A Church Leaders testimony..

I received an invitation in the mail with the name “Mercy Ships” inscribed on the envelope. I have known about Mercy Ships for many years but why were they sending me a letter? Upon opening it I saw that they had invited me for a 4 day Church Leaders Conference here in Bo, Sierra Leone. I was so excited to be a part of this Mercy Ships conference. As I read it in more detail I saw that the conference was called “Partnership in Whole-Person Ministry”. I didn’t fully understand what that meant but I put the dates in my calendar and asked one other church leader in my church to attend with me.Finally the date had arrived. The first day of the conference the sun was shining brightly over Bo and the roads were dry. Myself with my friend got on two okadas (motorcycles) and preceded through the dirt roads of Bo to the church were the conference was being held. On arrival there were many other church leaders from numerous denominations waiting in line to register. The day started off with some prayer and worship and then a man from Ghana, brother Chris, from Samaritans Strategy began to talk about worldview. He went on to talk about that Jesus is our model for development. Over the next 6 hours I was captivated by the message that he was saying. At the end of the day I went back to my house and reflected on all that I had heard.

The next morning the rains fell hard. It took me 20 minutes just to get an okada and then due to the rain it took me twice as long to get to the church. Then on arrival the okada driver wanted double the normal rate due to the weather conditions. I walked into the conference over an hour late. I was frustrated, tired, and wet. But I prayed and asked God to help me settle, to help me focus, and then my heart received peace and I listened again to the words being spoken.
For a total of four days I continued this routine and by the last day I wished that they were just beginning. The last day we had another man, Joseph Gbando, come and speak on behalf of Community Health Evangelism. He talked about how to apply these lessons that we had heard to our ministries. I felt excitement as I thought over the many possibilities and opportunities of being able to apply these lessons to my family, my church, and my community. At the end of the last day both of the two groups, Samaritans Strategy and Community Health Evangelism put out sign up lists for further training and or meetings to continue with the wisdom we had just received. I sat praying about which one to sign up for. Both were so amazing. Both were so meaningful. Both were exactly what I needed. I signed up for both.
Over the next 4 months I started to implement the things that I had learned during this conference into my life. For my family we started waking up each morning to pray together and to read the bible. This was an amazing time of growth and unity for us all. I also started to help out more around the house with fetching water and sometimes even helping to prepare a meal, when my wife would let me. In my church we started a small garden on the bit of land that we had. We named it the ‘Garden of Eden’. As a church we would care for the land and contribute whenever a need arose. During the days and weeks that followed be produced a crop and started to sell this group in the market. Now we are getting income weekly that we are putting towards different projects in our community. And then in the community around our church and my home we started a youth football league. This is a time that we get together with all the youth in our area no matter the religion and play a football game. We always pray before and after and provide water and even snacks when the funds are sufficient. Through this ministry we have had three Muslim youths start to attend church. We pray that they will come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.At the beginning of October, about 5 months after the first conference, I received notification of a Mercy Ships follow up conference in Bo. I was very excited to share all that God had done in my life since the last time we were all together. That morning we talked about all the ways in which this conference had affected each that had attended. I was so encouraged about the different testimonies I heard. At the end of the day we had the opportunity to take the next step in furthering our training with the help of the two ministries that Mercy Ships partnered with.

Next month I will do a one-week training within my church with Community Health Evangelism. They will help us to continue seed projects in and around our community. Then four times a year we will get together with the Samaritans Strategy group to discuss and sharpen one another as we have different situations arise within our ministries.
I have been so blessed by these conferences and their affect in my life and on the lives of those around me. I pray that these conferences would continue around all of Africa. God bless Mercy Ships for all they have done and continue to do for His kingdom!
To God be all the glory!