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, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Have a wonderful Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

ACC Children's Church Kids...

Thanks for visiting our blog! We enjoyed talking with you tonight and hope you enjoyed hearing a little about Senegal.

Here is a picture of the Senegal flag to help you color yours.

And here is a map of Africa that shows where Senegal is.

Thanks for praying for us!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


I am a pack rat...just ask my dad :) Recently I was cleaning out some boxes that are at my parents (yes, I still have stuff at my parents) and I was very proud of myself for throwing stuff out. I figured those calculus notes from high school will never come in handy! I always figure that you never know when you might need something, so you may as well keep it. Well, my tune has changed. As we are moving to Dallas in less than 2 weeks, we are in the process of packing our stuff. As we are moving overseas in less than a year, we are in the process of getting rid of stuff. It's not worth hauling that picture frame that I might want to put a picture in someday overseas, so we have been making a lot of trips to Goodwill, the trash bin (yes, I even collect trash!), and other peoples houses (some of it isn't bad stuff, just isn't going to fit in our luggage!). So I guess that is our prayer request this week. Pray that we would be diligent in getting ready to move, and that we would have the time to do it all this week as we really want to spend time with family next week! And pray for patience for us as we just had another hitch thrown into everything. We had a big ice storm last week which apparently has been doing damage to our roof. Our apartment maintenance came by tonight and said that our ceiling had water in it. So we now have a big tarp stapled to our ceiling and a bucket to catch dripping water in the middle of our living room floor. I guess the patience part comes in when Addie gets up tomorrow morning. In a small apartment with boxes everywhere already, it's going to get interesting! It's sometimes hard for me to tell this cutie no (as you can tell from the way that she has commandeered my purse and keys!)We also have an item of praise in this move. You may have heard the story of our trip to Dallas in August. Well, to make a long story short, we had car troubles on the way, were going to pay $1,000 for repairs to our Grand Prix, left it in Oklahoma to get it fixed, drove a rental to Dallas for the weekend, called Monday morning to see if it was finished, and found out it was fixed but then totaled during the test drive! So instead of $1,000 in repairs, we left Oklahoma with a newer, less mileage, bigger than our car minivan! We are now thinking that God gave us that minivan specifically for the purpose of this move. We are hoping to get all of our stuff that we are keeping into the van with Wayne. Addie and I will be flying down to Dallas on the 31st (thanks to frequent flyer miles from all the traveling we have done this year!), and Wayne will drive the car down that weekend. If we still had the Grand Prix, there is no way we would have been able to fit all our stuff in and would have had to rent a truck for something. God has provided for us once again!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

A few pictures from our trip...

Here are a few pictures from our trip...

Not exactly what I was expecting there!

The traffic rules are not really followed...see the motorcycle?

Our hostess and guide Alice, bartering for some shoes for Wayne.

There were a lot of poor people. Some were talibe boys begging, and some were just poor. Every time you stopped your car, there was someone at your window either begging or selling something.

One of many Mosques we saw and heard.

A market. I'm not sure I'm up for shopping here, you have to barter and I don't think I'll be very good at it! Wayne thinks it will be fun though, so he'll finally like shopping.

John Huffman School. It is a French speaking Christian school that we are considering for Addie. 75% of the kids who go there are Muslim, but they are taught the gospel!

It happened that one of the women's retreat weekends was postponed until the weekend we were there! I got to attend for a little while and meet the women. I am excited to get to be a part of this.

We also attended part of a class at ITES (the Bible college). It was in French, so we didn't understand much, but we did get to meet the students and a couple of teachers.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

A perfect fit

Our week is over. We are once again together as a family in our apartment with the snow now falling outside! Wayne and are so glad for our trip this week, and as a result of it, we have come to a conclusion that Senegal is a perfect fit for us. It is not so much living in Senegal that we feel is perfect, there will be a lot of things that we have to get used to living there! It may take a while for us to feel truly at home in Senegal. But despite that, Senegal is a perfect fit. Throughout the week we met many missionaries we will be working with, saw many of the ministries going on and also met some of the people we will be able to minister to. It is in these areas that we are feeling really excited about moving to Senegal. God has gifted us both in ways that will really compliment the work that is already going on in Senegal, mainly that of training Senegalese who have a heart for reaching their own people and the rest of Africa! We are so excited that God has led us here.

Well, it has been an incredibly long day, a long week actually, so we are all off to bed soon. After being awake all night waiting for our plane, sleeping some on the plane, missing a connection and waiting for another, and then arriving in Moline and having Addie run up to us, we are emotionally and physically exhausted! We sure have missed our little girl and are so glad to be back with her! She grew this week! Hopefully she will be ready for bed soon, we sure are.

Friday, December 7, 2007


Yes, Addie is only a year, but one of the things we wanted to do on this trip is think through where she would go to school. We have had the opportunity to look at a couple of options and talk through some of them with the missionaries here. We feel very comfortable here in Senegal knowing that Addie can get a good education. Now, Wayne and I have slightly different opinions on schooling because of our own backgrounds. I went to Christian schools in Elementary, homeschooled in Jr. High, and went to a very good private school in high school. I felt that I got a very good education. It's not that Wayne didn't go to good schools though, it's more that he slept through most of high school! So we have both added our experiences to our conversation about how to educate Addie and have seen both the good and bad in both of our experiences. So normally when parents are thinking about school, they are dealing with their backgrounds and the types of schools they have available etc... Of course it is compounded here. We are very fortunate to have some good options though, just not traditional options in the sense that most people would think!

One of our options Wayne mentioned in an earlier blog. John Huffman school is a Senegalese run Christian school in Thies. It is an elementary school, run on more of the French system (I don't understand all what that means) and is completely in French. We would love for Addie to be able to go to school here. She would be around a lot of Senegalese children (actually, she may be the only white girl there!) and would really learn French well. It would also be a great mission field, for Addie and for us. Even though it is a Christian school, 75% of the kids that go there are actually Muslim! The parents know it is a great school and are told up front that the Bible is taught there, but they want a good education for their kids and so send them there. It seemed to us from visiting that the kids are saturated with the Bible, which is such an exciting evangelistic opportunity! It is actually in the Senegalese constitution that there must be freedom to teach religion in all schools, so they take full advantage of this! We would like to further explore this option but feel that it might be good to try with Addie. We know that there will be challenges to her going to school here. She will learn to read and write French only, it is a French system which is more demanding and less creative...but we have been encouraged by one missionary who grew up going to French schools that we can look at it as an adventure to help her through!

Another very good option that we have is an MK school in Dakar. We visited Dakar Academy yesterday and were very impressed with it. It has about 250 students from K to 12th grade and the missionaries and MK's here are very happy with DA. They have a great library, nice facilities, and even dorms (we will think about that later!). The downside to this is that DA is in Dakar and we would like to live in Thies. We also realize that as Addie will probably go to college in the states (yes, I'm already thinking about college for my baby girl!) it would be really good to have her in the American school system to be able to function better in college in the states.

Well, this is just one of many decisions that we face in the coming years as we transition into a new life and ministry in Senegal. The trip though has given us a good picture of what is here and gotten us excited about living here and bringing Addie back with us next time we come!

We leave tonight for home, so our next update will be from our apartment in Iowa! We hear there is some snow on the ground now, so we are gearing up to have to wear warm clothes soon! Actually, we told my mom to bring some to the airport as we really didn't want to pack any for here.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Pretty random

Tonight, we had dinner with new friends of ours, Dan and Angie. Dan is preparing to teach at ITES and Angie is preparing to teach at the same retreats that Hilary is planning on teaching at. They just recently finished language school and have been in Dakar just a few months brushing up on their French and also learning the main trade language, Wolof. It was great to spend time with them as they have just gone through the process of making decisions about what to bring, which appliances you can just buy here, etc. Also, we are able to ask them their insights on the transitions they're going through right now. The random part is that Dan and I were actually at DTS for some of the same time. We had an incredibly encouraging evening gaining many insights from them.

We also spent the earlier part of the day with another missionary who has a book store and a study center. When we arrived, she was going through an Emmaus Correspondence Course with a new believer. After seeing the ministry she is involved in, we went to the market (simiar to our earier shopping experience).

The final randomness from the day was when we took a taxi from Dan and Angie's back to where we're staying. As you may have gathered from Hilary's earlier blog, we didn't exactly just give the driver an address that he plugged into google maps. After a slight detour and Hilary only mixing up left and right in French once (I didn't even try); we made it home.

Every day we gain more insight into the culture and several practical advice on what to bring and what not to bring. These insights are exactly what we were praying to gain from our trip. Praise God for the many people who have gone before us and are helping us in so many ways.

Another aspect we found very encouraging was some specific stories from Dan and Angie about how friendly the Senegalese people are. The more time we've spent here, the more we gain a love for the Senegalese. This has truly been a great trip!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Culture Shock!

Today was a pretty relaxing day today. Well, usally shopping is pretty relaxing for me, but this experience was a little different. There are a few (ok, quite a few!) things that I will really have to adjust to when we move to Senegal, and we experienced a couple of those today.

First, the roads. I really have no words to describe the road system here. Now, they tell me it is not always this bad. The city is completely under construction now because in about a year they have planned a big worldwide Muslim conference here in Dakar. They are trying to get the road system up to speed, and that means a lot of detours now. Now the detours here are not just take this street this way. Often you detour from a paved road, onto a partially finished (meaning still dirt) exit ramp, and then onto a side street that has construction materials from the house being built halfway in the street. There are no street signs either, at least not that I have seen. All this to say, one of my big fears about moving here is getting lost! I will probably only go places with Wayne at first and if I do go by myself, take only roads I know. I will survive somehow.

Another aspect of life that I will have to get used to is the shopping here. In the States, I'm not even that much of a bargain shopper. If I really want or need something, I will pay what they ask! If it's too much, I won't get it. That's not how things work here. We were in a market buying clothes today, and the people looked at the color of our skin (the Wolof word for 'gringo' is 'tubob') and when they saw how white we were (yes, I really stick out!) they would ask a price way far above what we ended up paying for it. Luckily, our hostess and guide, Alice, speaks Wolof very well and really impressed them. She impressed me too! She could get them down below half of their first asking price! I just nodded and followed her when she would start to leave the shop. Now, we're not really ripping these people off by not paying what they ask and bartering, but it is really going to take some getting used to for me. I don't like confrontation! And that is what it feels like to me. The good thing in all of this is that Wayne thinks shopping will be fun here, so I might get him to go with me some!

This evening we had a nice dinner with the staff of ITES (the college) and tomorrow we will get together again with a couple who just moved here and I'm sure can give us some advice on our upcoming adventure!

Monday, December 3, 2007

You can do that here????

A major prayer request we had for this trip was wisdom about where to live. We are considering living in the capital, Dakar, or another major city, Thies, which is about 45-50 miles inland. We spent Saturday and half of Sunday in Thies and felt like we were able to get a very good look at some of the ministries taking place in Thies and what life would be like. Most of Saturday, we were shown the city of Thies by Adama Diouf (a Senegelese leader in a church and the Bible college I will teach at). These are a few of the ministries that we saw, which are taking place in a 94% MUSLIM COUNTRY!!!!

Christian Hospital - They have started a hospital that meets many physical needs. Oh, and they also give gospel presentations through a video that is played in the waiting room.

Christian school - A private school has been started with about 300 kids. About 75% of the kids are Muslim. This is even in light of the fact that all the teachers are Christian and the school states up front they will teach the Bible. Also, at Christmas, the parents of the kids are invited and a gospel presentation is given to them! This school also meets the needs of poorer children in that around 60 kids every year are sponsered so they can recieve an education they would not normally be able to afford. (Side note: It's interesting that the constitution in Senegal actually allows freedom of religion in the public schools! If someone wanted to teach Bible, the government could not tell them no.)

Bible College - I will give more details about this later. We met with our team leader and his wife this morning and they shared with us the vision of the college and too many details for this post. However, the story of how the college purchased land is awesome. There is a plot of land being developed on the outskirts of Thies where land is being sold very cheap at the current time (but Thies is expanding at a very rapid rate and the vaue will definitely increase). When Adama met with the developer, he noticed plots were reserved for mosques. Adama remarked, why have you not reserved plots for a church? Since the government will grant land for religious buildings and is not supposed to discriminate, the developer was embaressed and offered some land at no additional fee so a church can be built. Also, the developer offered a plot of land equal to what they sought to purchase for the Bible College if they promised to use half of it for a public primary school. So, God gave twice as much land for the same price and an additional ministry opportunity!!

We were extremely encouraged with what is taking place in Thies and really enjoyed our visit. It is a much smaller city than Dakar with much less traffic (which is very attractive to this country boy). We have not decided yet that we will live there; but we were able to gain very important information on what our ministry would be there, what life would be like, and some schooling options for Addie.

Please pray that God will give us wisdom as we process the information and see what life is like in Dakar in the remaining days of our trip.

Praise God that our jet lag was not that bad! We have had 2 really good nights sleep.

Thanks you so much for your prayers.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Dennys have landed!

As I sit here writing this, I can hear the muslim prayer calls out the window, a sheep bleeting on the street somewhere (there is a Muslim holiday coming up soon that involves sacrifice, and they say that you can pick out your sheep like picking a Christmas tree from the lot) and in the next room, "Psych" is on TV. Wow, talk about culture shock!

The trip went very well. We arrived in Dakar with no problems early Saturday morning. After breakfast with one of the missionaries, we drove (or were driven, the roads are crazy here!) to Thies, about 50 miles inland. After a nap and lunch at a small hotel, we toured Thies and saw many of the works that are going on here. Wayne will share more about these in a later post, but I want to tell you about my weekend.

One reason that we chose Senegal was that both Wayne and I would have an opportunity for teaching, Wayne at the Bible College and I will help with training the pastors wives. They do this through weekend retreats which just started about a year ago. God made it happen so that I would be able to see one of these happen this weekend! I spent a couple of hours with the women and it was this time with the people that really confirmed even in my first day that God wants us to be here. Now, it was all in French, so I really didn't understand much of what was said (I have taken French and am even now understanding more, but yesterday I was sooo tired that it was difficult to concentrate). There were some ladies there who could translate for me, so I wasn't totally lost. Let me just share a few of the things that stuck out to me.

One of the activities that they did they called a "listening prayer". One of the ladies would share her prayer requests, and then the others would think of a word of encouragement or verse, share it with her, then all would lay their hands on her and one would pray. It was a very encouraging and powerful time. After the first lady shared, people started sharing verses with her to encourage her, and everybody had thought of the same 2 passages, including me! The Holy Spirit was at work to encouarge this young lady and to build up the body of Christ. And it is wonderful to be able to be a part of that body even in a culture where I am brand new and uncomfortable.

Near the end of this time, as some women were praying for another, I could hear at that time the Muslim prayer call. Now, the mosque was fairly close, and the windows were all open, so it was quite loud! It struck me at that time that no matter how loud they cried out and how many times a day, they were empty prayers to a god who would not help them. We were praying to the God of the universe who can hear and answer our every need! What a great God we have.

Another activity they did was skits. They were learning about the Christian Family this weekend, and so their skits were on what it was to be a good husband and wife. Wayne and I recently attended a marriage conference, and I realized yesterday that we teach things in very cultural forms. Many of the things that we will teach, we will have to learn before we do. I mean that we must learn how best to culturally communicate God's truth which never changes.

We returned to Dakar this afternoon (in horrendous traffic! we almost ran over a cow, but it was in the crosswalk, so we let it go) and are spending a relaxing evening with our hosts, Alice and Marcy Statler. We are excited about what God will do the rest of the week as He continues to confirm His call for us!

Please keep praying!

Pray that many more of our questions will be answered (many were this weekend, so that is a praise!)

We still really miss Addie. I got to talk to mom tonight and heard Addie a bit! Pray that it would not be difficult for me this week (as the tears are still coming :)

We will update again soon!

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Here is a brief idea of what we will be doing in Senegal this coming week (we actually leave tonight!)

Thursday 11/29 - Drive to Moline, IL and spend night near airport (cry a bit when Addie leaves)

Friday 11/30 - Depart from Moline, IL at 6:00 am. Spend 7 hours in the Atlanta airport (shop, read, nap, eat etc...) and depart from Atlanta at 4:00 pm.

Saturday 12/1 - Arrive in Dakar, Senegal at 5:00 am (Senegal time is 6 hours ahead of Central) Have breakfast with the Penneys (WV team leader in Senegal) and then drive to Thies (about 5o miles). I will attend the women's classes going on this weekend, and we will both see the site where the Bible College will be built.

Sunday 12/2 - Attend church at Eglise Evangelique Baptiste du Thies (yes, it will be in French!) and then return to Dakar in the afternoon.

Monday 12/3 - spend the morning and lunch with Dan and Esther Penney. He is the team leader in Senegal and will be able to share with us the vision and goals of the team. In the evening, we will attend a class.

Tuesday 12/4- Morning - tour Dakar and shop for Senegalese clothing. Tuesday evening we will have dinner with the staff of ITES (the Bible College)

Wednesday 12/5 - Lunch with another missionary in Dakar.

Thursday 12/6 - Visit Dakar Academy (the MK school) in the morning and then have lunch and dinner with several other missionaries.

Friday 12/7 - Open so far (we might need it to rest from the busy week!)

Saturday 12/8 - Depart from Dakar at 3:25 am (yes, there is only one flight back to Atlanta). Arrive in Moline, IL at 11:30am where Addie will run into our arms and gives us big hugs and kisses (we hope!)

We will try to post a few times to let you all know how things are going for us!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

"We are not normal..."

Here is our latest email update. If you are not on our email list but would like to receive monthly email updates, please send me an email at hilvdenny@yahoo.com


In the past year and a half, Wayne and I have come to a conclusion…we are not normal! Not many families spend half of the month on the road, shop for baby toys that travel well, and have babies that have been in over 20 states before their first birthday! But that has been our life thus far. Things are changing though, this week in fact! Our travel will be dying down as we transition out of Iowa, but in some ways, our life just gets stranger and more exciting! Wayne is in his last week of work at Emmaus and then on Friday, we leave for a week in Senegal! We are so excited that the time has finally come for us to go to the country that God has called us to. We have no doubt in our mind that Senegal is where He wants us - everything we want to do and are gifted to do is right there – but we also would like to see it before we move there for good. So Friday morning, Wayne and I will leave for Senegal, and at 5:30 am Saturday, we will hit the ground running!

Here are some things we hope to accomplish on our trip.

-We do not yet know which city we will live in, so we will have an opportunity to visit both Dakar (the capital) and Thies (about 50 miles inland) and look at both the benefits and disadvantages of both.

-One ministry that I hope to be involved in when we move there will be teaching weekends for women. They hold 3 of these weekends a year, and one will be the weekend we arrive! I will get the chance to observe and meet some of the people there on Saturday.

-The Bible college that Wayne will teach at is located in Thies, so right away this weekend, we will get to see the school.

-Addie just turned one, but we are already thinking about where we will send her to school! We would like to check out our options as that will probably help us decide where to live.

-We have heard nothing but good things about the WorldVenture team we will be joining in Senegal, and we are looking forward to finally meeting many of them.

-We are moving to Dallas 3 weeks after we get back, but we still don’t know what of our stuff we will keep and move with us, and what we will just get rid of and start over with in Senegal. On this trip, we hope to scope out what is available there and what we really want to bring with us.

-Meet Senegalese people and get a taste for the culture. Everybody that we have talked to who has been to Senegal has loved it there, and we want to get a taste of this for ourselves.

Please pray for us as we seek to accomplish these goals. Here are a few specific requests.

-Jet-lag. Our trip is short (we will be returning on December 8th). Pray that we will adjust quickly to the 7 hour time difference and have the energy to accomplish all that we want to in that week.

-Addie. Actually, this is more of a prayer request for me. I know Addie will be fine, but I have a feeling I will miss her a lot (Wayne will too, he’s just done this before!). Pray for my emotions and Wayne’s sanity J

-Wisdom. We hope to gather a lot of information on this trip that will help us make some big decisions (where to live, school for Addie, what to take etc…) Pray that we would have wisdom in these areas.

-Excitement. We are already incredibly excited to be moving to Senegal. Pray that this trip will even increase our excitement and desire to serve God in Senegal. Pray that we would also develop a real love for the Senegalese people.

As always, we greatly covet your prayers and know that God does great things though the prayers of His saints. We would like to keep you updated as we are in Senegal, and will be posting on our blog to do this. Please visit our blog at www.dennysinafrica.blogspot.com if you would like to hear how things are going for us and how you can specifically be praying next week.

Thank you again for your prayers and support, and we look forward to sharing with you the great things God will do and show us in our trip!

In Him,

Hilary (for Wayne and Addie)

10 Day Weather Forecast...

Tuesday- 32F Sunny
Wednesday- 41F Rain/Snow
Thursday- 34F Cloudy
Friday- 30F Cloudy
Saturday- 81F Sunny
Sunday-80F Sunny

Yes...we're going to Senegal this week!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I am thankful...

...for so great a salvation.

...that God is worthy to be praised.

...that God chooses to use us in His plan.

...that God has given us a clear vision and plan for our future.

...for my husband who loves me and cares for me.

...that I have a husband whom I can respect and follow.

...for my baby girl.

...for my education.

...for my heritage.

...that God is not done changing me yet.

...for the Holy Spirit, the helper that Jesus promised.

...for technology.

...that we have people in Iowa, North Carolina, and Texas who get excited to watch Addie.

...for books.

...did I mention Wayne and Addie?

Leave me a comment and let me know what you are thankful for!

Friday, November 16, 2007

2 weeks to go!

Two weeks from today, Wayne and I will be on our way to Senegal! Yes, there will be tears from me as we leave Addie here in Iowa, but we are also very excited about the trip. I just found out today that they were supposed to have one of the retreats and teaching times for the women this weekend, but it was postponed until the weekend we get there! So, we will arrive in Dakar at 5:00 am on Saturday morning, then we will drive straight to Thies (about 50 miles inland). In Thies, I will be able to go and see the women's program (I'm not sure if it will be in French or one of the tribal languages, either way, I won't understand much!). I am very excited about this opportunity as this is one of the reasons that we chose Senegal. We will also get to see where the Bible College, ITES, will be built. On Sunday, we will head back to Dakar and then the team there has planned the week for us. We are so excited to finally be going and seeing where we will be living soon!

Please pray that the trip will be productive for us, that we will be able to meet a lot of people and get a good feel for the ministry and possible living situations. Please also pray that we will stay healthy and alert as this is a very quick trip! I don't think Addie needs any prayers as she will be spoiled here by her grandparents and aunt and uncle! Pray for me though, as I sure will miss her! (Wayne will too, but he doesn't cry like I do:)

And just in case you were wondering why it will be so hard to leave her, check out this cuteness.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I'm looking forward to Muslim culture

The latest issue of Time magazine has an article about the differences between Western cultures and Muslim cultures. The writer, Carla Power, quoted a Muslim scholar who once wittily remarked about the differences, "You Westerners make love in public and pray in private. We Muslims do exactly the reverse." Carla Power summarized the differences like this:
"What's decent to do in public? The French have no problem with bare breasts on billboards and TV but big problems with hijab-covered heads in public schools and government offices. . . In the Islamic world, religion is out of the closet: on the streets, chanted five times daily from minarets, enshrined in constitutions, party platforms and penal codes. Sexual matters are kept discreet."

What I found incredibly interesting and revealing about our Western culture is that after the article identifies the difference, it says nothing about why religion is private in the West. The article proceeds to discuss how Muslim cultures have responded to sexual issues made public, but ignores why we have such trouble discussing religion.

While I am painfully sorrowful that Muslims have not embraced Jesus for who is really is but just acknowledge Him as a prophet, I look forward to the fact that Muslims at least believe it's an important issue. So much is wrong with our culture when discussions about whether or not someone has come and truly conquered sin, or even what is sin are taboo. Religion is taboo but Paris Hilton remains newsworthy. I'm going on record right now as saying, I look forward to more news about religion than Paris Hilton.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Train up a child in the way she should go...

Today at noon, the Wolfpack will take on the Tarheels in football. Very few people in the country care about this game, but two out of three in this home do.

Please pray for the other member of this family.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Why Move Back to Dallas?

We really miss the traffic. . . . . Just kidding!

Actually, the reason for moving back surfaces a big prayer request. The main reason we're moving back is to focus on preparing for Senegal. We have greatly enjoyed our time working at Emmaus Bible College. But, the job has involved a lot of travel; which has made preparing for Senegal difficult.

I will be working part time in engineering and we will be living rent-free with some friends. That will help us to both save money and also focus on preparation for Senegal. Our main prayer request is for discipline as we transition into another phase of life. Some specific things we hope to get accomplished are:

  • learning French
  • spend more time meeting with people and casting our vision for what we hope to see God doing in Senegal
  • finish our reading list from our mission board (we're probably half way)
  • save money
  • eat cheddar fries at Snuffers
We are also incredibly excited to reconnect with our home church. We miss our friends in Dallas.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Praise Update from the MBB conference

The following is a praise update from the Muslim Background Believers Conference that we attended last week. One of the specific prayers that we all prayed was that more Muslims would receive dreams and visions to lead them to Christ.

"Sunday we received a report from one MBB with a huge praise report. After joining in prayer for Muslims to receive visions and dreams, her brother whose body was broken down the right side due to a care accident, said he had dreamed of flying with a white bird and being baptized in a pool. When the brother awoke, his body was completely healed and he could walk again. He is now seeking a Bible and more answers about being baptized. Praise the Lord!"

Pray that God would continue to use this to draw people to Himself!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Cheddar Fries part 2 (really just an update!)

Our recent trip to Dallas for the weekend contained several exciting events for us. Our first stop in Dallas was for our favorite food in the whole world, Snuffers cheddar fries. If you live in Dallas and have eaten at Snuffers before, your mouth is probably watering right now just thinking about the cheese fries with ranch dressing. If you haven’t ever tasted them, I’m sorry. But even better than the cheese fries this weekend (which we were able to squeeze in twice!) was the chance that we had to connect with old and new friends at the first annual Muslim Background Believers (MBB) Conference put on by Gospel for Muslims. We thought that this would be a good training tool as we prepared to serve in Senegal, but were blessed beyond what we thought when it not only turned out to be good training, but great encouragement as well. We were able to meet with and talk to several MBB’s and missionaries who are or were involved in Muslim evangelism. Here are just a few of the highlights of the conference:

First, I was again reminded that, as Jim Elliot says, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” The first session at the conference was on the cost of discipleship. I must admit that I sometimes still worry about moving to Africa, about taking a child to Africa especially. Although I have heard it before, and believe that God knows what is best for us and that the risks involved with what we are doing are worth it, I occasionally need to be reminded of this. I had tears streaming down my face as the speaker reminded us that God will always redeem the sacrifices we make and suffering we endure. It may not be in our lifetime, but He works it all for His purpose, and it is worth it.

Second, like I said, we got to meet and reconnect with many people who are interested in Muslim evangelism. One such person we met Saturday morning as we were walking up from the parking garage (yes, it was a huge church!) to the breakfast. Angelique and her family are planning on moving to Tunisia in 2009 to build relationships with people and plant churches. Through all of our conversations that day, it was encouraging to hear and share the struggles and excitement we are going through with someone who is in the same situation as us! We also had the chance to meet a couple who work at a church in Arlington, Texas, and who have made several trips to West Africa. The most exciting thing is that they told us they have a couple of people in their church who grew up as MK’s in Senegal and who know Wolof (the main tribal language). This may give us one more chance while we are preparing to go to Senegal to meet with and talk to someone who can give us insight and advice on living and serving there.

Finally, a highlight of the conference for us was hearing the testimonies of the MBBs. Their stories differed greatly – some came to Christ because of visions and dreams, others because of reading scriptures, others through the witness of friends – but all shared this in common, they were triumphant stories of people being led out of darkness and into a relationship with the living God! Most all of them came to Christ at a cost as well. Their families have disowned them, some were beaten, and many are still praying for the salvation of their lost families. It was so good to see their joy and zeal for the Lord.

Addie had a great weekend too! She was spoiled by her Aunt Kara on Saturday and her friend Katherine on Friday. We are so blessed to have friends and family wherever we go!

Prayer Requests

Please continue to pray for us as we continue our preparation for Senegal. Our big prayer request is our upcoming trip in December! Wayne and I will be heading over to meet our team and look at the college, possible cities we may live, schools for Addie, and anything else we can fit in in just one week. We are excited to be able to share with you what God teaches us through this trip!

Please also pray for us as we are beginning a time of transition. Wayne has only 3 more weeks left to work at Emmaus before we are finished with the ministry here. We will then take our trip and spend the rest of the month packing our apartment and deciding what to do with all our stuff (some we will pack for Senegal, some we will get rid of, some we will need in the near future). We are excited about where the Lord is leading us, but transition times can always be a bit stressful. Please pray that our faith in God will be strengthened through this.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Cheddar Fries

No, that is not the only reason we are going to Dallas this weekend, although it is one of our favorite things to do in Dallas! There is a great restaurant there named Snuffers that has the best cheddar fries in the world! We always go there when we are in town.

But for the real reason we are going to Dallas this weekend...Wayne and I will be attending a Muslim Background Believers Conference put on by Gospel for Muslims. It is a 2 day conference put on by Muslim background believers which we hope will give us a good perspective and good advice on ministering to Muslims. Pray with us that this would be a fruitful weekend and good preparation for our ministry in Senegal.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Ever heard a sermon on Isaiah 63?

I haven’t. The first 6 verses present God judging the nations as if He were stomping grapes (i.e. the nations) in a winepress. The metaphor portrays the garments of God as stained with blood from this judgment. Why do these verses often make us uneasy? Why are countless sermons on the love of God as portrayed in the parable of the prodigal son to be found; yet very few on this portrayal of God’s justice?

A few weeks back, I was listening to a 3 part series on the book of Romans by N.T. Wright. As the justice of God surfaces in the book of Romans, Wright made a passing comment about how in Western countries, the justice of God is often spoken of with unease, but in many countries in the world, God’s justice is cherished. The justice of God is not an attribute in competition with His love, but an extension of it. The reason Wright states this is so is because in so many countries justice is not the norm but the exception.

Think about it, what if you lived your life expecting injustice? What if you expected every cop to be dirty? Sure, some are, but not all. What if you expected every public project to never be finished but simply fill the pockets of a government official? I think what struck me the most about Wright’s comment was how out of touch I am with injustices that occur in the world. If Myanmar was not just a headline on my homepage, but something I regularly thought about, would I not long more for the day of God’s justice instead of being uneasy about it?

Longing for justice is not foreign to us. We don’t watch Die Hard With a Vengeance and hope that the terrorists are caught, but then simply let go. Come on, can’t the judicial system just let em go? I mean, this is only the first time they’ve tried to tear apart the country. As I thought about how much I long for justice while watching movies yet find it rarely passes my mind while reading the news, I was struck by a challenge from the great theologian Bono in the song Sunday, bloody, Sunday:

And the truth is we are immune
When fact is fiction and TV reality
And today the millions cry
We eat and drink while tomorrow they die
And the battle is just begun
To claim the victory Jesus won
On Sunday, bloody Sunday

This post doesn’t isn’t geared at a specific aspect of our ministry in Senegal, just some thoughts about God’s justice. I’d love to hear some of your thoughts also on why God’s justice makes us uneasy when many parts of the world cherish that attribute. Also, why do we cheer for justice in movies but scan news headlines as if we just want to be up to date with everyday conversations or internet current event quizzes (or at least answer why I do that)?

Monday, October 15, 2007

On the road again...

Well, it has been a busy last couple of weeks for us. We have spent a total of 2 nights in our apartment in the last 2 1/2 weeks. You kind of hate to have to pay rent when you're never there! God has been good though as he continues to provide for our needs and continues to encourage us in our preparations for Senegal.

So why were we gone so much? Well, we spent 2 weeks in North Carolina for the job, recruiting for Emmaus. We spent one weekend at Mountain Top Youth Camp at a retreat, visited several churches and did a few Christian College Fairs. This took us all over the state with a lot of time in the car! Between the work though, we were able to visit with family and friends, and also to visit with some individuals and churches to share our vision for Senegal. We are very encouraged that out of this trip, we have two new couples that have committed to monthly support us! God is continuing to provide for our financial needs to go to Senegal! Wayne also had the opportunity to preach at a church in Durham one Sunday. He preached on missions and we were both very encouraged as a couple of people talked to Wayne after the service and told him that they had never heard missions preached as he did and were excited about it!
Well, while we were on the road, things were happening back in Iowa as well. Our church here in Iowa took up a special offering for us last Sunday and the result is a good contribution towards our outgoing expenses! Even today Wayne found some money in his box at school from an individual who was not able to be at church that Sunday but wanted to contribute as well. It is so encouraging and exciting for us to see people get excited about missions and want to participate alongside us in what God is doing in Senegal!

So we finished up our two weeks in North Carolina last Thursday with a really long day of travel (getting a child up at 5:00 am to catch a flight is not fun) and spend last Thursday night at home. Then Friday afternoon Wayne and I were back in the car and on our way to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. One thing that our mission board wanted us to do before we go to Senegal is attend a marriage conference. They realize the pressures that marriages go through, and especially when a family is adjusting to a new culture, language, country etc... and so asked that we attend a conference before leaving. It was a good weekend for us. It was good to be reminded of those things that we ought to be doing everyday, but sometimes don't. It was also good just to be away for a weekend by ourselves. We got to go see a Milwaukee Bucks game for our date night and had cable TV in the hotel (we don't have TV at home) so we could watch baseball playoffs! All in all, it was a really good weekend, but we are glad to be home!
As a side note, while we were in North Carolina, we spent a couple of nights with some friends who are missionary appointees with MAF. He is a photographer and took some family pictures for us while we were there. Here is one of our favorites!

Monday, October 1, 2007

FAQ - About support

Rather than address every frequently asked question on the sidebar and take half the space, we decided to just put some of them in a blog. If you have other questions, let us know.

Q - When should we start giving?

A - As soon as possible! All monthly support that comes in before we leave goes towards our outgoing expenses. So, if someone begins a $50 a month commitment this month (September 07), then by the time we leave that will be the same as a $600 gift towards our outgoing expenses.

Q - If I begin monthly support, how long is the commitment?

A - There is no formal commitment. It's easiest for us for people to commit to whatever our term length is. Our initial term will be 4 years (beginning Sep 08). If our support falls off while we're on the field, it's more difficult to raise it back up. Of course, we do realize that situations change and some will either choose to or be forced to withdraw support. That's OK. Ultimately, God knows yours and our situation and knows both of our needs.

Q - Why do you need so much?

A - Good question. We thought the same thing at first. One, there are several items that most people have provided by their employers (i.e. health insurance, social security tax, some contribution to retirement, etc.) In our case, we don't have an employer to provide these items. Also, contrary to what you might think; it's more expensive to live in a city (yes, if we were in a village it would be much cheaper) in Senegal than it is in the U.S. One quick example is that a $15,000 car in the U.S. would cost $25,000 in Senegal and gas is close to $6 per gallon!

Q - How much of your support needs to be raised before you can leave?

A - Our mission board will not let us leave until we have 100% of our monthly support commited and coming in (i.e. first check sent) and also 100% of our outgoing expenses in hand.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A lot of little things...

Yes, that is how we feel right now. We have a lot of little things to do before we are ready to go to Senegal. Okay, some of them aren’t so little, just a lot of things I guess. Here are a few of the things that have been keeping us busy…

Prayer letters - we have just sent out our first official prayer letter. If you would like to be on our list for future letters, send me an email with your address!

Books, books, and more books – WorldVenture has given us an extensive reading list to prepare us for ministry in Senegal. I love reading, but it has gotten a little more difficult to find time since Addie has come along! She enjoys her “Itsy Bitsy Spider” book, but I have to read mine when she is sleeping J I’m currently reading “From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya” which I am thoroughly enjoying. It is amazing to look back at the great things that God has done through His servants, seemingly ordinary people like us who have big dreams and a passion for God’s glory. It helps me keep focused on where we want to be and what we want to do amidst the business of everyday life.

Shots – one thing I just never thought about when we decided to move to Africa! Wayne and I spent the afternoon at the doctors office on Monday getting our immunizations. A few of the possible side effects from the Yellow Fever vaccination – “Fever, drowsiness, aches, death”…what, death?!??! (Wayne’s comment, “is that side effect fatal?) Thankfully all I’ve gotten so far was the aches.

Marriage conference – One of the requirements from our mission board was that they wanted us to go to a marriage conference before going overseas. They realize the stress that ministry can put on a marriage plus add to that living in a new culture! So on one of our free weekends, Wayne and I are headed to Wisconsin for a Weekend to Remember marriage conference. We’re looking forward to a weekend together. On Saturday night of the conference, they have set aside the evening for a “date night.” Guess what we’re doing? A Milwaukee Bucks game! Woohoo!

Moving – well, we’re not moving yet, but we’d better start thinking about it! This is no ordinary move either. We’re not just packing everything up. Some stuff is going to goodwill, some to the trash, some to friends and family, and what we will keep and take with us must be packed very well, because some of it will be stored for a couple of years until we get to Senegal. We’re not too concerned about the dishes and towels, it’s all the books!

These are just a few of the things that are keeping us busy right now…more will come later. But even though things seem crazy and hectic right now, we are thankful.

First, we are thankful for where the Lord is taking us, and with each thing that we do to prepare, we get more excited about going to Senegal!

We are also thankful for our mission board, WorldVenture, and the way that they are preparing us. Let’s face it, we’re young, have never been overseas long-term, and if we didn’t have help, we would have no idea what we were doing!!! Just having them assign reading that they know will be helpful to us is a huge blessing, not to mention all the other training that they have for us.

Finally, we are thankful that we have this time to spread our vision for Senegal with other people. We hope that through these updates, our prayer letters and possibly visits with you, you will also get excited about spreading God’s name where it is not known.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Joyeux Anniversaire!

Today is Addie's first birthday! We are so thankful for her and for the joy that she brings us. We are excited that we will be able to serve as a family in Senegal.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

"How does it feel to be a missionary's wife?"

About a year ago, Wayne and I were visiting with his cousin Mark and his wife Joanna in Virginia. Mark and Joanna are now in Prague, working with the emergent generation I think they call it. They are building relationships to share Christ with people. Before that, they worked in a school in Uganda. They are missionaries. Joanna told us once that this question was posed to her, "how does it feel to be a missionary's wife?" I think that she then proceeded to explain that she is not a missionaries wife, but that they are missionaries and in ministry together.
I have been reading a book recently, one required by our mission board, called From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya - A Biographical History of Missions. It tells about missions by telling the stories of missionaries, from Christ's time to the present. I just am currently in the section about the Far East in the 1800's and just finished the section about Hudson Taylor. The section is not titled "Hudson Taylor" though, but "The J. Hudson Taylors". It is about the ministry that he and his wives (yes, he had two - a lot of the women seemed to die back then when overseas) carried out. There is one statement that he made that really encouraged me. "Writing to potential candidates, he had charged:'Unless you intend your wife to be a true missionary, not merely a wife, home-maker, and friend, do not join us.'" Now this can take form in many different ways. Many women that I have met that are on the mission field do spend a majority of their time at home caring for their families, and I'm not saying at all that this is bad. Most of those that I have met who do this are actively pursuing relationships with people around them to share the gospel. They are using their home as a venue for missions. I will do this some, but I will also be involved in a teaching ministry. The point is, as Hudson Taylor said and as the Taylors ministry showed, both husband and wife must want to be there and must have ways to serve God and reach people in the setting they are in.
When Wayne and I met, it was on a missions trip. I had been on several before and knew that the Lord was leading me to missions. Of course, I thought it would be as a single woman ( I had never dated anyone before Wayne, so practically speaking, it looked like I would be single for a while!). It was Wayne's first time out of the country, but he went on the trip because he was becoming interested in missions. So from the time we met, we had a shared vision, and as our relationship grew, so did that vision for seeing God's name proclaimed where it was not known.
Now Wayne and I have different roles, I know. We will be involved in different ministries. I will not be teaching at the Bible College. I do not have a Masters degree like Wayne, and he has had a lot more experience teaching than I have. But I will be able to teach. One reason that we chose Senegal is for the opportunities that I will have. We had several options of countries where Wayne could teach at a college, but in many of those, I would have no opportunity to teach. In Senegal, some of the missionaries have already started a program for training women that I will be able to get involved in. We chose Senegal because it fit both of our gifts and passions for ministry. I also realize that in my role, I will be the homemaker and spend more time taking care of Addie. But that will not keep me from being able to use my gifts in the body of Christ, mainly that of teaching.
Now I'm going to brag on my husband a little bit :) He is a great teacher. I love hearing him preach at churches, camps and anywhere else he has the opportunity to do so. But saying that, I feel very privileged to be a partner in ministry with him. There are many times, more often than not actually, that Wayne is up in front of a group speaking, and I am in the audience. It may be that he is preaching at a church, giving a devotional to a youth group, telling people about our plans for Senegal. I realize that many times, it is his job to be up in front of people, not mine. But here's the great part, he lets me help him! I have not heard a sermon from him yet that I have not already heard before Sunday, or dare I say it, one that I have not helped him write! It is such a blessing for me to be able to help him think through what his is studying, to be able to give a slightly different perspective on a passage, to help him come up with gripping illustrations! And when Wayne is in front of a church giving a presentation on our plans for Senegal, it is so good for me to hear him say "Our vision for Senegal..." And vice-versa, when I am teaching a group of girls or discipling someone, Wayne is there to help me become a better teacher and to give me advice when I don't know what to say to someone. We are partners in ministry.
So if you ask me, "How does it feel to be a missionary's wife?" I will probably tell you that I love being Wayne's wife, and I'm also glad that my longtime dream of becoming a missionary is also finally coming true.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Wayne is preaching, and I'm crying...connection?

This is a day of excitement and tears for me...we bought our tickets to visit Senegal! We will be leaving November 30th and returning December 8th. We are both looking forward to meeting the people that we will be ministering with and seeing who we will be ministering and reaching out to! The tears part comes from the fact that Addie will not come with us. I only cried a bit as I hit the purchase button on the computer :(

Another reason for excitement for us this weekend is that Wayne will have the opportunity to preach at our church here in Iowa, Asbury Community Chapel. He will be giving a challenge on missions and then sharing our vision for Senegal. Please pray that people at ACC will get excited about what God is doing around the world and will want to be involved! We want to help churches with their vision for missions as we share with them our vision for Senegal.

P.S. There is no connection between his preaching and my tears :) I am so blessed to have a husband whom I love to hear preach and teach! (good thing)

The virtue of New York traffic

On a recent trip to New York with a friend, we sat in Manhattan watching bicycles, pedestrians, water and trash move down the street faster than us in our rental car, and I realized the great benefit of this traffic; being able to ponder the question of why live in New York? The traffic is so bad, why would you choose to live there? My friend answered, look at the cultural diversity that you can grow up with in New York. There is a strong representation of so many different ethnic backgrounds. But, how many of us would even consider that as a virtue to offset the traffic. A high paying job, maybe; but ethnic diversity?

Just a few days later, a distinction came to my mind that clarified the thoughts I was having. There is a difference between not being opposed to diversity and valuing diversity. One mindset doesn't run off people from a different ethnic background. The other mindset actually pursues people from a different ethnic background. I illustrate the difference in that my first year in Dallas, I attended a church where I and maybe one or two others were the only white people there. But I didn't choose the church because of that; I chose it simply because I wanted to be involved in inner city ministry. The DTS prof who taught urban ministries was at that church. The fact that it was an African American church did not influence my decision. In my last year of seminary, my perspective had changed. I chose to meet once a week with an African American friend to read "The Souls of Black Folk" by W.E.B. DuBois so I could better appreciate his background.

What do these ramblings have to do with Senegal? I'm excited that Adelaide will grow up learning about American and African culture. I'm excited that she will somewhat understand what it's like to be a minority (I do stress, 'somewhat.' Maybe I'll blog about that some other time). Are there challenges we will face raising Adelaide in Senegal? Sure. But I feel that we will have so many benefits of raising her in Senegal.

The apostle Paul speaks of the benefits of diversity in 1 Cor. 12 and I have to think while Paul mainly mentions diversity of giftedness, diversity of background must also be beneficial. Rev 5:9 emphasizes not the quantity of people praising God; but that there are people from every tribe and tongue. Ephesians 2 and 3 talks about how the church (composed of Jews and Gentiles) brings greater glory to God. I do expect we will make sacrifices in our move to Senegal, but what a tremendous gift it will be to be a small part of bringing people from more tribes and more tongues to Christ.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Have you been to Africa?

That is a question we get a lot, and the answer is no. We have never visited the country that we are moving to, Senegal, or actually ever been to Africa. Europe - yes. Australia - yes. Mexico - yes (at least I have). Texas - wait, that's not really its own country :) Africa - not yet! When we were deciding where to go, we were basing our decisions on the ministry we could be involved in and the people we could serve. We are both teachers. We are interested in ministry to Muslims. We
want to serve where there are spiritual and physical needs. All this seemed to fit what WorldVenture told us about Senegal. So, we decided that it was the place for us.

Now usually people visit a place before they decide to move there, we didn't really have that option or feel it was completely necessary for us. But we would like to take a little of the shock out of it when we do move there, so... Wayne and I are planning on taking a trip to Senegal to meet the team that we will be working with and just get a little feel for what it will be like. We are only planning on going for one week, just enough to get a quick picture of what it is like, but hopefully long enough to get a good idea of where we will live and who we will be working with.
Here are a few prayer requests regarding this trip.

1. Timing - pray that the time that would be best for us to go would also work for the team in Senegal. We are looking at the week of December 1st. We don't want to be a burden to the team there and we want to be able to spend time with them, so pray that early December is good for all.

2. Mom - that's me. I'm now a mom and things get more complicated. In this case, it's because we will be leaving Addie for the week in Iowa. It will be much easier for us to make a quick trip without her, and our time will be much more effective. Even so, it is hard for me to leave her, even though she loves my mom and sister and will be in good hands. I know she'll be fine, but pray for me! (I'm actually getting tears in my eyes writing about it:( ) I guess Wayne could use some prayers too, that he can put up with my emotions while we're there!

3. Finances - due to the upcoming changes in our work situation (we'll post that soon!), we should be able to afford this trip without having to use ministry expenses. Pray that we would be wise about spending so that we can best use the money that God gives us.

4. The trip - pray that it will be a fruitful time for Wayne and I as we meet the team and the people of Senegal. We would like to get a good idea of where we will be living (in which city), where Addie might be able to go to school, and what the Bible College is like. Also, we will be learning French next year, and I know some, but pray that we can get around! The missionaries will take care of us, but we might be on our own some.

Thanks for your support and prayers. We're excited about the next step as God leads us to Senegal. We'll keep you updated as we plan more for the trip.

Monday, September 3, 2007

How our support works

Our mission board, WorldVenture, has determined the financial needs that we will have both to get to Senegal and to live in Senegal (i.e. outgoing expenses and monthly expenses). Their calculation of those numbers is based on the experience of WV missionaries currently living there and also a comparison of the cost of living factor.

We need people to both give one-time gifts in order to meet our outgoing expenses and commit to giving monthly to meet our living expenses in Senegal. Many people have asked when to begin giving monthly support. All monthly support that comes in before we leave goes towards our outgoing expenses. So, if enough of our monthly support comes in early enough, most of our outgoing expenses will already be raised.

If you interested in supporting us, let me first say, there is no right or wrong amount to give. We will need people who give $20 per month and those who give $200. In order to begin supporting or give a one time gift for our outgoing expenses, you can make a commitment or make a donation at our WorldVenture page. You can also give by downloading this form and sending it with a check to WorldVenture.

Below is a summary of our monthly support package and outgoing expense support package. If you have any questions about this or how to support us, please feel free to contact us.

Our Monthly Support Package

Outgoing Expensess (one time)

Wayne? Teach?? Africa???

And now, a little about Wayne.

I remember being in high school and thinking, why would I ever leave North Carolina? I mean, it's the home of Andy Griffith, Bojangles, and the promised land of college basketball (Go Wolfpack!). I have always loved the scenery of North Carolina and all my family and friends were there also. So why leave?

I grew up in an awesome family that loved the Lord and placed a strong emphasis on worshiping Him. Every Sunday, we celebrated the Lord's Supper and took time to reflect on the greatness of our Saviour and proclaim to Him how great He is. However, the passion for worshiping God did not hit me until my sophomore year of college. It was then that my faith became my own and not just my parents.

At that point, I realized how exciting studying God's Word could be and developed a love for teaching. Even though I was a civil engineering major at N.C. State, I was much more interested in reading theology. I loved to read books by G.K. Chesterton, Phillip Yancey, Ravi Zacharias, and many others. That love for studying and teaching led me to do the unthinkable; LEAVE NORTH CAROLINA!

After graduation from N.C. State in 2000, I began at Dallas Theological Seminary (still no intention of going anywhere overseas). In my first year of seminary though, I began to think about missions in a new way. For the first time, I viewed missions as an extension of worship. I noticed that the Psalmists not only praised God; but called on all nations to praise God (Ps 67, 96). True worship should automatically lead to a desire not just to praise God, but see the entire world praising God.

That insight and the recognition that not just evangelists go overseas led me to want to learn about missions. That's why after my second year of seminary, I chose to go on a missions trip to France. That's the trip where I met Hilary. From the beginning of our friendship, we both had an interest in missions and have always known God wanted us to pursue ministry overseas, we just didn't know where until last year.

I feel that God has been preparing me in that I have grown up in a home and church that empasized worship of God and studying His Word, I've had the privilege of sitting under incredible teaching at Dallas Theological Seminary where my focus was New Testament and Intercultural Studies, I've had a chance to teach overseas (6 month internship teaching at a Bible College in Australia) while being discipled by a excellent teacher (and fellow Monty Python fan). All of this along with Hilary's background has both of us eagerly anticipating serving the Lord overseas.

Why Africa? Why Senegal? (Has Bono been there?)

First, As we mention in FAQ section on the side, Senegal is a very strategic location. Africans will be much better evangelists to Africans than us. We understand what a person has to gain when they accept Christ, but a person who has converted from Islam understands what a Muslim has to loose when they come to Christianity. As one rural pastor has told a WorldVenture missionary, "Don't send us evangelists. We can do that better than you. Send us teachers." So, now that there are Senegalese believers with the desire to reach other Muslims; the door is wide open. The religious freedom in Senegal allows for a Bible college to exist that seeks to teach Senegalese believers God's Word and instill in them a passion for proclaiming Christ among other Muslims.

A major reason the Bible College is so strategic is because the teaching is done in French (the official language). The importance of this surfaces when one realizes how much of Africa is French speaking. Most of North Africa is both French speaking and Muslim. So, the idea of training African Muslim background believers who speak French with a desire to evangelize Muslims in Africa seems ideal.
(French Speaking Countries in Africa and Muslim Countries in Africa)

Second, we have both had a heart for reaching not just spiritual needs, but also physical needs. Senegal has a population of about 12 million and 100,000 of those are kids who live on the street. Also, there are two types of street kids in Senegal. The type we are planning to work with are called talibe boys. These are boys that are brought in from rural areas where their parents are unable to take care of them. However, they are often forced to beg for money and live in dangerous conditions (see Arms of Love). We have an opportunity to work with a group that seeks to meet health and education needs of these boys. Our desire is to show them the love of Christ by meeting their physical needs.

Third, U2 rocks and Bono is always talking about Africa! Our hope is that one day U2 will do a concert in Senegal.

Fourth, Hilary has already had 6 years of French in middle and high school. It will be much easier for her to relearn French rather than learn a new language. With a toddler underfoot, we thought it would be better to go the easy route.

Fifth, Language school in Paris, need we say more!

Friday, August 31, 2007

How a pale white girl got called to Africa

First of all, we'd like to share with everyone our story. You may know a little or a lot about us, but hopefully this will help fill in the gaps and let you know how God has led us to where we are now. Here is Hilary's story

I grew up in a strong Christian family in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, where my dad was a full time teacher at a church. From a young age, my family instilled two loves in my life, sports, and God's word. This led to two very sacred times in my family, March Madness and Sundays when we sat under Dad's teaching and ministered together as a family. Ministry really was a part of our family life. Because of this, I have had a desire to be involved in ministry from an early age.

I have also had a desire to be involved in missions from an early age. My first missions experience was when I was 6 years old and my family spent a summer in Ireland. I had the very important job of setting the tables for meals and licking the brownie bowl clean. This was the beginning of my experience of seeing the needs in the world and what God was doing in the rest of the world. Throughout my school years and college, I had several more opportunities to go on mission trips and be involved in various ministries. I loved them all. I loved helping people, I loved seeing how people worshipped God in other parts of the world, I loved having a common bond with people I had never met before because of our relationship with Christ.

My love for God's word continued to grow throughout my life as well. In high school, the favorite time of my week was when my dad and I would have breakfast together and talk about things I had been reading or thinking about, or things he had been studying at Seminary.
After high school, my parents encouraged me to study the Bible at Emmaus Bible College. I did not know for sure what I wanted to do when I graduated, but I knew that I wanted to be involved in ministry and that I loved to study the Bible. Those four years were wonderful, being able to spend all my time digging into God's word and gaining a better understanding of who He is and how I can best serve Him. I still get jealous when I see the Emmaus students starting classes and reading all the time! I had opportunities in college as well to serve overseas and my desire to go overseas continued to grow. I must admit that much of my desire to do missions was very practical. I thought that I would be single for a very long time (before I met Wayne of course!) and knowing that I wanted to be involved in ministry, I thought that a single woman would have more opportunities to serve overseas because there was more need. I wanted to build up the body of Christ where there was true need and lack of people.

College was also when Wayne and I met. From the beginnning, we both knew that the other had a desire to serve the Lord overseas (we met on a mission trip in France) and that has helped us grow closer together as we mutually grow in our desire to serve Him. Our relationship has been one in which we are both challenged by each other to continue to grow in our love for the Lord and our knowledge of His word and His person. We both love to study (yes, we are nerds!) and love sports, we're a perfect match! We also dearly love our baby girl Adelaide, who brings so many smiles to our faces. We are excited that Addie will have the opportunity to serve with us in Senegal.

(A nerd in the making! She makes us so proud!)