Monday, August 27, 2012


This is my friend Jacques.  Beside him is his wife and squeezed between the two is their youngest daughter.  Jacques cleans my classroom every afternoon and it's easy to get to know him because he loves people.  He is constantly telling me that his coworkers leave him behind every afternoon because they know he is probably somewhere talking to someone! 

Jacques has worked at Sahel Academy since he was a young man.  Every weekday morning he rises around 4 AM and goes together with his wife to a garden beside the river to pick lettuce which his wife then takes to the market to sell.  Jacques continues on to Sahel Academy where he begins the day readying containers of filtered water for each classroom.  After the school day begins, he spends time cleaning bathrooms or washing dishes.  Before lunch arrives he prepares the tables, placing pitchers of water and cups out for the children to use during our lunch hour.  When lunch is over, Jacques takes to the task of cleaning the dishes, washing the tables and throwing away the trash.  About the time those tasks are complete, our elementary students are finished with school.  He then begins sweeping the classrooms and collecting the jugs of water.  It is a full day for him but Jacques does all these tasks with a smile on his face and a willingness to serve.  His desire to serve extends beyond the campus of Sahel Academy to his church where he can be found many times during the week helping out with the activities of the church.  He takes great joy in serving Jesus there!

Jacques loves to serve his family, too.  There is a light in his eyes when he talks about his children.  He takes pleasure in their successes at school and enjoys encouraging them with a little piece of candy or a special treat.  Last year, he was so excited to be able to provide one of his girls with peanuts and juice for a party.  He delights in caring for his family.  Can you imagine then how he must feel as he looks out on the pile of rubble that used to be their home?

-Photo Credit to Jonathan Moore

Jacques surveying the ground where his home used to stand.

-Photo Credit to Jonathan Moore

Nothing left but piles of rubble and the tin of their roof.

-Photo Credit to Jonathan Moore

Look carefully under the armoire and you will see his dog.
-Photo Credit to Jonathan Moore
Jacques is returning daily to feed him because his dog does not want to leave.
Ah!  The tender heart of Jacques.  I know he must be heartbroken to see the home that he was so proud of providing for his family swept away. Please pray for Jacques that he would be comforted by God's love and reassured of his presence even as he and his family face this heartbreaking loss.
The Lord makes firm the steps
of the one who delights in him;
though he may stumble, he will not fall,
for the Lord upholds him with his hand.
I was young and now I am old,
yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
or their children begging bread.
They are always generous and lend freely;
their children will be a blessing.
Psalm 37:23-26

Would you like to help Jacques and other families like him?  SIM has established a fund to help both the mission community and our Nigerien brothers and sisters recover from the floods that have devestated the city of Niamey. If you would like to help you can go here to make a donation. Thank you for praying and thank you for giving.


  1. I have known Jacques for about 14 years. His family is from Benin and I know some of his relatives here. Over the years I have gotten to know him and sold him a sewing machine for $2 at a garage sale. We joke about that machine. He got it running and he is a tailor too! So he has used it to sew mosquito nets, and mens' clothes. It breaks my heart to see him without shelter. These past two days he has helped at Sahel. He was our piroguist shuttling us in and out and always looking out for me--the best way to get in and out of the canoe! Today he had a smile on his face but I don't think he was very happy that we had to leave the unfinished work at Sahel! He has a lot of joy in spite of his circumstances. That will speak volumes to those around him. Right now he has a room at his church to live in.

    1. I so appreciate his faithfulness, Linda. He told me this past year that he restrings drums. I didn't realize that he was a tailor too!

  2. I always appreciated Jacques and his famous smile! Whenever I needed something in the dining hall he is always eager to please. Beth thank you so much for posting this, I had seen the pics of his house, but didn't realize it was Jacques! Would you help me figure out how I can provide a link from our blog to yours?


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