Keeping Up with the Ludwigs
It’s been exciting to start working on the next steps for our partners in Niger to put into place a Community Health Evangelism strategy. This month we’ve been in conversations with leaders and worked on drafting a variety of plans for how to develop leaders who can use these practices in their situation. These practices are counter-intuitive to what people are used to here, but is instrumental for living out a witness that is more holistic, self-sustaining, and responsive to the community. We’re excited that plans are being made for the first group of pastors and mission leaders from the US to come visit this Spring, together with our regional supervisors. Please pray for peace and stability in Niger through the upcoming political events, for wisdom and guidance for the CHE training plans, for our family, as we continue the adoption process and all the adjustments that will come with that.
It has been a very exciting month as we’ve seen several plans come to fruition. We’re very pleased to share that the national consultation the EERN held last week was a success! A major part of our work this year has been helping to organize and prepare a week-long national consultation on theological education and mission. Michael’s presentation also changed the atmosphere of the rest of the consultation as it helped to focus the group on what issues they have the most control over and how they can identify solutions that are within their reach.
The other plan we’re excited to see move forward is the opportunity for the EERN to start a rickshaw taxi business. Currently this is a lucrative business with no Christian workers. But these funds will provide jobs for five unemployed youth from the church and create income for buying land where evangelists can live in major unreached cities. It will also provide funds for evangelists to borrow to start their own businesses that can support their families as well as provide more inroads into their communities.
Please pray with the Ludwigs for …
Follow through with plans on training, success with the rickshaw project, and enough rain and good weather for the harvest.
The Ludwig’s have returned to their home in Niger and they continue to see the desperation of life there, but also the hope of great possibilities of the impact they can have in helping the church share the Good News of the love of Christ. Exciting upcoming projects that the Ludwigs are participating in include the church starting a sustainable rickshaw taxi business, a program integrating church plantings and providing secondary education for Christian and Muslim children from “the bush”.
Please continue to pray for the Ludwig family and friends as it is malaria season in Niger and many are sick or recovering (including the Ludwig children), for the church work Michael and Rachel participate in, and for their continued language learning and the good relationships and conversations that come through it.
Rev. Michael and Rachel Ludwig express their thankfulness in this month’s update. In the midst of heat rashes and the loss of their guard, the Ludwigs continue to be thankful for the encouragement people have sent about language learning, for helpful Nigerien church partners who are there for advice, and for fairly constant electricity! They report they are also thankful for the past month’s socio-political conditions stabilizing in Niger and for the continued support from people they have not seen in some time. They are also seeing and hearing some amazing transformation stories of Christians going from being victims to offering forgiveness to their oppressors. Michael started teaching an adventurous basic English class at a nearby Bible school and is assisting the EERN (Evangelical Church of the Republic of Niger). Rachel continues to work with Simeon and Adeline on the Hausa language and keeping the family cool with a weekly trip to the pool.
Please keep the Ludwigs in your prayers for:
- an improvement in the availability of water for their home
- the conference on theological education planned for May
You can learn more about the Ludwigs by signing up for their monthly e-newsletter through firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Michael and Rachel's Ministry
The November 2014 Mission Committee meeting voted to accept a report from the Mission Co-Worker Selection Task Force to support Rev. Michael Ludwig and Rachel Ludwig and the people of Niger.
Michael and Rachel work alongside the Evangelical Church of the Republic of Niger (EERN), helping them develop a literacy training and evangelism program. Niger is among the world’s poorest countries, has a literacy rate of only 29 percent, and experiences frequent famines.
“It’s captured our hearts as a place of great need, where people with skills in language and teaching can make a huge impact in the lives of ordinary Nigerians through literacy training and exposure to the gospel," they write. “We believe this program will help the church grow in reaching out to its non-Christian neighbors, helping them physically through teaching and spiritually as they read the good news of Jesus.” (Source: PC(USA) Ludwig prayer card)
About Michael and Rachel Ludwig
The Ludwigs, who will be accompanied in Niger by two children, anticipate their life will be full of opportunities and challenges. “We expect to encounter joys of close and friendly family life, vibrant worship, and excitement at helping people learn new skills that help them, but we anticipate challenges of dealing with very hot conditions, malaria risks, learning multiple languages, dealing with different time expectations, and answering the needs that God wants you to focus on instead of answering every need,” Rachel explains.
Michael, a native of Holland, Michigan, was an associate pastor at Overbrook Presbyterian Church in Columbus, Ohio, for four years prior to entering mission service. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the College of Wooster in Ohio, and a master’s degree from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He also has done graduate study in the classics at the University of Cincinnati. He is a member of Scioto Valley Presbytery.
Rachel grew up in Gibsonia, Pennsylvania, and has spent most of her professional life as a middle school math and science teacher. She has taught in public school systems in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. Rachel holds a bachelor’s degree from the College of Wooster and a master’s degree from Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. After graduating from the College of Wooster in 2001, she spent one year as a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Young Adult Volunteer in Guatemala and one year as an AmeriCorps volunteer in Cincinnati. Rachel is a member of Overbrook Presbyterian Church.
Please keep Michael, Rachel and their young son and daughter in your prayers for the work they will be doing in Niger.
To learn more about the Ludwigs, their ministry, subscribe to letters, and more, visit the Ludwig's Mission Connections page on the PC(USA) website.
Video: Listen as Michael and Rachel Ludwig share their sense of call to mission in Niger.