Once again I had the privilege of travelling with Sister Leila to Africa. This time she chose Western Africa as our destination—Senegal, The Gambia and Mali.
Western Africa has many French speaking countries and many strongly Muslim nations, but the Lord has His people scattered all over the world.
At first I agreed to go, even though they were strongly Muslim nations. I had no safety concerns though, as I knew the Lord would be with us. I wanted to make absolutely sure though, that the Lord was asking me to go and that I was going by faith and not presumption. I read on the internet what the government of Canada stated about the countries and any warnings. For The Gambia and Senegal, the report was that these countries are safe, but just be careful with your belongings as crime and theft can easily happen if you are not careful. And do not go out after dark. This seemed fairly reasonable. However, Mali was a different situation. We had already booked our plane tickets and I read online that the Canadian Government does not recommend travel to Mali.
“Risk level(s): MALI – AVOID ALL TRAVEL
“Global Affairs Canada advises against all travel to Mali (including the capital, Bamako), due to the threat of terrorism and banditry. . . . There is a high threat of terrorist attacks throughout Mali, including in Bamako. . . .Terrorist groups in the region are intent on increasing their attacks and kidnappings targeting Westerners. Terrorist targets could include government buildings, public areas such as bars, restaurants and tourist sites, and Western interests.” https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/mali
I was starting to hesitate. I sent the report to Sister Leila and asked her to change the plane tickets to skip Mali. She saw the danger and tried to make the change, but the cost was too high. Sister Leila contacted Brother Judicail in Senegal and shared with him my concerns. He stated that the trouble was in the north with the tribal warfare, but the city of Bamako was safe. Although I was not afraid, I wanted to be sure that we were going by faith not presumption; that the Lord truly wanted us to go. If the Lord was wanting us to go, then we had no need to be concerned.
I prayed and in the following weeks the Lord brought me many encouraging Bible verses. Here are some of them:
“In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.” Isaiah 54:14
“When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet. Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.” Proverbs 3:24–26
“And the LORD said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die.” Judges 6:23
“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” Joshua 1:9
“And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee.” Genesis 28:15
And when I was concerned about the potential for malaria or other illnesses, the Lord brought me this verse: “And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in His sight, and wilt give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.” Exodus 15:26
With the verses that the Lord gave me, and the words of Brother Judicail, I decided to go by faith. The Lord had promised to take care of us. When it was time to leave, I had perfect confidence that it was the Lord’s will, so He would keep us safe.
Accompanying us on our travels was Brother Judicail Luboya, our ordained minister who lives and works in Senegal, which is a French-speaking Muslim country. Brother Christian Gadoxor, who currently lives and works in The Gambia, also accompanied us.
We arrived in Dakar, Senegal, on January 5 and were warmly greeted by Brother Judicail and his wife, Dorcas.
Yes, we were tired, but happy to be amongst God’s people. Brother Judicail and Sister Dorcas were gracious in giving us a place to stay at the mission house and Sister Dorcas provided delicious meals for us.
We were happy to also meet four interested young men who had travelled two days by bus to spend the week with us in Dakar. Their names are: Immanuel, Daniel, Isaac, and Enoch. They are from the Seventh-day Adventist Church and had come into contact with Brother Christian. Through the medical missionary work, Brother Christian met them and went to visit them. These young men now came to Dakar for further study on the Reformation message with Brother Judicail and us over the week. We had several studies and at the end of the week, before it was time for us all to depart, they expressed an interest to join God’s remnant church. One of the young men, Daniel (aged 29), is the church leader in their small local church which consists of 14 young men and one woman—the mother of another of the men, Isaac. The father of Isaac was the leader of the small church, but he had passed away, leaving the young men to continue to run the church. Let us pray for these young men as Brother Judicail and Brother Christian will visit them in their village in the near future to study with the others who were not able to attend. We pray that these young men will truly follow through with their interest and join the church through baptism.
While in Senegal for a week, we were able to see first hand, and participate in, the missionary activities. The challenges that there are in a Muslim country are quite different from those of Christian nations. Open witnessing is not permitted. Going house to house is completely out of the question. The health message is truly the entering wedge. Brother Judicail has befriended many Christian pastors who have come for advice on how to witness through the health message. Through these pastors he is also meeting some of their members, whom he hopes would begin to show interest in our message. Brother Christian has become quite knowledgeable in health and natural remedies in his years of labour in the work of the Lord. Through the means of the health message, he has opened up the work in many of the nations in Western Africa (Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Mali). He trains the members in the churches on how to witness by using the health message. He gives them knowledge and diagnostic tools to help in diagnosing various inconsistencies in a person’s health. Christian has trained many, including Judicail, and Judicail now is using this method quite well. Every Tuesday and Thursday morning he runs a health seminar free of charge. Then he provides private health counsel to those who are seeking better health. Natural remedies, diet, and lifestyle changes are emphasized. And then from here he has opportunity to witness for the truth. He runs a very busy clinic. We were asked to give lectures on health during these seminars, during which the Lord blessed us. Brother Judicail also organized a health seminar in the evenings. For three nights we presented health lectures. These meetings were well attended. The people were very interested, asking many questions.
In her husband’s absence, Sister Dorcas effectively runs the Tuesday and Thursday seminars. She also conducts cooking classes on vegan cooking and has begun to make and sell whole wheat bread and soy milk. From these methods, there was one young man, Simon, who was baptized a few months ago. He is very active in the church activities. Now there are more interested souls attending the church. Sister Dorcas is a very active missionary, working with her husband when he is there, and in his absence, she runs the health seminars, Bible Studies and church services. Truly a virtuous woman who loves the Lord. Sister Dorcas especially appreciated our visit as she stated a sad truth that many times visiting pastors and ministers ignore the pastor’s wife and focus on the missionary and the missionary work. She was happy to fellowship with female members. And we were blessed to fellowship with her.
After the first week, our travels took us to The Gambia. Due to the political uncertainty in the country from the recent elections, we were thinking of changing our travel plans and going somewhere else, as many Gambian residents were fleeing the country and some consulates were urging their citizens to leave. We considered several other options but the Lord closed up the way for these alternatives, so we decided to go by faith. The Lord was telling us to go forward to The Gambia.
The Gambia is also a strong Muslim nation, although they do speak the English language there, which made communication a little easier. Brother Judicail accompanied us to The Gambia.
Here we were greeted by Brother Christian, who lives alone at the headquarters in The Gambia. His wife and children are currently in Ghana as she is taking care of a sick relative. We pray that they can join Christian in The Gambia in the near future. Brother Christian took care of us while staying at the headquarters. He cooked delicious meals and kept the place very clean.
For three evenings in The Gambia, we again conducted health lectures, which were well attended by the members and visitors.
Although the church is small, I was happy to meet a few young people there in the church. One young interested woman is the daughter of a Muslim Priest. We need to keep her in our prayers. She helps out in the health clinic but her father does not know of her interest in Christianity. Another young man (John), who came from a Muslim background, had an “encounter with Jesus” that led him to the conversion to Christianity. After attending the Pentecostal church for some time, this young man met Brother Christian, who introduced him to important truths not taught in the Pentecostal church. (You can read his testimony in this issue of The Reformation Messenger under the title, “Led by God”).
Brother Christian has made many friends, one of whom is a pastor from a Sunday-keeping Baptist church in The Gambia. Although he lives in the city, he pastors a church in the village about an hour away. Christian has been speaking to this man about the Sabbath and health reform quite extensively. The man attended the three night health seminar. Initially, our plan was to leave The Gambia early Sunday morning, but this man asked us to come to his church Sunday morning and have Brother Judicail preach the divine service. He asked that he preach about the Sabbath. There were about 50 people in attendance. Sister Leila first shared her testimony, and in the midst she mentioned the importance of the Sabbath and how it has been a blessing for her. Brother Judicail was then given the opportunity to preach. He preached a powerful sermon in support of the Sabbath. We then had to leave. Let us pray that this man can follow through with his convictions of the Sabbath day and lead his flock into the full truth.
We left The Gambia with Brothers Judicail and Christian to go to Mali. Brother Christian will continue to speak with this pastor upon his return. Let us pray for him.
The Lord kept us safe in The Gambia and we had no disturbances while there and no difficulties with travel. We had no safety concerns and had a peaceful time.
The last four days were spent in Mali. Mali is another French speaking Muslim country. As we had no mission headquarters at the time, we went to stay in a small hotel not far from the airport. No sooner had we settled in, than Brother Christian began to speak to the proprietor of the hotel about the health message and our mission. While we could not hold public meetings due to lack of a venue, the very next day Brother Christian had about 15 men coming to the hotel for health advice and counsel. He counselled them individually, one at a time, providing advice on diet and lifestyle change and providing herbs and other natural remedies for natural healing.
The church in Mali is small due to the sad fact that the previous secretary separated from the church, taking some of the interested souls with him. Brother Christian went to visit him every day, but the man is adamant that he refuses to return. He has started his own church and he allows the members to eat meat.
We were able to hold the Sabbath service in the hotel lounge free of charge. The work is small in Mali; however, the Holy Spirit is not dependent on numbers, but on willing servants.
Soon a young man from Madagascar (Eric) will be going to Mali to help with the work. After Sister Leila and I left, Brothers Judicail and Christian remained about ten more days and were able to find a suitable place to rent for the headquarters. There is a family man who will move in. Along with Eric this man will work to bolster up the church in Mali.
The work is difficult in Muslim countries, but not impossible. The only impossibilities lies in our human minds. The Lord’s resources are limitless.
Although the work is difficult, the workers are of good courage. Let us pray for them.
Brother Christian, although stationed in The Gambia, travels to many of the surrounding nations to help and encourage the believers. He teaches them the health methods for missionary work.
May God help us to help our brothers and sisters around the world. We are all one in Christ.
“Fear not, O land: be glad and rejoice for the LORD will do great things.” Joel 2:21. Amen.