I’m currently living in Dakar, the capital of Senegal. The estimated population of the city itself is 2.4 million (Chicago is 2.7 million; Milwaukee is 0.6 million) and the population of the greater metro area is about 3.2 million (Chicago is 9.5 million; Milwaukee is 1.4 million). So it’s a big city and it’s also growing rapidly. (It’s on a peninsula, though, so it only has one direction to grow out; it is also growing up very quickly with lots of multi-story buildings being built.)
And yet, a few weeks ago I started seeing the streets of this huge city transformed into what looked like the State Fair! The animals in the picture above are sheep, not goats, and they started to be seen everywhere: where you normally have the outdoor market, the street corners, and even the beach where they were getting baths! On one street that I take regularly, you could go for blocks and all you’d see on one side of you were sheep.
So was this some kind of sheep-only State Fair?
On the days that I thought it would be fun, I pretended like it was. But it was actually the preparation for the biggest holiday of the year here. Well over 90% of the population is of the majority religion here, and every year they have to (if they have the means) buy and sacrifice one of these sheep in memory of the sheep sacrificed in the place of Abraham’s son.
A few days before the holiday there were still lots of sheep on the streets, so it was rather eerie to go out the day after the holiday and see all but a few of them suddenly missing, especially after smelling the smell of the meat (and other not so tasty parts of the animal) for the last 24 hours.
What a great reminder to pray for those who don’t yet know that the ultimate sacrifice was already provided 2000 years ago. Will you take time with me to pray today that the good news would reach them before it’s too late?