At 2:30 AM on Friday I will begin a trek to Dioher, Senegal for what I believe is my sixth time since I first traveled there with Bart Barber. God is doing a great work in the Bayot villages that Bart’s church labors in and I am hoping that some of that will spill over into the much newer work I am doing in the Essing (or Ehhing) villages to their west. I am planning to return on February 28.
I would appreciate your prayers. Frankly, I probably should have put this trip off. I have been in a cluster headache cycle recently. If you know anything about clusters, they dominate your life. I’ve not been exercising – or sleeping that much either. They disrupt life pretty badly. So, this overweight (and now badly out of shape) 60-year-old Iowa pastor, used to temperatures below zero, is going to spend his days walking in villages where they consider 80 degrees frigid cold! The cluster cycle seems to have broken but I am just not in the kind of shape I should be in for a trip like this.
I should have delayed, but I did not because a) I promised them I’d come in February and such promises are important and b) the timing matters. It is a good time to go and the work is at a critical stage. There seem to be some new believers and a program called Tree of Life is beginning – a wonderful discipleship training program developed by SBC missionaries. The needs of the ministry seemed to make it imperative that I go.
However, I do ask for your prayers. I am a big man, as you know if you know me, but I have always walked a lot and can usually handle the demands of these trips. I am not sure I can do so this time. I need supernatural strength, and perhaps the wisdom to take a break if I need it. I also am hoping and praying that the seed we have been sowing for the last 3 years will begin to bear fruit and we will begin to see a harvest of souls.
Looking for a Ministry Partner
I have greatly enjoyed this ministry but every time I go I realize that, strangely, I am not as young as I used to be. I would love to find someone who would want to form a ministry partnership with me, get your church involved, and then eventually take over the ministry. I realize that I am probably not going to be physically able to do this ministry long enough to see it through. I’d like to look for a Timothy (or an Aristarchus, or..) to begin to train for when Nero gets his hands on me.
This is not easy ministry. Right now there is no electricity or running water in these villages. There is resistance to the gospel. And the ministry requires perseverance. You can’t go over once or twice and expect to see a massive response. You have to come for the long haul.
But if someone is interested, I am planning to go again in perhaps late October or early November. If you wanted to come along, you’d be welcome to test it out. I am looking for a church to partner with us and then eventually take it over, so a trip or two scouting things out would be great.
While I Am Gone
Todd Benkert is going to be keeping an eye on things around here, with the help of the Brain Trust and the rest of our administrators. Treat them with the same respect you show me. Wait, never mind. Be nice to them.
I may get a word or two in from Senegal – we will see. Hope no one else kinda sorta resigns while I’m gone.