Hangin' Out in Karongue

Hangin' Out in Karongue

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

When Termites Eat Your Mattress

On a seemingly daily basis we encounter….how shall we say it...opportunities to grow in patience and perseverance that could only happen here in Africa. Whether it’s the six minute
task at the government office that instead takes six hours, or the “shake-down” by the local law enforcement as they look for a bribe, or walking into your outdoor kitchen only to find a chicken sitting in the middle of your casserole on top of the stove helping himself to lunch, Senegal provides more than enough of these “growth opportunities” to quickly grey the hair of even the most ardent saint as we “count it all joy” between clenched teeth!
Our latest “growth opportunity” came as we were cleaning our bedroom/living room/Hosanna’s school room (yes, we thrive on multifunctional space here!). We occasionally have to move out our mattress to clean due to the fact that our ceiling is made from split mangrove roots with dried mud caked on top of them and the mud is very fond of falling from the ceiling. (Not the best for those of us who happen to be “mouth-breathers” when we sleep!) Anyway, as we moved our mattresses to clean behind them we were surprised to
see that we had been feeding a large termite population with our sponge mattress. The termites had come through the floor and nearly devoured half of our mattress that lays on the concrete floor.
While events like these can surely be frustrating, we try to keep it all in perspective, realizing that these are just inconveniences and that God’s faithfulness and His grace are larger than our difficulties.
To help us gain perspective, seeing that we were going to get rid of our half-eaten sponge mattress, our neighbor asked to have it saying that she had a room with no mattress. As Ezra
and Matt took it over to her house she thanked them and gave them a blessing in Diola and continued to say how  
happy she was that she had a new mattress. Usually, you truly do not have to look far to realize how blessed you are; even when termites eat your mattress!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

"I Don't Want to Be a Missionary!"

*(We originally blogged this over three-and-a-half years ago as our family was preparing to leave Idaho to go on the road to raise support for the mission field. We just recently shared this story with Hosanna.)

With all of the change that is happening in the life of our family we have tried our best to spend time talking with our children one-on-one. We want to talk to them, and more importantly, to listen to them so that we can gauge how they are processing all that is going on. Our prayer is that God would be continually preparing our children to go to the mission field.

In one such exchange Hosanna, our three year old, was sitting in my lap and I was telling her what it was going to be like to be a missionary. I was telling her all of the great things that God was giving us the opportunity to do and experience and how God is very loving to us to allow us to get to serve Him as missionaries.
But in the middle of our conversation Hosanna's face turned sour (those of you that know Hosanna know exactly what I am talking about). And she leaned right up into my face and exclaimed, "I don't want to be a missionary!" Now this came as an absolute shock to me because for the last year all Hosanna has talked about is going to Africa and living there. This is the same little girl that every time we would get into the van would ask if we were leaving for Africa now.
So I began again to rehearse all the great things that come with being a missionary. But she got right back up into my face again and said, "I don't want to be a missionary! I want to be an African!" It seems that God does indeed have her ready to go. Africa may never be the same!
*UPDATE: Hosanna is currently doing her best to become an African!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Happy Anniversary Gayle!

Eighteen years ago today, when Gayle and I said, "I do," neither of us had any idea where the Lord would take our lives together. We were new Christians excited about our new life with the Lord and our new life with each other; just beginning to learn our identity in Christ and starting our journey of identity together.

And it still seems hard to believe that was eighteen years ago.

The greatest gift of my life has been the gift of Jesus Christ. He saved and transformed me, not because of me and what I did nor because of my merit or goodness, but because of His unyielding love and sacrifice for me. That is a gift without rivals and a gift that can only be given by God Himself.

But second on the list is my precious wife, Gayle. And she too is a gift from God. From a human standpoint our "chance" meeting over 19 years ago was absolutely improbable. But from God's vantage point it was another piece of the puzzle of amazing grace that He was putting together in my life.

I often tell Gayle that I was in love with her from the first week that I met her. And she likewise always says that she was not nearly  that quick on the draw. When we were dating we were separated by almost 200 miles (and as she would say, almost 8 years!), but thankfully with some time (and heavy doses of my charm!) she began to see the light!

We both became Christians about a month before our wedding and the presence of Christ in our marriage has made all of the difference in the world. It has been amazing not just to "grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ" as an individual, but to be able to do so with the one that you walk through life with.

Our life together has not exactly gone as we scripted it in those first few years of marriage, but one of the mind-blowing things about Gayle is that she has always been great with where God has taken our family and our lives. She was okay when we left our "careers," sold our dream home, and took our two-month-old son and moved to Kentucky for me to attend Bible college and seminary. She was okay because she trusted God and (for this I am eternally grateful and overwhelmingly amazed) she trusted me. Later, when we moved even father away from family and familiarity to serve in Idaho she was equally happy and content. Very early in our marriage she once told me, "I am okay wherever we are because the Lord will be there and you will be there." She has always just wanted to be where the Lord would have our family be. And now we find ourselves in a village in southern Senegal serving the Lord Jesus and the Diola people here.

Gayle has always served our family and those around us with amazing grace and care, but since being in Senegal I have seen this quality magnified. I have watched her sit with our neighbors and wrap sheep intestines around sheep stomach lining in an attempt to connect with the women for the sake of the Gospel. I have seen her wash clothes by hand at 7:00 in the morning so that she can begin homeschooling our children inside our home where the temperature is 95 degrees. And on a daily basis I see her clothes wringing wet with sweat as she manages our home.

And she does so without complaint. During one of our two mile walks under the hot Senegalese sun, Hosanna once said, "Mama never complains. She must just complain on the inside." Indeed, I have found a virtuous wife who's worth is far above riches (Proverbs 31:10).

I am sure that back home in Florida in our storage unit there is a wedding picture of Gayle and me. And were we to see it I am sure we would comment that we had much less grey in our hair than we do today and that we were much less wise than we are after 18 years together. But we could not say that we loved each other more that day in 1996 than we do today. For everyday we grow in love and appreciation for one another as we together live submersed the grace of God.

Indeed, I could go on and on with all of the ways that God has used Gayle to bless me and our family, but all of those roads lead me back to His grace. I am continually reminded of how undeserving I am of all of God's grace. I guess that is the great thing about grace: you get the overwhelming blessing that you do not deserve. And that is exactly what I got 18 years ago when I married Gayle. Happy anniversary Gayle! Thanks for being the second best gift I've ever received!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Pray During Tabaski

Tomorrow Muslims all over the world will celebrate "Eid al-Adha" or the "Festival of the Sacrifice." Here in West Africa the festival is known as "Tabaski." It commemorates when Abraham, according to the Koran, was willing to sacrifice his son Ishmael. (The Bible recounts this story quite differently and can be found in Genesis chapter 22.)

Our neighbors performing their sacrifice
behind our house last year.
Tomorrow morning our Muslim friends here in the village will go to the mosque to pray while the women and girls stayed behind at their home to continue to prepare for the days festivities. After prayers at the mosque, they will return home and "sacrifice" their ram. The oldest man of the home will dig a small hole in the yard of their home with a machete while the boys will go to get the ram. They then will hold the ram on the ground while their father slits its throat and the blood of the ram will spill into the hole. And they will do all of this with the hope that the spilled blood of this ram will atone for their sins of the previous year.

And next year they will repeat the same process, just like they have done all of the previous years that have gone before.

The Bible teaches that "in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins" (Hebrews 10:3-4). Thankfully, the Bible teaches that Jesus "offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins" when He gave His life as a sacrifice for our sins on the cross (Hebrews 10:12). Jesus, the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world, provided for us a sacrifice that does not need to be repeated, but rather needs to be embraced, cherished, and trusted.

Pray with us for the Muslims of Diouloulou and southern Senegal. Pray that they might forsake the rams of Tabaski and embrace the Lamb of God that truly takes away the sins of the world.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Inje nimamang kasanken kujoolaay!

“Inje nimamang kasanken kujoolaay” is Diola for, “I want to speak Diola!” As we work more and more in villages around Diouloulou that are totally Diola, there is a great need for us to use more Diola to communicate.

But this is easier said than done as Diola has over a dozen different dialects, with some of them being so different from one another as to be unintelligible! We have chosen to focus on Diola-fonyi as this is the dialect most understood. However, because our neighbors and language helpers speak another Diola dialect, we will likely pick up a certain regional “twang” in our Diola.

Unlike learning French, with Diola there are no textbooks, no Rosetta Stone computer programs, nor handy tapes to listen to and repeat. Just a notebook where we write down what we hear, flashcards that we make, and the white family in the village speaking Diola like a two year old! In addition, we have to use our French to communicate with those helping us learn Diola. Needless to say, there are times where we are not sure that we can speak any language at all including English!

Several weeks ago, while wanting to tell my neighbors that I was going to the market to buy something, I mispronounced a vowel and instead told them that I wanted to go to the market and put a curse on someone! Believe me, that will turn some heads. Oh, the joys of language learning!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Want to Come to Senegal?

Tired of air conditioning and hot water? Frustrated always understanding everything that is being spoken to you? Bored with the same old culture that you grew up with and have already figured out? Why not come to southern Senegal and spend six months to a year with our family and shake things up in your life!

Okay, all joking aside, we are not actually looking for just anyone to come; we are looking for someone who feels called of God to come and spend 6 months to a year with us helping with home school, home life, and ministry. We are looking for someone who is capable of working with Gayle in the daily home schooling of the children and can essentially just become a part of our life and family during their time with us.

Maybe someone willing to take a semester away from college or someone in a time of transition between jobs. Or someone considering God’s call to cross-cultural ministry who wants a first person experience of life on the mission field. Or maybe someone who finds themselves later in life with a desire to serve. Whatever the case, we are looking for someone who:

*Has a growing relationship with the Lord Jesus
*Is emotionally and physically healthy
*Feels comfortable working with and teaching children *Senses God’s call to come and serve
*Has the heart of a servant and wants to learn
*Is flexible and can adapt

There is much more detail that we could add, but this is a good starting point for you to pray about. If you would like more information please feel free to contact us at allsenegalforchrist@gmail.com and we can start the conversation and see where God leads. Also, feel free to share this with others that you think may be interested in serving us and the people of southern Senegal. But most of all, pray that God would call the right person to come alongside us as we love and serve the Diola people.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Waiting on the Rain

As May comes in we are feeling the daily increases in temperature. And as the temperature increases we are reminded that the rains are on the way and with them come the life giving water that the land desperately needs after over eight months of total dryness.

As we sow the seed of the Gospel among the spiritually dry and parched fields of southern Senegal we are praying for God to send His rain. In Isaiah 55:10-11 God says, “The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.”

We sow the seed of the Word of God with confidence knowing that when God sends His rain a crop with be produced. In reading Jesus’ parable in Mark 4:26-29 we were recently reminded that the job of the sower is simply to sow. He is in the field, among the dryness and the thorns, with sweat on his brow, and he faithfully sows the seed. And then he waits, sometimes with tears (Psalm 126:5-6), for the crops to come.

Recently, we have seen what appears to be God working in some of the fields where we have been sowing. Please pray as we sow the seed of the Gospel and show the love of the Lord Jesus to these individuals and families who are showing evidence of the Lord's work in their lives. Also, please be in prayer for the villages of Karongue and Birassou Bodiankounda as after months of prayer and relationship building the doors for further ministry are slowly but surely opening more and more.
Above all, pray that God would send His rain to water the seed of the Gospel that we are planting among the Diola of Senegal!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Hospital Visit

We step over a large pile of burnt trash and walk by some people sitting on pieces of concrete blocks under a mango tree as my friend and I enter the “hospital” to see his father. This building in the “hospital” compound has obviously been constructed with western money as its walls are painted and there is tile on the floor. As we enter the room where my friend’s father lays on a circa 1960 hospital bed I am surprised at how large, and how empty, the room is. There are a few other makeshift beds, a small table, two plastic chairs, two old stools, and my friend’s mother and another Diola woman. I glance at my friends watch and it says 3:45.

As I look at his father lying on the bed it seems obvious to me that his father is dying. 

His mother asks me about my family, our recent trip to Dakar, and what we think about the heat. She asks me how Maimouna (Hosanna’s Senegalese name) is and when she is coming to see her. We smile and exchange these pleasantries as if to ignore the fact that there is a dying man in our presence.

My friend pulls a bottle of water from his sack along with a bowl of food wrapped in a piece of cloth. They are for his father, but I struggle to imagine that his father is capable of eating. At the request of his mother we pull his father up into a somewhat sitting position and they begin trying the make him drink. The water enters his mouth and then quickly runs out onto his face, over his chest, then onto the bed. The other woman suggests that when they pour the water in his mouth that someone rubs his throat to make him swallow. This is done and it only causes him to gag and begin to choke. Silently, I begin to pray.

After several minutes and over a quart of spilled water, this insane endeavor is abandoned and we lay my friend’s father back onto the bed. His mother asks me if I will pray for him and I move my stool beside him as I lightly rest my hand on his shoulder. I pray for a miracle and ask God to give the family hope that can only come from Jesus. It is Good Friday and as I pray I am reminded of how God can bring amazing blessing out of great darkness and tragedy.

No “doctor” has seen my friend’s father though he has been at the “hospital” now for two days. I suddenly feel guilty that I have ever complained about medical care back home in the States. His mother seems very confused because, with the exception of an IV that is dripping, unregulated, into her husband's arm, the hospital experience is just an old bed in a large, hot room.

We sit silently staring at the sick and dying man for what must be an hour.

A woman wearing a surgical mask knocks and then pokes her head in the door and says something in Wolof. She enters and I realize that she is not a nurse but a janitor. She is wearing the surgical mask to protect her from the dust that she plans to make as she sweeps the dirty room with a straw broom. The dust is thick in the hot air and my friend motions for us to leave until she finishes.

We sit outside on a wooden bench under a mango tree for what must be another thirty minutes. I glance again at my friend’s watch; it still reads 3:45 and I realize that his watch does not work.

Sitting outside my friend sees someone that looks like a “doctor.” They too are wearing a surgical mask and I wonder to myself if it is for medical reasons or to avoid the dust as well. The man is maybe in his early thirties and is wearing “street clothes,” though they are fairly new and well kept. My friend speaks with him for several minutes before he rejoins me under the mango tree. He tells me that the man is a “nurse” and that he is going to go speak to the “doctor” and ask him to come see his father. We return to the room to wait.

Another at least forty-five minutes pass. I do not take the time to look at my friend’s watch. Every few minutes another guest comes in to see the sick man. They look at him, shake their head, and make a familiar “clucking” sound that is common here when something is disappointing. After some time, I count the people in the room and we are now over fifteen.

Finally the doctor enters the room. He is maybe thirty-five years old, but it is hard to tell. He is wearing medical scrubs and leather shoes. I am pretty sure that the scrubs have the name of a hospital written on them in German. He greets the family in Wolof and then in Diola and then stands beside my friend’s bedridden father. He feels his arms, his neck, and his abdomen, and then stares at the IV that is dripping into his arm. He takes his blood pressure twice and feels his neck again.

At this moment the doctor has the look of a junior high school student who has been dropped in the middle of a calculus class and suddenly called to the board to solve a problem. It is clear that he has no idea what is going on with my friend’s father. He nods at the family and then abruptly leaves the room.

After a few moments the “nurse” with the nicer-than-normal street clothes enters and says that the doctor has ordered everyone to leave except the man’s wife and my friend. I tell my friend’s mother that we will continue to pray for her husband and for her family and then I leave the room along with the others. My friend, as is the custom here, walks me out to the road as a sign of saying that he was pleased with my visit and thankful that I came. I again promise our prayers, shake his hand, and walk away.

I walk the mile-and-a-half home thinking about my friend, his father, and the struggles of living in an ambiguous land such as this where you never really know what is going on. I wonder what is really happening with my friend’s father, if it is something simple that, were we in our culture, could be easily treated, and if he will ever get better. And I pray. I pray feeling totally inadequate to help, but trusting in the God of all grace to intervene. And I think about how most days the only thing that you can do is pray.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

I Can't Just Go On Eating Dinner

Twenty years ago the country of Rwanda experienced horrors the likes of which we have no capacity to understand. Throughout the course of 100 days from April 6 to July 16, 1994, over 800,000 Tutsis and some moderate Hutus were massacred in the Rwandan genocide. During this period, more than 6 men, women, and children were murdered every minute of every hour of every day for more than three months. We cannot comprehend such suffering and loss.

The movie “Hotel Rwanda” tells a little of the story of the genocide of those days through the eyes of a hotel owner who successfully saved the lives of over 1,000 Rwandans. But there is a scene in the movie where two characters, Paul the hotel owner and a Western photographer named Jack, discuss the fact that finally footage of the atrocities and genocide and ethnic cleansing of Rwanda has made its way to the media. While Paul believes that this media attention will awaken others to come to their aide, Jack is much more pessimistic, and unfortunately, prophetic. Here is their dialogue:

Paul: “I am glad that you have shot this footage and that the world will see it. It is the only way we have a chance that people might intervene.”

Jack: “Yeah and if no one intervenes, is it still a good thing to show?”

Paul: “How can they not intervene when they witness such atrocities?”

Jack: “I think if people see this footage they’ll say, ‘Oh my God that’s horrible,’ and then go on eating their dinners.”

And indeed, in the case of Rwanda twenty years ago, the world saw what was happening and then most simply finished their meal.

Sadly, much the same reaction is being seen today with the events in the Central African Republic. The current violence seen in CAR, however, does not come from ethnic tensions, as was the case in Rwanda, but rather from religious tensions between the Muslim and Christian populations.

I recently attended the CRAF Conference in Dakar where Christian leaders from French speaking Africa came together to exchange ideas and report on the status of missions in their respective countries. The morning that I attended we heard a report on the status of the church in the Central African Republic.

As our brother from the CAR stepped up to the podium to give his report, he said that he wanted to show a short five-minute video to begin his presentation. He then added that if anyone had a heart problem that they may want to excuse themselves during the video. This disclaimer was met with a few chuckles from the audience as some wondered aloud what could possibly be so disturbing as to affect those with a weak heart.

And then he started the video and we immediately understood his warning.

The video was taken by a Muslim man with his cell phone and it showed he and several others massacring about a half-dozen Christians in broad daylight in the market. And they did so with machetes. In an orgy of hatred and violence, this man had captured these brutal acts of murder as these Christians were literally beaten and hacked to their public deaths.

And this happened because they were known to be followers of Jesus.

The video was so raw and so incredibly graphic that I felt sick to my stomach. I, along with many others, could not watch it all and I had to sit with my head buried between my knees until it was over. Another man in the room passed out and had to receive medical attention after viewing the five minute video. It was that shocking.

As the speaker recounted other atrocities that have been committed against the Christian community in the CAR he said that now his work consists of encouraging the Christians to love, forgive, and not retaliate. But he has not always been successful in his efforts as many Christians have “fought back” and only escalated the violence.

But as I listened to this man, with the images of the video still fresh in my mind’s eye, I thought, “What on earth can I do?” Though I am in Africa, the Central African Republic is far, far away and the problems there seem even farther away and more distant. So what can I do?

I can pray. I can plead with the Lord for the violence to stop. I can ask the God of all peace to reign in the hearts and lives of the people of CAR and in the hearts and the lives of the Christians who want so badly to repay evil with further evil. I can pray that the God of all comfort would comfort those that are suffering such unimaginable loss. I can, and I must, pray.

But I can’t just go on eating dinner as if I have seen nothing.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Give Me the Joy!

Unfortunately, when many people think of Christianity they think of grumpy old men in three piece suits who sit around with scowls on their faces as they talk about the long list of things they don’t do because they are Christians. Now there is certainly nothing wrong with older men, three piece suits, or the truth that the Bible clearly commands Christians to abstain from certain activities. There is, however, something decidedly wrong with joyless Christianity. Of all the people of the world, those that follow Jesus Christ and know Him as their Lord and Savior through faith in Him alone should be the possessors of great joy.

But sadly this is not always the case. Quite often Christians plod through life just trying to “get by” and make it through another day. Life seems overwhelming and the thought of joy in the midst of a hurried life that seems chaotic at best and depressing at worst seems unimaginable. The problem is that many are looking for joy in all the wrong places. Some seek joy through their career and advancement up the corporate ladder. Others look for joy in material possessions and the accumulation of things. While some search for joy in relationships or titles or power or influence or…you get the picture. In the mid-seventeenth century Blaise Pascal wrote, “All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all labor to this end. This is the motive of every action of every man.” The point is that the human heart longs for joy and will not rest until it is found.

It may seem shocking to some that the Bible actually commands us to seek joy. Psalm 32:11 says, “Be glad in the LORD and rejoice; Shout for joy, all you upright in heart!” The same theme of joy is seen in Psalm 37:4 which instructs us to “Delight yourself also in the LORD.” Jesus Himself told His followers to rejoice that their names are written in heaven (Luke 10:19-20) and to “leap for joy” as they await their future in heaven with Him (Luke 6:22-23). The Apostle Paul in his joy saturated letter to the Philippians commands Christians to “Rejoice in the Lord always” (4:4).

But joy for the Christian is not simply joy for joy’s sake. Nor is it a joy that comes from our circumstances or the things that we possess. Rather, ours is a joy that is found in Jesus Christ. The fountain and the source of the Christian’s joy must be the person of Jesus Christ and what He accomplished for us in His life, death, and resurrection.

At this point some of you may be wondering how the pursuit of joy can coincide and be reconciled to some of the demands Jesus made in the Gospels. Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). Later He said, “Whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:33). How can self-denial, cross-carrying, and the forsaking of all things coexist with the pursuit of joy? These twin truths are reconciled as we realize that it is in our giving of all for the sake of Jesus that our joy is realized. The removal of these counterfeit joys from our lives frees us to focus upon the only thing in the universe that brings true and lasting joy: Jesus Christ.

This truth is driven home by Jesus as He taught a one verse parable on the Kingdom of Heaven. In Matthew 13:44 Jesus compares the Kingdom of Heaven (knowing Jesus Christ) to a treasure that is buried in a field. A man found the treasure, hid the treasure again, and then sold all that he had to buy the field so that he might posses the treasure. He gives up all that he has to so that he might have this field and thus gain the treasure. But what motivates the man to buy the field in order to get the treasure? Joy. His motivation was joy. Because true joy was not found in all that he possessed; true joy was found in the treasure. When compared with the treasure everything else seemed to have no value at all (Philippians 3:7-10). Jesus’ point is that knowing Him is more valuable and more precious than anything else. And as such, He is the source of all true joy.

So the next time you think about what a Christian is like dispel the notion of the scowl and the three piece. Instead, think about the treasure in the field and the joy that moves us to give all to obtain it. Think about Jesus “who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross” that we might find our joy in Him (Hebrews 12:2).


Saturday, January 18, 2014

"The old man is dead"

The text simply said, “The old man, Lamine Goudyabi, is dead.” We met Lamine about a week-and-a-half before I received the text. We were visiting with a friend in the village of Birassou Bodiancounda and we were getting a “tour” of the village. A real tour of a small village in southern Senegal means that you stop at the home of all of the “notables” of the village to exchange greetings, chat for a bit, and usually receive a small gift of oranges or peanuts from their garden. This is how you say “Welcome!” in our part of the world.
Our tour took us to the house of Lamine Goudyabi. This visit was a little more special and a bit more important because our family name here in Senegal is also Goudyabi and Lamine and his family were the only Goudyabi’s in the village.

Lamine was seated on a mat outside of his house with an older man and a young boy. They were chatting, drinking tea, and shelling peanuts. After exchanging greetings we joked about having the same family name and how we were all related: us the white Goudyabi’s from America and he and his family the African Goudyabi’s who had never travelled far from southern Senegal. Since it was our first trip to the village we had our camera with us, so we asked him if we could take a picture of him to remember our brief visit. Of course he obliged us and we took several photos of him and the young boy sitting on their mat.

After getting the photos printed we showed them to our friend from Birassou Bodaincounda and told him that we wanted to return to the village to give them away in person. He is in the middle of his preparations for some tests at the high school, so he told us that we would plan a day in the coming weeks; a day to go back and revisit the folks that we met and give them their pictures.

The next day I received the text telling me that Lamine Goudyabi was dead. He had gotten sick and had been sick for a few days before he was taken to the “hospital” in a nearby town where he died. My friend attended his burial in the village. When I asked him all of the general questions that we would ask in our culture after such an event, such as, “How is the family?” he just shrugged as if to say, “This is the reality of life here. This happens and we move on.”

I am not sure what we will do with our picture of Lamine Goudyabi and the young boy sitting on their mat. Maybe we will give it to one of Lamine’s widows when we visit the village again. Maybe we will find the young boy and give it to him as a way to remember Lamine. Or maybe we will just keep it. Maybe we will keep it as a reminder that time is short and that the message of the Gospel is urgent.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Going Where We Cannot Go

What can take the Gospel to local villages twice a week? Villages where we cannot go? The answer: the radio can! In villages with no electricity the local radio station is their link to what is going on in the world as well as a source of entertainment. What better way to spread the Gospel here than by radio!

Beginning this Saturday a radio program entitled “The Way of Righteousness” will be broadcast from Diouloulou twice a week in the Diola-fonyi language. The programs consist of 100 “episodes” that tell the story of Jesus from Genesis to Revelation using a chronological approach that is suited for those with little or no biblical knowledge. Each program is Bible-based and Gospel centered as the listeners learn of God’s plan to send a Rescuer who will give His life to save His people. The programs are geared to a Muslim audience and give special attention to the culture of Senegal.

One of our faithful partners in the Gospel has generously financed this project, as well as made possible the means to put these programs on the radio in the town of Tionk Essil. Only God knows the lives that will be touched as the Word of God and the truth of the Gospel go where we cannot go!
Pray with us as these programs begin. Commit to pray each Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 PM EST as these programs are aired here in Diouloulou. And pray that God gets us in touch with those that begin to listen to these programs so that we can see where God is at work.