Gambia Trip Report – March 2013 (Scott Maciver)
Full Version with Pictures Here
Pastor Reuben Weedor
Pastor Reuben Weedor, previously the main contact for the Gambia Partnership in the Gambia, has now left the Gambia and is currently resident elsewhere. This followed some difficulties he experienced as the head of the Liberian refugee community, as did heads of various other refugee communities in the Gambia. These difficulties necessitated that he and his family leave the Gambia. We would like to thank Reuben for his fellowship over the years in which he was involved with the Partnership and we wish him and the Weedor family God’s richest blessing.
Mrs Liz Forbes
We received news that Mrs Liz Forbes, proprietor of New Covenant School, passed from time to eternity to be with the Lord on 13th November 2012. The news came as a shock to all who knew her. The Gambia Partnership had been working with her for some years, through the child Sponsorship programme, whereby a number of students at New Covenant School are sponsored by individuals here in Scotland.
Mrs Forbes – Posted in New Covenant School
Mrs Forbes had initiated moves towards New Covenant School purchasing a piece of land with a view to relocating the three school campuses, currently rented, to one piece of land. This would meet requirements from school inspectors and provide sustainability and secure the future of the school. Due to restricted finances, New Covenant School were in a position to purchase a piece of land but were unable to pay for the costs of the construction of a building on the land. Discussions between Mrs Forbes and the Gambia Partnership took place with a view to working together on this project. The proposal was that the Partnership would seek to cover the costs of the construction of a new build on a land purchased by New Covenant School.
Gambia Trip – March 2013
Due to Pastor Reuben’s departure from the Gambia and the passing of Mrs Forbes, I visited the Gambia for a week at the beginning of March. The purpose of the visit was to meet with the Principal of New Covenant School and discuss the current situation concerning the purchase of land and the possible involvement of the Gambia Partnership. Furthermore it was hoped that discussions would be held with believers in the Gambia, who would be interested and considered suitable to represent the Partnership’s concerns from within the Gambia and possibly form a Gambian committee.
1 – New Covenant School Land Purchase
I met with the Principal of New Covenant School, Mr Charles George Betz and discussed at length the situation concerning the issue of the land purchase. Till now there have been no further developments since the passing of Mrs Forbes. Prior to her passing, an agreement with a bank to secure the loan of the relevant funds had fallen through due to changed requirements from the bank concerning equity.
The day I met with the Principal happened to coincide with the day the school board were due to meet. At the suggestion of Mary Jabang, who accompanied me for much of the week, I returned to the school in the afternoon to meet with the board. This proved to be a valuable meeting. It was worthwhile meeting four of the six board members (two were unable to attend the meeting) where we briefly discussing the way forward.
The board intend to approach a different bank in order to secure the finances necessary to purchase the land, which has been identified and is located some 20 minutes away. The Gambia Partnership will, God willing, support New Covenant School with the costs of the construction of a new build, in a phased approach as finance allows. Further to this, the Partnership will make a proposal to the New Covenant board in order that an agreement would be in place concerning the content of the Christian teaching the school will provide. This will enable the two parties to be working from the same foundation and will also allow the Partnership to provide support in an area which the school is interested in developing. This could take the form of the provision of appropriate materials as well as suitable individuals to provide their time to take assemblies and teach the children. Currently the school has little resource in place to achieve this end.
The school board has agreed to keep communication lines open and to update the Partnership concerning any developments that are made in the securing of a bank loan. In the meantime the Partnership is seeking to provide expertise on the building front in order that, if doors open to pursue this project, we will be able to take things forward accordingly. Finally I was taken to see the land which has been identified for purchase. As far as I was concerned the land, although very overgrown at the moment, was both accessible and suitable.
2 – Potential Gambian Committee
Through contacts made last March and during this recent visit, it seems likely that there could be a Gambian committee formed to represent the Partnership in the Gambia. There are four or five individuals who have been identified as both suitable and interested in the work of the Gambia Partnership.
God willing if this develops; it will be an important link in furthering the main aim of the Gambia Partnership, which is to spread the Gospel in the Gambia. This will take the form of working with and supporting the Church in outreach and developing reformed doctrine. Furthermore it will involve work with a number of Christian schools where children are sponsored as well as the potential new build for New Covenant School.
3 – Reformed Theology – Distance Learning
A number of individuals have expressed willingness to study reformed theology via distance learning courses taught by Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary provided via external hard drive. Books for the relevant courses and exam fees, should anyone wish to take exams, will be paid for by the Partnership. This is an initiative which the Partnership sought to begin a year ago and God willing will prove to be fruitful. Good theological books are a scarcity in the Gambia and those which were provided to Adolphus Saysay were much appreciated. It has been said that what Mission needs above all else today is Christ centred expository preaching and systematic theology.
‘But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine.’ (Titus 2:1)
4 – Opportunities to Witness
As difficult as it often is to witness of Christ here in Scotland, I’m always amazed at the opportunities which arise to witness of Christ in a Muslim country. Gambia is a very friendly country and people always want to stop to speak to you, hence the name ‘the smiling coast.’ There is genuine interest in the Gospel amongst Muslims we have met and it is both encouraging and challenging to spend time with them and speak to them about the one thing needful and of the Christ who said, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the father, but by me’ (John 14:6).
Please pray for the work of the Partnership, that the Gospel would be blessed in that nation, that Lord would open and close doors and that His name would be glorified.