A Word From the Pastor
Posted: February 21st, 2014
I have just returned from Sierra Leone, West Africa. You may or may not be familiar with this country. It is about the size of South Carolina and has a population of about six million people. In 2002, a tragic 11-year civil war finally ended. The nation is continuing to re-build its infrastructure and move toward greater stabilization.
A few years ago, our church felt led by God to establish a work in this developing nation. We nurtured partnerships with both western leaders and indigenous Sierra Leoneans. The result of our prayer-filled meetings was to launch a transformation-based ministry in Sierra Leone under the umbrella theme of Restore Hope. We believed God was calling us to help restore hope to the precious people of Sierra Leone.
In 2010, I traveled to Sierra Leone with a team of FBC Arlington folks to dedicate a building constructed by Global Connection Partnership Network (GCPN – now known in the USA as Kinexxus). FBC Arlington played a strategic role in this significant project. The new building was named Hope Center. It was to be a tangible expression of our commitment to the ministries there. Our desire was for it to serve as a hub of activity and a central location for the launching of strategic ministries across the country.
I spent this past ten days in Sierra Leone with a team from our church again. We stayed at the Hope Center. But, we also traveled across the country and visited the various ministries connected to Restore Hope, GCPN and FBC Arlington. To say we were blessed would be an incredible understatement! It was one of the most inspiring trips I have ever had in West Africa!
God has used you – yes, you – to make a significant difference in the lives of thousands of people in Sierra Leone in the past four years. Orphans are being rescued from desperate circumstances and are being strategically placed in homes where they are flourishing. The children in our Orphan Sponsorship Program (now 255 of them!) are being transformed spiritually, physically, academically, emotionally and intellectually. We are overseeing another ministry that provides temporary, interim care for displaced children in the city of Bo. These children were being placed in prisons prior to the establishment of our ministry among them! We are training widows from the war in practical skills that are allowing them to live productive lives with dignity and self-respect.
We have a dental clinic in the Hope Center that serves the needs of hundreds of patients. Each person receives the message of the Gospel prior to their treatment! We have taken the dental ministry to the remote regions of the nation as well.
We are partnering with several churches and pastors to support church planting movements across Sierra Leone. We are assisting in the evangelistic ministries of these Sierra Leonean leaders as they take the life-giving message of Christ to the unreached people of this nation. One of our partnering ministries now has over 5000 believers and baptized over 500 converts this past year. We went to a baptismal service in another of our partnering locations and witnessed 23 baptisms.
We are connected to the establishment of a new school under the direction of Pastor Samuel Kargbo (he has visited our church several times). We were able to attend his new school’s first-ever Athletic Competition Day. Over 2500 people from the community came to observe and cheer on the children as they competed in all kinds of athletic events.
We have sent church members to live in Sierra Leone and oversee these ministries and partnerships. We have blessed and nurtured the work of our indigenous partners. It is amazing what God is doing among the people of Sierra Leone!
Thank you for being a church that cares and invests in work that makes an eternal impact on the lives of people across the world. Over and over again – I heard Sierra Leoneans say, “Thank you! Thank you, First Baptist Church of Arlington!”
To that – I say, Thank God!!!