DAKAR, SENEGAL (July 18, 2012) – Missionary Dan Mulay learned that deep diving fisherman of a coastal tribe south of here were suffering high mortality rates after they had received a gift of older scuba equipment. The deaths were due to nitrogen sickness, more commonly know as “the bends.”
Mulay, a member of Life House Covenant Church in Longmont, Colorado, says the divers had not been properly trained and were dying when they tried to resurface too quickly. When divers don’t take time to decompress as they ascend to the surface, nitrogen bubbles build up and are released into the bloodstream. The condition can lead to death.
When he heard of the tribe’s plight, Mulay, who is a certified scuba diver and emergency medical technician, offered to teach them how to use the equipment. As a result, the number of deaths has dropped significantly.
The Lebou people are traditionally Muslims and have been resistant to many missionary efforts by multiple groups. The tribe was so grateful to Mulay, however, that they inducted him into the tribe and even gave him his own Lebou name.
While developing their abilities to speak the local language, Mulay and his wife, Patty, lived for part of last summer in the village of Yoff, where they stayed in a one-room house with no water or electricity with three other Lebou families.
The work assisting the divers also led village elders to request bibles so they could learn more about the gospel. The request was especially significant because respect for elders is a core value of the Lebou people, as is piety. The Lebou also are known for their public exorcism dances and rituals that tourists often attend.
Mulay asked his church to send at least a dozen bibles. The request became a project among multiple churches that eventually yielded nearly 10 times the number requested, leather-bound with gilded pages.
“This is how a holy book is supposed to look to the Lebou,” says Win Houwen, pastor of Life House. A mission organization transported the bibles to Africa for free, the pastor adds.
Other Colorado churches that helped Mulay minister to the tribe by sending the bibles were Applewood Covenant Church in Arvada, Grace Covenant Church in Lakewood, and New Day Covenant Church in Boulder.
The ministry of Mulay and his wife, Patty, in the Dakar area has included providing multiple levels of education, helping construct at least 10 churches, and ministering to street children.