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Vieraskieliset / In-english

Mis­si­on Trip to Gam­bia and Se­ne­gal

Päivämies-verkkolehti
Vieraskieliset / In-english
16.2.2016 15.00

Juttua muokattu:

1.1. 23:26
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God bles­sed our trip, this was how we ex­pe­rien­ced it. In Gam­bia and Se­ne­gal there is a small but gro­wing group of brot­hers and sis­ters, a cong­re­ga­ti­on that wants to en­de­a­vour in faith. They wish to have more ser­vi­ces and they want to hear the gos­pel.

Juk­ka Kol­mo­nen and I left for a mis­si­on trip to Gam­bia and Se­ne­gal on 3rd De­cem­ber 2015.

On Sa­tur­day mor­ning we got up af­ter a good night’s sleep. Our af­ter­noon prog­ram inc­lu­ded ser­vi­ces in Ker­ser, which were or­ga­ni­zed by a brot­her na­med Yu­suf. His grand­fat­her is the head imam of the Mus­lims in Gam­bia. We sang an ope­ning song from the Ame­ri­can song­book. Then I kept a ser­mon from the Shep­herd’s Psalm 23.

God is our re­fu­ge in all si­tu­a­ti­ons of life. We felt that the lis­te­ners had a hun­ger for the Holy Word. Af­ter Juk­ka’s ser­mon we had a dis­cus­si­on on the fun­da­men­tal qu­es­ti­ons of righ­te­ous­ness of faith. The ser­vi­ces had a warm at­mosp­he­re.

On Sun­day mor­ning we woke up at around 7. I re­mem­be­red that the In­de­pen­den­ce Day was being ce­leb­ra­ted in our home count­ry. Three home ser­vi­ces were inc­lu­ded in the af­ter­noon prog­ram. At the first ser­vi­ces, which were held at brot­her Al­fons’ home in the vil­la­ge of Bu­sum­ba­la, there were fif­teen child­ren and six adults pre­sent.

I read a text from Chap­ter 6 (ver­ses 5–13) of the Gos­pel of St Mat­t­hew, which inc­lu­des the Lord’s Pra­yer. The hos­ting coup­le as­ked me to ser­ve in French be­cau­se the wife un­ders­tood it bet­ter than Eng­lish. And I did so. The ser­vi­ce gu­ests lis­te­ned at­ten­ti­ve­ly. Most of them al­so as­ked to hear the gos­pel for them­sel­ves.

Juk­ka’s ser­mon was from the Gos­pel of St John (3:1–16). It de­alt with Ni­co­de­mus’ vi­sit to Je­sus at night. On­ly a per­son who has been born again can un­ders­tand what the Spi­rit re­ve­als. Our tem­po­ral wis­dom will not re­ach that un­ders­tan­ding.

The fol­lo­wing ser­vi­ces were kept in the vil­la­ge of Gun­ku­ja­ma Ja­ta­ja, where we vi­si­ted the vil­la­ge chief Al­ga­lo’s home. The yard was full of pla­ying child­ren who wel­co­med us cheer­ful­ly. When the child­ren be­gan to make too much noi­se, the vil­la­ge chief, who was sit­ting on the porch, scol­ded them. Im­me­di­a­te­ly there was comp­le­te si­len­ce. The aut­ho­ri­ty of the chief was ab­so­lu­te. We held ser­vi­ces on the porch of his hou­se.

I ser­ved in Eng­lish and Ala­gie trans­la­ted the ser­mon in­to the lo­cal lan­gu­a­ge. In my speech I dis­cus­sed God’s plan for the sal­va­ti­on of man­kind (John 3:16).

Sun­day's third ser­vi­ce was al­so held in Gun­ku­ja­ma Ja­ta­ja. We gat­he­red at the home of a sis­ter na­med Tress Go­mez. Her hus­band Fran­cis Go­mez was not at home. He works far away, being se­pa­ra­ted from his lar­ge fa­mi­ly for months at a time, which re­qui­res a lot of ef­fort from the fa­mi­ly mem­bers. The home and the yard were fen­ced by a stone wall, which pro­tec­ted the fa­mi­ly’s sheep, pigs and chic­kens that wal­ked around the yard du­ring the ser­vi­ce.

Juk­ka ser­ved, ad­d­res­sing es­pe­ci­al­ly to the mot­her of the fa­mi­ly. His text was Psalm 139, where the wri­ter ad­mi­res the mi­ra­cu­lous­ness of God's cre­a­ti­on and al­so points out that the Fat­her sees the dist­ress of His child and knows his or her eve­ry­day needs. The mot­her was mo­ved by our vi­sit and was thank­ful for the com­for­ting words.

On Mon­day we went to the home of Ala­gie's mot­her, where his three lit­t­le sis­ters were pre­sent. The yo­un­gest sis­ter al­so came home from school with her back­pack. One of the ol­der girls wor­ked hard around the clock sel­ling items at the mar­ket for their in­co­me, as ot­her big girls al­so did.

Ala­gie's mot­her brought an alu­mi­num plat­ter full of food: rice and fried cat­fish, which was re­al­ly tas­ty. We ate sit­ting on the floor. All the men took food from the plat­ter with their right hand, while Juk­ka and I used a spoon.

On Tu­es­day we vi­si­ted Wal­ly Mben­ga in his hou­se. This 40-ye­ar-old man, a for­mer Mus­lim, told us of his faith, which is of great im­por­tan­ce to him. Wal­ly joi­ned us when, la­ter in the coo­ling af­ter­noon, we went to Ja­ban­gi to Men­dy’s home, which is lo­ca­ted in a ru­ral en­vi­ron­ment. Chic­kens, pigs and ducks al­so wal­ked on this yard.

Juk­ka star­ted the ser­vi­ce and spoke from the Book of Isai­ah (40:5–8). The ser­mon exp­lai­ned about the short­ness and fra­gi­li­ty of hu­man life and inst­ruc­ted us to be al­wa­ys re­a­dy and to re­mem­ber that God's word is ever­las­ting.

My text (Mat­t­hew 5:1–13) was from the Ser­mon on the Mount. The main the­mes of the speech were: “bles­sed are the poor in the spi­rit, for they will be com­for­ted” and “righ­te­ous­ness of faith te­ac­hes us to keep a good and clean cons­cien­ce”.

The Eng­lish lan­gu­a­ge is­sue of Sii­o­nin Lä­he­tys­leh­ti for Af­ri­can mis­si­on work arou­sed a lot of in­te­rest af­ter the ser­vi­ces. School­girls were skil­l­ful­ly dra­wing pic­tu­res on the smooth sand.

On Thurs­day mor­ning Juk­ka went jog­ging and met a Mus­lim man. At first they dis­cus­sed bu­si­ness, but then they mo­ved on to mat­ters of faith. The man gave his name and phone num­ber and said he would be like to hear more.

Du­ring the same round of jog­ging Juk­ka met a wo­man and al­so dis­cus­sed faith with her. She was a Mus­lim, and Juk­ka exp­lai­ned to her how pro­found­ly mer­ci­ful God is. Fi­nal­ly Juk­ka as­ked if she wan­ted to be­lie­ve her sins for­gi­ven. She pro­mi­sed to do so. She gave her phone num­ber, which Juk­ka then gave to Ala­gie.

When going to the third place for ser­vi­ces we had a prob­lem: the vi­si­ting pre­si­dent’s dri­ving rou­te cros­sed ours and many of the big­ger streets were clo­sed. When dark­ness was al­re­a­dy fal­ling, we fi­nal­ly ar­ri­ved at Men­dy’s home in La­mas. Juk­ka spoke first from St. John (10:1–4) about the Good Shep­herd and about the examp­le of a child’s faith.

My speech was from St. John (3:16). I exp­lai­ned about the es­sen­ce of the triu­ne God, the re­con­ci­li­a­ti­on by the Son and the work of the Spi­rit in the cong­re­ga­ti­on, which cal­ls, gat­hers, en­ligh­tens and sanc­ti­fies pe­op­le to be­co­me child­ren of God eve­ryw­he­re.

There were about twen­ty lo­cal gu­ests plus those who had come in our car. Ap­p­ro­xi­ma­te­ly half of them were child­ren. The ser­vi­ces, which had a nice at­mosp­he­re, en­ded when it was al­re­a­dy dark.

On Fri­day the mo­bi­le phone woke us up at six o’clock. We were to go to Mbour. We he­a­ded to the ri­ver­si­de, where the fer­ries de­par­ted. The fer­ry cros­sed the ri­ver in less than an hour and we ar­ri­ved in Bar­ra. Af­ter a while we were at the bor­der of Se­ne­gal and our pas­s­ports were stam­ped. We con­ti­nu­ed our tra­vel to Mbour, and in the af­ter­noon we cros­sed the ri­ver one more time.

While wai­ting, we watc­hed the draught of a sei­ne net close to the shore. The ef­fort was suc­ces­s­ful: five big and a coup­le of smal­ler con­tai­ners were fil­led up. The catch inc­lu­ded all sorts of fish, as in the pa­rab­le in the Bib­le.

Sa­tur­day mor­ning daw­ned qui­te cool, which me­ant +20 deg­rees Cel­sius. In the af­ter­noon, the tem­pe­ra­tu­re rose to over +33 deg­rees. We left for the ser­vi­ce place, which had been ren­ted from a lo­cal school. Phi­lip Sene gree­ted us in the school yard. The lar­ge num­ber of ser­vi­ce gu­ests con­sis­ted main­ly of school-aged child­ren. There were about 10 to 15 adults.

In the ser­vi­ces, Juk­ka read his text from the Acts (2:1–3), which tel­ls of the mi­rac­le of the first Pen­te­cost. God shed his Holy Spi­rit in a vi­sib­le way and the gos­pel was he­ard in many lan­gu­a­ges. Al­so in these ser­vi­ces we pre­ac­hed and in­terp­re­ted in three lan­gu­a­ges.

When le­a­ving the school, a yo­ung man sat down on the front seat of our car for a mo­ment. Ala­gie told us that he was in­te­res­ted in our faith and as­ked me to exp­lain things to him in French. Af­ter our short con­ver­sa­ti­on, I as­ked if he wan­ted to be­lie­ve his sins for­gi­ven: “Veux tu croi­re tes pechés par­don­nés?” He wan­ted to be­lie­ve and we bles­sed him. Ala­gie pro­mi­sed to take down his con­tact de­tails so that he could be­co­me a mem­ber of the cong­re­ga­ti­on.

On Sun­day, 13th De­cem­ber, we left around noon to­wards Da­kar. As the dis­tan­ce was on­ly about 75 ki­lo­me­ters, we soon re­ac­hed our des­ti­na­ti­on. For our din­ner we got a de­li­ci­ous ho­me­ma­de meal of chic­ken and rice.

In the ear­ly eve­ning, we be­gan the ser­vi­ces on a roof ter­ra­ce, from which we had a be­au­ti­ful view over the city. There were about 25 ser­vi­ce gu­ests gat­he­red, most­ly yo­ung adults. I ser­ved in French from the 5th chap­ter of the Ga­la­ti­ans, which spe­aks of the fruits of the Spi­rit and, on the ot­her hand, the works of the flesh. Even af­ter re­cei­ving the gift of faith, we cons­tant­ly strug­g­le with our old por­ti­on and grace is our te­ac­her.

Juk­ka spoke brief­ly about the life of Mo­ses (Hebr. 11:13–16). Mo­ses’ choi­ce was to fol­low the flock of God ins­te­ad of stri­ving for tem­po­ral cre­dit. I trans­la­ted the ser­mon in­to French, as this was the lan­gu­a­ge most of the lis­te­ners un­ders­tood.

We con­ti­nu­ed to dis­cuss for a mo­ment and the yo­ung men as­ked us some qu­es­ti­ons. Many of them had their own Bib­les, and I no­ti­ced that some of them see­med know the scrip­tu­res well. The lo­cals ho­ped that they would get more ser­vi­ces to Da­kar. They had a hun­ger for God’s Word.

When le­a­ving for the air­port, we than­ked the host fa­mi­ly for their hos­pi­ta­li­ty. We were ac­com­pa­nied to the air­port by a car­lo­ad of pe­op­le: the fat­her, a lit­t­le sis­ter and a brot­her. The fa­re­well was like for state vi­si­tors – yet we are mem­bers of the same King­dom. Not as mas­ters but as ser­vants.

Text and pho­tos: Ilk­ka Ha­ku­li­nen

Trans­la­ti­on: Eng­lish group of the SRK Mis­si­on Lan­gu­a­ge Pro­ject / M.A., A.H., K.H., T.S., S-L.L.

The text was pub­lis­hed in Fin­nish in on­li­ne Päi­vä­mies on 18 Dec. 2015

2.7.2020

Minä kuu­lun si­nul­le. Pe­las­ta mi­nut! Si­nun sää­dös­te­si mu­kaan minä tah­don elää. Minä olen kuin ek­sy­nyt lam­mas. Et­si mi­nut! Si­nun käs­ky­jä­si minä en unoh­da. Ps. 119:94,176

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