Last week, we were filming in a village in Niamey, Niger, when I had what I consider to be a “God-smack.” Maybe you know what I mean. It is a moment when something happens that feels a bit like a smack from God, that not-so-gentle reminder that we aren’t seeing something clearly or have created something in our own mind inconsistent with God’s truth.
We were talking with Boukary. He was sharing his story with us recalling how he suffered severe burns to his face and neck when he was just two years old. He lived with his head attached to his neck for 15 years. His life seemed resolved to continue without any hope of change. He was a beggar cast out on the streets, bringing shame to his family.
One day a missionary found him and asked if he would like to be healed of his terrible condition. The man knew of a new hospital in Niamey that had just opened. Doctors there could help.
Together with his father, Boukary and this man traveled to CURE Niger. The doctors were indeed able to free his head from his shoulder. His physical transformation was nothing short of miraculous.
But freedom from his physical disability was just the beginning of his transformation. With the blessing of his father, he accepted Jesus shortly after his time at the CURE hospital. It is truly an inspiring story. Boukary is now in Bible college and plans to be an evangelist after he completes his education.
So what about the God-smack I mentioned? During our interview, we asked about his decision to follow Jesus. I was looking for an answer that would highlight the role CURE played in his decision to commit his life to Christ.
But Boukary understood the healing power of Jesus correctly when he answered, “From what I know of Jesus, he would have found me even if I was a beggar.”
His answer blew me away. For a young man and new Christian, he certainly gets it. He painted a striking picture that delivered a profound message for us all. Jesus seeks to be in relationship with each of us. He pursues us every day no matter where we are or what we are doing. With that kind of wisdom, I have no doubt that Boukary will indeed draw many of his fellow Nigeriens to Jesus.