“Everything we do – we do it in a way to show the love of Christ to our patients,” says Issoufou, housekeeping supervisor at CURE Niger.
You could say that Issoufou’s journey to CURE Niger began at the age of five when he lost his father. His mother could no longer take care of all six children. So Issoufou, a Muslim, went to live with his Christian uncle. Soon after, he chose to follow Jesus.
But when Issoufou was in the ninth grade, his uncle died, and he was forced to drop out of school. “I was just sitting around at home,” he remembers. “I had nothing to do, no one to help me.” But the Lord was at work. Charles, a missionary in Issoufou’s church, set up a guesthouse for peace corps workers and needed help. “Who among the youth has nothing to do?” he asked the church leaders. Issoufou answered his call, and pretty soon, he had a job and an education. “Charles offered to teach me everything, and I said ‘wow, I would love that!’”
The story doesn’t end there. After several years, Charles and his family went back to the United States, and Issoufou had a desire for something more. “Whenever I got a chance, I would go down to the garden with my Bible and pray, asking God for the opportunity to work with an organization that really serves Christ.”
One day, Issoufou’s friend told him there was a hospital by the name of CURE hiring in Niamey. “You’d be perfect for the job,” his friend said. Issoufou sent in the necessary documents and got a phone call a few weeks later. “Can you come for an interview tomorrow morning at 9:00?” they asked. Issoufou lived in Maradi, 670 km away from CURE Niger, a full day’s journey. But, Issoufou accepted. He got off the phone, quickly arranged things with his boss, and by 3:00 pm, was on a bus. Transportation in Niger is not like the US, and 670 km takes a lot longer here than it would on an interstate. Still, somehow Issoufou made it to his interview the next morning. When the head of HR at CURE Niger realized that Issoufou had come all the way from Maradi on one day’s notice, he was amazed! “Yes, it’s God who has done this,” Issoufou replied.
Now many years later, Issoufou’s position has grown to the supervisor of the CURE Niger kitchen, grounds, garden, guesthouse, and laundry. He’s daily orchestrating the many unnoticed tasks that keep our patients clean, fed, and comfortable, and he even finds time to entertain kids during the occasional art therapy skit!
His vision continues to grow while at CURE Niger. “When I saw how we treated cleft-lip babies here, with such kindness and tenderness, it gave me strength. Is it really possible to heal them?” he marveled to himself. “This still encourages me every day to work with all my heart for the glory of God.”
Still, he knows many people in rural Niger have never heard of CURE and who desperately need surgery. “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few,” he quotes from the Bible. “We need to reach even further!”