#TeamGambia has arrived safely in Dallas after a long journey home. Everyone is excited for Debriefing. Debriefing is a time Awe Star uses to help each student missionary process and learn to re-tell the “Great Things God Has Done” throughout their trip. This is a time that each team (#TeamPeru, #TeamHungary, #TeamGambia) will come together and share how God has moved uniquely in each country, but also in each person’s personal life.
Please pray for us today as we acclimate to a new time zone and readjust to being back in America. We have had an incredible summer and are excited to hear all the great things God has done in each country.
Today was a day full of laughter and joy as #TeamGambia took a final day to reflect, relax, and re-energize for the travel home.
The team began this morning going to an area where they saw and touched a live crocodile! Just like the monkey park from their last free day, this has become a tradition for teams to experience a taste of the African wild.
After this, the team was divided into small groups to explore the market area and learn to barter like a local! Giving each student a chance to embrace their rite of passage as adults, they were charged with finding lunch for their small group - within their budget - and had to negotiate transportation back to the hotel for a team meeting this evening.
Please pray for us as we fly out tomorrow evening. Pray God continues the work He has begun here in The Gambia. Pray students will have Divine Encounters throughout the travel home.
Pray for Noah Lehew, a team member that will stay for the next five months to continue the follow up work with the church we partner with in Gambia.
Jesus Ministry never stops, even when traveling to and from the mission field!
#TeamGambia started the day off with a session of teaching in Reign On for the girls and Man Up for the guys. A significant part of Awe Star’s trips are dedicated to discipleship.
Awe Star Leaders are trained in giving Biblical teaching specific to guys and girls to help them recognize their uniqueness in Christ and help them understand how to fully walk out their God-given attributes through their gender. Today the team received this teaching!
After their discipleship teaching time, #TeamGambia began their Jesus Ministry by going to the Banjul market. Engaging the crowd through dancing and songs, the team then began the drama. The store owners were all around listening intently as our students shared their personal testimonies and how Awe Star's 'Freedom' drama is really a story of Jesus and the Freedom only He can offer.
One student shared the gospel with a group of Muslim shop owners and as she was talking, a girl from the group asked if the student could explain more about the drama. The young lady had many questions, and was hesitant to receive a relationship with Jesus at first. After a moment of praying with the student, God seemed to awaken her heart and she realized she could not wait any longer; she needed to ask Jesus to be her Savior - right then and there!
At the next ministry site, the team performed the drama very close to a local Mosque. Even as people were leaving their afternoon prayers, many stopped to watch the drama and some gave their lives to Christ, right outside the doors to that same Mosque they had just prayed in! Excited for all the Lord has done thus far, the team pressed in for more ministry.
They traveled to the ‘Bakau’ market area and performed the drama for many of the local taxi drivers and others passing the area. One Muslim boy named Lamin stopped to watch. As he sat on a small rock wall, one team member began to chat with him. They asked Lamin, “Did you see the second meaning to the drama? The one you could only see with your heart?” Lamin said he did not understand that meaning and asked if the student could explain more. Through a Wolof translator, the team member explained the Gospel and Lamin decided to place his faith in Christ.
God continued directing the team towards one last site, by the ocean. As they arrived, the local fishermen and families started to gather around to watch. Many of the people were so excited to see our team perform the drama that they were jumping and clapping at every scene! Our students were tired, but energized by the large crowd that gathered. Each student used this last drama as an act of worship to the One who deserves all our praise - Jesus!
Today was our last day of drama ministry, but tomorrow, even as we allow for a day of rest before travel, Jesus Ministry will continue!
Please continue to pray for #TeamGambia as they finish out their last full day in country tomorrow and prepare to return home. God has been so faithful and we are so grateful to the many souls that have been added to His Kingdom
This Sunday morning #TeamGambia awoke to torrential rain pours that flooded the streets and side roads throughout the city. Because of the intense rains, the team was delayed in going to church this morning. As the team waited, they decided to get in small groups and spend some time in fellowship and prayer.
As the team was gathering one of the youngest team members on the trip (Peggy & Joel’s 10 year old son) asked if he could go to the side grocery store. As he walked the aisle of the store, a Muslim young man who worked at the store approached him and asked him if he would pray for him, in the name of Jesus! A little shocked, Ben ran to get his dad.
Joel went back into the store with Ben and not only prayed with the young worker, but then all the workers came out and he got to pray and share the gospel with the entire store's staff.
What the team thought was a delay was really a pre-arranged divine appointment!
This encounter reminded each of us of Proverbs 16:9, “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.”
After this encounter, the bus was able to make its way through the flooded roads and take everyone to church. After an incredible church service, a small group of #TeamGambia stayed back and held a small medical clinic for church members that had not been seen during the medical part of the trip.
This evening the team regrouped and headed to the beach for an evening of Jesus ministry. Literally hundreds of local Gambians gathered around as the team performed the drama and then went out in ministry teams. It was an incredible day and night of Divine Encounters.
Thank you to everyone that has been praying for us. We see the fruit of all the prayers as we step out each day and boldly share the gospel with so many that have never heard. Please keep praying.
Tomorrow will be our ‘official’ last day of ministry before we leave the country. Jesus Ministry never stops, so we plan to be sharing Jesus until we leave, but tomorrow will be our last day of performing the drama in the markets. Pray our team has a supernatural drive tomorrow, that they will be anointed with passion and energy like never before, to boldly proclaim the Truth.
Imagine stepping foot onto a sandy beach inside a port with wooden fishing boats lined further than the eye could see. Men and women carrying baskets of fish that literally had just been caught in the deep waters.
Today #TeamGambia did Jesus Ministry to the fishermen of The Gambia.
As students began to engage, huge crowds gathered around them. You could only imagine that this is what it felt like when Jesus left his boat and began ministering to the masses.
One encounter today was with a fisherman, and he said,” I saw from out in my boat you people doing this drama a few days ago, but I could not stop working to come see what it was you were doing. I only saw this drama from the waters. I wanted so bad to come see. But today when you came, I was on the shore and I finally got to see what this drama was all about!”
This fisherman was one of many that asked questions and engaged with our students as they shared the gospel with each person. This port is filled with many of the ‘untouchables’ of society; they make their living swimming the ocean and catching fish. They throw their nets, and only hope for food to feed their families. Today we had the privilege to sit with them and do Jesus Ministry.
We got to throw our nets and pray that as we ‘fished for men’ they would come to the knowledge of their need for Jesus. Please continue to pray for us as we continue ministry the remaining days we have her in The Gambia. Our prayer is that as we continue to cast our nets, many would be saved!
Every day #TeamGambia begins their day with a time of worship, prayer, fellowship, and teachings in the Word. Today, students were taught a lesson on the ‘orphan heart’.
Awe Star is a unique ministry because not only do students learn skills in evangelism as they daily go out and engage a foreign culture with the gospel, but they are simultaneously taught to go deeper in their personal relationship with Jesus through discipleship.
Our first ministry site today was a little later in the day because of it being Friday. Friday is a special day in Islamic countries, as it is the day the whole nation stops and every male is expected to go to the local mosque, ceremonially wash, recite prayers (women pray at home) and sit for a 2pm preaching from the Iman (Islamic preacher) of that mosque.
As the nation of Gambia stopped, our students prayed. They prayed “Thy Kingdom come, in Gambia, as it is in Heaven!” They walked diverse areas in groups, prayer walking and taking claim to streets and compounds for the glory of God. When Friday services were finished, #TeamGambia didn’t waste one minute getting back out and boldly sharing the gospel!
This time in the ‘Bakoteh’ fish market, as one team member shared the gospel with a group of students, they paused and asked, “Have you ever heard this message before? This ‘Good News’ that Jesus loves you, died for you, and wants to save you from your sin?”
The response of the students reminded the team of the vast lostness in the hearts of the people. “No, we have never heard this before! We have never heard that Jesus loves us or that He came and died for us - this is the first time!”
They continued to ask, “ so you are saying that if that Good Prince (Jesus in drama) did not die for those people of the land and rescue them from the prison, that they would have to stay in prison forever? That they could never be free?”
Our team member responsed, “That is correct. They could never escape their prison, and neither can you nor I, apart from a relationship with Jesus!”
Gambia is a nation with 16 unreached people groups, many that have no or little scripture translated in their language. Even if they had the scriptures available to them, many cannot read or write. Most of those our team engage with have never been prayed for by a Christian - or anyone else - until our students pray for them. Most have never interacted with a Christian and have never heard the gospel before.
Please pray as #TeamGambia continues ministry tomorrow, traveling to even more markets. Pray for those first encounters- that they will be powerful and bold, and that the veil of darkness will be lifted from the people’s hearts. Pray that many would come to believe Jesus as they hear the Gospel.
Today was a day where the darkness was shaken as #TeamGambia moved from market to market.
Our first market place was ‘Latrikunda’. There the team drew a massive crowd that stretched all the way around them. After the drama finished, the team went out in MTL (Ministry Team Leader) groups and shared with around 100 students that wanted to know about Jesus. After that, we went deep into the market and presented the Freedom drama to the masses.
People who were lost, trapped in darkness, and thirsty for the gospel were set free by the grace and mercy of Jesus. On our way to our last drama site at the ‘Bunda’ market, our team hit each Awe Factor (Word, Prayer, Fellowship & Worship) on the bus and we could feel God’s presence. During our time of worship, our Team Directors shared scripture with the team and spoke into our circumstances by referencing Psalm 116:5-9, mentioning how God is gracious and righteous, our God is full of compassion, and that He keeps our feet from stumbling, and our eyes from tears. The Team Directors then had the team raise their hands to the Lord as an act of surrendering themselves to the Lord and to just praise God for everything that He provided today.
After we arrived, our team did the Awe Star drama (18 minute pantomime of the Gospel in the local language) and went out and shared in the Bunda Market. There, many team members had divine encounters, but we would love to share one specific story....
While a student was talking to a man, the man explained that he was having terrible nightmares and he couldn’t sleep. He explained that he prayed earlier that day that someone would talk to him and give him a way out of the nightmares. Our team member got to pray over him and encourage him. That encounter shows that our God is alive. He is always answering prayers and we are called to be His vessels and push back darkness.
Our team was very in-tune with the Holy Spirit and went in obedience to whom God was pressing on their hearts to speak to. God made Himself known here, and exalted Himself among the nation of The Gambia, where it is so dark. God brought Himself the glory in every circumstance and in every encounter that our students faced. Jesus came and set the captives free.
Please continue to pray for us as we head out tomorrow. Friday is like a Christian’s Sunday to the Muslim. Every mosque will be filled, markets will be empty and the streets will be bare as Muslims gather to worship. Pray we are given favor, strength, boldness, and opportunities to share the Gospel, even more than ever before.
Today’s ministry turned fishermen into fishers of men!
The team performed the drama on the beaches of The River Gambia for massive crowds of fishermen and merchants. Doing ministry next to the ocean always brings a unique atmosphere of change to a drama site. The Spirit came in like a tidal wave and allowed many seeds to be planted and many to come to a relationship with Jesus!
One of our students noted that we were making disciples from the same kind of people that Jesus chose for his first disciples! The area we ministered in is a major fish shipping port between Senegal and The Gambia, so every salvation started a movement of faith in both this nation and the one across the river! God is using our team to reach many tribes, tongues, and nations here.
Please pray with us that God would continue to move in power and use our team to accomplish far above and beyond even our wildest expectations!
As our students were doing the drama, one of our country coordinators visited a nearby shop. As he entered the shop, he asked the owner of the shop if he could pray for him and his business. The man said “yes!” and began to tear up. Not knowing why he was so emotional, Joel began to pray over the man and his shop.
When Joel finished, the man explained, “ Last night I had a dream. In it a white man came to my shop and prayed over me and my business!” Amazed by what the shop owner said, Joel proceeded to share the Gospel. He left him a Gospel track to read over and said he would be back to visit with him more. The man said, “yes, please come back. Once I read this, I want to know more about what you believe!”
What an incredible divine encounter! We have prayed for God to move in dreams and visions, and today, we saw prayer answered! Please keep praying for this shop owner, whose name is Alfa. Pray he comes to know Jesus when Joel returns to visit him!
#TeamGambia began their first day of drama ministry with worship and teaching. After being refueled for ministry we loaded into our African bus and set out for a market area called ‘Brikama’.
One drop, then another, until a torrential rain poured from the sky. Our bus had just pulled to the edge of the market and team members knew that only God could arrange ministry now. As students stopped and prayed, team leaders exited the bus and began searching for anywhere the team could unload. Finding a small gas station, the team leaders asked permission to do the drama under the large covering that protected the gas pumps.
Permission was granted; the students quickly exited the bus and ran for cover. A large crowd had begun to gather under the covering. It was like God gathered the people just for us! Testimonies began and then the drama. In the middle of the drama, the gas station owner - a devout Muslim - retracted his permission and began to get angry that we were capturing the attention of the crowd. He took a huge lock and closed his shop and threatened to call the police, unless we moved.
Mid-drama, the students shuffled their stage and moved out into the rain to respect the owner and to prevent more distraction from the drama. The crowd saw the anger of the store owner but sympathized with our students and began to ask others to stay. Almost immediately after the students stepped into the harsh rain, it was as if Heaven hushed the winds and the rain stopped.
The crowd continued to grow and God’s spirit fell upon them. One of the students shared the ‘net’ (Gospel) and many in the crowd stayed to engage with our ministry teams. Students sat amazed as they realized how in the thick of resistance and darkness, God - through prayer - pushed back the enemy. Even the angry store owner, standing by his big lock, stood and watched the drama.
God knew exactly what He was doing! He was stopping people mid-track with the high winds and rain so they would be standing at the right place at the exact moment the Gospel was presented! I mean, What are the chances? 100% with God - every time!
“If I be lifted up, I will draw all people to myself” -Jesus