Girl travels to West Africa

Elizabeth Stacey (standing third from left) joins team members outside a new classroom in The Gambia.
 on October 1, 2016

Despite setbacks, team builds two classrooms

On July 15, Elizabeth Stacey, an 11-year-old from St. Paul, Brighton, travelled with five other team members to The Gambia, a small country in West Africa, to work on a four-week mission trip led by Youth for Christ Canada (YFC).

It is unusual for an 11-year-old to be accepted onto a YFC team; however, Daryl Stogryn, YFC Canada’s director of global engagement and a member of St. Paul’s, said that Elizabeth showed exceptional commitment. “Having watched Elizabeth grow up, we are totally thrilled to have such an enthusiastic team member who has an obvious heart for mission. She is a young person who has the kind of heart that when she hears of a humanitarian problem, she immediately starts deciding what she can do to solve it.”

The mission trip was part of a 10-year commitment by YFC Canada to the people of The Gambia, said Mr. Stogryn. “Everything we do is done in partnership with YFC The Gambia and at their request. That way, it ensures a much longer and lasting impact.”

The team that travelled to The Gambia was supposed to have 13 people on it; however, over time the team had dwindled to six people. While this was disheartening for the team members, they were constantly reminded of Gideon’s army, and it turned out that God had a plan for them.

The team planned to build two classrooms at a training centre that would teach marketable skills to young adults in the town of Brufut. The dream is for the training centre to be a university someday. Since the strength of the team had dropped from 13 pairs of hands to six, there was a need to hire more local workers to complete the project within the four-week timeline.

Heavy rain at the start of the project temporarily prevented the team from pouring the concrete floors. Some roads were washed out and some supplies couldn’t be delivered to the site. Despite the rain, the well went dry and the team had to borrow water for the remainder of the project from a neighbour. There were multiple vehicle breakdowns and other hardships, but the team pushed through and the project was completed ahead of schedule.

The team incorporated daily devotionals at the worksite, bringing the word of God to even

the Muslim workers who chose to listen and learn. The team enjoyed daily visits from local children attending summer school, as well as members of the community who simply showed up to help, no questions asked. The neighbour who donated his water was a Muslim, and on the last day at the worksite, when the team thanked him for his generosity, he insisted on thanking them instead. He said, “We all serve the same higher power” and explained that his community would get more use from the school than we did from the water provided to build it.

The success of the mission trip was a true example of the miracle of God working through His

people, and Elizabeth was blessed to be a part of it. There are plans to send another team in 2018, and Elizabeth insists she will be on it. The friends she made in The Gambia will be friends for life, she says, and she intends to go back to be with them again.

The team would like to thank the members of St. Paul, Brighton, and many others, for their daily, prayerful support.


Submitted by a correspondent.


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