Wednesday, October 14, 2009
His Face Told the Story
You could see it all over his face… the doctor pulled back a tattered blanket form the child’s face and leaned in to examine her. The mother of the child walked about eight miles in near 100 degree heat after hearing a doctor would be at a neighboring village. The child’s neck was nonexistent due to a large growth which was slowly choking her.
Back in the Philadelphia area this tumor would have been treated when it was very small but now it threatened the child’s life. The sounds of gurgling and low gasps for breath made your stomach turn. Tears rolled from the mothers eyes as the doctor looked at the child slowly, turning her head from side to side as he poked and prodded with his fingers gingerly. This small little girl just laid there allowing this white stranger whom she had never seen examine her. Suddenly, the doctor yelled out, “Take this girl into the medical hut now and prepare her for surgery!"
The doctor was part of a team whose medical office is one of eleven partners that are in partnership with the Senegalese group I am helping. I have been hard at work implementing a restructuring strategy that I developed nearly two years ago so that this organization will not fail.
Senegal is a country whose population is about 95% Muslim. The organizational (which I do not want to mention) goal is to establish a church in 400 Islamic villages in a triangular region in interior Senegal. This project has challenged me to help with the installation of a new French accounting system, work thought the development and installation of a new business model which will create a positive cash flow, building reserve accounts, a financial tracking system, restructuring programs and personnel from a vision which is causing “death by program proliferation” to a more streamlined ministry approach which is manageable and healthy.
My goal is simple, to assist this national organization to become independent, effective and sustainable in its approach to the region’s needs, and the management and growth of the organization so that Jesus can be introduced to a hundred thousand people. If this region is ever going to be reached it must be done through national workers, not relying on Europeans or American for the total solution.
The churches that are established bring hope through meeting tangible needs like clean water, health care, economic development, literacy, and of course the gospel.
In Senegal successful churches are those that impact people through a holistic approach of word and deed. Imagine a country of 60% to 70% unemployment… imagine children dying of simple diseases like polio, dysentery, and measles… Imagine famine and starvation simply because it does not rain, imagine walking five or more miles just go get dirty water to drink and cook with so you can feed your children and where only eight other nations in the world are more dangerous to give birth in for mothers. The work is hard but it has begun and today we are working in sixty-four villages and churches have been established in thirty-one. We must continue!
"As the people moved the little girl to health hut, which was built in partnership with the national organization, they prepared the child for surgery and after 30 minutes the large growth was removed. The mother was sent home with antibiotics and was asked to bring the child to another village where the group was going to work in a four days. When the child and her month showed up they both walked into the village. The child ran and embraced the doctor who broke down in tears…" This is the joy of partnership. This is the reward of your investment. This is the results you share in.
Please continue to keep our work in your prayers. This organization is not out of the woods yet. We are presently working to develop and train a new leadership team to run the processes in a way which serves the partners and staff well.
I will be in Senegal again November 10th to the 18th. In addition to going deeper on this work I’ll be in discussion with an additional ministry whose focus is in the capital city of Dakar, population two-million. This partnership is working to help urban churches multiply. I will be discussing the potential of developing a partnership between this ministry and North American churches and businesses. One last part of this trip is that I will be starting a discussion with a third ministry in Mali. Once again we will lay out a potential partnership which will also allow North American churches and businesses to engage with two unreached people groups… the Fulani and the Black Moor.
Blessings and thanks,