Update from Lori Knight:
God provided ease on our final leg of travel from London to Sierra Leone. We easily passed through baggage claim and customs. Peter and Sarrah greeted us warmly at the airport. Abu, the usual driver, is unavailable due to his brother’s illness. The ride from the Lungi (where the airport is) to Freetown provided much culture and entertainment. New national friends, whom we met on the ferry, gave the women (and Lee) their African names, from here on to be referred to as Mariama (Paula), Aminata (Sarah), Fatu (Lori), and Pa.Alimamy or Chief (Lee). Pa.Alimamy is a term of respect reserved for the important – rightly given to Lee.
Our car disembarked the ferry and headed to the hotel. All enjoyed the ride as it allowed views of Freetown and the lively culture of Sierra Leone. Driving to the hotel, the buildings half demolished from years of war, the obvious presence of amputees and polio cripples, and the absence of light and people appeared eerie and unnatural. As the girls sat in the room and decompressed from the sites seen, we agreed the best description of what we saw was not “impoverished”, it is more war-torn and oppressive. What a reminder that in the midst of the darkness and pain of our own lives and culture, Christ is the light and hope.
Today the group met for breakfast and quickly headed out for a full day. Once again, we tried to take in some of the sites and sounds of the city around us. It is truly difficult to absorb and process them at the rate in which they come; it’s nice that we don’t have to process them in order to move forward in the name of Christ. We traveled to right outside of Freetown to Restore Hope in order to look at the facilities for future stays and possible partnering, on to Waterloo, and into Molam Bay. Here, the men spent time making acquaintance with the BEE group and fellowshipped. Meanwhile, God was busy answering the prayers of peace for the women as they led bible study at the women’s conference. “Mariama” credits the Lord for a flood of the Spirit covering her with peace and allowing a delivery of His word. I believe, each of the women wept as we had the privilege of worshiping alongside the women gathered for the conference. There is such a sweetness of experiencing how the Spirit links us together even when languages collide. The day with the women ended well as we were able to take and share personal photos of each of the women attending the conference as reminder of their identity in Christ. The responses of the women varied from embarrassment to thrill. Peter was grateful for the team’s arrival. He says it allows him a bit of reprieve as the congregation interacts with us, and he can relax.
As I type, we are sitting in traffic at a standstill in the middle of Freetown because Sam Sumana, the Vice President, is entering town and bound to cross our paths. Next, we will head to eat dinner at Alex’s. The team is tired, but we are also fully restored in the Lord.
Please, continue to pray for a complete healing for Jeff. His sinuses are blocked and his ears have great pressure. Pray for each of the members of the team as we interact with the nationals and share God’s truth, love and hope. Pray for wisdom and discernment to rule.
Your Sierra Leone Team