We are volunteers in Senegal, West Africa working in a leadership position with an agro-forestry training center called The Beer-Sheba Project.
We moved out to Mbour, near Beer-Sheba, in the fall of 2010 and have been here since. When we are in Canada, we call Calgary home and we try to visit friends, family and church on a yearly basis to keep connected.
Nicole’s primary responsibility since the kids have arrived is…. the kids! Our daughters Isabel (9) and Nailah (7) are currently studying in a French school. In addition, Nicole is very gifted in hospitality and serving, so our house is often a hub of activity when we have guest visitors to the project and for our regular team meetings. Nicole also enjoys photography and many of the pictures on the website are from her work.
I (Joell) am working with the Beer-Sheba Project as the director of Business Development. This includes a diverse array of responsibilities including managing the finances, developing income generating activities, communication and submission of proposals to donor partners, creating and maintaining the website, and of course the hands on work on the farm.
Before coming to Senegal, I had spent the previous 13 years working as a pilot in various humanitarian, corporate, and airline companies. Our family came to Senegal in June 2009 when I had a contract to work with a U.S. based bio-tech firm that was developing natural alternatives to chemical fertilizers using an un-tapped natural resource here in Senegal.
Having grown up on a large farm in Manitoba, returning to agriculture was a natural fit, however, our journey turned out quite different than we had expected. Due to the economic downturn in the U.S. during that period, the company decided to cease international operations and we were left here without a clear plan. Looking back though, it was a time of unprecedented spiritual growth for both Nicole and myself as we sought God and His presence to reveal His plans for us inHis timing. Long story short, we met up with my colleague Eric who had this vision for the Beer-Sheba Project, and so much of the vision he carried was exactly what God had been showing us and confirming in our time of seeking Him!
Our hearts desire is first and foremost to seek out the presence of God and the promptings of His Spirit, so that what flows out of us in our daily lives is a reflection of what God is doing in us. We are on an exciting journey and have seen God work in so many amazing ways. We are so thankful that we are being used by God in this season and we pray for increased dependency on Him as we enter into His presence.”