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Stories of Senegal

Mary David

Posted by Shannon Colwin on

The photo was taken on my wife Mary's first trip to Godel, probably our fifth or sixth trip.   It shows the pastor in the village, Joseph, and his wife, Angel, along with Mary holding Angel's baby, Mary David (pronounced mahREE daVEED). 

Joseph had asked two years prior to this photo if I would bring Mary the following year.  Initially, I told him Mary could not come because she worked for the school district and the district would not let her take time off work to do that.  Joseph asked again the next year if I would bring Mary, and I promised him then that I would bring Mary the following year.

When we arrived in Godel the next year we learned that Mary David was born just a few days before our arrival.  Joseph told me on our second trip to the village that we could send the village money and the people would know we care but when we come to the village ourselves they know we love them.  Joseph told me on this trip a bit of a spin on that statement.  He said that when I come to the village they know I care but when I promised to bring Mary they knew I love them.  Three months after we left the village the year before Mary David was born, Angel became pregnant.  Joseph and Angel then decided that if the baby was a girl they would name it Mary and if the baby was a boy they would name it David.  For whatever reason they used both of our names.

This story shows how important it is for us to visit and spend time with the people in Godel and beyond.  Some people think it is better to give money than to do a mission trip.  A number of years ago I read a letter to the editor in Relevant magazine by a Christian rocker in which he said he had gone on a mission trip to someplace in Africa and he would rather give the money to the people than go on another trip.  He obviously didn't understand how important it was to be WITH people.  We sometimes set up false dichotomies - either/or.  This is one of those situations in which it isn't either/or.  The people need money.  They also need people who will spend time WITH them.  Our relationship with God is similar to that.  God wants us to be His disciples and spend our money, our time, our talent, etc, for those things that He cares about, but just as important, perhaps more important, is His desire to for us to spend time WITH Him.

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