“Children get mad, but they easily forgive – a child just wants to be loved. Children seek their parents just like we should seek God,” said Salamatou, CURE Niger Child Mentor.
At CURE, we value a child’s passion for life and dependence on God in how we think, live, and love. We strive to be more childlike by growing our passion for life and leaning on God to direct our steps. When working with CUREkids, Salamatou does just that. She is a spiritual staff member at CURE Niger and is patient, playful, and loving with the children. She has become a wonderful demonstration of being childlike for the kingdom of God.
Salamatou’s first experience at CURE Niger was when she brought her son in for treatment. While they were in the ward and during subsequent visits for bandage changes and follow up appointments, Salamatou remembered being impressed about how intentional and invested the CURE Niger staff were with the children. “I really liked that,” she recalls.
Not long after Salamatou’s visits to the CURE hospital ended, a CURE Niger Child Mentor got married and decided to step down from her ministry. Salamatou saw this as an opportunity to volunteer in the open position. After volunteering for two months, CURE Niger approached her about continuing as a paid intern, which eventually led to her being a full-time Child Mentor. She was thrilled to spend time investing in CUREkids every day!
Spending every day with CUREkids and their parents is key! In Niger, 99% of the country is non-Christian. As part of the spiritual staff there, Salamatou must model the CURE value of being childlike. That’s a challenging mission in Niger. The concept of Christianity is quite foreign to most Nigeriens. However, when they stay in our guesthouse, sometimes for as long as a month or two, they’re repeatedly exposed to the gospel, which allows them time to consider what’s being presented.
Salamatou presents the gospel in a variety of ways, always trying to make it accessible and fun. She organizes playtimes, which often include singing, a Bible lesson, and a Bible story coloring page. Just recently, she taught some of the older girls about the story of Namaan and his servant girl. This young servant girl’s faith in God led Namaan on a path to discovering the Lord and ultimately to be healed of leprosy. The story is impactful to CUREkids because it is about a young girl who was used by God and talks about a disease that sets a person apart from society something CUREkids know all too well.
Another way Salamatou presents the gospel is by using Nigerian Christian movies and music videos. Nigeria, which neighbors Niger, has a large Christian population and is the center of the African movie industry, lovingly referred to as “Nollywood.” By using these Christian films and music, Salamatou can present the gospel in ways the patients and their families can easily understand! In fact, when CUREkids are discharged, they bring these Christian stories and songs home with them! We regularly hear stories of how patients teach the children in their village the songs and lessons they learned while at CURE Niger.
When it comes down to it, the children trust Salamatou and listen to her because she has a childlike quality. She is quick to give love, to forgive, and to trust. She plays with them. She laughs with them. Above all else, she seeks God with them. We are blessed to have caring staff members, like Salamatou, working with patients and families while demonstrating our core values at CURE hospitals.