Senegal is 95% Muslim, 3% hold to their indigenous beliefs and 2% Christians. Even with the large population of Islam, we have religious freedom. We have witnessed hundreds come to Christ during our evangelical campaigns during outreach weekends. We are overwhelmed with delight when someone tells us the words we shared from our book (the Bible) came to them in their dreams. We praise Him when a non-believer witnesses to others that our God listens and answers prayers; he has seen it. We have witnessed the growth of His church. We are blessed to be part of it.
Our desire is to reflect Christ so that those around us see and desire to know Him. Pray that we might have a healthy balance in our ministry, spiritual and personal lives.
I, Darl, was raised in southern Ohio. At the age of 16, I began to work in residential construction and attended a non-typical High school my junior and senior years, improving my building skills. In 1980 I joined the union building trades, working in many of the high-rises, offices and buildings in and around the greater Cincinnati area.
While my family attended church, I did not have a relationship with Christ until my late 20s.
I, Jill was also raised in Southern Ohio. I attended a vocational school my junior and senior years in H.S. and am a certified architectural draftsperson. I was also in my late 20s when I accepted Christ.
We met in high school and the rest is history. We had three children, Ericka, Ashlie and Travis and a wonderful life. It was not long after we heard a missionary speak I, Darl, thought, I would love to do that!! I, Jill remember thinking I could never do that! After two years of praying and preparing, the Lord graciously allowed us to combine our skills of architecture, building and experience a wonderful short-term ministry in Cote d’Ivoire in 1993. This confirmed our path and we were appointed as career missionaries in 1996.
Over the past 22 years, we have been designing, constructing, maintaining and remodeling. We designed a women’s clinic, a missionary’s house, and several additions to existing buildings. We have taken part in building 20 churches, a dorm, security wall and a school building. We have remodeled classrooms, an auditorium, bathrooms, apartments, front office reception area and many more areas at Dakar Academy. We could never do this alone. God has blessed us with very talented and skilled African crews.
We still minister in West Africa but now in a country called Senegal. Senegalese are relational people but it takes time and can be complicated when trying to develop a meaningful relationship. By God’s design I, Darl, have a commonality, construction. At the end of the day, there is great satisfaction to see things accomplished; it gives everyone a sense of worth. There is a hunger for hope, assurance, stability and love. What an honor to not only work with these men and women but to be able to speak into their lives, sharing and encouraging them with the truth that Christ cares for them as He does us.
I, Jill, am in charge of the housing, event coordinating and campus hostess for Dakar Academy. I love using my design gifting to set up and decorate apartments and making events memorable. With these responsibilities I can’t manage by myself, so I work closely with the maintenance department. I also have a “team” of artists, in the market and around Dakar. My intent has been to help them utilize their gifting also. With my designs and their talents we have created beautiful art that is now in high demand. In Senegal, at the end of the day it is about the relationships. My desire is to fashion a relationship with them so they yearn for the relationship with Christ
BUILDING A NEW FUTURE
We are excited to begin a partnership with EMI (Engineering Ministries International), an organization started by Christian engineers. They have decided to base their West Africa office in Senegal. We are still serving with WorldVenture in Senegal. This opportunity will allow us to focus more on our gifts of evangelism, discipleship and construction as we help to design a world of hope for the physically and spiritually poor.
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve other, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10