My Trip to Senegal
A few weeks ago, I got to board a plane, and head to Africa! I was able to go and spend two weeks with Joel and Andi McMartin helping them with a conference they were doing. For those of you who haven’t had the chance to meet Joel and Andi, they are EBC supported missionaries serving in Senegal, West Africa, with Ethnos 360.
Ethnos 360 sends missionaries into villages to work on developing a written language. As they learn the culture and language, they also learn how to share the gospel in a culturally relevant way, and translate scripture into the local language. Joel and Andi work on the missionary support end of things. They help the new missionaries learn French, the national language. They connect them with the local church, and with host families to help them learn the culture. They help them as they are placed in the villages, and go visit them to connect with them and support them in their ministry.
While I was there, they had an 11-day training on language development for missionaries in the area. The training was intense, but very beneficial to the missionaries doing Bible translation. While I know nothing about language development, I do know about kids. I was blessed to spend those 11 days working with 22 kids of missionaries, ages 5-15. We did a VBS type program going through the life of David. We had Bible time, games, crafts, singing, more games, watched some movies, and learned about the life of Olympic gold medalist and missionary Eric Liddel. We also got to take the kids to a rope course for some high adrenaline fun!
It was amazing to get to spend two weeks getting to know the kids. I got to lead the Bible time for the 9-15 year olds. We had wonderful conversations about the life of King David and what we can learn and apply to our own lives from his examples (or pitfalls to avoid). These kids constantly amazed me with their insight into life. They have had experiences that we in America can only imagine. They have struggles that we will never understand. But to hear their thoughts on living for God, on serving him and all that encompasses, and to see their heart for the world was amazing. I got to see their sorrow for their friends and neighbors who didn’t know God, got to hear their fears and struggles, and rejoice with them in God’s goodness. If you’d like to watch a couple videos of some of the time with the kids, you can watch them below.
I also got to spend some time getting to know the parents. These men and women have left their families, friends, comfort, and safety behind, and have been called by God to a life that is different. We often put missionaries up on a pedestal and think of them as so holy. But they are human just like us. I got to hear about parenting struggles, frustrations with lack of resources, and feelings of isolation. But I also got to hear tales of God’s goodness, the joy of being part of his work, and see the support that they were able to offer to each other. It was such a blessing to get to peek into this community of amazing and resilient people!
Joel and Andi are going to be in the states for home assignment from July–January this year. There are a couple ways that we as a church can support them while they are here. First is connect with them. They would love to come to your life group, or meet with you and some friends to share about the work that they are doing. Second, Africa is hot, but the northwest, not so much. They will need clothes for their boys, especially their older boy Ethan. They will need winter clothes for him: coats, pants, long sleeved shirts. He wears an adult S-M, and pants size 32×30. The mission team will be promoting these ways of supporting them in more detail as the time for their visit gets closer, but thank you for beginning to think in this direction now.
The EBC mission team will also be sending another team to Senegal the summer of 2021 to help with the kids portion of another mission conference there. If that is something you are interested in being part of, please talk to me or anyone on the mission team and start saving now to go!
EBC Children’s Ministries Director
and Mission Team Member