McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

State House

June 19, 2014

Reconnecting: Missionary family returns to Enid for visit

ENID, Okla. — A missionary family with a strong base of support in Enid for their work in Niger is making a month-long visit to reconnect with friends and supporters.

Yacouba Seydou, his wife, Renate Seydou, and their children, Sarah, 14, and Levi, 10, arrived Monday and will make several appearances around Enid while here. These include:

• 10 a.m. Sunday at Covenant Life Christian Fellowship.

• 6-8 p.m. June 27 at Five80 Coffee House.

• 8, 9:30 and 11 a.m. July 6 at Emmanuel Baptist Church.

• 6:30 p.m. July 6 at Hillsdale Christian Church.

• 9 and 11 a.m. July 13 at Enid Mennonite Brethren Church.

Seydou was born in Niger and came to the United States for an education. While attending Oral Roberts University, he met and married Renate, and the two formed Hosanna Institute of the Sahel, partnering with churches committed to provide financial, technical, physical and prayer support for their efforts in Niger.

Hosanna Institute of the Sahel USA is headquartered in Enid. Two other Hosanna Institutes are headquartered in Germany and Niger. Additional partnerships with such entities as Humedica, Operation Blessing and Christian Broadcasting Network have permitted Hosanna Institute to evolve and expand its work.

In addition to planting churches, the mission drills wells to bring safe, clean water to parched Niger; helps Niger residents develop food security via food banks and agricultural education; runs orphanages and works with challenged children; trains women in sewing and other life skills; operates medical clinics and a hospital; and does radio and television broadcasting.

Dennis Luckinbill, vice president of Hosanna Institute of the Sahel and a longtime supporter who has known Seydou since the days when Seydou worked at an Enid retail store, spoke about the expansion of Seydou’s work since Luckinbill’s first trip to Niger.

“We went over in 2004,” Luckinbill said. “At that time there wasn’t really much going on. I remember going over to this land over in Kollo and (Seydou) knelt on the ground and said, ‘This is where I want to build a hospital.’”

The Oklahoma partners are involved in the drilling of wells, which they began in 2005. Existing water sources, usually shallow, hand-dug, uncovered wells, frequently are contaminated. Illness often results from consuming water from them.

In recent years, Hosanna has drilled 53 water wells. Since Niger lies partly in the Sahara Desert and partly in the Sub-Saharan region, one of the items on the Hosanna’s wish list is a new drilling rig with hammer technology.

Carol Williams, president of Hosanna Institute, said the price tag on such a drilling rig is $150,000, which the organization doesn’t currently have. However, such a drilling rig would make it possible to drill wells in remote areas that don’t have access to the copious amounts of water required by current drilling rigs.

“We are now working towards establishing a center for challenged kids,” Seydou said.

Looking toward the future, Seydou said he wants to increase work educating the people of Niger.

“We have seen that education is the key to bringing change,” Seydou said. “Ignorance is killing a lot of people.”

Seydou said he was impressed with his Thursday visit to Autry Technology Center.

“That should be Hosanna’s next project, to partner with Autry,” Seydou said.

Luckinbill pointed to Seydou’s influence in changing agriculture practices in Niger.

Hosanna’s well-drilling efforts will be further integrated with agriculture and hygiene, Seydou said.

For more information on Hosanna Institute and its work, catch up with Seydou at one of his Enid appearances or go to hosannasahel.org.

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