By: Dan Germo, Bethany Gateways International Director

The Gambia, a small nation in western Africa, is often overlooked. Aside from a short coastal strip, it forms just a sliver in the side of Senegal, the country surrounding it. A taxi driver there told me while I was on a recent visit, “The Gambia is the tongue inside the mouth that is Senegal!”

While it is a place many might disregard, it is on Bethany’s radar. The Gambia is considered one of the least developed countries in the continent, with many people living in poverty. More than 90 percent of the nation is Muslim, also making it a spiritually dark place.

That’s why Bethany Gateways, the ministry I lead to place Missionaries across the globe, sent a long-term team to serve the people of The Gambia. Bethany Missionaries Jon and Vee Gowin are leading this charge. This nation of just over 2 million people is home for the couple and their two children. Jon grew up in The Gambia to missionary parents. “As a boy I sensed God calling me to foreign missions. That’s why I attended Bethany Global University,” Jon told me.

After training to be a career missionary, he studied agriculture and returned to work in The Gambia. For many years his ministry focused on working the soil and teaching local people how to farm in a sustainable way. While serving, he met Vee in a nearby city. Shortly after they met, she came to Christ. She too became passionate about her newfound relationship with Jesus and was determined to share this message with her own people. Several years later, Jon and Vee married and started a family. When their first child was four years old, they moved to the U.S. so Vee could also study at Bethany Global University.

After spending nearly 7 years in the states, the Gowin family moved back to The Gambia in 2021 with a strong and persistent determination to reach the unreached. During their time away, a political shift in the nation created an environment of religious freedom. This new atmosphere created many open doors, which they were determined to use for the sake of the Gospel.

In partnership with a local believer, who is a former Muslim, they began preparing local evangelists to go throughout the small country. Last year, they equipped 10 disciples with Jesus Film backpacks and motorcycles to bring the loving story of Jesus into the remote villages. During my recent trip to see Jon and Vee, they took me to visit one of these evangelists. While sitting on the floor of his house, over a delicious meal of monkey (yes, monkey, and it was surprisingly tender), this evangelist shared with us his passion to see his neighbors and family come to know Jesus.

Each week he would spend considerable time in prayer, interceding on behalf of the lost around him. Then at certain times each week, he would take the Jesus Film backpack, get on his motorcycle, and travel into the villages sharing the love of Jesus. It touched my heart to see this man’s motivation to truly serve others, rather than himself.

The Gowins, and their ministry partners, are committed to see the Gospel go forth, and for the Church to be established among all the tribes throughout The Gambia. Join me in praying for Jon and Vee as they continue to serve with the desire to see disciples made, who become disciple-makers themselves, among all the tribes within this little nation God has certainly not overlooked.