This is the HISTORY of the Stanleys in Senegal
by Joseph Stanley
Our mission to reach the Bassari covered a bunch of little villages over the years.
Mom and dad worked together at first and then the Lord called two of their boys, John and Jimmy to continue the work. My brothers John and Jimmy still manage much of the work over in Senegal and Guinea today.
It all started in 1962: We started out in Kedougou which is about 1000 kilometers from Dakar. There is a small runway there where my dad would land with a small J2 Piper cub he bought for $400!! Yes....$400. The Lord gave it to him. Just one of the hundreds of miracles we saw happen because of mom and dads "FAITH" and obedience to Jesus.
1967 Edane - a small village about a days drive from Kedougou inland into the bush. VERY primitive here. Most women wore no clothes from the waist up and men typically were naked except for a small cloth or goat skin that covered their butts.
1972 Obadji - also a small village very similar to Edane. Bassari people with a similar language and belief system. Bassari people knew about GOD. They said they knew 3 things:
1. They knew that HE existed
2. They knew that they had to meet HIM someday
3. They were afraid of HIM because they would have to give an account of their lives.
Most of the Bassari were "idol" worshippers or used Black Magic. Its all they had and they often had many bad things happen because of it. Demon possession, people losing their lives and minds but again, it was their only option.
That's why they were open to Mom and Dad,......they were looking for a better option. GODs timing was perfect.
1984 ~ 1991 Ekess - Jimmy & Elma (#2 son ) started a work in Ekess, a small village like Obadji and Edane. Jimmy and Elma had a set of twins. Willy and Jenny.......same date but look nothing alike. Both have grown up into amazing Christians. Willy and his wife Kiley live in Wasaga with "Bear" (their son Ryan)
Jenny and her husband Jesse live in northern Ontario, but serve as short term missionaries with the NEW Tabijan work you will read about later.
Jimmy was blessed with the gift of language and he spoke all kinds of tribal languages. Bassari fluently since he was 10 yrs old on.
Dad would speak / preach in French and Jimmy would translate into bassari. I remember watching my big brother who was about 12 years old going around everywhere with dad, standing in front of all these bush people,...speaking this weird language. Pretty cool.
The rest of us boys could say "hello" or maybe goodbye up until we were in our teens.
1992 ~93 Country of Guinea - Guingan & Koundara - John & Barb (#4 son) and Jim and Elma started this new work across the border in Guinea at the bottom of Senegal. Still Bassari people, but they had just drifted across the border into Guinea,.....so GOD sent us there. John and Barb had 3 wonderful young boys there. Michael, Timothy and Jonothan. Mike is becoming a pastor. Timothy is a social worker and Jono and his wife Rachel are going to follow in mom and dads footsteps and are going to Sudan as missionaries.
2004 ~ 2005 Ethiolo - Jimmy started a church here because of the request of the Bassari people. Always the case as we only grew when they grew. Gods amazing.
2015 ~ present Tabadjan - This NEW work was initiated by the Bassari in partnership with Jimmy, his daughter Jenny and her husband Jesse. A Bassari teacher from one of our churches got lost in the jungle and while trying to find his way back to guinea he bumped into other Bassari that had been living way off away from what everyone thought was the Bassari Territory. The tribe had fled their ansestral lands because of a war between a neighboring tribe.
The teacher came back excited to tell Jimmy of this NEW people that also wanted our help in farming and hearing about the Lord Jesus
For more detailed information on the new work in Tabadjan or the original work in Senegal and Guinea please check out Pastor James Cambell Stanley's new book: A Life in the Gap. Information can be found on the Contact Us page