Day 20 - Niger
Bibles for Persecuted Christians
The Hausa people live in southern Niger and north-western Nigeria. They are the largest ethnic group in the area consisting of over 20 million.
Hausa is spoken as a native language by around 22 million native speakers and about 17 million people as a second language. Most of their language is derived from Arabic and the rest from Fulfulde, Kanuri and English. Some Hausa can speak French and English fluently and sometimes even read and write Arabic.
Most Hausa are devoted to the Islamic faith. The boys and girls must learn the Qu'ranic Scripture by the age of 13. In their teens, they may wed.
The Hausa economy has rested on the intensive cultivation of sorghum, corn (maize), millet, and many other crops grown on rotation principles and utilizing the manure of Fulani cattle.
Hausa has been the language of 75 percent of people who use Bible League materials in Niger. The majority of churches in rural areas depend almost exclusively on Hausa to read the Word of God.
One pastor in Niger believes that Bible League is “an answer to our prayers.”
“In the past, even many Christians didn’t have Bibles because they were costly and rare,” he said. “But now everyone has the opportunity to get one. The study of your materials has brought a spiritual transformation in the lives of our people. Your booklets serve as an outline for us in equipping our people.”
The task is great in Niger but through God’s grace, Bible League is helping to provide materials and equipping local churches in their mission of evangelism and discipleship.
What would life be like in Niger?
If you lived as a child or young person in Niger, there would be many other children around your age as half the population is under 14! On average people in Niger do not live past 52 years of age, so life is short and often harsh.
People in Niger are some of the poorest in the world with over 60 percent of the country living on less than $1 a day. Could you imagine your family living on $1 a day? What food could you buy?
If you lived in Niger you would probably eat a lot of rice with spices and beans. If you can afford it, you may also have vegetables, fish, chicken or some other meat with it.
Your parents would probably work on a farm as 90 percent of people in Niger do, and sometimes struggle to make ends meet due to recurring droughts. The weather in Niger is mostly hot, dry and dusty but tropical in the extreme south.
Your family may be quite large as seven children are born on average to every woman.
If you are a female, you probably would not learn how to read and write. Only 15 percent of females are literate and 50 percent of males but they, on average, leave school at only five years of age! Females rarely attend any formal education.
Living as a Christian in Niger would be very different compare with Australia as Islam is practised by more than 90 percent of people. You would probably live near or within a Christian community for security and to be able to meet together easily. Most of the time, Muslims and Christians in Niger can live side by side without any problems.
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Praise God that the Hausa people are able to read Godís Word in their heart language.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to stir the hearts of the Hausa people to respond to the Gospel message.
Place Bibles with people in Africa.