Praising the Lord for Trials
“O Praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise Him, all ye people. For His merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth forever. Praise ye the Lord.” Psalm 117.
“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Philippians 4:11.
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.” 1 Peter 5:6.
We had many tests and trials during 2013 here at Senegal Mission. Sometimes I feel like there is no end in sight, but the above verses have carried me through the past several months. Still amid these trials, our loving Heavenly Father has assured us that He is with us and we must continue to praise Him because He is in control of everything.
Evangelizing anywhere is both a science and an art, and one needs the Holy Spirit to guide. Evangelizing in a Muslim country, even though it has a secular government, is even more delicate. How do you show someone Jesus without their knowing that you are doing it? What method do you use? What do you say? Only the Holy Spirit knows and can give you the right words to speak at the right time.
Coming to Senegal, I was full of ideas about what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it. I had read the Spirit of Prophecy and had definite plans of what needed to be done. But just like Moses, God has made it clear to me that even my best ideas are not sufficient for the task at hand. I need to sit at His feet daily and get my marching orders from Him who sees and knows all.
There is much to do in and out of the church. And many times it appears to be easier to spread the gospel outside because of the spirit of worldliness that seems to be engulfing our precious church here. My heart is heavy as I write this. Our church is full of young people and we are very busy with activities, but the spiritual declension is so evident. Please pray for our churches here, that the Lord will wake us up out of this sleepiness that seems to be engulfing us.
As I seek to sit at the feet of Jesus, I find that the Lord is opening doors in the hearts of the students that I encounter in my classes. I have been able to spend quality time with them, talking about the nearness of the end, the need to prepare our hearts and seek God now. Often during these conversations, you can feel the solemnity of the presence of the Holy Spirit in the room. I know from their interactions that some of them also understand the time, but do not know exactly what to do. Many are grateful to have some direction. A few even stay after class to share some of their experiences and ask more questions.
I have a class at the national statistics school. The students come from all over West Africa and are very bright. As with all my classes, I talk to them about God, emphasizing the need to be faithful to the light that one has and also the need to read and study for oneself because salvation is too important to leave in the hands of the pastor or the imam.
Muslims have five scheduled prayer times throughout the day, but I encourage them to pray even at other times. I urge them to pray about what I share with them and also during tests. When I first suggested that they pray, they all laughed, but I assured them that I was very serious, explaining that if they had done their homework and studied, that they could ask God for help if they did not understand something. I also shared with them a couple of experiences that my children had with prayer during tests. Now there were no giggles when I remind them that they have the privilege to pray.
Most recently, the door has opened for me to teach an English class to a group of workers at a Christian organization. This will be an interesting opportunity because they are all Catholic. I am praying for wisdom, understanding, and the Holy Spirit to guide me in developing appropriate lessons for them. I have told them that I will use material from the Bible for some reading lessons and they have agreed. Please pray for me that God will endow me with wisdom from on high to speak words in due to season for these children of His.
Doukoure, one of the new converts that I had been helping, disappeared for about eight months. He came back about three weeks ago, underscoring again the difficulties that many who leave the Muslim faith have to confront. With the stress of death threats from his son, threats of violence from other family members, and financial pressure, he fled without telling anyone. Church members contacted the family, but they also had no news. There was also suspicion that he may have been a victim of foul play, but after some investigation, we found out that his pension had been collected. An ID card is necessary to do this so we were assured that he was alive and well. He has returned to his family home, but there is lingering animosity from two of his children. His wife seems to have accepted him for now. His faith has also suffered some, so please pray for him that God will sustain him and help him to remain faithful.
As for the farm work, we are waiting for the rains. We have gotten a new gardener, a young Muslim man, who enjoys having conversations about religion. I have shared my vision with him about producing enough to help support the work. We have acquired materials for the irrigation system, but have not installed them yet. We are currently growing okra, tomatoes, and peppers. The mango tree has produced many mangoes and we are waiting for them to ripen. God willing, we will put in corn, beans, tomatoes, and other veggies during the rainy season. The cashew tree is producing its first crop. We are progressing slowly, but, I pray, surely.
Our biggest challenge so far this year has been our 1988 Mitsubishi Pajero 4×4. It is a good, sturdy car, but the engine needs to be replaced and we have been
unable to do it. It cannot be trusted for long distances on the road, so we have to take public transportation when we need to go to Dakar, which is normally twice a week for classes. A one-hour trip by car can take up to three hours on the ndiaga ndiaye (public transportation) depending on the traffic and the time of day. We are obliged to leave several hours ahead of time to ensure that we are not late for appointments. Please pray that we will be able to overcome this challenge.
All in all, we are maintaining by God’s grace. We are still working on developing some small booklets. I have given the info to a young pastor who has promised to translate it for me. He resigned from the Senegal Mission, but we pray not from the work. A medical missionary training class is being planned. I am trying to stay at the feet of Jesus to hear what He wants me to do. I do not want to just be busy. I want to be effective. Thank you for all your prayers. May God bless us all as we prepare for the soon coming of Jesus!
By Ndeye Fatou. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.