“Lord, show us where you want to locate your training center.”
We had been praying for God to show us a place for the Kono Training Center before we left for furlough. I had spoken with several of my friends in Kono, including one who is a Kono native residing in Freetown, the capital. My friend Famanda, a person of influence, spoke to the Paramount Chief of his chiefdom and arranged for us to meet him the first week in November 2022.
We visited the Paramount Chief, who was welcoming but very skeptical. He had grown up with the idea that missionaries were from the West. So, an African missionary, let alone a Sierra Leonean, sounded fishy to him.
As we left the chief’s house, I told my friend, “Famanda, I thought he was going to help us, but he did not seem interested.”
“I saw it on his face when I introduced you,” said my friend. “But do not worry, we will do what we do best as Seventh-day Adventists.”
“What do we do best?” I asked.
“You are the missionary. Do what missionaries do best.”
“Pray!” flew out of my mouth like a bullet.
“That’s right!” Famanda said, laughing.
I handed him his bus ticket to return to the city, and we separated for the evening. As I was driving back home from the chief’s house, I began pondering the Paramount Chief’s reaction. The lyrics to the song “Out of My Hands” by John Lomacang began playing in my mind. I prayerfully said the words, repeating one part of the song with tears running down my cheeks.
“Now I need You to teach me,
There are things I can’t control.
When I can’t be strong,
I’m just holding on.
Speak comfort to my soul.”
I decided to take it “out of my hands” with a day of fasting and prayers. At 3:00 a.m., I began to wrestle with God in prayer about the matter and fell asleep. The Lord spoke to me in a dream. “Be still, my son. It is now in my Hands.”
After this experience, I knew that God was in charge and let Him take the lead. After all, it is His work, and I am a mere instrument in His hands.
Two months later, God confirmed to me that He was in control. The Paramount Chief called me on my cell phone.
“I have been asking some of my section chiefs about your request. One of them told me that there was a property they were willing to sell. Are you still interested in getting the land for your project?”
“Yes, sir! I am still interested,” I excitedly responded. This project is very dear to me. It is not just a dream. It is an inspiration from Jehovah, who has set me here in this part of His vineyard. I am confident that He has chosen this path for His work.
In faith, a date was set for payment, and I contacted the AFM home office about the arrangement, but no funds were available.
The expiration date passed for the land purchase. I was deeply ashamed and afraid to see or talk to the chief. Again, I did what missionaries do best. I pleaded with God in my prayers that if the Training Center is the way forward to reach the Konos of Sierra Leone, He must work on my fears and shame so that I could visit the chief. God then inspired me to drive to the village to see the Paramount Chief unannounced. God was ahead of me.
When I saw that the chief was there with the council of elders and all the landowners, the devil began to use his weapons of fear and doubt on me. I was afraid to go in. I whispered a word of prayer and said, “God, glorify yourself.”
The chief did not wait for me to greet him as a form of respect. Instead, he greeted me first and ushered me to a seat. He sensed my guilt and shame mixed with fear.
“Are you okay?” he asked in front of everyone, then continued, “Your God is at work.” He openly talked about his experience with God. “I saw you in my dream showing me beautiful buildings on the plot you want to buy. Then I heard a voice saying, ‘The truth will come from this place.’ I assure you, we will not sell the land to anyone except you.”
“The money is not available now,” I replied.
“You can pay by installment if you want or anytime you have the money available.”
I left his presence in tears of joy. For the entire day, all I could do was sing praises to God and pray a prayer of thanksgiving.
The enemy struck again, this time with worries. I began to worry about the funds.
“We are here in Africa,” I reminded my wife. “Who will believe us and give us the funds we need for this project?”
My wife opened her Bible to Psalm 24 and read the first verse aloud: “The Earth is Lord’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein” (NKJV). I hugged my wife and thanked her for allowing God to use her to keep me focused. It was around 10:45 p.m. I ran outside our house and asked God to forgive my worries and unbelief. Again, the same lyrics from the John Lomacang song hit like a bolt of lightning. I prayed for an hour and a half and went to join my wife in bed. I thanked her for opening my eyes to the verse she read, and she prayed with me before she dozed off.
As I lay on my back with my hands behind my head, I whispered, “It is in your hands, Lord. It is in your hands.” In no time, I saw myself on the property we wanted to buy. Whether this was a dream or a vision, I do not know. I saw an old man with his back towards me, sitting on a rock in the middle of the property. He was dressed in white. “Hello, Sir,” I greeted him. “What are you doing here?” I asked. I did not wait for him to answer my question but said, “We want to buy this property for a church project.”
Then the old man replied, “You worry too much. This place is mine. I will give it to you for your church project, and you will call it Grace Land.”
In the morning, all I could pray about was Grace Land. Three days later, I received a call from Dr. Vine that someone had donated the funds to buy the property. To me, this was a confirmation from God that everything is in His hands, and He will do as He pleases.
It took three days for the money transfer to reflect on my account. I called Famanda, my person of influence, who took me to the chief. We paid for the land and negotiated for a bulldozer operator to clear it. Unfortunately, the driver became sick with malaria.
Then God impressed upon me that I should give the Paramount Chief copies of The Great Controversy, Steps to Christ, and a Bible as a thank-you gift for selling his land to us.
Again, I visited the chief with Famanda to thank the chief for the transaction. After the usual exchange of greetings, he asked, “Fred and Famanda, my friends, what can I do for you today? Do not tell me that you want my crown. That I will not do,” he said jokingly.
“We are here with a gift to thank you for what you have done for us,” my friend responded and handed him the three books.
When the Chief received the three books, he was transfixed for three to five minutes without saying a word. Then, noticing we were looking to leave, he said, “Please wait, I have to tell you something. I was transfixed upon receiving your gift because I had a dream a week ago that someone gave me three books. I will not explain the details now. Maybe someday I will. Now I can see you did not come here to manipulate and extort my people.”
The chief called his son and asked him to add to the property we bought. Instead of six acres, he increased it to ten and gave four lots in town as a gift to Famanda, my person of influence.
Before our furlough trip, we sent in all the transaction documents for conveyance and other legal documentation, and 75 percent of the property was bulldozed.
Since Guinea, I have learned to follow God’s lead. Each time I have an impression from God, I will not get peace until I do what He has impressed on my heart. I have always asked God to lead me to people on whose hearts He has already worked. Our job now is to wait in prayer. By God’s grace, when we return, we will begin construction.
I believe that when we work according to His leadership, He will guide us and provide for the accomplishment of His work.