Gillespies in West Africa
International Christian Academy, Dakar Academy, Sahel Academy
Our 1st term in West Africa was unusually eventful and consisted of the following:
In July, 2001, serving through Evangelical Baptist Missions (now closed), we moved to Coté d’Ivoire to teach at International Christian Academy (ICA; www.ica-ed.org).
In September, 2002, war broke out in Coté d’Ivoire, complete with bullets flying over our heads and our subsequent evacuation from the country.
In November, 2002, we relocated to Dakar, Senegal, where we finished the 2002-3 school year teaching at Dakar Academy.
In September, 2003, while waiting to see if ICA would re-open, we spent a year in Quebec studying French at Laval University.
In June, 2004, many staff and teachers (including us) returned to ICA to live among the French military on our campus and begin the 2004-5 school year. War broke out again, this time including bombs being dropped very near to our school. We again evacuated our students. Even though this year was cut short, we had unusual opportunities to minister to our students, the French military, our African friends and others from Bouaké who were evacuated to our campus during this time of crisis.
In January 2005, we made a 3-week trip to Niamey, Niger, where we visited Sahel Academy in an effort to evaluate what part we might have in that ministry. During that time, we were also able to return to ICA with 2 other couples and pack up the remaining household items of our mission personnel, all of whom have relocated to minister at Sahel Academy and assist in church-planting efforts in Niamey.
In July, 2006, we moved to Niamey, Niger, to teach at Sahel Academy during our 2nd term. This term in West Africa was ‘uneventful’ when compared with our first term, but God was working. Some highlights of our time in Niamey stick out in our minds. Bob was privileged to be a part of a several large baptismal services at the church in Baneira…in the middle of a mud hole…Bob led worship at the Niamey English Worship Service a couple of times each quarter and also presented the Word…Lois was also involved with the music by playing the piano both at Sahel Academy and in the English service…we were privileged to see several students come to know the Lord and help in their discipleship…we shared the complete gospel story beginning with Genesis 1:1 with Boubacar and his family and continue to pray for their salvation. Bob enjoyed working with the students at Sahel in helping them learn the absolute and foundational truth of God’s Word no matter what subject he taught.