PRAYER WALKING IN AFRICA
On April 22, 2007, a group of nine students and two adults from Judson College arrived at Birmingham International Airport to depart on a mission trip to Africa, sponsored by Campus Ministries, where they would spend 11 days spreading the word of God to underprivileged children and adults in two African cities. Upon arrival, they traveled to the country of Niger where they were eventually divided into three groups. Two groups would work in an orphanage and prayer walk in the capitol city of Niamey, while the third group would work with villagers in a neighboring city, Kollo. The group arrived safely back in the states on May 2, 2007, with wisdom and memories bestowed only upon those few who have lived amongst people of another culture. Most of the students kept a journal of their experiences, feelings and hardships while there.
Judson senior, Laura Liddell, was one of those. This is her story...
"GOD gave me a heart for missions when I was fifteen years old, so naturally I wanted to choose a college that would encourage me in this decision and help me find opportunities for both international and local missions.
God led me to Judson College. With Judson's Faith- Based Service and Learning initiative and Campus Ministries, there are always opportunities to serve in the Marion community and abroad. In April 2007, I had the opportunity along with several other Judson girls to go on a mission trip to Niamey, Niger, in West Africa.
Our team was divided into three different groups. One worked in Kollo, a nearby village, one was a prayer walking team, and one was an orphanage team. I was on the orphanage team. We went to the orphanage in Niamey every day and were always greeted with the eager and excited smiles of the children. We told them Bible stories, played with them, tossed them around, colored with them, and played soccer with them. We also learned a little of the Zerma language by talking with them, and at the same time they learned English from us. God gave me a heart for those children like I thought I would never have.
Although the people of Niger are very family-oriented, children are generally not respected, so one can imagine how low the orphans are in this society. I realized how important it is for people to go to this orphanage to tell the children that they do serve a purpose in this world and they have a heavenly Father who loves them so much.
In the middle of our week in Niger, I had an opportunity to go to a nearby village to prayer walk with my friend Keri and one of the missionary families living there. The prayer walking that the missionaries do in Niamey is different from what I had ever experienced. They pray while walking and then go into the peoples' homes and build relationships with them. Their culture is about 98% Muslim, so in our prayers, we constantly said the name Jesus, and they knew that name.
The first dwelling we visited there belonged to an older woman who had serious pain going through her legs, so painful that she could not walk. It is their custom when visitors come to lay out the finest mats for the women to sit on and chairs for the men. For some reason, the lady gave me her prayer mat to sit on. Right when I sat on it I began to pray silently for the lady and her family. I think that was the hardest I prayed the entire trip! Keri and I laid hands on her legs and prayed aloud. I will never forget the look in that lady's eyes, so kind and gentle and so thankful that we took the time to care for her needs.
"From left to right, Laura and another Judson student Keri with a
After graduation, Laura plans to teach elementary school (hopefully fifth grade to middle school-aged children) in the Birmingham area.