We are the Wise family of five–Bradley, Courtney, Hosanna, Haven, and Daniel. We are planning to leave in July of 2022, to begin working at Dakar Academy in Dakar, Senegal (see more about the school and our role below). The seeds of our current journey probably began more than 15 years ago, when Bradley moved to Niger to work for a couple of years on a oral Bible translation project. This gave him an appreciation for and a relational bond with West Africans, but it also gave an opportunity to see first hand the value of educational support for families serving full-time cross culturally.
Now, we believe that God has given our entire family an opportunity to serve in West Africa again, in a new way. In some ways, the thread leading to this point has been present throughout the whole time in between, as we often revisited in family conversations the idea of returning to serve in Africa. But at the same time, the specific opportunity to serve at Dakar Academy came up relatively quickly, through mutual connections already working with the school. Although it meant a significant life change, we increasingly began to get excited about Senegal, as we thought about how the situation would fit our family makeup.
Wanting to make sure the decision was a wise one, we put the idea to trusted friends and family, and we prayed that God use their input or other barriers to change our course if we weren’t obeying him. We believe that God will lead people who trust him to, even if it is through circumstances that seem coincidental. And in response to those prayers and conversations, the answer that we kept getting was to move forward. Doors that needed to open kept opening.
Dakar Academy was established in 1961 in Hann Maristes by United World Mission to serve the educational needs of missionary families living and working in Senegal. The school provides quality education for mission families serving throughout West Africa, with a boarding program for grades 6-12 (roughly 25% of the student body). While the intent of the school is to provide a support to families serving in Christian ministry, the doors are open to students from all walks of life as space permits, regardless of faith background or Christian ministry involvement. Because of this, the student population is currently around 375 students–from 34 different nationalities.
Bradley will be working in a support role at the school (operations at the central campus), and Hosanna (7) and Haven (4) will both be attending the school, starting into the 3rd grade and K5. Courtney will be taking care of Daniel (1) and keeping the family running (getting us all to school on time, buying groceries at the market, learning to cook & clean under a completely new paradigm, etc.) She also plans to volunteer as a mentor and in music leadership within the school context.
The Republic of Senegal is situated on the west coast of Africa, bordered by Mauritania (north), Mali (east), and Guinea & Guinea-Bissau (south). Senegal also shares a border with The Gambia, which it nearly surrounds–a country occupying land along the banks of the Gambia River, separating Senegal’s southern region of Casamance from the rest of the country. Senegal’s largest ethnic group is the Wolof people, who live predominately in the western part of the country, including in Dakar, the nation’s capital. Wolofs are predominantly Sufi Muslims belonging to Mouride and Tijaniyyah Islamic brotherhoods.
As a family, we want to serve both Dakar Academy and our local Senegalese community (our friends, neighbors, and co-workers). Our aim is to be a blessing and a gospel witness to both the international community (through the specific job role and other ministry opportunities with students) and Senegalese community in and around Dakar.
Pray for us as we transition from SC. There is a lot to do before mid-July, when we will be leaving for new staff orientation. We would like to not only get everything done that needs to be, but also to put time into the wonderful relationships we will be leaving on this side of the ocean.
Pray as we transition into life in Senegal. We are very excited, but there will be many new things that we have to learn as a family.
We would like to begin learning the Wolof language. Please pray that we would have the time, opportunity, and ability to do that well. And pray that our language learning time would also be a time to develop good relationships with Senegalese friends.
Pray believe that God works through people, and can do incredible things when we are willing to be used by him. Please pray that that we would be willing and available to follow his leading, and that we would be a channel for his blessing in lives of the community around us.