A Turning Point
Bruce Mann, Hope for Sierra Leone
If the enthusiasm witnessed in our recent trip to Sierra Leone is any indicator, then Hope for Sierra Leone is entering a new phase of influence in the nation! The great work of our Transformation Team on the ground, led by Desmond Johnson, is producing watershed moments for the work in many significant areas of society.
Let Me Explain
We landed in Sierra Leone at the end of October with nine days of meetings lined up. We would travel to several areas of the country and meet with leaders from many different areas of society. Our purpose was to encourage those embracing the vision of a transformed Sierra Leone and to plant the seeds of transformation into the hearts of those who were hearing this message for the first time.
The response was overwhelming!
Without exception, men and women from all walks of life committed to pursue lives of integrity and to partner in God’s mission to transform Sierra Leone.
Day 1 /
We began in Freetown at a day-long session with representatives from the Police Force, Fire Department, Prison System, Arts and Media, Church, University and Anti-Corruption Government Office.
Day 2 /
The second day was spent with Pastors helping them understand their role as gatekeepers. Pastors have a unique position because they have such influence and can either validate their congregations in their vocational roles or send the message that church work is the only work that matters. Thankfully the many pastors we engaged with were eager to join with leaders from every area of society to see God’s redemptive mission achieved!
Day 3 Onward /
We were able to meet with leaders from many new areas of the country and are excited to witness the message continue to spread from the capital of Freetown to other cities and rural areas. We met with a group of pastors on a busy street corner on the way to Bo, with young and old leaders at Njala University, and still more in churches and community halls… all hungry to see their nation transformed and turned back to God.
For those who are wondering what exactly we are doing and why it matters, let me give you a snapshot explanation…
Transformation, simply expressed, is God’s desire that His kingdom would come to earth (as He showed us in the Lord’s Prayer) and more specifically that His will would be done in Sierra Leone as it is in Heaven.
This doesn’t just mean people coming to faith in Christ, as important as that is. It also means, that as followers of Jesus, we now have a mission to see our nation(s) reflect the justice and righteousness of God in every area of society. Our focus on integrity is strategic because national transformation cannot happen until personal transformation happens. The issues of corruption manifest in many ways in society, not just in Africa but also in our home countries. Providing a means to help people break free from that influence is the first step in seeing the societal change we believe God desires for Sierra Leone.
Often, living a life of integrity requires challenging someone in authority while at the same time not dishonouring those leaders. We see great examples of this in the Bible. Think of Joseph, David or Samuel.
I can think of one testimony from a Captain in the Army who had to navigate the issues of a Superior Officer who was doctoring the Captain’s submitted reports for his own personal gain. God was able to give the Captain wisdom to walk through this challenging situation and retain his integrity. He praises God for His faithfulness and that he did not lose his job!
Our Transformation Sierra Leone Director, Desmond Johnson (left) was sharing some verses with me the other day from Isaiah 60:20-22:
“Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end. Then all your people will be righteous, and they will possess the land forever. They are the shoot I have planted, the work of my hands, for the display of my splendour. The least of you will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation. I am the Lord; in its time I will do this swiftly.”
He was likening this prophecy to the work God is doing in Sierra Leone and I must agree with him. The Lord is moving among His people and transformation is becoming a contagious conversation and way of living!
Local children from the community surrounding Upper Room Ministries, were coming to be fed. They feed over 200 children from the community each month. Wanda pulled out some recently recorded children’s music that she had on her phone and instantly a crowd of kids joined in!
The children were so welcoming and friendly, giving us lots of high fives as they crowded around. Not only were we able to sing and speak with them, they sang to us, so full of joy! They love to sing and dance!!! It was a highlight for us as we were able to help in serving them lunch.
We started to hear a cry from pastors, leaders and teachers for us to create material specifically for children on transformation and living a lifestyle of integrity. They want this for their schools and homes. Please pray for God’s wisdom for us as we move through the creative process.
We are so grateful for your support both in prayer and financially and are excited to see how the people of Sierra Leone are responding to the call of living with integrity and seeing their nation transformed. You are a vital part of this work and are appreciated more than you know. On behalf of Conrad, Tracy, Desmond and his team of pastors and leaders in Sierra Leone, myself and Wanda, we would like to extend an immense, heartfelt thank you! God is moving in Sierra Leone and His people are responding to His call to see the nation redeemed, restored and moving forward in His favour. Praise God!!!