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Blessings Amidst Challenges

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We are thankful to God for His grace, His divine protection, and for all His countless blessings to keep us going here in Kono, Sierra Leone. His every answer to our prayers enriches our faith in Him.

Home & Family
By God’s grace, our solar panel system continues to function well, and I am looking at the possibility of adding a windmill for a continuous supply of electricity at night and during the rainy season. Our children, Patricia and Florence, continue making tremendous progress in leading their youth classes. The children at church look forward to class every Sabbath. Some arrive very hungry, and we have decided to start making Sabbath breakfast and lunch for them.

Civil Unrest
Still, the country’s political climate remains tainted with tension and tribal hate. The opposition party uses social media platforms to spread animosity and stoke violence across the country. On August 8-10, they organized a protest during which five to ten civilians lost their lives, provoking a nationwide curfew from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. for nearly a week. During this time, the government took the internet offline. General elections are scheduled for July 2023, and my prayer is that our family will be on furlough during that election season.

Local Ministry
But amidst these challenges are ministry opportunities, including literature evangelism, as I have been trying to reach a neighborhood pastor who is a former Muslim. We also have Bible studies with a group of young people from the Koidu church. And the Holy Spirit, through prayer, has delivered one of my wife’s relatives in Freetown, who was under the influence of a demonic spirit for more than ten years. My wife’s testimony of the deliverance encouraged two local church members who were also being harassed by evil spirits to ask us to pray for them. By God’s grace, they are doing very well.

Mission Plans
I presented our strategic plan to our mission and conference authorities and our local church in Koidu. I explained that we would spend two more years in Koidu city to study the language and culture—we have been blessed to have an Adventist as our instructor—but would begin our project in an unentered chiefdom in three years. All have been encouraged by our plan and are praying for us to succeed.
Radio Evangelism
God has also directed me to begin radio evangelism, and a local radio station, the Voice of Kono (VOK FM 98.1), the most-listened-to in the district and beyond, has allowed me to air a program for $100 a month. Because nearly 90 percent of the country’s population speaks Krio (their trade language, besides Pigeon English), I have begun sharing the gospel and broadcasting our messages to the city’s communities in Krio as I learn the Kono Language.
Our program is called “Adventist Hour” and airs each Friday from 5:00-6:00 p.m. and Sunday from 6:00-7:00 p.m. I invited our mission president to inaugurate the program during our first show. We began with him explaining our Adventist history, from the U.S. to Sierra Leone. During our second program, our language and cultural assistant shared how the message entered the Kono district for the first time.
Two weeks into our presentation, our moderator, Brother Perry, lost his father, so we suspended the program for one week. God showed us that we had an audience because, during the break, people asked why we were not on the air.
We are also exploring other radio stations for the future. But because politics are involved in everything in this country, I have a Plan B in mind—to have our own FM station if approval ratings and call volumes warrant the move. As we begin touching on the differences between Adventism and other denominations and religions, the government will probably either increase the tariff or discontinue our program.
We are not at this juncture yet. At this time, the Lord is providing us the opportunity to train church members in broadcast ministry, and we will surely make excellent use of it.

Crucibles
When I was presented with the call to work on the Kono project, I thought working in my own country would be easy, but I was mistaken. When the Coleman’s hired my family as local Bible workers, I had little to no attacks from the devil. But now I can see what they were going through. They were receiving all the attacks. I guess now it is my turn.
I have drawn a lot of lessons from the Colemans’ experience and from the third quarter Sabbath School lesson, “The Crucibles that Come,” which has given me a lot of courage. I especially took courage from this quote from the “Further Thought” on Friday, July 8:

“He who reads the hearts of men knows their characters better than they themselves know them. He sees that some have powers and susceptibilities which, rightly directed, might be used in the advancement of His work. In His providence He brings these persons into different positions and varied circumstances that they may discover in their character the defects which have been concealed from their own knowledge. He gives them opportunity to correct these defects, and to fit themselves for His service. Often, He permits the fires of affliction to assail them that they may be purified.”—Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing, p. 471.

We believe the enemy of the gospel will continue to attack. But we are more than conquerors through Christ who gives us strength to go conquering and not to be conquered.

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