The story of a God who moves
This is an adventure about imperfect people who travelled to an imperfect place to share the love of the Perfect Father. On the eve of 2017, five varied individuals were welcomed by the sweaty Senegalese sunshine. They felt a divine call to go to Senegal for a month to join him in his already present work. The team consisted of the leaders Tallulah and Melina, Lilie, myself (Lucy) and Sam (bravely the only boy!).
From our multi-flavored trip, I’ll try provide you with at least an appetizer of time. Disclaimer: Africa is a such a place which does not really allow words to capture it fully ; and when God is involved, words become less and less adequate…but I will try my best.
’Il m’a expliqué tout’ – He explained everything to me.
So with the initial arrangement of our AirBNB being cancelled the night before we flew out, Talulah and Melina really had to dive into taking a hold of God’s guidance. As is his way, MamaDou became an accommodation availability in their search.
MamaDou’s advert was not very comprehensive. Other than a photo of the man himself, MamaDou, there was very little information. With almost no rational knowledge,
God paved his way. As Talulah and Mels prayed, they really felt as though God wanted us to meet MamaDou. Since we’d found that God seems to have slightly more life experience than us (funny that), we went for it.
25 hours later we pulled up chez MamaDou. Sam had his hand slung out the window, in an attempt to secure our surfboards onto the roof of the taxi until the final moment! As we peeled ourselves out of the taxi, we were met by little Amena; who ran out with her spunky little braids and hugged us.
Jenoba was out next, then Mattie and Fallou.This greeting would be a foreshadowing of the tornado of children who would follow us around for the next 8 days. We were welcomed into the house and lavished with baguette and choc-spread. MamaDou’s house was not the African hut we were expecting. It was modern day central, even the tiniest of the kids was familiar with tablets.
Over the next few days we were plunged into the reality of being surrounded by shrieking and crying. The beautiful chocolate faces that surrounded us ranged from 2-12 years old. We had to really lean into God for patience and strength during many moments with the little ones. We spent much time interceding for unity and peace in the family.
The eldest, Fallou had a quiet curiosity with us. He unashamedly joined us in worship and prayer times. While we prayed, or sang worships songs, he listened intently. He took a special liking to Sam. I think he was rather intrigued by the crazy boy doing a 30 day fast solely on juice.
But he was most surprised when he learned why: Sam said that he was doing it “to get closer to Jesus’ heart.” For sweet, little Fallou this was wildly beyond his norm.
Sam and Fallou’s friendship blossomed. Sam showed an interest in what Fallou was learning in his Koran lessons and this was reciprocated with Fallou’s interest in Sam’s ‘Jesus friend.
Sam made an effort to speak French to Fallou. What was really beautiful was that Talulah had actually received a sense of this happening before we even arrived in Senegal. In France, during a time of prayer for Senegal, Talulah had a clear sense that Sam would meet a boy to whom he would be a big brother. This was definitely playing out in a real way.
On one of the sunny African afternoons spent in at MamaDou, Fallou came and sat down by Talulah, his Islam guidebook in hand. As Fallou landed on the practice of fasting as one of the requirements of Islam, he asked, “Is this why Sam is fasting?” Understandably, it took him a few explanations to grasp why Sam was fasting when it wasn’t Ramadan.
Talulah was able to share that God speaks to us and had actually spoken to Sam about doing a 30 day fast. This led to Talulah being able to share that Jesus is alive right now and that when we seek him, we find him.
“Right now, he will come right now?” Fallou remarked, awakened.
“Yes, right now.”
Before Talulah could share any more Fallou had left.
20 minutes later, Fallou returned and sat down on the armrest of Talulah chair. “How was it?” she asked.
‘I prayed the Muslim prayer,’ he said shyly.
“Did he come?” She asked.
“But did you feel a change in your heart?”
‘Yes’ he said, with a shining in his eyes.
The next day really encouraged us as Fallou came home excitedly.
“How are you doing? Did you talk to Jesus?” Talulah asked.
‘Yes’ he said excited. ‘Everything I asked, he did.’
“Wow!…really? What happened?”
‘Well today, during school, I really didn’t understand the lesson and I prayed to Jesus to help me and just like that, I understood.’
It was refreshing to be reminded how Jesus meets us where we are at. He cares enough about the simple things; He meets a young schoolboy struggling with math.
Why? He cares about revealing His faithfulness.
Then we were off. The family was sad to see us go but we promised to be back to visit on Mattie’s birthday – our last day in Senegal. After grand adventures helping to renovate the Nyokobok Hostel and working in Teem Bi school, the last day rolled around more quickly than we had expected. We made our way over to MamaDou’s house. We were excited to hear how Fallou and our old friend Jesus were getting along.
We spoke to his brother, Babserene, too. Did Jesus speak to you?
‘Yes, he spoke to me,’.
“What did he tell you?’ I asked him, excitedly.
Babserene calmly recounted to me how Jesus had spoken to him:
He came to me and told me “I respect everyone. You need to respect your mom and your dad and everyone.”
Babserene also recounted how Jesus had told him to work in peace and how he had replied said “YES.”
Gob smacked. “Who told you this?” I asked, just to confirm.
‘The son of God,’ he said. ‘He knocked on the door and I said “ Come in.” ‘
“Which door?” I asked him. He pointed upstairs to the door that led to the room that we had spent many hours worshipping and interceding for this family.
“How old was he?” I asked.
“I didn’t see him but I heard his voice and He explained everything to me.”
« What did he explain to you? » I asked Babserene.
‘He explained everything to me.’ WOOOOW.
“For example, what did he say to you?”
“For example, he said that when somebody dies, the Son of God arrives “He saves him and he takes him to his