Reflections on the West Africa mission

Kelsey Emmons (age 19),
College Hills Baptist Church, San Angelo:
“My short trip to West Africa changed my worldview more than I ever anticipated it would. The poverty and difference in culture struck me hard, but God taught me things that I will never forget. I had to learn my weaknesses and also how to adapt to my surroundings because different types of people must be reached in different ways. While I was in West Africa, I felt the call of God to a long-term commitment to missions.

Never before had I considered being a full-time missionary. Suddenly I realized that this was what I was called to do. No matter where I am, I am to be on mission. We are all called to be ambassadors for Christ. Maybe I won’t be in Africa, but I do plan to pursue this career field after I graduate college.”

Rebekah Bartley (age 16),
Slide Baptist Church, Lubbock:
“Coming to Africa is scary and even more scary to come to a Muslim country. If I had not come, God would not have used me like he did. Meeting with people I didn’t know at all and trusting them with my life was a big step out of my comfort zone. God opened my heart to the Songhai people and to the people whom I worked with. I have never felt more at home than when I was in West Africa because that is where God told me to go. And, home is living in the center of God’s will. Also, it was challenging to step away from American ways and slow down and be flexible.”

Celeste Rowan (age 45),
Coastal Oaks Church, Rockport:
“The greatest thing I saw in West Africa was that God can move and work in a Muslim world. The people are so dry both mentally and physically. The Wombles (IMB missionaries) are able to bring living water to a dry and parched nation. I never was fearful because any fears about food or people were not a problem. If God is calling you to join him, then don’t let Satan overpower you with fears. Satan wants to keep the Songhai people wrapped in the Muslim faith and living in a dark and fearful existence without hope. So, allow God to use you in a mighty and powerful way by ministering to the Songhai people of West Africa!”

Brandi Thompson (age 17),
First Baptist Church of Forney:
“The trip to West Africa is one that I will never forget. The Songhai people are amazing. The children have captured my heart. It was incredible to see how the children could just absorb all of the stories of the life of Jesus and how the smiles on their faces would shine when they learned something new and were praised for it. It was inspiring to see what God did in such a short amount of time in their little hearts. My favorite memory was all of the kids running to the car and grabbing our hands to lead us into the village. One thing that was extremely challenging was the poverty, death and hopelessness. Tears were flowing inside of me daily. My prayers will never cease and I am more willing to share Jesus now with whomever I meet.”

Amy Horton (age 23),
Family Life Fellowship, Amarillo:
“Going to Africa was such a unique experience unlike any other mission trip I’ve been on. The Songhai are such a hurting and lost group of people. It’s so amazing to see God’s love and glory in the midst of such a poverty-stricken land. It is incredible and truly a miracle of God that these people are turning away from their Islamic beliefs and searching for truth in Jesus Christ. I feel honored that God would use me in West Africa to be a light in just one person’s world. I pray that as a group we were able to relay a sense of hope that there is freedom in the cross, and at least spark some curiosity to learn more about Christ.

One of the many things that God showed me here in Africa is how much we really do need him ? We’ve been taught to be independent and self-sufficient so it’s almost considered a weakness to admit that we cannot do it on our own. If I was put in this environment for a long-term period of time, I can see how I would learn to completely rely on him. God revealed himself to me and showed me that I am nothing without him. He opened back up that place in my heart that hungers and thirsts for more of him. God showed me just how much my life is not about me, but about living a sacrificial life for his sake.”

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