Greetings from the United Theological Seminary team that traveled to Sierra Leone from March 2-11: Peter and Maria Bellini, Stephen Crowell, and myself, Wendy Deichmann. Thank you all for your prayers!
We started out in Freetown upon arrival on Sunday, March 3, then spent Tuesday driving the long, hot road to Kenema.
We are here as guests of Bishop Yambasu and the Sierra Leone Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. This began with a one-mile march through the city of Kenema with an estimated 1000 United Methodists, including many children who are enrolled in United Methodist primary and secondary schools throughout Sierra Leone.
We have experienced outstanding worship, friendship and opportunities here. God is doing great things among the wonderful people of this country in the aftermath of Civil War. Everywhere you go, you can see the rebuilding of a nation. The pastors and church leaders work sacrificially in ways beyond our imagination. The theme of the Conference is “Keeping the Dream Alive!” We saw presentations about the building of a hospital by UMCOR and the USA, and learned more about the plan to build a UM seminary near Freetown on 500 acres that were donated by an Anglican family.
In villages across the nation, churches are building schools, orphanages, hospitals and more churches, filled with hope ofwhat the Holy Spirit is doing in the midst of what recently was a land of devastation. One of the greatest needs, the Bishop and Annual Conference believe, is leadership training for pastors and church leaders who will continue and multiply this work.
Please add the people and nation of Sierra Leone to your prayers for God’s mercy and help. Know that the prayers of the UMC Annual Conference are going out for all of you with deep gratitude.
Gratefully Yours in Christ.
Wendy J. Deichmann