Sierra Leone: From planting churches among a disabled population living in the urban slums of Freetown, to ministering to Liberian refugees in a camp outside of the capital city, to economically empowering young people by teaching them marketplace skills, to rescuing street boys who serve as slave labor, to comforting individuals who have been traumatized by years of war and strife, Foursquare National Leader Peter Kargbo and the saints in “Salone” (as it is affectionately known) have been busy with the Lord’s business.
The following is a short vignette, written by Senior Pastor Ed Sweet of Valley Christian Center in Albany, Oregon. Rev. Sweet has been mentoring Rev. Kargbo and equipping the saints in Sierra Leone, along with other mission-minded leaders, via a Foursquare Foundation grant partnership called “Salone Church Development.”
“Is this the road to Kailahun?” “Please tell us. Is this the road to Kailahun?” We asked the question over and over of individuals who were walking along the road, of women in front of their homes working over cooking fires, and of groups gathered at intersections. “Yes,” they told us again and again, and pointed us on down the road. The road was often little more than a dirt path cut out of the jungle, with dense overgrowth on both sides and deep ruts down the middle – the result of recent heavy rain.
All four of us were “missionaries” that day on the road to Kailahun: Pastor Peter Kargbo (our Sierra Leone National Foursquare Leader), Henry and Dominic (local pastors and church planters), and myself (the “Opoto,” or white man, from America). We were on the way to this rural community near the eastern edge of Sierra Leone to help with a church plant. Pastor James had been trained, sent, and had already begun a Bible Study in his small home.
We spent our time in Kailahun meeting with local officials, putting on a crusade, coaching and encouraging Pastor James, and going over foundational materials with new believers. About a hundred decisions for Christ were made that week, and a new church was planted. That was in February. In October, Pastor James joined eighty other pastors and leaders from around the country for further training and encouragement. Meeting in Freetown at the headquarters church, we provided instruction and resources for pastors like James during our Foursquare National Convention.
Starting new churches, raising up new leaders, and equipping pastors for more effective ministry – that’s what mission looks like in Sierra Leone.