A God Who Listens

January 18, 2022 | 2 minute read
Keith and Melanie Haensel

A flag in Niger, located in the desert.

“How can I best pray for you?” This is a common question that people ask international workers (IWs). The answer can be both complex and simple. A couple of months ago I searched earnestly to come up with the best answer after I was inspired by one of my prayer warriors who took this question seriously.

My good friend decided that he needed to do some reading that would help him to pray more effectively for me and for the work that I do here in Niger, so I had told him about a book Hijacked by Glory – From the Pew to the Nations by Sunder Krishnan, and he set out to find a copy. Unable to find it using his regular online shopping methods, he told me “I called the church he pastored in Toronto and they sent me a copy.” I was deeply encouraged that he was willing to spend time and energy to put in more effort so that he could pray for me more effectively.

One day, during our team prayer time, we prayed for orphans who were in desperate need of care and love. That day I felt very discouraged by my situation. I was “stuck” in the capital city of the country I work in, unable to leave due to security concerns. I am in language study so even if I could leave the city, I could not effectively communicate Christ’s love to the Fulani people.

I prayed and told God that I wanted to do something to encourage orphans like the ones we prayed for. I told Him that I was discouraged because it felt like I was not getting any closer to being able to work with Fulani people here.

The following day, I went to play slow-pitch softball with some other IWs here in Niamey, and one of the guys came up to me afterwards wondering if I would be willing to help coach a team of orphaned boys for the local slow-pitch tournament. With my prayer from the previous day fresh in my mind, I knew that this was an opportunity from God. I also found out that the other coach, whom I had not met, had been working with Fulani people for many years. I was amazed! Here was an opportunity to not only work with young men who had been orphaned but to “team build” with an experienced worker serving the Fulani people.

I texted some of my prayer partners a few days later and told them about the opportunity. My good friend called me that afternoon and had some questions about the details. He had been reading the book he had bought and was challenged to pray that God would open doors for me to minister to people here. That same Saturday he had prayed “Lord open doors for Keith to be able to minister in Niger,” and that afternoon the opportunity was given.

I am so thankful for my friend who is determined to continue growing in listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit. I am so thankful that he is eager to obey God’s calling to pray. Most of all I am thankful that we serve a God who listens to our prayers and allows us to be a part of His amazing plan to reach people who have little access to the Good News of Jesus Christ, like the Fulani.


This is an article from our Fall 2021 edition of Alliance Connection. Read the full copy here.




Keith and Melanie Haensel

Keith and Melanie Haensel are international workers in Niamey, Niger. They lived in Saskatchewan with their three children, Connor, Griffin, and Arwyn. Keith worked as a Conservation Officer for 14 years there. God called them to work in Niger with the Fulani people. They are currently in year one of studying the language of Fulfulde. Learn more at www.cmacan.org/kmh

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