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Mission Study Tour Celebrates Evangelical Work in Senegal

By Brenda Wilkinson

General Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church

See also:
Senegal Mission Study Trip Deepens Faith of Young Adults.
Student on Mission Study Tour to Senegal Sees Muslims with New Eyes.

A delegation from the United States on a mission study tour to Dakar, Senegal, December 8-16, 1999, was briefed on evangelical work that the United Methodist Church was doing in Dakar and the surrounding communities of Kaolack, Mbour, Saint-Louis, and Thies.  Two resident missionaries, the Rev. Ndjunga Nkemba of the Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire), and the Rev. Alan Streyffeler of the Northern Illinois Conference, led the discussion .  Summarizing work of the church in Dakar, they spoke of ongoing expansion of the United Methodist Church and of plans to establish new congregations.

With the participation of the mission tour delegation, the Rev. Streyffeler led a litany celebrating the many and various ways in which the United Methodist Church evangelizes in Senegal:

The twenty-four member delegation, sponsored by the General Board of Global Ministries, was composed of clergy, lay persons, college students, seminarians, and staff of the General Board of Global Ministries.  Such mission tours make possible participation in Christian fellowship and on-site visits to places where the United Methodist Church is engaged in mission evangelization.  These tours, within the United States and around the world, provide the opportunity of learning more about church growth and outreach of the denomination, as well as the culture and peoples of a given region.

Senegal, a predominantly Muslim country, is one of four areas (the others are Mali, Chad and Niger) designated in 1986 by directors of the General Board of Global Ministries as possible areas for establishing a United Methodist church or some form of Christian presence by the denomination.  Senegal is the first of the four countries where that goal has been achieved.

During the mission tour, the group worshiped with both Wolof- and English- or French-speaking congregations.  The Rev. Ndjunga Nkemba brought news of ongoing church development.  The Rev. Nkemba, of the Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire), and his wife and children currently serve as missionaries to Senegal.  Others currently serving as missionaries in Senegal are the Rev. Alan and Mrs. Mavis Streyffeler of the Northern Illinois Conference; and Mr. Sebastian and Mrs. Karen Ujereh of Nigeria and the United States.

In addition to their times of fellowship with African Christians, participants visited the following outreach ministries of the United Methodist Church and the missionary community in Senegal:

One of the cultural-educational components of the study tour was a presentation by a representative of the U.S. Embassy on the economic status of Senegal.  Others were visits and lectures at St.-Louis, the original capital of Senegal; the Grand Mosque in Touba; and Gorée Isand, a historical site of departure of Africans who became part of the slave trade.

Personal reflections and expressions of appreciation to host Christians came during closing worship.  Additional leadership for the tour was provided by retired staff person Mrs. Doreen Tilghman (former head of GBGM's Africa/Europe/Middle East desk in the former World Division); by new staff member, Mrs. Una Jones, Executive Secretary for Mission Education; and by Dr. Roderick Mclean, Assistant General Secretary for Mission Education and Leadership Development of Global Ministries.

January 27, 2000

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