Stories of thankfulness highlighted in the annual newsletter for The Wesleyan Church of Sierra Leone.
May 25, 2014, was a beginning of another historic national crisis in Sierra Leone, the recording of the first Ebola virus case. Thousands of people were infected by the virus, many died, and others recovered. Many more were widowed and orphaned. By the grace of God, Sierra Leone was declared an Ebola-free country by the World Health Organization on the 3rd November 2015.
During the Ebola period, schools, colleges, and other institutions closed down, but the Church met to pray and encouraged one another throughout the Ebola period. However, a few Church activities such as camps and retreats were suspended. Only one pastor died due to Ebola, Pastor Tommy Sesay.
President Ernest Bai Koroma declared November 3rd 2015 as a New Beginning for Sierra Leone. This is also true for The Wesleyan Church of Sierra Leone. This is a new beginning in terms of extending the borders of the Church.
As I look back into the past, I am grateful to Global Partners (GP), World Hope International and the entire Wesleyan Church for the tremendous support throughout the Ebola crisis period in food and non-food materials, the National Board of Administration for the guidance and strategic directions, my district superintendents and pastors for providing local leaderships, The Wesleyan Church of Sierra Leone for praying and encouraging one another, and above all, the Almighty God for his grace in bringing the Ebola crisis to a speedy end and for sustaining the Church.
The fight against the Ebola virus
The Church was involved in the fight against the Ebola virus. The Church provided food and non-food items and psycho-social care to people who suffered due to Ebola. The Church was able to do this in collaboration with Global Partners and the North American churches and World Hope International providing the technical and administrative role.
The Church engagement in the fight against Ebola
On behalf of The Wesleyan Church of Sierra Leone and the government of Sierra Leone, I hereby express my sincere gratitude for the tremendous support provided by the Wesleyan family all over the world. Your support to fight Ebola and alleviating the sufferings of people was a demonstration of true love. Continue to pray with us that Ebola will never reoccur in Sierra Leone and elsewhere in the world. Thank you and God bless you all.
HIGHLIGHTS OF SOME ACTIVITIES AND ACHIEVEMENTS
CHURCH PLANTING ACTIVITIES
The JESUS Film Project (JFP)
The activities of JESUS Film Project over the years yielded fruits in evangelism and church planting and the establishment of the South/East Pioneer District. Nine of the fourteen churches in the South/East pioneer District are planted out of the JESUS Film Project. More churches have been planted in other districts such as Gbendembu (3), Makeni (3), Kabala (2) and Madina (1). Serious work is going on in the Gbendembu, Kabala, and Madina districts to plant churches in predominantly Fullah and Soso Muslim communities. The Fullahs and Sosos are the people who are most resistant to the gospel in Sierra Leone. Pray that we may have a breakthrough and the resources needed for the work.
The Every Urban Pastor for Rural Ministry (EUPRM)
The EUPRM was a mission strategy that was adopted by the Church to encourage urban pastors in collaborating with rural pastors to engage in evangelism in rural communities. The first year of implementation saw tremendous impacts in evangelism. Many people gave their lives to Jesus and were baptized. Unfortunately, the Ebola crisis disrupted the strategy. Now that Ebola is over, the department of Church Ministries will reactivate the strategy. The strategy also suffered a serious setback when the roof of the parsonage and Church building at The Wesleyan Church of Sierra Leone, Kadanso, were blown off by a storm and both buildings collapsed. Kadanso is one of the communities where the EUPRM was implemented and was a success story.
Pray with the department of Church Ministries for God’s direction and provision of resources needed to implement the mission strategy.
The Wesleyan Christian College, Gbendembu (WCCG)
WCCG continues to train the majority of our pastors. The institution has a current student population of 30. Graduation for 2013-14 academic year is scheduled for the 5th February 2016.
The college has a new acting principal after the former Rev. Maurice A Bangura went for advance training in the Africa International University in Nairobi, Kenya.
Heritage Wesleyan Church, Illinois, USA, provided full scholarships for four students. I thank Heritage Wesleyan Church and may God bless you. (In 2014, Kingswood University in Canada provided comprehensive scholarships for all 21 students that were in the college. The WCSL remain grateful to the board, staff, and students of Kingswood University).
The Evangelical College of Theology (TECT)
TECT offers Bachelor-level degrees and prepares our Wesleyan students for urban pastoral ministries, missionary service, and Christian education. Five Wesleyan students graduated in 2015. All five have been posted for service. Five students are currently enrolled.
The demand for and cost of theological education is high. The Church is seriously challenged in providing the required resources. Join us in prayer for God’s provision of the required resources.
THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION (CAFGM)
The Wesleyan Church of Sierra Leone, in collaboration with the International Wesleyan Women’s Department in Fishers, Indiana, is implementing a project titled “Campaign Against Female Genital Mutilation” (CAFGM). The CAFGM is a comprehensive community base education program for achieving the goal of eradicating FGM. The campaign seeks to create a favorable environment to encourage parents, community members, FGM official and political and traditional leaders to take appropriate steps to abandon the practice. Series of workshops that identify issues related to the nature and impact of FGM on women and children have been held.
Messages targeting sowes (circumcisers), traditional and political leaders, parents, and mutilated and unmutilated girls have been developed and will soon be disseminated.
The national campaign against FGM will be a long road and challenging but the Church is compelled to do this because it is the voice of the people and light of the world. Pray with us for the adequate provision of resources to take the message of FGM to every doorstep of Sierra Leoneans.
RICE FOR PASTORS
All pastors including retired pastors and pastors’ widows received a fifty kilo bag of rice. This has been an annual event. Funds for this project are provided mainly by the Heritage Wesleyan Church in Illinois, USA. July and August are considered by many Sierra Leoneans as the peak period of hunger. I am using this opportunity to thank Heritage Wesleyan Church for their annual gesture of support. The pastors and I are fervently praying that God will touch the hearts and minds of people for more donations to sustain this feeding project. Thank you, Heritage Wesleyan Church, and may our good God continue to bless you.
THE MEDICAL MINISTRY
The medical ministries of the Church comprise the Hospital at Kamakwie and the Health Centers at Gbendembu, Madina, and Kissy Grassfield in Freetown.
The Hospital at Kamakwie suffered a brief crisis in terms of having a medical doctor. By the grace of God, a national doctor by the name of Dr. N’falie Ibrahim Sesay has been recruited and posted to the hospital. This was done in collaboration with Global Partners (GP). In fact hospital administration owes it a lot to GP for the great strides made in stabilizing the operations of the hospital. Most importantly, GP provides a major portion of the doctor’s salary for the past two years and a commitment to continue until 2019. This action and many others have rekindled the hospital. There is increased patient inflow and staff motivation. The Church continues to pray passionately for greater collaboration with GP and other partners to adequately meet the needs of the hospital so that the Church can continue to fulfill the mandate of serving humanity in medicine. I thank you, GP, North American churches, and the entire Wesleyan family for your support.
A new Chaplin, Rev. Bagbon S. Mansaray has been posted to Kamakwie Wesleyan Hospital. Let us pray for him and his family for a fruitful ministry in the hospital and the people of Kamakwie.
The hospital benefited from the national Free Health Care for pregnant women, lactating mothers, and children under five years. There is increased collaboration with the Christian Health Association in Sierra Leone (CHASL) and World Hope International (WHI). CHASL donated an ambulance to the hospital. WHI also donated an ambulance on loan and constructed some buildings.
The three health centers continue to provide medical services for the people. The Madina Health Center is challenged with the lack of Free Medical Care and the right personnel. Pray with us as the Church pursue the Free Health Care and looks for appropriate personnel. Freetown health Center receives support from the Church, GP, and other partners for the ongoing infrastructural development for the purpose of relocation and expansion of services. The Gbendembu Health Center is relatively stable and is benefiting from the Free Health Care services. The Center is also receiving support from indigenes in providing medical supplies. There is collaboration with the Medical Research Center. Thank you all for your support.
THE CONFERENCE CENTER
The Wesleyan Conference Center at Romankneh was the main source of income of the Church when it was rented to African Mineral Limited, an iron ore production company. Unfortunately, the office of the company relocated. The conference center is currently out of rent and needs some rehabilitation in painting and provision of furniture such as chairs, beds, and tables. The center needs 1,000 chairs, 300 beds, and 100 tables. The Church is on a fundraising drive to which we are asking prayer partners to join us in praying for God’s provision of resources. Your contribution in kind and cash is fully appreciated. God bless you.
NATIONAL SUPERINTENDENT VISITS TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
- Attended the North American General Conference in Orlando, Florida, in January 2015
- Visited the following churches on speaking assignments: Christ Center Wesleyan Church (Sedona, Ariz.), My Church (Sahuarita, Ariz.), Foothills Community Wesleyan Church )(Tucson, Ariz.), Christian Faith Fellowship (Tucson), Christian Community Church (Apache Junction, Ariz.), Heritage Wesleyan Church (Moline, Ill.), and Faith Wesleyan Church (Philadelphia, Pa.).
My thanks and appreciation to the local boards of administration of the above mentioned churches and particularly Greg and Nancy Ferrel for organizing and driving me to some of the churches. My sincere appreciation goes to Steve and Kathy Ullom for organizing my traveling schedules and airport pickups.
SOME IMPORTANT INFORMATION
- Christian Faith Fellowship, (Tucson, Ariz.) work team will visit WCSL in mid-May 2016 for Church planting and construction of a Church building.
- Dr. Gareth Cockerill and Steve Ullom will be here for the annual Roberts Lectureship to be held at TECT in mid-May 2016.
- Proposed pastors and their spouses conference this year.
- Pastors’ wives retreat and Women’s Institute in February and March 2016.
Reported by Rev. Moses Frederick Khanu, assistant national superintendent of The Wesleyan Church of Sierra Leone.
Pin photo: Cross section of students and families of WCCG.