December Newsletter 2022
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Our first Christmas at the guesthouse was busy, with all four apartments packed with guests. We began our Christmas season by inviting our guests and some Muslim friends from the community to help us decorate our property. The lights from our Christmas tree and the star on the water tower provide an excellent opportunity to share the story of Christ's birth and why we celebrate Christmas.
Michele invited a missionary from Germany to bake cookies when she found out she would be spending the season mainly by herself as many from her agency were in different parts of The Gambia. We enjoyed baking traditional American Christmas cookies such as gingerbread and chocolate chip, and then we were taught how to bake German cookies. We were delighted she could be part of our family, as this would be her first holiday away from home. After a day of baking, the ABWE Guesthouse staff were happy to take cookies home to their families.
The next day, Patrick traveled to Ndungu Kebbeh to join the ABWE team for a farewell breakfast with cookies for dessert with the Ndungu Kebbeh Health Clinic staff. They were thrilled to get the goodbye sweet treats as they prepared to take on national leadership with the Omega Foundation. While there, Patrick connected with a teacher that Michele had spoken with last month. "His first question to Patrick was, "How do you believe Jesus is God?" What a great opening question! Please pray that God stirs this teacher's heart toward salvation. On Christmas Eve, the church ABWE partnered with hosted a community event, and in true form, they asked Patrick to help set up the audio and video needs after many failed attempts. They read scripture and showed a piece of the Jesus film in Wolof.
On Christmas Day, the church had a wonderful service in celebration of the birth of Jesus. Michele had run a children's choir that sang "Away in a Manger" and an energetic expression of the "12 Days of Christmas," complete with how those days correlate to the Bible. Later that evening, Michele showed a children's program about the birth of Christ in Wolof to some of the community children. She started with many children, and as they realized the truth in the salvation message, their parents told them they were not allowed to finish the film. Michele understood but was disappointed. She collected her things and returned inside. About fifteen minutes later, to Michele's delight, children arrived separately, knocking on the door and asking if they could watch the rest of the film inside. Mark 10:13–16 says, But Jesus said, "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
The day after Christmas, we joined our guests from Norway to witness a baptism in the Atlantic Ocean. Meanwhile, a devout Muslim asked why we were doing the baptism, then began to chastise Patrick for his faith in Jesus before trying to convince him that he should be a Muslim. What a divine opportunity for Patrick to share why God sent us to The Gambia and why God sent Jesus to earth. Patrick loved him through the truth. As they spoke, God inspired a believer from a Muslim background to join in the conversation. As they talked, the Muslim grew increasingly upset since he had not expected such a comprehensive response that completely contradicted what he had been taught his whole life. Please keep this man in your prayers, as Patrick has planted the seed. May God continue to send those to water and help this man's understanding of the truth.
Praise and Prayer Requests
~Pray for the clinic transition to OMEGA Foundation
~Pray for upcoming theological training led by Patrick
~Pray for Alison as she heads back to the USA for training, prayer, R&R, and reporting.
~Praise God for the total funding of the Smith Family’s mission trip to assist us and for those that sent personal gifts for them to bring to us.
For those interested in sending us a few personal items for a late Christmas present here is a registry we created per the request from one of our supporters.