Hausa in Greensboro
Since 2010, North Side has been involved in an attempt to share the gospel with the Hausa people, an unreached people group in West Africa. Due to the unrest and instability in the region, we have had to discontinue our trips temporarily. The outreach, however, continues.
Through a series of God-sized connections, we discovered that a large number of Hausa people live in the Greensboro, N.C. area. At the end of June of this year, Jason Allen and Martin Ridgeway decided to take a Saturday trip to travel to Greensboro to find and establish contact with Hausa immigrants. Following are excerpts from Jason’s diary about the trip.
- 6/29/13 – 7:30 a.m. Leave to go to our first spot (looking for the Hausa). Greensboro is a lot bigger than I thought. We don’t have any clue where the Hausa people are and only have a few places to check. These are just places we googled that African people might frequent. The first place is probably our best lead. It is a Hausa market where Hausa food is sold.
- 8:00 a.m. We find where the Hausa market “was.” It is now a store called the “Thrifty Boutique.” It isn’t open right now.
- 8:15 a.m. Well, our best lead is no longer there, so we head to McDonalds to get breakfast and re-think our plan. As we are eating, we see a young man with a mobile car wash in the adjacent parking lot. I tell Martin that the car wash guys know everybody. We finish and go over to ask him if he knows anything about Hausa people or African immigrants. He responds, “Yes, all the Africans live right over there,” as he points across the street to an apartment complex. “They live there and most of them work as taxi drivers.”
- 8:50 Once again, God answers prayers. I thought we had struck out. We drove around all the apartments. There are streets and streets of them. We see a lot of taxis parked on the street, but not a sign of anyone.
- 9:20 We drive around this place about 5 times and see no one. Every time we get back to the street, we see lots of African hair braiding businesses. We try and stop at a few, but all are closed.
- 9:50 As we are making our 8th trip through the apartments, I see a young woman carrying a baby “African style” on her back, heading to Sitan’s African Hair Braiding. I go inside the shop and see 2 ladies in full African attire. I told them I was looking for some friends from Niger. She said she was from Mali and was Fujani speaking. She also said that there were a lot of Africans in the apartment complex. We know where they are.
- 11:15 We ride through 1 or 2 more times and happen to see a church that backs up to the neighborhood. There are people standing around out front. Martin and I go inside and see that they are serving breakfast for the underprivileged. We talk to a man and woman and explain what we are doing, but they don’t have much info. They affirm that the apartments are filled with African immigrants.
- 11:30 As we check a few more spots downtown, we continue to come up empty. We know God is working and that we have at least found where they live. We can pick up there when Greg and Jeff return with us. We have one more spot to check.
- 11:45 We go to Baluba’s African Market, a shop that sells African supplies and artifacts. We go inside and browse. The store owner Larry greets us and we begin small talk. As the conversation turns to why we are there, Larry says, “Yeah I know where you can find the Hausa people.” I tell him that we have already been to the apartments on Market Street. He said, “No, the men sell and buy cars.” He told us about some warehouses about 4 miles away. “That’s where they work. You’ll find them there.”
- 12:30 p.m. Headed over to English Street. Not very optimistic, but God has opened another door. As we approach the warehouses, we see a lot of cars outside. We also see 4 or 5 men sitting in an open garage. We decide to stop. As we walked up to the group, we could see their expressions (“What do these guys want?”). But when we greeted them in Hausa, their expressions changed. It was like being back in an African village. They greeted us, shook our hands, and greeted us some more. They really didn’t care why we were there – they were just thankful to hear someone else speak their language. They pulled out chairs, made us sit, and got us water. As we shared out lives and stories, I knew that God had planned this. These guys were no different from the ones in Africa. They were a little more Americanized, but they were just as friendly, hospitable, and open to dialogue. Very soon after we mentioned Hausa food, a man and then a woman showed up with food. It was exactly like the food I’d had in Niger – with exactly the same taste. We talked and laughed for 3 hours or so. We told them how we knew Hausa, where we had been in Niger, and even why we had been there. We told them about our missionary partners in Niger and how we wanted to bring them to see them very soon. They told us that we were their friends and were welcome back anytime. Before we left, we told them that we would be back soon!
I cannot wait to come back and I praise God for this awesome experience. I am so blessed to be a part of what God is doing.
Since this time, there has been a followup trip and more scheduled. God is on the move and we are so grateful to be able to join him to take the gospel to the Hausa.
We will keep you updated on developments and on how you can get involved.