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On fire for Jesus in The Gambia

Author: Bible Society, 17 December 2021

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Children study Scriptures provided by Bible Society in The Gambia

Michael Ellis, who leads Bible Society in The Gambia, wishes you could visit the small West African nation to see how Bible mission is thriving. Here, he tells you why he feels so richly blessed.

Michael Ellis leads Bible Society in The Gambia

I have been leading Bible Society’s work in this small West African country for several years. Often, I take out my phone and look again at the photos I’ve taken of people receiving God’s word. These photos make me smile. They fill me with encouragement and joy, too. This is what Bible Society supporters have done in people’s lives! Thank you so much.

Here in The Gambia, many people are extremely poor. We need God to provide food and clothing. The women work so hard, walking with no break day after day to collect water and fuel. But they have a hunger for the gospel. Because of the Bible, people have hope.

They hear God loves them

Instead of brooding about their situation, people look forward to attending Bible literacy classes and Scripture listening groups run by the Bible Society team here. They come and laugh, they are happy, they forget about their pain. And they hear that God loves them.

Around 95 per cent of the population here is Muslim; the rest are Christians or followers of traditional religions. Many Muslims come to our literacy classes. One lady said to me, ‘I have been a Muslim all these years but I don’t know what the Qur'an is telling me because it is in Arabic and I don’t know Arabic. But I understand what God is saying in the Bible.’

One of the first things I did at Bible Society was combine our Bible literacy and listening groups. You do 45 minutes of learning to read and write, then have a 15-minute break, and then listen to the New Testament for 45 minutes on a solar-powered device called a Proclaimer. The next thing I did was call in my literacy co-ordinator and ask him to choose 12 people to train up for his job. We met them, and these guys were on fire for Jesus! Since that meeting, we established literacy and listening programmes in nine more regions.

New vehicle drives ministry forward

Just recently, the new 4x4 Bible distribution truck arrived, which Bible Society supporters in England and Wales so generously provided. Now we are more easily able to make deliveries of Scripture to remote communities. I’m deeply grateful to all of you who helped provide this vehicle. It is transforming our ministry. Thank you.

Looking to the future, we have the launch of the Jola Bible in 2022. This is the first translation of a Bible into a language spoken by 60,000 people. Without Bible Society supporters it wouldn’t have been possible. The launch is a huge moment, much anticipated by people who long to hear God’s word in their heart language.

A Bible Society event in The Gambia

Jesus speaks to all

Never underestimate the impact of Bible translation. I remember going to a community once to show The Jesus Film. It’s the story of the gospel, available in film in more than 1,800 languages. I saw a man on a nearby street corner, weeping. I stopped to ask if he was OK. He told me, ‘I didn’t know Jesus spoke my language; I thought Christianity was a white man’s religion. I am giving my life to Christ!’ What an amazing impact!

Your support through Bible Society is making such a difference here in The Gambia. Every day, God’s word is touching people’s lives. Thank you for your partnership, and your passion to share the Bible. Please continue to pray with us – particularly that God would bring the right people to join our team as we grow.

It is such a joy to see people receive the Bible, and to see God at work in their lives. I wish you could come and visit me in The Gambia – I shouldn’t be the only one enjoying this blessing!

This story first appeared in our Bible a Month prayer letter. By joining Bible a Month with a regular gift of £10 or more you enable the Bible to reach more people. Access to the Scriptures changes their lives. Just look at what’s happening in The Gambia.

This story first appeared in our Bible a Month prayer letter. By joining Bible a Month with a regular gift of £10 or more you enable the Bible to reach more people. Access to the Scriptures changes their lives. Just look at what’s happening in The Gambia.

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