Dakar Team Vision Statement
Let’s rise up to sow and reap in the suburbs of Dakar.
Even now those who reap draw their wages, even now they harvest the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”
This is what we are believing God to bring about in the years to come. We envision in the suburbs of Dakar churches that are:
- capable of multiplying
- led by national believers depending on God for their resources
- transforming the community.
Due to the context of the suburbs, the Wolof language will be used.
Prayer – We want to mobilize intercessors who will pray for the planting and multiplication of churches in the suburbs of Dakar.
Sharing the Word of God – We want to share the Word of God and witness in a way that is personal and widespread.
Serving the community – We want to show the love of God through compassion and development.
We want to come alongside and teach those who are open to following Jesus to live a holy life and to bear fruit in the power of the Spirit.
We want to work and fellowship together to accomplish the vision God has given us.
Our team currently has eleven people from seven different nationalities. We speak 6 different mother tongues and use French as our common team language! We come from different denominations, with singles, marrieds and families, and bring a range of differing career and educational backgrounds. There are those on the team with years of experience and those who have newly arrived. We are a diverse group but we are both united in Christ and in our call to reach the Senegalese for Christ.
Dakar is the capital city of Senegal and is located on the Cap Verde Peninsula. The city covers an area of 550 km2. According to 2005 official estimates, Dakar as a city has a population of 1 million and about 2.5 million people live in the suburban area. Dakar is the political and economical centre of Senegal and home to the National Assembly of Senegal and Senegal Presidential Palace. Because of its strategic place, Dakar has attracted many banks, international organizations, NGO’s and international research centres. The Dakar region (Greater Dakar) is divided into 4 ‘départements’ (Dakar, Guediawaye, Pikine and Rufisque). These ‘départements’ are subdivided into ‘arrondissements’ and ‘commune d’arrondissements’.
Dakar city and the suburbs
As a peninsula, Dakar is becoming increasingly saturated. High rents and living costs in Dakar have several effects on the demographic landscape of the region. a) Built-up area of the city: Multi-storey houses are built everywhere as a mainly private investment. b) Suburban growth: People who cannot afford living in Dakar establish their homes in the fast growing suburban area the so-called ‘banlieue’. Because of the shape of the peninsula (bottle-neck), commuting in and out of Dakar has become a painful, daily reality for those who work in Dakar but live in the suburbs.
Dakar as a melting pot
Dakar is a real melting pot; on one side there is the quest for modern, occident-orientated development and on the other side the ancient African traditional roots. Those roots are especially deep in the Lebou villages Ouakam, Ngor, Yoff, Camberene and Hann.Wolof is the main trade language and yet in Dakar it is very much mixed with French. Further out of Dakar, in the suburbs, Wolof has become the predominant language despite the big variety of different ethnic groups.
In terms of its international flavour, there is a considerable number of Lebanese, French and other Africans living in Dakar. The missionary community adds lots of other nationalities into that cultural and linguistic melting pot.
WEC in Dakar
As a faith mission, WEC is an official member of the F.E.S and the A.E.E.S (mentioned elsewhere). It runs a guesthouse in Dakar (Point E), which is at the same time, the administrative central office. The WEC Dakar team is made up of all the WEC workers, both long – and short term, who live in the Dakar region. These workers are involved in administration, internal leadership and member care, children ministries, church planting and language learning.
Within the same Dakar team, there is another smaller group, the Dakar Church planting team (CPT).
The evangelical community / church situation in Dakar
There is a big variety of evangelical missions and churches (appr. 60 churches) represented in Dakar. Above that there is a small number of Christian bookstores, 1 major medical centre, some Institutes for Bible and ministry training and a few Christian NGOs, all working towards the same objective; making Christ known in Word and Action to a nation that still lies in great spiritual darkness.
In the suburban area of Dakar, the picture becomes different. There is very little Christian witness out there with a very small number of churches compared with the millions of people who live there. The WEC Dakar CPT is actually working on its vision and hopes to start new initiatives of church planting in order to reach the 95 in that needy area of Senegal.
There are two WEC related churches in the Dakar region (Keur Yàlla and Boune) and two other young plants being nurtured (Parcelles and Keur Massar). More on this to come ——