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

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!