What's New?

Updates from Sierra Leone

Among his many roles, Magnus Bendu has been leading bible study sessions for the children at Huntingdon Secondary School in Kola Tree, Allen Town. 

Early last year the school benefited from a generous donation, raised by Shoreham Free Church in West Sussex, which enabled the purchase of built-in mini PA systems. The staff and pupils were hugely appreciative of the donation, and the equipment has been an invaluable asset for the school. 

Magnus’ teaching focused the importance of the potential negative influence others may have on our character; drawing on 1Corinthians 15:33 ‘Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.’ and Psalm1:1 ‘Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked.’ Wise words!

 

 

Abdul and Mariatu

Abdul and Mariatu are the two oldest children at Bethesda. They were rescued at a very young age from the streets of Freetown by Magnus Bendu and brought to live at Bethesda orphanage, where they became part of the Bethesda family and received a good education.

Both students have worked hard and demonstrated responsibility: Abdul was been appointed Head Boy and Mariatu is Student Chaplain. Their hope was to progress to higher education, Abdul hoping to study law and Mariatu planning to study medicine. Following an appeal made at the end of last year, God answered our prayers with a generous donation to cover the costs of their academic courses.

We now ask that you will pray for these hardworking teenagers again as they prepare to take their Final Examinations in July and August.

abdul mariatu 3

FuFu Water

The new school building at FuFu Water now has its roof. With 340 children attending the school, they were literally bursting at the seams, and badly in need of extra space. Work began on the building extension three years ago and will house three new classrooms. Having limited funds, folk from the local communities have been carrying out the work, purchasing materials as and when funds became available. It has been a slow process, but when completed it will massively help the education of the children and reduce the pressure on teaching staff.

fufu water

Prayers for the Health Centre

We give thanks for a further donation of £2000 towards the completion of the new Health Centre in Brama. Progress has been slow, and Magnus has not yet been able to source beds for the Centre. Possibilities of procuring the beds from the UK are currently being investigated. We ask for prayers that this difficulty may be overcome and for the speedy completion of the Health Centre.

Donate

If you would like to make a contribution to the valuable work in Sierra Leone, please click on the Donations button at the top of the website page. This will take you through to the SLM donations account.

 

Welcome Marie and James

We are delighted to welcome Marie and James to Bethesda as replacement staff for Aminata and Sallay, who are now moving on. 

Bethesda Orphanage supports a large number of children in need who live on the streets of Sierra Leone, and also provides a safe and loving home for orphans whose family cannot be traced.

Aminata joined the orphanage at the beginning in 2013, and has been known as the 'house mum.' She cooked for the children and was there for them as a friend, confidante, nurse and Christian example. Aminata has now gone to live with her son to help look after his child. She was finding her work at Bethesda increasingly more difficult in her advancing years. She rose early every morning to prepare meals for the children, and found the heat of the fire very intense, also visiting the market each day to buy food and make sure that every child had their needs met.

Sallay started working at Bethesda in 2016. She is a trained teacher and each day after school she would continue the children's education. Sallay was very much 'in charge' and took responsibility for the general discipline and good behaviour of the children. She has recently taken up a new teaching post that is away from Bethesda, but her son Andrew has chosen to remain.

Their commitment to the children at Bethesda was exemplary, giving 100% to their work, and putting their personal lives on hold to care for the children. They are two wonderful Christian ladies who will be greatly missed.

As Marie and James take up their new posts, we send them our best wishes and prayers for a rewarding and happy future at the orphanage.

Origins of Sierra Leone Mission

selina countess article

Young members of The Connexion, Charlotte and Esther, have created some inspired recordings, focusing on the history of the Countess of Huntingdon's outreach and early churches in Sierra Leone.

Click on the links below to view their videos (parts 1, 2 and 3) about the origins of the mission:

Part 1

sierra leone 18c     

Part 2

sierra leone 18c

Part 3

sierra leone 18c

Today the Sierra Leone Mission (SLM) supports a wide range of projects as well as helping to provide education through Connexion schools, including funding assistance for teachers’ salaries and training. SLM also gives support to the work of our churches in Sierra Leone: contributing to ministers’ wages, providing funding for ministerial training, and building and maintaining churches. 

To make a donation to support our work in Sierra Leone

Click on the Donations button at the top of the website page. This will take you through to the SLM donations account. If you would like your donation to go to a particular project, please state.

By Bank Transfer: 

Barclays Bank
Sort code: 20-16-08, Account number: 30799076, Account name: Sierra Leone Mission 

By cheque: 

To: Sierra Leone Mission. Postal address: Janet Foord, 2 Cheyne Close, Church Milton Sittingbourne, Kent, ME10 2SQ 

All donations received go to support our communities in Sierra Leone. 

 

New Churches Sierra Leone

New church at Mile 91

The congregation at St Marks Cathedral joined a service with the community at Mile 91 for worship in the new church building (not yet completed). 

mile 91 service

With St Marks providing the majority of support, construction of the church began last year using local materials and the roofing has also now been completed.  

New nursery and churches in northern villages

The new Christian nursery school at Kamakontheke, a Muslim dominated village in the north of Sierra Leone, is now up and running and has the regular attendance of a small fellowship of children. With the nearest primary school being three miles distant, it is the first time children have been able to attend a school in their own village.

new nursery kamakontheke

Last weekend also saw the laying of foundations for a new church building at Kamakontheke. Local materials and labour will be utilised for the development, and the village Imam joined in prayer for the dedication of the land and building. 

church foundations

In addition, work has begun on the construction of another new church at Mathoir, which is also a Muslim dominated village in north Sierra Leone.

Message from Magnus

‘We are so thankful for your prayers. It takes faith and passion to step out, mobilise and venture. These villages are poor places with some of the poorest people, and so many things become a blessing for them. For instance, food provided for workers clearing the land, is what they depend on for their daily meal. We have no option but to provide as much as we can, hoping we can feed a whole village each day with relatively decent food.

‘Also some of the shipment tablets we have received, eg cocodamol and a few others that I buy, are taken to serve the many village people who do not have access to good medicine. We have a lot of fake medicine in Sierra Leone. 

The children are so happy with encouragement that we give them, because many cannot find this love elsewhere. I know that our country has always had these problems, and also that we can't do everything. It takes a well-organised system to prioritise what is needed in addition to our focus on major projects like the Health Clinic.’

 

How to make a Donation

Click on the Donations button at the top of the website page. This will take you through to the SLM donations account. If you would like your donation to go to a particular project, please state.

By Bank Transfer: 

Barclays Bank
Sort code: 20-16-08, Account number: 30799076, Account name: Sierra Leone Mission 

By cheque: 

To: Sierra Leone Mission. Postal address: Janet Foord, 2 Cheyne Close, Church Milton Sittingbourne, Kent, ME10 2SQ 

All donations received go to support our communities in Sierra Leone. 

Brama Health Centre Video

Work on the new Brama Health Centre, Sierra Leone is continuing to make excellent progress, with windows and doors installed and plastering on the exterior of the building taking shape. The clinic is situated opposite Bethesda Children's Home and will serve communities from 35 villages. 

Generous funding enabled the purchase of land in 2019 and the necessary building materials to take the development this far. There is a great need for health facilities in Sierra Leone and this centre will primarily serve children, babies and mothers. Once completed the project will be self-funded, but additional funds are still required to reach the point of completion.

Click on the YouTube link below, to view how the project has progressed:

How to make a Donation

Click on the Donations button at the top of the website page. This will take you through to the SLM donations account. If you would like your donation to go to a particular project, please state.

By Bank Transfer: 

Barclays Bank
Sort code: 20-16-08, Account number: 30799076, Account name: Sierra Leone Mission 

By cheque: 

To: Sierra Leone Mission. Postal address: Janet Foord, 2 Cheyne Close, Church Milton Sittingbourne, Kent, ME10 2SQ 

All donations received go to support our communities in Sierra Leone. 

New Ebola Outbreak

There have been two new outbreaks of Ebola in two weeks; the first in the Democratic Republic of Congo, followed by Guinea. Health teams are trying to contain the spread of the disease by increasing contact tracing and providing medical support to local authorities. 

Guinea declared an Ebola epidemic on 14 February after three people died and four others became ill in the rural southeast of the country. It is the first reported outbreak in West Africa since a region-wide pandemic ended five years ago after claiming more than 11,000 lives.

The initial case in Guinea’s new outbreak involved a nurse in rural Gouéké who died on 28 January, and the six other reported cases were people who had attended her 1 February funeral. 

This current outbreak is very close to the border of Sierra Leone and there is a real threat and fear that it will spread. Ebola is a virus which spreads through contact with body fluids. It does have a much higher death rate than the Coronavirus, but is not spread by asymptomatic carriers.

Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio has reportedly flown to Guinea to consult with Guinean President Alpha Condé.

Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia bore the brunt of the 2014-2016 West African Ebola outbreak – which began in Guinea – and killed 11,300 people. 

Aid agencies are warning that speed is key to containing the spread of the virus, and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Guinean Red Cross say teams that include more than 2,500 volunteers have been activated in Guinea to provide contact tracing, psychosocial support, water, and sanitation.

Magnus Bendu asks for prayer for our communities in Sierra Leone

  • Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Sierra Leone and for the grieving families of those who have died from the disease. 
  • Memories of the 2014-2016 outbreak of Ebola are still very fresh in the minds of everyone. Please pray that this one will be quickly contained.

Thank you for your financial and prayer support for the Sierra Leone Mission, it is deeply appreciated.

Sources: The New Humanitarian

Graphic: Designed by gstudioimagen/Freepik

Foofoo Water School

Foofoo Water School is in urgent need of funds for enlargement. The school is currently bursting at the seams, with 340 children attending.  

The Sierra Leone Mission (SLM) supported the original construction of the school, but with ongoing projects requiring additional funding, the folk in Sierra Leone have come together to build a new extension themselves.  

Three years ago they started to build three additional classrooms, by raising the funds locally, and they have now finished the walls using mud blocks and cement mortar. To finish the project they need to buy twelve bundles of CI sheets. 

Magnus Bendu says: ‘This is the big giant standing in our way’. 

The amount needed to complete the extension building is £875. This would represent a massive contribution in terms of improving education facilities for the children and reducing the pressure on teachers.

Please pray with us that the necessary money will be raised to complete the project.

How to make a donation

Click on the Donations button at the top of the website page. This will take you through to the SLM donations account. If you would like your donation to go to a particular project, please state.

You can give by Bank Transfer to: 

Barclays
Sort code: 20-16-08, Account number: 30799076, Account name: Sierra Leone Mission 

If you would prefer, please send a cheque to: 

Janet Foord, 2 Cheyne Close, Church Milton Sittingbourne, Kent, ME10 2SQ 

Every pound given, goes to support our brothers and sisters in Sierra Leone. 

 

Christmas at Bethesda

We are delighted to receive some photos of the Bethesda children celebrating their Christmas in Sierra Leone!

sl christmas bethesda1

The children were clearly very happy to receive their Christmas gift shoe bags, which contain treats and toys donated and packed by members of our Connexion churches in the UK. After which, they were able to enjoy an outdoor lunch and a cooling swim in the sea!

sl christmas treats 2020     sl christmas swim 2020

 

Pastors Retreat - Sierra Leone

The Connexion pastors in Sierra Leone were able to gather together from their villages - at a safe distance - to take part in their annual retreat. 

The event was very different from previous years, but everyone was thankful for an opportunity to join in reflection, discussion, worship and prayer.

Sierra Leone has, to date, registered 2518 cases of Coronavirus and 75 deaths. The borders were closed as soon as the first cases were detected, which seems to have had a positive impact. We pray that this will continue. 

Prayer

Magnus Bendu sends his thanks to The Connexion community for their prayers and support for the churches and communities in Sierra Leone. He also asks for continued prayer for the necessary funds needed to complete the new Health Centre, which will be invaluable to so many people in need of this facility.

Donations

At the end of November, Magnus appealed to members of The Connexion, of all ages, to make a personal contribution, if they were able. To his amazement and the glory of God Le 38 M was raised (equal to £3167). Magnus said: 'We are so grateful to those who contributed and to God. It may seem like a small amount to some, but in Sierra Leone such an amount is very very huge. We still have a long way to go with the clinic but I can see the hand of God in it all.'

To Donate

If you would like to contribute towards the important work of The Connexion both in the UK and in Sierra Leone, please click on Donations at the top of the web page. All donations, no matter how small, are of huge value to enable us to continue the legacy of the Countess of Huntingdon.