And Now, Kono

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Kono — our new mission field and home — has a population of 505,767 souls to be cherished. The Kono district of Sierra Leone is bordered by Kenema to the southwest, the Republic of Guinea to the east, the Koinadugu district to the northeast, and the Kaliahun district to the southeast. It is divided into fourteen chiefdoms, with the capital being Koidu City. Kono District is the largest diamond-producing center in Sierra Leone. Here, the cost of living is high, and the poverty rate is even higher.

Committing to serve God as a missionary is guaranteed to be a battle because we are certain to have an enemy against us throughout our journey. Before leaving for Kono, we spoke to one truck driver with high hopes that he would move our belongings. But after he arrived at our house, he told us that it was not possible. Devastated, we had to start all over again, and we began with prayer.

“Are you okay,” asked one of our friends, looking down pitifully at me as he felt disturbed by my quietness?

“Thank you. I am trying to be fine,” I replied while staring at my fingernails and deep in thought. How will we find a vehicle to move us 900 miles from Guinea, West Africa (Fria) to Sierra Leone (the Kono District)? I thought to myself.

“I may have someone who can help, but I have to make some phone calls to verify. After that, I will get back to you, okay?” my friend said.
“That is perfect,” I replied.

A few days later, he returned with a mover to see if their truck was large enough to transport our belongings and to quote us a shipping cost. It all went well. The price was even a bit less than we thought it would be. Believing we finalized all the arrangements, the children and I started packing and putting aside things to be given away.

Worn out and exhausted, we went to bed since it was very late. Later, my phone rang, “Hi, the truck will be coming early tomorrow morning.”
“What!?” I said, bewildered. “But I said I would call when I was ready,” I continued.

“Unfortunately, they have other households to move, and they want to do your packing first,” said our friend.

Wow! Will I be able to make it? My mind started racing. The children are sleeping. I do not want to wake them because they are exhausted. I sat down, ready to burst out in tears to get rid of my stress. Looking at our children, who were fast asleep, I made my way to the living room.

As the tears blurred my vision, I tried brushing them away to see what I was doing. I asked the Lord to strengthen me because I did not see how I could finish before they arrived. God indeed provided His help as I stayed up all night packing. By 5:30 a.m. I finished and rested until the sound of the gate woke me up about 7:00 a.m.

Shaking because of insufficient rest, I managed to open the door to greet the movers, but they brushed past me on the way to the living room.
After a while, I overheard a noise from the outside of the gate.

“What is going on?” I asked our friend.

“If anyone asks you anything, stay silent,” he replied.

“Why?” I asked.

“The owner of the truck wants to increase the cost,” my friend stated.

“But I thought we agreed on the price,” I came back. “Why is he changing now?”

“I will take care of that. Don’t you worry,” said our friend.

After some serious discussion, both of them approached me, and the truck driver said, “You either pay me $500 more, or I won’t go.”

Confused and tired, I turned to my friend for help. We pleaded for him to reduce the amount. He finally agreed to $400, and the movers finished loading up the truck.

My husband had left for Kono three days before, so he could be on the receiving end of our furnishings and take care of other tasks. After taking five days for the movers to arrive in Kono because of multiple stops, some neighbors graciously lent a hand in offloading things.

Unfortunately, the landlord had neglected to finish the house. In all, it took about a month and a half of staying on top of the landlord and workers to fix the kitchen and storage room, build a wall around the property, dig a well and add a pump to upgrade the water supply, and install solar panels to supply power to the house. But, when it was finally completed, we were able to unpack and bring our children.

I can say with all confidence that where God leads, He guides and provides. Throughout these challenges, we were blessed to have the counsel and encouragement of the AFM family. May the Lord in His mercy help us as we live in Kono. Please pray that God provides us wisdom and understanding as we work with this deep animist culture we are yet to fully understand.