Monday, May 25, 2009

That’s Kaffrine, not Caffeine!

Some of you may be wondering where Kaffrine is and what is chronological storying. Kaffrine is a small rural town in the middle, eastern part of Senegal, just north of the Gambia. It is located in the heart of Wolof territory and is surrounded by villages which are almost totally Muslim.

A Southern Baptist couple started working in the Kaffrine area about 12 – 15 years ago. They used their gifts of compassion and service as a spring board for the Gospel. They began to develop and use the Chronological Storying method. Storying is a method of communicating the Gospel starting with Creation and moving chronologically through the Scriptures to the coming of the Spirit in Acts 2. In this method of teaching, one focuses on the messianic prophecies of the Old Testament, so that the coming of the Messiah is fully understood. This also helps people to fully understand sin and the depravity of man. Chronological Storying is a method that I have wanted to use since my internship in Ghana back in 1991. I had planned on using it in Khombole but was still working on development of the resources when I was asked to serve in administration.

The doors of ministry began to open for this Baptist couple back in 2001 as villages sent messengers to ask for the stories to be told to them. This lone couple could not answer all of the requests. They pleaded with their mission to send more workers. For some reason, they were turned down. They made a plea to all missions for help. While serving as field director, I was able to be a part of sending five families out to that region. Not all were able to stay, but the door is still wide open for the Gospel and villages continue to request that the stories be told to them.
Now, there are four families with SIM and the lone Baptist couple working together to reach the villages surrounding Kaffrine. There are other organizations that have come to work only in the town at this point. Our desire is to join this group and reach the Wolof villages in the area with the Gospel.

Monday, May 18, 2009

When the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window.

I was reminded of this line from the Sound of Music a couple of weeks ago. Last month I was sick with strep throat (it hung on for six weeks) and God used that down time to really think about our involvement in the university ministry in Dakar. The trans-missional team is planning on using an approach called the Insider Movement. I felt that there were certain elements to this approach that were not healthy for the church. We saw this then as a definite closed door, yet our hearts still long to be in Senegal reaching the Wolof with the Gospel. What is God doing here?

That was the subject of prayer for me during my time of sickness. One morning in my quiet time, I feel the Lord gave me the thought that He has been delaying us and then closed this door in order to open a door that He has wanted to open for us all along, yet we were not ready to walk through it. That door is rural ministry in Senegal.

I remember the simple days as church planters in Khombole years ago during our first term. There were days, of course, when we wanted to buy a plane ticket home, but over-all, we really found our niche there among the simple rural folk. I can remember coming home from a village thankful that I could live and feed my family doing what I was doing. Loving folks who have never heard of Jesus and seeing the lights come on in their hearts and minds is better than anything I can imagine doing, including riding motorcycles!

So, God has opened the door for us to go work in Kaffrine, Senegal where we already have a team of missionaries. So, we will enjoy fellowship. Also, they are using a method that I’ve wanted to do since I did an internship in Ghana, W. Africa in 1991. The SIM/Southern Baptist team in Kaffrine has been using mostly Chronological Storying for many years now. I’ve wanted to do a similar ministry since I observed Mark and Amy Hagerup using it in Tamale, Ghana.

It gets better. The best way to go out to the villages in the Kaffrine area is via motorcycle. ( -: But wait there’s more. Andy wants to help me out when we first get there by possibly putting the stories to dramatic presentations. So, the Lord willing, he will be with us in Kaffrine the first little while and we’ll hopefully get him a small motorcycle to ride with me out there. He’ll do home school in the mornings and write any skits for the stories, then in the afternoon, he can go with me each day to the villages to preach.

Andy hopes to attend Dakar Academy, an M(issionary) K(id) school in Dakar. So, we are trusting the Lord to provide for him if God wants him to attend DA.

But wait, there’s more. This new change of ministry focus takes us out of expensive Dakar and puts us in the bush. On our new budget, we are 58% in our monthly support. That is only about $2500 more a month to raise before we get to go home! We’ll also need a four wheel drive vehicle for when Esther and the littlies come along for some ministry. God is so good!

I guess one could say after all this that when God closes a window, it is because there is a huge door that He wants you to walk through. Is God doing something similar in your life? Does it seem that the doors are never going to open? Does is seem the He has disappointed you for some reason. Know that He will accomplish His purpose in your life. Know that you cannot “fall through the cracks” of His fingers. You are in His hands. His hand is so vast that you will never find the edge of it.