A fish farm is creating new waves of opportunity for a riverside village.
It was a generous fall harvest—a bumper crop of fish. Villagers were gathered on the shores of the Niger River recently to purchase tilapia the Jɛgɛ Ɲuman (“good fish”) fish farm was selling.
In 2014, CAMA staffer Shawn M. started the experimental enterprise in a riverside village in one of the world’s 25 poorest countries. Jɛgɛ Ɲuman is designed to promote economic growth as well as combat malnutrition and help steward the environment.
“Since enforcement of fishery laws is lax, its waterways are overfished, and that’s depleted the fishing ecosystem,” Shawn observes. Through training locals in sustainable fish-farming methods, Jɛgɛ Ɲuman is equipping them to raise fish for private use or commercial means.
“The recent tilapia harvest was the result of our first attempt at using the cage-farming method of raising fish,” says Shawn, who is part of a small Alliance team partnering with the national church. They are jointly developing innovative outreaches to meet area residents’ dire physical and spiritual needs.
“Our desire for this project is to legitimately create a viable livelihood for locals and be intentional in giving them access to the gospel.”
Jɛgɛ Ɲuman shares residence in the village with a 400-year-old house of worship for West Africa’s majority religion. Working side by side with three non-believing villagers—employed part time in the fish farm’s operations—has built a bond of trust that has earned the team a remarkable opportunity to proclaim the good news in this waterway community.
Mark, an Alliance international worker, and Sofoni, a missionary whom the national church has commissioned to partner with the team, coordinate The Gathering. Saturday afternoons they share Bible stories with Jɛgɛ Ɲuman’s three employees along with others villagers, all of whom are oral learners and eager to learn.“A good story is well loved,” Shawn observes. “Those attending The Gathering tell these Bible stories to their families and then come back with questions for Mark and Sofoni.”
Shawn, who is currently on home assignment with his family in the United States, shares an encouraging e-mail he recently received from a teammate:
Yesterday, Sofoni had a beautiful story. He recalls that he’d heard a villager was sick but didn’t know how serious it was. As Sofani was driving through the village, God spoke to him, telling him to turn and go to the man’s home.
Sofoni found him doubled up in pain, suffering with severe intestinal discomfort and unable to eat. He told him, “I’m a Christian, and I can pray for you in Jesus’ name if you want.” When the man agreed, Sofoni interceded for him.
After the prayer, the man’s body relaxed, and some moments later he sat up. He was given water to drink and was able to swallow without pain.
A Fisher of Men
Several hours later the villager called Sofoni to tell him that he was walking around town. “This man was healed by God’s grace!” Shawn exclaims.
“How thankful we are for Sofoni’s gift of evangelism and the inroads he’s made into the village through partnering with Jɛgɛ Ɲuman. Please pray that God will continue to reveal Himself in powerful ways so that people’s hearts will be responsive to Him.”
“Please pray for the partnership between Jɛgɛ Ɲuman and the national Alliance church,” Shawn urges. “Intercede also for the potential spiritual impact this ministry can have in villages.”
Use the weekly Alliance Prayer Requests to join the Alliance family in interceding on behalf of our teams in West Africa and worldwide, who often serve in challenging environments requiring Holy Spirit–inspired wisdom to share God’s love with those who don’t know Him.