Saturday, March 24, 2012

On the Bus Home

We landed safely at Washington Dulles Airport. Right now, we are on a bus going back to Calvary. Hope to get there before noon. Happy to be back, but sad to leave our brothers and sisters in Christ in Senegal. Thank you for praying for us.

Friday, March 23, 2012

At Massa Massa One More Time

Once again, we are back at Massa Massa hotel in Thies after another two days in the villages. We said our goodbyes to Charles and Docor, two of our translators, whom we will not see again before we leave. It was sad to do so since we have grown very fond of them. We also said goodbye to Josh, a Kenyan university student from the Toronto area, and Adeline, a young woman who also studies in Canada.
These last two days were once again simply amazing. On Wednesday, most of the team went shopping for a bit in the artisan market of Thies for a bit before heading out to the village. In the meantime, Pastor Mike, Nick and Elke were picked up by Docor and Malik, one of the drivers, in a four-wheel drive vehicle. We headed out to Tattaguine, where the Edelman and Speliopoulos families have sponsored World Vision children.
After a briefing by the World Vision staff, we were guided to the government official of the Tattaguine area to meet with him. Another stop took us to the regional president's office, where we met with his representative. He thanked us for coming and pleaded with us to please sponsor more children, as it was desperately needed and the results were visible. Finally, we were taken to see the children, but not before signing codes of conduct and meeting with the respective village chiefs (Tattaguine ADP exists of 15 villages). The meetings with our two girls and their families were sweet as we visited the families'  homes and exchanged gifts.
We took our leave from there and drove 1 1/2 hours straight through the African bush to meet the others in the village - quite the experience as the sand roads are tricky to maneuver, and Malik drove at a rather high speed.
The team was getting ready to play with about 600 kids at the school, doing relay races, playing duck-duck-goose and other games, and giving out snacks. Pastor Mike and Elke drove with Pastor A and D.T. to another village, where the mosquito nets donated by Calvary Fellowship Church were handed out to the families after a brief ceremony and Pastor Mike once again sharing the love of Christ with them in explanation and prayer. The village of N is the town adopted by Providence Church, who could not go to Senegal this year, and where the overflow of the mosquito nets (thanks to the generosity of the people of CFC) went.
Back in our village, we enjoyed another fabulous meal cooked by Pastor A's wife and some of the other women. To eat, you sit on a big mat on the floor in circles of six and eat with spoons out of a communal large flat bowl. To be polite, you eat an imaginary pie slice in front of you and build a rice/pasta/couscous wall to your neighbor while doing so. Meats and vegetables are in the center and can be flicked to you or others. It is quite fun! After dinner, another evangelistic movie was shown.
The following morning began with our regular daily devotion, worship and prayer time after breakfast. From there, we were leaving for the baptismal font in the vegetable garden, when we noticed our driver, beating the floor in the women's room feverishly with a broom. Turns out there was a live scorpion in the room where we had slept on the floor on mats!
The baptism was a sweet time of communion of one body of Christ, as Michel, one of the village church elders, took turns with Pastor Mike to baptize nine people: three from CFC (Anna, Denise and Nick), five from Baback, plus Josh, our Kenyan co-laborer. A sweet time of singing and fellowshipping, as we watched our brothers and sisters in Christ express their faith through sharing their testimony and becoming baptized. The testimonies of the  young people being baptized were wonderful to listen to, as several came from Muslim families. Some had walked by church, heard the singing, and had asked their parents to be able to attend. Another girl had seen the movie the night before and trusted Christ. Pastor A speaks with the families of younger people to make sure they are okay with this step.
Before lunch, we had a ceremony to hand out the mosquito nets, again with Pastors A and Mike sharing the Gospel and praying. The village chief Chief , was there as well, and it was wonderful to see him again. Lunch brought more excellent cooking, and then it was on to the school to present the toothbrushes, toothpastes and soaps we had brought with us, given by the children and families of Conestoga Christian School. The school director was very grateful for this gift and thanked us profusely. In all the times when we passed out the things we had brought with us, the reaction was one of sincere gratitude and thanks to God.
The remainder of the afternoon was spent walking the village, visiting with some of the namesakes and dropping off gifts. What a joy to see the families of in their compounds and to play with the children there. We prayed with some of the families, especially one where there was a newborn infant who had not even been named yet. Finally, it was time to take leave, but not before stopping at Pastor A's house and thank his wife and all the women there for the wonderful cooking they had done for us. We waved goodbye to the hundreds of children and drove off across the dusty sand roads, back to Thies.
Arrived in Thies meant saying goodbye to our translators  at the MIS office. Another surprise awaited us at the hotel, where Sheri was waiting for us and had dinner with us. The hotel is very nice, and we enjoyed yet another wonderful meal. After showers, it was time to hit our soft beds in our air-conditioned rooms!
As we begin our final day in Senegal, we will be debriefing with the MIS staff here in Thies and then head back toward Dakar for some shopping or sightseeing, depending on any election disruptions (a lot of demonstrations may be taking place). We will be boarding our plane in the VERY early morning (more night than morning, actually...) and should arrive in Washington, DC, in the early morning US time. We are then heading back to Calvary, where we hope to arrive before noon.
Pray for us as we enter our last day here and then fly back. We so very much appreciate all your prayers! God clearly has kept us safe while here. We all are sad to leave as you cannot help but love the people of Senegal. May God richly increase His kingdom here in this part of His world.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Back from the Village

Tonight we arrived back in Thies at Massa Massa, our hotel. After three days and two nights in the village without sanitary installations and very rudimentary toilets, everyone was happy to see a real bathroom again, take a shower and scrub off the dirt! The first day we worshipped at the church pastored by Pastor A. It was a wonderful experience of two cultures coming together with Mike doing a portion of the preaching. We spent the afternoon walking around the village and visiting some of the namesakes of past visits. Every first time visitor is assigned a namesake. The second and third days were spent in a neighboring village, where we held a health clinic. Somehow, there was a mix-up, so the first day was relatively light, but the second day had us seeing 125 patients. Dr. Inez Stoltzfus did a great job seeing all the sick with the help of several other nurses, both the ones on our team, Denise and Terry, and the local team, which included Sherry, Laurie Sadio's former roommate. Luxuries there are extremely sparse, but we all managed to pray, fellowship, worship, visit, meet, and giggle. On the first evening, we had dinner at Pastor A's house, followed by the namesake ceremony. Newbies Mike, Anna, Nick and Elke got to meet their namesakes and dance with them to African drumbeats. Great fun as we watched the kids (and moms with babies strapped to their backs) display their dancing talents. The second evening included an evangelistic movie at Pastor A's compound with Terry giving her testimony. In the villages, we have had many opportunities to share the Gospel, and the interest has been there. May the Lord bring great increase to His family! Back in Thies, we got to visit with Jim and Olivia Pina, the MIS interim director and his wife. We have been blessed by all that we are experiencing. Tomorrow, Pastor Mike, Nick and Elke are going to Tattaguine to meet their World Vision kids. Then it's on to the village, where we will meet up with the rest of the team. Keep praying for us, especially travel in Senegal. The roads are very different from ours! Please also pray for Pastor A who lost his mother yesterday. We stopped in his village on the way back from the village to express our condolences. The family was very appreciative of this.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Talibe Boys Immunization Clinic and Journey to Thies

One more report from Elke: The morning started out with getting ready for an immunization clinic for 172 Talibe boys. They are kids that beg on the streets, but are part of Qur'an schools. Guided by Jane, Antoinette and Tad, we had them shower, fed them, gave them exams and shots and then sent them off to play or watch the "Jesus" film in their language, Pular. Pastor Mike shared the Gospel with several via the wordless bracelet, which they then received.  Once done there, we loaded 22 50-lbs bags onto the roof of an old Mercedes bus, climbed in and bid farewell to the Beacon of Hope missions compound.  We made it to Thies after an interesting ride through Dakar! The country side was fascinating. Huge trees I had only read about as a child gracefully line the view.  Here in Thies we are staying in air conditioned, wonderful rooms with amazing food. Spoiled before heading to the villages for the next three days. There will be no Internet there. This will definitely be camping.  Had a great evening with two US missionary couples. Wonderful conversations about how to share Christ in a largely Muslim country. The team is being blessed in immeasurable ways.  Pray for us that we would carry the love of Christ into the villages and be of one mind and purpose: that of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Day One: In Dakar

This is Elke posting a quick update. We have arrived in Dakar safe and sound and are settled in at the Beacon of Hope. We took a walk up to the lighthouse, and some of us ventured down to the beach. Some are resting. We are all rejoicing in God's goodness in getting us and all our luggage here safely. Great revisiting or meeting for the first time our brothers and sisters in Christ here! Needless to say, the transport of all our luggage fom the airport here with all of us was the first adventure! Pray for our hearts to find our place here quickly and to be used mightily by our great God. Anna and Mike are two of our four newbies (Nick and I are the other two).

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

1 Thessalonians 2:8

The Lord has prepared us over these past six months for the next 10 days. We desire to bring glory to our Father by completing the work He has prepared for us to do during this trip. I've been thinking about 1 Thessalonians 2:8 as a verse that will guide our team ... "that we would love the people of Senegal so much that we are delighted to share with them not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because they have become so dear to us."

We'll depart from CFC around 10:30am on Thursday morning and make our way to Washington, DC, Dulles Airport. Our flight leaves at 5:40pm.

Each day we'll take time to draw near to the Lord and each other for a time of worship, Word and prayer. We'll be reading a few chapters from Dave Earley's book, The 21 Most Effective Prayers of the Bible. If you'd like to follow along with us, here are the key passages/prayers for each day.

Thur - 3/15  "Send Me"  (Isaiah 6:8)
Fri  - 3/16  "Go With Us"  (Exodus 33:15)
Sat - 3/17  "Help Us"   (2 Chronicles 14:11)
Sun - 3/18  "Lord, Teach Us To Pray"   (Luke 11:1)
Mon - 3/19  "Increase Our Faith"  (Luke 17:5)
Tues - 3/20  "Save Us"  (Matthew 8:25)
Wed - 3/21  "Strengthen My Hands"  (Nehemiah 6:9)
Thur - 3/22  "Grant Me Favor"  (Nehemiah 1:11)
Fri - 3/23  "Give Me Wisdom"  (2 Chronicles 1:10)
Sat - 3/24  "Answer Me"  (1 Kings 18:37) 

Thank you for your prayers.

In Christ,
Mike Edelman

Monday, March 12, 2012

Packing Tonight - March 12

Reading a letter to a sponsored child in Babak
We are three days away from departure. Can you feel the sounds excitement in the air? The team meets tonight at 6pm to pack all of the gifts for the sponsored children plus the generous gifts from the students at Conestoga Christian School in Morgantown, PA. They provided over 200 pounds of toothpaste, toothbrushes and soap for the children. 

On March 4th we shared a meal together and celebrated God's faithfulness. He has provided for all of our financial needs. The runoff election has been delayed until March 25. This opened the door to do a third clinic for the street boys of Dakar. God has knit us together into a team focused on loving God and one another. 

We covet your prayers as you pray in the Spirit with all kinds of prayers and requests (Ephesians 6:18).

  • We’d be devoted to prayer, watchful and thankful; God will open doors (Col 4:2-6)
  • We’d share not only the gospel but our lives (1 Thes 2:8)
  • Strongholds demolished (2 Cor 10:3-5)
  • Spirit of unity (Rom 15:5-6) as we reflect 
  • Christ’s love (John13:34-35)
  • Stay focused on His glory (Ps 115:1)
  • Protection from the evil one (John 17:15)
  • Travel mercies (Ezra 8:21)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Runoff Election Postponed until March 25th

Senegal’s electoral commission on Monday set the date for a runoff vote between incumbent president Abdoulaye Wade (pictured) and challenger Macky Sall for 25 March. Click on the link below to rad more ...

Link to Article

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Election Runoff Set for March 18 at the earliest

Three days after the initial vote on February 26, Senegal's National Census Commission announced the provisional results of Sunday's election.  President Abdoulaye Wade faced 13 opponents and needed 50 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff election -- something he did not achieve it. Mr. Wade received 942,546 ballots or 34.82 percent of the votes cast. Former Senegal Prime Minister, Macky Sall, received 26% of the vote. The run-off vote is scheduled for March 18 but could be delayed to March 25.
Click on this link to read more ...

Mission Inter Senegal is praising God for the peaceful election process last Sunday. MIS has made some adjustments to our visit. Our current plan to is spend Saturday and Sunday in the village of B. Travel is restricted on the highways on Sunday when the run-off vote is planned.

Tentative Schedule:
Thursday, March 15 - Leave Washington, DC 5PM
Friday, March 16 - Arrive Dakar Senegal 5:30AM (Senegal time)

  • Rest and sightseeing in Dakar
  • Orientation

Saturday, March 17 - Dakar
  • Medical Clinic in Dakar for the street boys (Talibe Boys)
  • Travel to Thies
Sunday, March 18 - Village of B
  • Travel to Village for Worship Service
  • Meet with sponsored children
  • Meet with Chief and village Elders
  • Spend the night in village
Monday, March 19 - Village of N
  • Medical clinic
  • Spend the night in village
Tuesday, March 20 - Village of N
  • Medical clinic
  • Travel back to Thies
Wednesday, March 21 - Travel to Village
  • Morning in Thies
  • Potential visit to World Vision sponsored children in Tattaguine
  • Travel to Babak (1pm); Kids Games
  • Jesus film and spend the night in village
Thursday, March 22 - Village of B
  • Door to door visits
  • Present mosquito net gift
  • Travel back to Thies
Friday, March 23 - Travel back to Dakar
  • Debriefing in the morning
  • Travel to Dakar
  • Sight seeing/shopping in Dakar
  • Go to airport
Saturday, March 24 - Return home
  • Flight leaves Dakar at 1:15AM (Senegal time) and arrives in Washington, DC 6:30AM
  • Arrive at CFC before noon.