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
I love having theological and philosophical discussions, and this morning, we had a great one. We talked about "l'avenir", the future. We read some quotes by philosophers and writers such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, and Albert Einstein. We talked about having control over somethings in our lives, but not others. We talked about the will of God and choice. We talked about who knows the future and about not worrying about the future. We talked about the certainty of some things, such as the return of Christ, and the uncertainty of others, such as what will I be doing in 5 years?
I love having these discussions but they do give my brain a workout. And this morning not only was it a topic that involved some thinking, it was all in French! My brain feels like it ran a half marathon.
So, with my limited vocabulary I've had numerous 30 second - 2 minute conversations in the past few weeks and thus creating numerous "big gulp" moments. I guess the fact that I was a nerdy engineer in the U.S. has somewhat helped me prepare.
...and we have pictures to prove it! Wednesday we hopped on the train and headed into Paris with some new friends of ours from school. We live in a southern suburb, so it was about a 15 minute walk and a 20 minute train ride to the city. We went to a bookstore where are I bought a real French dictionary (meaning the definitions are in French too!) I was a little disappointed when I asked the lady where to find the specific dictionary in my best French and her answer was "Downstairs." Guess I'll have to keep working on the accent. The rest of the day we spent walking around the city and seeing the sights.
We didn't go in the Louvre this time (we'll save that for a date without Addie:)) but here we are at the really cool entrance.
We of course had to go to McDonalds while we were there. And wouldn't you know that the "Big" sandwich was described as the "taste of America returns." (at least I think that's what it says, it's only week 2)
And who can be in Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower.
The first train stop for us in the city is right here in front of Notre Dame (well, it stops it seems like 3 stories and a maze of stairs below, but we finally found our way up to the surface).
And here are Addie and her new friend Elias (she has discovered that she knows 2 Elias' now!) on the metro.
And if you are wondering why we went into Paris on a Wednesday, it is because they have this wonderful schedule here of 2 days on, one day off, 2 days on, 2 days off! Even the kids have Wednesdays off school. We really like it and hope to be able to use those days to keep doing cultural things and using our French.
A very nice aspect of the school here is that they teach us biblical vocabulary (slightly important for me as a future Bible college professor). One way in which they do this is by having students lead in chapel. I am in the second level of the beginners and my class meets with the first level of beginners for chapel on Monday. Well, someone in the second level had to give the first "sermon" and with only 4 students in the class, I got it.
You might be wondering, exactly what can a student preach on who has a very limited vocabulary and only knows the present and past tense. Answer, possibly your dream sermon. One point and about one minute long.
I had no idea how to do the altar call at the end.
We have been told that sometimes, when young kids enter a new culture where a new language is spoken, that they will stop talking altogether for awhile. It seems like they just need to figure out what is going on, and then they will get back to normal. So we came to France prepared...but didn't have to worry :) The only time there is silence around here is when Addie is sleeping. Just tonight, she had to go to the bathroom and was chatting a little too much to concentrate on what she was doing, so I left her alone. As soon as I walked out the door, I hear her yell, "Mommy, I need some privacy!" over and over again, followed by "Are you giving me some?" Hmmm, I'm not sure she quite gets the concept of privacy yet :)
Thanks for praying for her. Her transition has been going really well. It has actually helped me in knowing that she likes it here. She loves our new apartment, her new toys that she received from a little girl who just left here, and is getting to love the nursery that she is in 4 days a week. God really knew what he was doing when he gave her to us. She brings so much joy to us every day. I'm not sure we would survive this without her!
Part of our required reading before we came here mentioned that what often causes culture shock is not necessarily any one overwhelming aspect about the new culture, but that so many little things are now different. It seems like that right now as nothing has been incredibly difficult, but nothing is easy.
I especially feel this in class right now and today was only the first day. Typically, in every class I've been in or sermon I've listened to, I can take a 1 minute (sometimes longer) mental break and pick back up without missing much. Today, I had a few times where I took a 10 second mental break and then have the teacher ask, "Do you comprehend?" To which, I must honestly say, "I have no idea." We also did an exercise where we had to spell and pronounce the names of other countries in French and I realized, I only know the correct french spellings of a few countries in the whole world. That left me wondering if I could even compete on a French version of "are you smarter than 1st grader?"
Needless to say, my brain hurt at the end of class today worse than it ever has.
I thought since I had taken French before and can sort of get by in simple conversations that the grocery store would be no problem here! Well, it has been a little overwhelming to say the least, but we haven't starved yet (thanks to hot dogs and "Tennessee" hot dog buns).
A few things that have made us smile though...
Apple juice that actually tastes like apples! I never noticed that apple juice just tastes like sugar until I had it here, where there is actually an apple flavor!
Baguettes and Nutella...need I say more?
And in the "Ethnic Food" Aisle? Tex-Mex and Pepperidge Farm Chocolate Chunk Cookies!
I'm still trying to figure out the cheese section though...can't seem to find the American or cheddar. Oh well, I'm sure someone will culture me soon enough.
We're here, we're tired, we still haven't finished unpacking, but yes, we will get pictures up soon, just give us a few days :)
A funny story...we thought we were doing pretty good last night, got Addie to bed about 8, we went to bed then too, thought we might sleep through the night and get over jet lag soon. Well, Addie decided it was just a nap and was up in our room at 11:30 which led to some late night playing with toys and then Shrek at 2:30! Thankfully she only made it about 1/2 an hour. Hopefully tonight goes a little more smoothly.
In 12 hours we will be on a plane headed to France! (via Chicago). We are so excited to finally be on our way to prepare ourselves for ministry in Senegal. Please pray for the next few days as we travel and settle in to our new apartment in France and then begin school on Monday. Hopefully our next post will be from Paris!!!!
We want to use this blog to keep people up to date on what is going on with us as we prepare to serve in Senegal. Here is how you can best use this site! We will keep posting here, so keep checking back. All of the blogs will be labeled, so browse the CONTENTS (below) to find more information on a certain topic. The blogs labeled "Essential" are those which we feel will be most useful to you to understand who we are and what we are doing. They will also help you understand our updates. Also, if you scroll down on the right side of the page, we have answers to Frequently Asked Questions about our ministry. Please leave comments!! We would love to hear your thoughts.
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Why Missions? When Jesus cleansed the temple in John 2, it was because it angered Him to see a place where worship should be taking place filled with everything but worship. We see the entire world as a place where God should be worshipped. From the beginning, God's desire was for all nations to glorify Him (Gen 12:3, Deut 4:5-8). So, if God is to be worshipped in all nations, we should be disturbed when He is not. This should motivate us to lay down our lives in the same manner that Christ did for the purpose of seeing God glorified in all nations.
Where is Senegal? Senegal is located on the Western coast of Africa. (see map above)
Why Senegal? Missionaries entered Senegal in the 1960's and worked for several decades while seeing little fruit. In the last 15-20 years, Muslims have begun to come to Christ and catch a vision for reaching other Muslims. We have a chance to equip these Senegalese believers with teaching in God's Word to go along with their already present evangelistic zeal.
What will you be doing there? Our main ministry focus will be training church leaders. There is a small Bible College located in Dakar and Thies which seeks to train leaders for the church. Wayne will be teaching classes at this school. Hilary will be involved in teaching weekend seminars for women who seek to serve alongside their husbands. As a family, we will also be helping with a street kids ministry, showing love and attention to kids who have been taken advantage of.
Where are you now? We began language school in Paris, January 09. We plan on being here for 18 months. Immediately following our language school program, we will move to Senegal.
How long will you be in Senegal? Our plan now is to move to Senegal with no plans of going anywhere else. This is a long-term move for us. We will return to the states periodically on Home Assignments (our first after 4 years overseas), and we will at those times evaluate if the Lord would have us continue in Senegal or if we could best serve somewhere else.
How can I get involved? 3 John 8 mentions those who have not gone out but are still called co-laborers because of their support for those who did go out. We recognize the need for co-laborers in our desire to reach Senegal. You can become one of our co-laborers by committing to pray for us, financially supporting us, and keeping us in your hearts. If you are interested in financially supporting us (monthly of one time gifts), see the Financial status section just below on this side of the page for more details. If you are interested in committing to prayer (either daily or weekly), please contact us. As far as keeping us in your hearts, keep checking back to our blog and leaving comments, sign up for our email updates, and keep us posted with changes in your lives.
How can I contact you? Please feel free to email us! Wayne - email@example.com Hilary - firstname.lastname@example.org Addie - she drooled on her keyboard and can't check her email anymore :)