“And yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand” (Isaiah 64:8 NLT)
As a boy, I never would have thought that I would become useful in God’s hands.
My first time kneeling at the altar occurred when I was five-years-old. My response to the Gospel came after hearing a visiting missionary from Africa speak. Although it would be ideal if we could affirm that my prayer of confession and repentance that day was the one that truly stuck, sadly we cannot.
After my parents separated, I followed my mom and walked away from God and the church. I expected to find new freedom, but found a lifestyle of rebellion, fear, and excessive risk. By God’s merciful grace, I grappled with a near-death-experience when a loaded shotgun was pointed in my direction. This caused me to reassess my life—13 years after my first trip to the altar, I came to faith in Jesus Christ for real, and it has truly stuck.
This is my story, and I tell it, hoping to help encourage you in your walk with the Lord Jesus, particularly if you have a teenage child who you raised in the church but is currently wayward. Please do not give up hope! Your prayers are not in vain.
More than 40 years have passed since the day that shotgun helped steer my inner search for true purpose and meaning in life. As a result, my deep longing to help others find Jesus and the wonderful peace that I had, my wife, Lois, and I both attended Canadian Bible College (now Ambrose) as full-time students. There we were impacted by solid Bible teaching and the deep faith of the staff. After graduation, we served in several churches before sensing God’s heart and call to serve the poor in Africa, and later, Southeast Asia.
In Canada, if a person gets arrested on suspicion of committing a specific crime, they are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Here, a person arrested based on the accusation of any other person, is held until proven innocent. The result—the prisons are overflowing with people who were accused of a crime they did not commit. Without financial resources to hire legal counsel, a person can be stuck in prison for many years without a hearing.
We had the opportunity to visit 4 of the 37 prisons in Senegal to give the prisoners a Christmas Concert presentation. The Wardens in each of the prisons, let us openly speak of Jesus. Through a conversation Lois had with a prisoner, named Joyce, we were able to help make some essential connections which had the potential to help Joyce get a hearing. Joyce had served 7 years of the 10-year-term. While in prison, Joyce had come to know and love Jesus as Saviour, and her faith helped her cope day by day. To our delight, Joyce was given a hearing and released on Friday, in April, just 4 months after we met her! Joyce attended our Easter Sunday service, at International Christian Fellowship of Dakar, free at last!
The leaders of our Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada have caught God’s vision for International Church. Just in our little congregation of about 180 souls, we have people from about 30 different nations. What a great opportunity to disciple these young people who will one day return to their homeland ready to tell others about the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Please prayerfully support the Global Advance Fund which enables Jesus-followers from our Alliance Churches in Canada to be sent out to places like Senegal where so many unreached people need Jesus.
If you would enjoy receiving regular updates about what the Lord is doing in Senegal, or if you sense God leading you to consider joining us on the field for a visit or to join our team, please feel free to contact us by email.
My name is Gerry, and I’m from the WCD (Alberta). My wife, Lois, and I, have been married 41 years. We have one married son and one granddaughter. Our career history of using Community Development Practice alongside Church Planting Practices among Muslim peoples, combined with having thrived at pastoring a local church, made us suitable candidates for the current role we have in Dakar. Our church includes people from over two dozen countries, enabling a great opportunity to touch many nations with the love of Jesus!
Prior to joining the C&MA Canada Team in Senegal, I served as pastor for the Calahoo Alliance Church in central Alberta for nearly seven years. I had the time of my life while pastoring in Calahoo, but now I’m having the time of my life pastoring the International Christian Fellowship of Dakar! Learn more: https://www.cmacan.org/gld/