May 23 -- Pray for the Zerma who are sick and lack adequate food, that God would provide the means for them to get well and have good nutrition.

May 24 -- Visitation, personal evangelism, and developing relationships with the Zerma are a key part of leading them to have a personal relationship with Christ. Pray that our missionaries in Niger will not grow weary, that they will have a burning passion every day for the Zerma people. Pray for encouraging encounters!

May 25 -- Spend today praying for Faith and Charity. They spend a great deal of their time in the "bush" and have little contact with other Americans. Pray that they will learn to depend on the Lord in everything they do.

May 26 -- Please pray for the Bolls as they will be trying to get some last minute/last day things done in Ouallam and various other villages in preparation to leave for a few months stateside assignment. This will mean that there will be no missionaries in the Ouallam area until the Cains return hopefully sometime in July.

May 27 -- Many of the Zerma Christians are ridiculed and mocked, some are denied service from vendors and sometimes they are kicked out of their homes or told by their landlords they must leave a house they've been renting. The Zerma tend to be conformers, and to stand out, as a Christian most certainly does in a Muslim society, is more than many Zerma can bear to think about. Pray that those who are Christians will stand firm.

May 28 -- Although most of the Zerma are non-literate, there are many Zerma believers learning to read the Zarma language through literacy classes. Praise God that they have this desire to read God's Word for themselves. Pray that they would learn quickly and that their understanding of Scripture would grow on a daily basis. Pray that out of these people, God would raise up gifted teachers and leaders.

May 29
-- The Ledlow family leaves Tucson, Arizona, today, to begin their journey back to Niger. Pray for travel mercies and strength for the family.

May 30 -- The Ledlow family arrives in Niamey, Niger, today. Pray that all paperwork is in order and that there are no obstacles in their path. Pray that their home in Niamey is a restful place to arrive and that the air conditioning works.

May 31 --Pray for Don and Teresa as they will be traveling to the US today. Pray for an uneventful trip and times that the Bolls can share the gospel with others traveling. Please pray for a good experience in the States, for safe travels, good visits with friends and families, for sharing experiences with various churches/groups. Pray for rest and a time of renewing and refilling as they fellowship with other Christians.

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