In September, Christoph Haus went to Sierra Leone, which was his first intercontinental business trip since the corona pandemic started. After years of civil war, Ebola, a devastating landslide, fire disasters and the corona pandemic, it is impressive to see how our brothers and sisters in Sierra Leone do not let themselves be discouraged. The Secretary General returned with many impressions.
The Baptist Convention of Sierra Leone (BCSL) is unique among the 30 member churches of EBM INTERNATIONAL. They operate 65 denominational schools and are therefore known in many places. In order to have higher quality of teaching than the state schools, there is significant investment in the training and further education of teachers.
The headquarters of the church in Lunsar fell victim to the civil war (1991 to 2002). The rebels had occupied it as a regional headquarters. All buildings there, including the eye clinic, were destroyed in the fighting. Since then, most of it has been rebuilt with the support of the congregations, friends and a lot of their own work. The last thing to be built is an office building for the church leadership.
The eye clinic has been open again and has regularly performed operations for many years. Here in West Africa, many people are affected by viral diseases of the eyes which, if left untreated, lead to blindness. EBM INTERNATIONAL ensures that free treatments can be carried out. A training center for the blind is funded in order to facilitate their independence. However, they need more skilled workers. While EBM INTERNATIONAL is financing specialist training onsite, we are also looking for someone with appropriate training who will work in the clinic for four years (see our current vacancies).
In Sierra Leone, EBM INTERNATIONAL also focuses on theological training. Together with three other churches, the BCSL runs the “Evangelical College for Theology” in Jui, where students can obtain a bachelor’s or master’s degree. In addition, the BCSL offers training with minimal conditions at the Baptist Theological Seminary. EBM INTERNATIONAL will send a person out in 2022 to participate in this theological training. Local churches should have well-trained pastors whose focus is evangelism and church planting.
BCSL will celebrate its 50th anniversary in three years. Then they want to move back to their old headquarters and they would like to be the first African member of EBM INTERNATIONAL to invite the Mission Council (annual members’ meeting) to Africa. We can pray for their work. And donate. And we can be inspired by their example of being a socially relevant and a growing community with few financial resources.
Based on a report by Christoph Haus