My name is Katelyn (Reynolds) Rodabaugh and I am a proud alumna of Gloria Deo Academy and a part of the first GDA’s graduating class in 2012. I graduated from Missouri State University in 2016 and I currently work for BKD CPAs and Advisors as the Campus Recruiter for our Southern Missouri offices. I was recently asked to share about my missions trip to Northwest Africa and my hope is that through this article you are encouraged in what the Lord is doing around the world!
In June 2021, my husband Caleb and I took a missions trip to Northwest Africa with our local church – ONE Community Church in Rogersville, MO. Our church partnered with the 10/40 Project for the trip and we were excited to be a part! This was our first time working with the 10/40 Project, but not our first time to West Africa. My husband has been a part of eight different missions trips and this was my fourth trip to West Africa.
The 10/40 Project’s main goal is to bring the Gospel to Northwest Africa by using teams and national pastors to share God’s love and His Word in the 10/40 Window. I encourage you to visit their website to learn more about their work and the 10/40 window. Our missions trip team specifically served in the areas of hosting Vacation Bible School (VBS) for several villages, working with the local church and serving at the feeding centers.
Once we arrived to our destination we stayed with the local missionaries and served with their team for the week. Each day we drove an hour to a remote village to work with the national pastors and their families. We hosted 4 Vacation Bible School events, each in a new location with new students – many of the VBS events were held at local schools in the villages. Each day we would arrive at a new village, meet with the school director and set up for the day! We had three different stations that the children would rotate through – music and face painting, sport relays and a time to learn about the wordless gospel bracelet. After the students rotated through the stations we brought all of the students together for a time of worship and a gospel message from one of the national pastors. It was incredible to see the Lord at work, many of these students have never heard the Word of God. Through the 10/40 Project and the local church in the area – the missionary and national pastors build relationships with the villages in hopes to plant a church in the area.
One of my favorite things we did on our trip was visit the school and feeding centers. In Northwest Africa, the average child only goes to school until the third grade. Once they have passed grade school, typically upper grades are more expensive and further away from home creating a barrier for children to attend. Through the 10/40 Project they wanted to help in this area, each student is sponsored to attend school for free. The school that we visited currently has first and second grade available and they plan to add third grade in the upcoming school year – with plans to continue to grow each year. They are purposed to keep the class sizes small for quality education and it is required for their teachers to be Christian. The children are also learning French, English and the Gospel everyday!
As a part of the school, children receive one large meal each day and a snack to take home through the feeding center. Children who are not a part of the school, still have the opportunity to join the feeding center throughout the week – each of these students are sponsored.
Throughout the week we worked with the national pastors and their families. We hosted a Women’s Event for their church and attended church on Sunday. The 10/40 Project also has a Bible Institute where they equip and train nationals to learn the Bible and send them out to plant churches – and to think it all starts with a simple VBS event in a village. It is incredible to see what the Lord can do through His people!
As we made the journey home, I was grateful to know that the ministry does not stop when we leave – but it continues to flourish! Families learning the Bible, children attending school and lives being changed by the Gospel.
If you are interested in learning more about the work of the 10/40 Project or if you are interested in sponsoring a child, I encourage you to visit 10-40project.org. Thank you!