Sierra Leone Mission Trip | Day 1-4
Written by: Marty Putman
These two days were all travel – from the Bethel parking lot at 9:45 am Saturday, departure from DFW, layover in Chicago, layover in Brussels, arrival in Sierra Leone, bus ride to the boat taxi, boat taxi ride across the Sierra Leone River, then a car ride to the hotel. All a bit blurry minded, but every bag and body made it here safely. Pastor Henry and his son, Junior, met us and began the immersion into this culture so different than our own.
To allow everyone time to transition to the 6-hour time difference and recover from travel, this morning we spent a few hours at the beautiful River #2 beach. A little bobbing in the waves of the Atlantic and fresh-caught barracuda hot off the grill was great medicine for clearing the mind. Back at the hotel, we set to work to prepare for the teaching to begin the next morning.
The men (Fritz Hager, Ricky Garner, Mark Mattay and Jerry Putman) began teaching the IBAC Course “Reading the Bible for Understanding and Impact” to approximately 50 pastors and church leaders. There were many in the class who had been at the teaching in January, and it was very encouraging to see them return and correctly answer review questions as the morning began!
Robyn Sturgeon and Marty Putman focused on the education of GEM Academy and assessing how Bethel can best come alongside the teachers and administrators to benefit the students. After sitting in on a well-done lesson on the history of soccer, there was a visit to Freetown Teachers College to explore a partnership of continued professional development for GEM teachers.
The final member of the team, Sam Green, is a senior at Texas A&M majoring in Business and very interested in how financial principles function in Sierra Leone. Sam was able to spend the day exploring small businesses and talking with a local entrepreneur.
Then we all stopped by the primary school campus even though the school had released for the day so our team could see the buildings and visit with a few of the teachers. It’s been a full, productive day!