Senegal Broke Ground This Weekend on a New Church
By Colleagues in Africa
On Saturday, May 30, 2020, we broke ground for a permanent place of worship. The story behind the ceremony for a new church building began years ago. After decades of missionary work, there are only about 100 Wolof believers. Out of those 100 believers, less than a third attend church on a regular basis. This breaks our hearts. When we spoke to some of them, they shared several reasons for not attending.
- “It doesn’t feel sacred.” They desire a formal place of worship.
- “It doesn’t feel Senegalese.” The worship style of most churches is imported.
- “They can’t understand it.” It is in French instead of Wolof, their heart language.
- “They can’t find it.” Many Dakar churches rent houses. The rented houses do not feel like a sacred place to worship. The rented houses are in obscure neighborhoods and are often forced to move every few years.
Because of this, we felt it was important to start a church, but we wanted it to be Senegalese. We desired to plant a church in partnership with our church association. After talking and praying with them for a long time, they finally came to us and said, “We need a church in Dakar for our young people. They are full of faith when they leave the villages for work or school in the city and they come back lost.”
Since then, we have strategized and prayed with the association.
In 2015, we were able to purchase land. This land is centrally located on a busy street in a popular neighborhood very close to the central bus station, market, mayor’s office, and hospital. The land was not cheap, but God mobilized the church in the United States of America to help us raise $100,000. Obstacles blocked our path numerous times.
Our first architect died suddenly; someone who said they would help us legalize our land ended up cheating us of time and money; and waiting for government approval took a long time, too. God’s timing is always perfect, however. As we endured these difficulties together, our relationships, our resolve to plant this needed church, and our prayer life were strengthened. Answered prayer happened in each of these situations.
Our association president introduced us to Mr. B., a certified architect close to retiring from his position in the government urban planning office. He re-designed our building to better suit our needs and helped us navigate the complicated process of getting all the proper authorizations from the government. He calls us brothers in Christ.
We had a prayer of dedication for the land and the building on Saturday, May 30. On Tuesday, June 2, 2020 (the day after the Pentecost holiday) we will begin laying the foundations of the building. As we reflect on what God has done in the past, we see how God has paved our way.
Leopold Diouf, the head of the WorldVenture related Association of Churches (called L’Association des Eglises Evangeliques Baptistes du Sénégal), noted that the five-story church building and community center will be built between a Pharmacy and a medical clinic. Diouf said, “This church building will be a place where people will be prayed for to be made well.” Indeed, it is our prayer that in this building and through this project many will find Christ and spiritual healing.
As building begins next week, WorldVenture in Senegal is praying for three crucial relationships:
- Unity with WorldVenture and the church association (AEEBS)
- The building company, the owner, engineers, builders, and laborers
- The neighborhood to look positively on this project so that they will come and find a place to worship the one true God
We see how the Lord has already provided and we have faith that He will continue to provide for this 5-story church, community center and parsonage.
- $100,000 for land,
- $200,000 on hand for building
- $200,000 needed to finish the building.
Individuals have already given from $25 to $10,000 to the project. Two churches gave $50,000 each. Another gave $10,000 and another $35,000. This added up to the amount needed to build all five stories of the core structure of this project. We move ahead in faith believing the last $200,000 will come, too.
We desire to leave a legacy for the church in Senegal. This structure will provide a place to come and worship in a way that feels like home to the Senegalese for many generations.
And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. – Luke 14:23
Want to help? Click here: The project is 6403-914 – Titled: Church Building and Community Center.
Want to pray for them and encourage others to pray? Click here