May 2019

Thank you so much for your continued prayer - we really appreciate it.

We definitely saw an answer to prayer during our holiday… we are all well rested. We stayed in a lodge up river called Bintang Balong. The huts we stayed in were situated within the mangrove and sat on the river. Highlights of this holiday included swimming at night where the river was lit up by phosphorescent bacteria; cycling in major heat with bikes that don’t change gear; canoeing - where multiple people ended up getting stuck in the mud and Tim losing a flip flop. However he wasn’t the only person to lose something in the river! Thinking I could catch, I asked Holly (who thought she could throw) to chuck me my GoPro… Lo and behold, we missed and it sank straight to the bottom! I thought it had gone forever, along with all the videos on it. Tim and Hannah were quick to help in the search, but the water was too murky and the floor so muddy that it seemed impossible. Then I prayed. Tom told me where to dive; I dived and my hand felt it and there it was! A mud fight also commenced - which ended with Hannah nearly getting blinded, when Tim blasted some at her eye. Tom reckons if Tim spat before he threw the mud (like Jesus) she’d have been fine.

We all returned safely to the Smile House refreshed. However, it is safe to say some of us are feeling weary and ready to come home. Jess was the final team member to have their birthday here. The team celebrated with a surprise meal from Mama and Hannah (homemade fish and chips). On Saturday we attended the wedding of Sang, a GAMFES staff member (see the photo at the top of the page). We all wore ‘ashobi’ (matching material), thus creating a more budget version of the Von Trap family. It was a really cool experience. Skippy had the opportunity to give a speech to a crowd of 400 people, which he pulled off pretty well. It also gave us a chance to catch up with some of the students we had met on the GAMFES conference. The next day a few of us went Fanta’s compound, a friend of past teams. Her mum made us fish benechin followed by attaya, a very sweet green tea with a ton of caffeine in it.

A new week meant it was time to go back to school after a few weeks off. This was our penultimate week in schools. It’s crazy think that our time here is almost up. Relationships with teachers are growing which is a real encouragement. Allie is seemingly showered with gifts and Amy has had her hair braided by her teachers. Those who were at Glory Baptist (Lydia, Amy and Tim), who moved to CCLK school are very happy with the decision. They have settled in fast and feel as though they are being more of a help than a hindrance, which is a huge answer to prayer.

Even though we’ve been here for almost five months, it’s proving that there is still a language difference which leads to some pretty funny situations. While in our GAMFES meeting discussing the recent conference, one of the staff was talking about how in past years staff used to sleep with the students! This caused an uproar of laughter from the team as this obviously has very different connotations back home! It’s always an encouragement being with the GAMFES staff, as we read the bible together and they share advice with us about the schools and so on.

Every afternoon has been filled with painting Aunty Helen’s nursery. It’s so much fun, yet at times quite stressful. Nearly everyone is getting involved, meaning its getting closer to the finish at rapid speed. A couple of evenings this week we’ve had people over for dinner/tea/supper (this is a big debate in the compound). It has been really lovely to be able to welcome people in and get to know them more, although it’s probably quite daunting for them coming into a hectic house of eleven!

Midweek, team members help out at two different kids’ clubs. Last week Tom, Amy and Holly had the opportunity to hand out Samaritans Purse shoeboxes – it was great for them to be able to see this charity at work, as this is something many of our home churches partake in.

Skippy’s seminars continue to be helpful to us all. We recently looked at the topic of life after death. This was a huge encouragement and a sobering reminder of what’s to come. Why worry about the problems in this life when we have an eternity of glory with Christ to come? It made me think of this verse:

‘I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.’ – Romans 8:18

From Caleb, on behalf on the rest of the Gambia team.

Give thanks for:

  • A restful holiday
  • Continued safety
  • Another year of life for Jess
  • Being able to socialize with Fanta at her compound and welcome others into ours
  • Tim, Lydia and Amy settling into their new school (CCLK)
  • Discipleship opportunities including seminars and bible studies

Pray for:

  • Revival and energy in these last few weeks to seize every opportunity according to the gospel
  • Finishing on a good note in schools this week
  • The painting at the nursery, that it’d be completed with limited stress
  • George as he continues to meet with ‘S’ and that ‘S’ would find gospel clarity