On mission in your own country: visiting colleagues in Northern Senegal

How do you find food for the cattle in the dry season? How do you make a tasty meal from a sheep’s leg? How do people from the Fula nomadic people greet each other? What is it like to be the only Christian living in a village? Why are the Fula so long? Why is typhoid fever common in the region?

With a group of Senegalese colleagues from different parts of the country, we’re on a peer-to-peer visit to the savannah of Northern Senegal. I know the region well, but for the others this is their first visit to this mission clinic with a hospital under construction in the Fulani area. There is no church nearby and life is not easy for the Christians who work in the clinic as they are confronted with different forms of persecution. Although my travel companions are Senegalese, they do not know this part of the country and we learn a lot about the Fulani culture and living and working in this area.

We help for in the clinic, we visit the hospital and listen to the vision, we share testimonies and we hear the challenges colleagues face. We cook, eat together and have a lot of fun and we learn from each other. During the day, the staff of a Christian clinic at 140 kilometers distance joins us for the first regional prayer meeting for northern Senegal.

As is often the case, something happened that wanted to steal our joy: on the way home one of the cars suddenly lost a tire. A life-threatening situation where the car became uncontrollable and crossed over the runway for oncoming traffic, crashing into the bushes on the roadside. This could have been catastrophic, but miraculously nobody was injured. The hours we spent on the grass, waiting for the car mechanic, were perhaps the best of the trip. There was prayer, singing and relationships forged that will bear fruit for a long time. This is only the beginning of our joint mission in our own country.

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Familie Kieviet in Senegal