The Good Ole' Days!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Hello Friends, Prayer Partners and Family,

As most of you know we are now stateside.  Going to our families, friends and churches sharing what God is doing in Niger.

Here is a picture of our time with the GA's & RA's at Hoffmeyer Road Baptist Church.  The children were so excited to hear what is happening on the other side of their world.   They loved playing with the items we have brought back from Niger.  Especially the guitar and slingshots.

Here we are enjoying our grand children.  So far we have celebrated two birthdays while here. This was Hannah's 8th birthday party.  She is a blessing from our Lord!

Here is another blessing the Lord has given us. The four Saleeby preachers!  One pastor of New Covenant Church in Myrtle Bech, SC, Randy-Missionary in Niger, Uncle Ken Interim pastor at a church in NC. and Joseph our young marrieds preacher-teacher.
As you can see we are having fun while we do the things God has sent us here to do.  Oh yes Susan went to a Beth Moore Conference this past weekend and learned about "Secrets".  She enjoyed the teaching and time with the ladies from NCC.  Thank you all for allowing Susan to tag along.
We also had the privilege of meeting this little guy.  Our Great Grand-Son Prestyn T. Brown.
What a joy it is to serve our Lord knowing that HE is in conrol of all those we leave in His care...
We serve an awesome God!
Thank you Lord for allowing us to serve you wherever You call us!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Darkness has not overcome the Light

Our Songhai Team adopts a team verse and a team theme each year.  I’ll be blogging later about our team theme for 2013 but wanted to share with you our team verse here.

Our team verse is John 1:5 which says “The light has come into the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.”

John’s Gospel is full of light/darkness references and we too find our ministry best understood in these terms.  We see our job as taking light into some of the darkest places on planet Earth.  Places that have never heard of the Light and have lived in darkness for literally centuries. 

John’s Gospel promises two things: 1) there will be conflict when light enters darkness and 2) light wins.  When light enters darkness there is conflict because those in darkness want to remain there.  Light means being exposed and revealed and we don’t like that. 

The Songhai, for the most part, are still in darkness.  Taking the Light to them is challenging on many levels and there are times that it looks like darkness is winning.  However, we cling to this promise (and others) from God’s Word that the darkness will not overcome the light.

A recent trip to a new area of work for us reminded me about this reality.  It is a new village where 2 men actually believed on hearing the Gospel for the first time ever.  I referred to this village as Mayberry as it was so peaceful.  A friend from Ayorou even accompanied me on several follow-up trips and we both remarked how kind people were even when they didn’t agree with us.

Well, darkness is never passive.  It’s not enough to try and remain in darkness but instead the darkness is aggressive when light comes. 

We pulled up to this village a few weeks ago and were on our way to meet with the few believers when several village elders approached us.  They didn’t greet us (very un-Songhai) but instead said, “You are the ones claiming you built our mosque and we want to go to the chief and have you judged!”

How’s that for a welcome?! 

We tried to explain the foolishness of this statement.  If anything, we told them, we would build a church!  

They were not appeased and insisted we go to the chief.  At the chief’s house there was a lot of shouting (on their part) as we sat quietly and listened.  They kept saying “the chief says…” although the chief sat there quietly and seemingly embarrassed at the scene. 

At long last, the real reason for their anger came out.  They weren’t mad about this so-called claim (because they knew it was a lie) but were upset because we were preaching Jesus in the village i.e., Light had come to town.

They said, again speaking for the chief, that we were no longer welcome in this place and needed to leave immediately.  The chief returned the gifts we’d given him and we were about to head back to our bush taxi when one of our friends in the village (not a believer) began to scold these elders and even the chief! 

He shamed them about the way they’d treated us because we were visitors and visitors are supposed to be kings to the Songhai.  He shamed them about making up this lie.  He then shouted that he would build a church in his compound and they could do nothing about it! 

We tried to calm this man down as this was not our first encounter like this.  But the man gathered up all people who were not intimidated by these elders to meet at his house where he gave us the floor to share the Gospel with about 40 men!  Light wins.

It’s not always so immediate though and there are plenty of times it looks like darkness is winning.  As I type this I’m so heartbroken over the news of one of our solid believers who has been severely beaten by his father for accepting Christ.

We know light wins and we cling to this promise.  We know that we won’t always see it in this life.  We know that it’s about a bigger battle that’s been won.  Light winning isn’t always about our health or our safety, it’s about the victory Christ has won as he defeated death.  It’s the victory of salvation as he frees these former slaves to sin and makes them into sons of righteousness. 

And so we cling to this verse even when (maybe especially when) we can’t see it.  Light wins.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Complete Happenings for Songhai People & Team 2012

•Jody and Sarah Fox finished their language study & were able to begin fulltime ministry on Road to Karma.  Jody has been able to disciple believers in Boubon, Tagabati, Karma & YK. Sarah has begun to disciple the first female believer in Boubon.

•The believers in YK continue to meet & study the Word & are in the early stages of forming the first church in that village.

•In a village where the chief told us we were welcome to share but also promised us that no one would ever believe, there is now one man who has chosen to believe & trust in Christ as His Savior.

•Again, in a village where, for centuries, no one has ever believed on the name of the Jesus for salvation, one man has now believed; he was lost but is now found.

•Nine national partners were trained in the E2E strategy, the tool created & used by the Songhai team to lead a group from evangelism to discipleship (if any in the group choose to believe) to church formation & then to leadership training.

•Six national partners were sent out to Songhai villages to preach the Word to those that have never heard & disciple those that believe.

•We love our volunteers! This year 11 teams from churches in the States were able to join us in sharing the name of Christ with the Songhai. We were also able to host one summer volunteer.

•THIRTY EIGHT men & women chose to believe & were baptized as they publicly professed Christ as their Savior.

•The “HUB” became a reality!! After 3 years of dreaming & months of planning, the HUB is now underway! This central point of ministry, located in Niamey, will be used as a launch pad for our national partners & mature believers as well as starting new ministries in the city.

•The Niamey Leadership Training School (NLTS) hosted its first class of 19 students who studied, in an oral learning method, Old Testament survey for a week. This is the first oral theological training center of its kind, that we know of, in our region.

•In June, FBC Hurst was able to distribute 500 life-saving food kits to malnourished children along the Mehanna Road. In September, FBC Hurst was also able to conduct a first ever garden project along the Mehanna Road distributing 8 garden kits & 10 water purification kits.

•Three new churches/teams partnered with us on the field for the first time in 2012: FBC in Franklin, Ky, Campbellsville University in Campbellsville, Ky & FBC in Marlin, Tx. FBC Franklin led VBS & music related outreach ministries. Students from the BCM at CU shared evangelism stories in Boubon & also painted their elementary school. And FBC Marlin discipled believers in YK while also sharing Christ in unreached areas along Namarou Road.

•Two new churches partnered with us to commit to pray for the Songhai: Midway Baptist Church in Wichita, KS and FBC in Scott City, MO.

•The Songhai team created its first ever Ramadan focused “30 Day Prayer Guide.” Hundreds of you agreed to fast &/ pray for the Songhai for 30 days. We saw amazing things happen & the Lord continues to answer the prayers that were prayed during that month!

•A group of 8 men & women in Tera were trained in E2E as we commissioned them to reach their villages with the love & name of Christ.

•The Songhai were spotlighted & featured in the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering & the Week of Prayer for International Missions. Many of you told us you saw Mark’s picture (aka: John Smythe) in bulletin inserts or on videos promoting LMCO. We were so blessed to be included on this & have thousands of SB churches praying for the Songhai!!

•Our prayer partner list was increased to 570 people who have committed to pray for the Songhai each month! We are eternally grateful to each of you who faithfully pray for the Songhai. We firmly believe in the power of prayer & know that your continual prayers for the Songhai make an eternal difference.

•And lastly, the Songhai team has created another “first ever”: a 52-week devotional prayer guide/calendar. This new resource will include 52 devotionals written by the Songhai team or one of our partners as well as a weekly calendar for the year. It should be ready by the first of the year, so don’t buy your 2013 calendars just yet!! Contact: Mark.  If you email me or Facebook  me I will give you his email address…



Friday, January 11, 2013


It has been awhile.  This is a little late but: Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!  We hope your holidays were wonderful.  We had a wonderful Christmas & New Year. We celebrated Christmas with our believers at our new Hub House.  Thank you all for your prayers.  Also had our first training session a few weeks ago.  God has so blessed all of us!  Our second session will be in a few weeks.  Please pray for those that will participate. For all their travel and for the ones they leave behind for that week, that our Lord will provide for their safety and welfare as well.

 Let me elaborate a little on the Christmas gathering.  Our believers left their customs of Islam when they started to follow Jesus.  They gave up the celebrations and asked us how we celebrate as Christians.  So we showed them.  Hopefully I can put some pictures on here to show you! :)  
We gathered at the Hub House and fellowshipped and ate.  Isn't that what good baptists do?  We had a wonderful time of catching up with some we haven't seen in awhile.  It was fun and the food was so delicious. No, we didn't have ham, greens or even sweet potatoes!  But we did have sheep, freshly killed that morning, rice, cassaba and other things!  All cooked by our sweet Biba and her little helpers. God has blessed us in so many ways!   Thank you all for all your prayers.

My Mom is doing great!  Her adjustment to her new apartment is amazing.  She love it and her new neighbors.  What can I say, that's my Mom!  You got to love her..

I know this is short but i just wanted to drop in for a little bit to let you know we are all doing great!
Love ya and hopefully I'll be back in a few weeks....

Bye for now!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dear Prayer Partners,

Thank you for your faithfulness in your prayers for us. This has been a busy month with saying goodbyes and hello’s to missionaries, mission volunteer team, prayer-walking and trying to fine another house for a training school.

It’s the training school building that we need your prayers for this month. It seems that no one wants to rent us a place because we are Christians and we would be using the place for training Christian leaders. It gets a little discouraging when some one looks you straight in the eyes and tells you that b/c you are 1. a rich American (?) 2. you’re not African 3. you are a Christian so we can’t rent to you and if we did your rent would be double or triple what they would rent the place to if you were African. Smile We know God has a place for us and we know HE knows when we need it. It is ALL in HIS timing. Even in all this turmoil, the roaring of the lion that wants to devour us, we can feel the arms of our Lord around us, His peace. We serve an amazing God! Thank you all for your support financially with co-operate fund and the Lottie Moon. But it’s your prayer support that we are so thankful for. We need your coverage in prayer. It is getting harder to serve here as we see the opposing forces to the left and right of us... We covet your prayers.

Please pray for:

1. Hub House (Place for training new Believers)

2. Our Nov Volunteers who will be ALL Women!!!!

3. Susan’s Mom (readjustment)

4. Songhai Team Unity

5. Randy as he prepares his lessons for N.B.

6. National Partners – safety- faithfulness to our God This is the week of Tabaski. So persecution is up more so than at regular times.

Thank you all again for your faithfulness in praying for us and our team members and families. We can not say this enough... You are appreciated! Smile


Susan & Randy Saleeby

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


We would never have thought to ask this from our prayer partners but we are asking y'all to please pray for the rains to stop ... for a few days at least! The river has risen to a dangerously high level. So much so, that there are many places that are already flooded & beyond repair.

Last year, the country did not receive enough rains & most farmers lost their crops &, therefore, we have experienced a famine this year. This year, the rains came a little late but, once they came, they fell steady & strong. The rains have been larger & more consistent than anyone can remember in the last 50 years. And it's been all across our region.

Due to this, the river began to rise & swell. In the last few days, the levees have broke & those along the river have begun evacuating. Many Songhai live on islands that are now completely flooded. Many markets are on the river's edge for those traveling by boat to have easier access & those are now flooded. The Christian school in Niamey has 2 feet of water already inside the buildings. The seminary where Cephas attends is flooded, too. Biba's family has had to evacuate their home & they're a mile from the river.

Some of our believers have lost everything - their gardens, their livestock, their homes, their entire livelihood. Because of the steady rainfall & homes that are made out of mud brick, even those that aren't close to the river have lost their homes from crumbling under the pressure. Our hearts are breaking & I'm on the verge of just losing it.

Not this, Lord. Not this. Not after months of going hungry because of no food to losing their homes & their livelihood. My mind cannot process this. I have NEVER been in their shoes. I will probably never be in their shoes. There is no such thing as flood insurance. Where do they go from here?

My heart & my mind HAVE to rest in the fact that God is in control of ALL of this. He can hold back the waters JUST the same as He can open the floodgates of heaven. He can restore lives & homes from nothing. He can turn chaos into events for His Glory. He can draw people to Himself through devastation. He can & He will. He will provide for the needs of His beloved. He will comfort those who are grieving. He will be praised even in the midst of suffering. He can & He will.

Please pray. Please pray for the river to recede quickly. Please pray for no more damage to be done. Please pray for God to provide for our believers & their families. Please pray for Him to bring Glory to Himself through this & that He will draw people to Himself in their desperation.

You can go to the Songhai blog to see pictures.

Monday, August 20, 2012

God has blessed us so much.  A rainy season like we’ve never seen here. Our blvrs and friends are telling us that they will have a good crop this harvest!  All do to your prayers.   Thank all of you who have joined us in our 30 Days of Prayer for the Songhai.  It has been amazing to see how things lined up for what we were all praying. Ex: On the day that Cephas & Biba flew out to the USA was the same day we were praying for them.  We serve an amazing God!  We stand in awe of HIM!  I stand, I stand in awe of You, Lord!
We had so much fun ending the prayer month with the Flavors of Africa!

Thank all of you who have prayed for Susan and family through her Father’s passing.  We are glad to report she is doing just fine.  She’s walking more and helping others.  Just what she does best. God has blessed her with a long life.  This coming Sunday she will be celebrating her 87th birthday… “Happy birthday Mom!”

Today was a sad day for our church here in Niger.  The pastor went home to be with our Lord…  It was a surprise to us but not our Lord.  He was blind but now he sees! Please pray for Pastor Koomi’s wife.  She is left without any children.  In this society it is hard for a woman to survive.  Please pray that the church will take care of her.  Pastor Koomi was a faithful witness for our Lord!  We praise God for his testimony.

Thank you all for  your faithfulness to praying for us and the ministry God has given us here.  We couldn’t do it without those prayers….  You are the blood(life) in this ministry!