Who Are We

Wayne, Hilary & Adelaide Denny. Preparing to Serve in Leadership Training in Senegal, Africa. God has called us to take advantage of a unique window of religious freedom in Muslim Senegal by equipping church leaders who have a heart for reaching their country and the Muslim world.

We should be jealous. . . for the honour of His name – troubled when it remains unknown, hurt when it is ignored, indignant when it is blasphemed. And all the time anxious and determined that it shall be given the honour and glory which are due to it.” John Stott

Monday, September 20, 2010

New Website!

We have a new website! For all our blog updates and other fun stuff, please visit www.dennysinafrica.com

Monday, August 16, 2010

It's a....!

Before I tell you whether little baby Denny is a boy or girl, I want to let you know what we went through to find out.

A couple of weeks ago I saw the midwife at the hospital where I will probably deliver and all was well, and she told me to come back on a Monday to see the OB who would be doing ultrasounds. There are no doctors that actually work at the hospital, only midwives, and so Monday is the day to see the doctor on call and have an ultrasound done. So last Monday at 3 o'clock, I drove off to the hospital excited to (maybe) find out what we were having. Now Wayne loves to quote to me something from one of his professors at seminary "If you set your goals low enough, you'll always achieve them," and we have found that to be true in our time here! Things just take a while. So I was planning going to the hospital, and I told Wayne that I may be back in 2 hours, maybe 4. Hopefully I had the time and day right (I'd gotten that lost in translation too before!)

So I arrived at 3, and was told immediately by the man at the reception desk, "Oh no, you need to come back Wednesday." Oh no! So I called the nice midwife who had given me her cell number, and she said "No, tell him I said to come today." So I thought "Ok, crisis averted, I will find out today!" Little did I know that my goals were still set to high.

Fast forward to 7:45 pm. At least 2 babies had been born that afternoon, while a dozen pregnant women sat on hard benches in an unairconditioned hospital waiting to see the doctor. After almost 5 hours of waiting, a midwife came out and handed me my little piece of paper and said "The doctor has too many sick patients to see, you'll have to come back next week." Now I wasn't too upset at that (at least I wasn't crying yet). I am only paying $18 for this ultrasound, and at least the doctor was there for the women who really needed him, but it was a little disappointing, and boy was I hot and tired. So I drove home, and just as I'm about to put my dinner in the microwave to heat it up, the power goes off. This is a normal occurence here, but it was the last straw for me. I was hot, tired, sore, hungry, and disappointed. Thankfully my wonderful husband took good care of me that night as I laid in misery in front of our fan in our dark bedroom.

So, Monday again, back to the hospital again. I was dreading it a bit all day, not sure I could do another 5 hours and have nothing to show for it again. But as soon as I arrived, the man at the reception desk saw me and said "The doctor called and he will be here in 1/2 hour he said." It reassured me a bit, although I knew it wouldn't be 1/2 hour. As I was waiting again on the hard bench in the hot, humid hallway, 2 midwives passed me and said "Oh, you're back. The doctor will be here in 1/2 hour." So that got me hoping that something would happen today. As it turns out, I only had to wait 4 hours today (and you thought reading this blog was taking a long time), and then I got to see...our little boy!!!!

As much as it was a difficult couple of days, I am very thankful for several things in all this.
I am thankful for a healthy baby boy, who already looks to be pretty big!
I am thankful that there is a hospital close to us with good doctors and midwives.
I am thankful for my husband who takes great care of Addie while I am at the doctor and great care of me afterwards.
I am thankful (and trying to become more thankful all the time) for the opportunity that God has given me to see what life is like for the people here in Senegal. $18 for an ultrasound seems like nothing to me, but for some people, it is a lot of money. The hospital is one of the cheapest in the city because it wants to be more available to the people, but that is still a lot of money. It is good for me to sit alongside these women in the heat and humidity and catch just a glimpse of what life is like on a daily basis for them, much harder than my life.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

You know you live in Africa when...

You are so excited that the power has been on for the last 20 hours that you don't even care that it's off now.

Your 3 year old routinely shouts out "Power's off!" or "Power's on!" as it goes off and on.

The same 3 year old puts her baby doll to bed and is sure to put a "mosquito net" over her so she doesn't get bit.

You learn to go to sleep to the sound of fans, your neighbors generators, and the other neighbors sheep.

You go to the grocery store and say hi to everybody who works there, not just say hi, but have a conversation with everybody as well.

You are actually expected to go meet your neighbors when you move in and they love having you come in whenever you stop by.

You see sheep riding on the top of taxis.

You have people come up to you on the beach and say "You're really white, you're not from here, are you."

You know the wattage of every appliance in your house so that you know if you can run it on your back up battery system or not. Fan - yes. TV - yes. Microwave - no. Iron - no.

You sometimes drive on the dirt part next to the paved road because there are less potholes.

You tell people how to get to your house by saying "Turn left between the 2 pink houses after the 2nd speed bump..." or "Just drive to the back of the high school and call me, I'll come find you."

During the rainy season, you change the route you take certain places because you don't have 4 wheel drive and you know you won't make it through the puddle that covers the entire road.

We're still learning, and every day is a new adventure here!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Greetings and the heat in Senegal / Salutations et la chaleur au Sénégal

Last week we started our wolof classes. One of the things we’ve been working on are the numerous greetings, how are you doing, how was the morning, how’s the family, etc. In the US, we normally just ask, how’s it going and that’s it. Here, even people you barely know will ask you, how did you sleep last night, how’s your wife doing, how are your kids doing. One thing this means is that we have to spend a whole lot of time just on the greetings. One aspect that is simple however is that one of 2 phrases can be used to respond to most of these questions, jamm rekk (peace only) or alxamdulilaay (thanks be to God.)

We were informed that no matter what the question, you always respond with something similar to these answers. If someone asks you how you’re doing, you shouldn’t respond, “not too well.” You always respond positively. That is except for one question that we learned this morning. If someone asks you, “How are you handling the heat,” you don’t have to respond “peace only” or “thanks be to God.” In this case, it’s perfectly acceptable to say, “It’s hot!” Now I just need to learn how to say, “It’s dang hot!.” It’s good to know that we’re not the only ones here struggling with the heat.

La semaine dernière, on a commencé avec le wolof. On a beaucoup travaillé sur les salutations, comment ça va, etc. En France, on a appris « ça va »et ça se suffisait pour longtemps. Ici, même avec les gens qu’on à peine connait, on nous demande, tu as bien dormi ? Comment va ta femme, ton enfant, etc ? Ça veut dire qu’on prends beaucoup plus de temps sur les salutations ici qu’en France. Mais une chose qui est simple, c’est qu’il y a deux réponses qui marchent pour beaucoup de ces questions, jamm rekk (seulement la paix) et alxamdulilaay (merci à Dieu).

Notre professeur nous a dit que quoi qu’on soit la question, on répond toujours aux ces type de questions avec une réponse comme ceux. Même si on ne va pas bien, on répond que notre vie n’est que la paix. Sauf au cas où quelqu’un te demanderait, ça va avec la chaleur. Dans ce cas, il est bien acceptable de dire, oui, il faut chaud ! C’est bien de savoir que même les sénégalais qui ont toujours habité ici ont du mal avec la chaleur.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Accomplir des choses au Sénégal et mon introduction aux pot-de-vins

(Avertissement: Personne n'a corrigé ce que j'ai écrit. Alors, si quelqu'un veut le lire et le corriger pour moi, je serais très content. J'espère que c'est comprehensible)

Quand j’étais à école biblique, j’avais un professeur qui disait “Si tu fixes tes objectifs assez modestes, tu peux réussir. Tu réussiras plus souvent et tu seras plus content.” Bien sur, ce conseil n’est pas le meilleur conseil pour tout le monde, mais pendant nos premiers mois au Sénégal, je trouve ce conseil un des meilleurs conseils que j’ai reçu avant d’arriver au Sénégal.
Voici un bon exemple, nous avons envoyé une partie de nos affaires de la France au Sénégal par fret aérien. L’autre jour je suis parti à l’aéroport pour récupérer nos affaires. Avec le conseil de mon ancien professeur, j’ai fixé ce que j’ai pensé être un objectif très modeste. Je me suis dit, ce processus prendra toute la matinée et je n’accomplirai rien d’autre ce matin.
Heureusement, un collègue qui a habité au Sénégal pour environ 10 ans m’accompagné. Nous sommes arrivés à l’aéroport à 9h30. Nous avons assez rapidement trouvé l’accueil d’Air France et nous nous avons renseigné que nos bagages seraient arrivés la veille. J’ai pensé, ça devrait assez facile. Les bagages sont là. Nous devons remplir un peu de documentation, payer les frais et partir avec les bagages.
Mais on nous a dit qu’il faut aller aux 5 bureaux pour remplir la documentation nécessaire. Nous sommes allés au premier bureau et nous avons attendu pendant 30 minutes. Quelqu’un est parti à un autre bureau pour compléter de documentation pour nous et quand nous avons fini cette étape, j’ai dit, c’est pas trop mal. En arrivant au prochain bureau, on nous a informé que le premier bureau ne fait pas parti des 5 bureaux. À 13h, nous venons de compléter le deuxième bureau (deuxième selon eux). C’est le pause pour déjeuner. Il faut partir et revenir à 15h.
Vers 15h30, j’ai enfin examiné nos bagages avec un douanier. Nous nous avons disputé un peu par rapport au machine à coudre que j’avais désigné comme utilisé, mais cette étape s’est bien passé. Au prochaine bureau, Nous sommes restés pendant 30 minutes avec le douanier qui établi les frais pour les douanes. Toute la conversation s’est passé en wolof que je n’ai rien compris (mais heureusement mon collègue compris). Le douanier nous a demandé de quitter son bureau parce que son ordinateur ne marchait pas. Pendant 15 minutes, nous nous sommes demandés si nous l’avons offensé ou si simplement son ordinateur ne marchait pas. Deux transitaires sénégalais qui nous aidaient nous ont informé que le douanier voulait un pot-de-vin de 15 euros et nous pouvions éviter les douanes qui seraient 40 euros. Mon collègue leur a informé que nous voulions suivre le processus correct même si ça veut dire qu’il fallait qu’on payait plus.
Après 10 minutes, nous continuons au prochaine bureau en étant peu sûr de savoir si le douanier exigeait le pot-de-vin où si on l’avait pris au mot. Après un autre deux ou trois bureau (en fin de compte, je n’ai aucune idée pourquoi ils ont dit 5 bureaux). Il est 17h et on était enfin en train de charger nos bagages dans notre voiture.
La chose principale que j’ai apprise ce jour là, j’ai modifié le conseil de mon professeur. Il n’est pas possible de fixer les objectifs trop modestes. Je crois que la chose le plus frustrante est que tout prends plus de temps et nous ne pouvons plus accomplir tous ce que nous voulons. Avant de quitter les États-Unis, nous lisions plusieurs livres à propos du choc culturel et pendant notre séjour en France nous pensions souvent, pourquoi on nous exigeait de lire tant de livres à propos de ça. Après une mois au Sénégal, je pense que nous aurions du lire plus de livres.
Mais ce que m’a frappé le plus à ce niveau, c’est de me souvenir l’exemple de Jésus. Le Dieu qui a créé le monde est devenu humain. Et Jésus faisait patiemment face aux ces inefficacités. Alors, dans un sens il faut que nous fixions nos objectifs plus modestes au niveau de quotidien. Mais niveau spirituel nous avons un objectif bien plus difficile. Nous devrions viser à imiter l’exemple de Jésus et réagir comme Jésus face aux inefficacités quotidiens.
Philippiens 2:5-11
Que votre attitude soit identique à celle de Jésus-Christ : lui qui est de condition divine, il n’a pas regardé son égalité avec Dieu comme un butin à préserver, mais il s’est dépouillé lui-même en prenant une condition de serviteur, en devenant semblable aux êtres humains. Reconnu comme un simple homme, il s'est humilié lui-même en faisant preuve d'obéissance jusqu'à la mort, même la mort sur la croix. C'est aussi pourqoui Dieu l'a élevé à la plus haute place et lui a donné le nom qui est au-dessus de tout nom afin qu'au nom de Jésus chacun plie le genou dans le ciel, sur la terre et sous la terre et que toute langue reconnaisse que Jésus-Christ est le Seigneur, à la gloire de Dieu le Père.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Why?...and other questions.

With a 3 almost 4 year old in the house, we are deep into the question phase. I love seeing how her mind works but frankly, it is exhausting sometimes! Today, we are watching "The Sound of Music" (yes, I love having a little girl to watch it with me!) and the first 10 minutes of the movie went a little like this.

Addie: "Mom, why is she singing?"
Me: "It's a musical, that's what they do."
Addie: "Why is she in the water?"
Me : "She's just playing near the water."
Addie: "Why are there only girls at that church?"
Me: "Because it's a special church that girls live at."
Addie: "Why are they wearing black?"
Me: "That's what nuns wear."
Addie: "What are those girls singing about?"
Me: "They're singing about Maria."
Addie: "Why?"
Me: "Because she's always late."
Addie: "Why is she late?"
Me: "Because she's doing other things."
Addie: "Why does she have a suitcase?"
Me: "Because she needs to take her clothes with her."
Addie: "Why?"
Me: "Because she's going to live with the family to take care of the kids>"

And it just goes on, and on, and on. I finally fell asleep, so I think the questions stopped, but I'm not sure, you'll have to ask Wayne (who was not watching with us by the way!).

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Getting stuff done in Senegal and my introduction to bribes


On of my favorite profs in seminary, Dr. Hannah, used to say, "If you set your goals low enough, you can achieve them. You'll hit em more often and be much happier." That advice has proven to be possibly the most helpful during our initial time here in Senegal. A case in point, the other day I went to the airport with a colleague to pick up some bags that we sent by air freight from Paris to Senegal. With Dr. Hannah's advice in mind, I set a really low goal, getting our bags will be the only thing accomplished this morning.

We arrived at the airport at 9:30 AM. After a quick trip to the Air France counter, we knew our bags had arrived and all that was necessary was to fill out some paper work and pick em up. We were informed that we would need to visit 5 offices before the necessary paper work was completed. After 30 minutes in the first office along with one person volunteering to take some paper work to another office, I felt pretty good. Until we arrived at the next building and realized that the first office didn't really count. It wasn't until 1PM before we were on our way to the real 2nd office, just in time for lunch break. At 3PM we come back. I finally get to see our stuff and examine the contents with a customs officer. We then move on to the next office where I'm completely oblivious to the conversation that's happening in wolof (Fortunately my colleague speaks great wolof). We're asked to step out of the office because the computer isn't working right. We wonder for 15 minutes if we had somehow offended him or if really the computer doesn't work. We then find out from the 2 Senegalese guys helping us that he wants a $20 bribe to help us avoid paying customs on a sewing machine we shipped. My collegue informs them that we'll pay whatever the customs duties are even if it costs us more money. After another 10 minutes, we move on to the next office still unsure if they will insist on a bribe or if we had successfully called their bluff. After another 2 or 3 offices (I don't think it was 5), it's 5PM and we're finally loading up our stuff.

The big takeaway from the day. I've modified Dr. Hannah's advice for our transition to life in Senegal. "It is not possible to set your goals too low." This has perhaps been the most frustrating aspect of our transition. Absolutely everything takes longer and I'm not even sure why half the time. We read so many books on culture shock before leaving the US and during our time in France I thought, this culture shock stuff isn't as big a deal as people make it. After 1 month in Senegal, I think I might need to dig back through some of those books.

Although, the most important book we're needing to go back to is the example of Jesus in the Bible. The God who created the world became human. But Jesus handled all of the inefficiencies associated with this transition with patience and love. In one sense, we've had to lower our goals, i.e. it's going to take longer to get established than we thought. But in another sense, we're realized the need to always keep before us the ultimate goal which is far greater than what we can achieve on our own, that is the goal of imitating the example of Christ.

Philippians 2:5-11

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he as in the form of God, did not count equality with Goa a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exaleted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.