What's New?

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. 

 

Amazing God! Heartfelt People!

Deciding to tidy away Christmas cards in the bookshop at the weekend, Jan Foord found an envelope on the doorstep addressed to her, containing £1000 for the Health Centre in Sierra Leone from an anonymous donor. 

This wonderful gift will be added to a generous donation received before Christmas of £500 and funds generated from a December stall outside Zion Community Church, which totalled a further £500. 

And minutes after receiving Jan’s email, sharing the news of the ‘bookshop’ donation, to her surprise, Janet O’Shea received another donation of £1200 to put towards university fees for Abdul and Mariatu.

Praise God!

Abdul and Mariatu

Abdul and Mariatu are the two oldest children at Bethesda. At a very young age they were rescued from the streets of Freetown by Magnus Bendu and brought to live at Bethesda orphanage. He gave them a home, new brothers and sisters, and ensured that they had a good education and studied hard. Now their time at Bethesda is coming to an end and they are moving on to further education - something they could never have dreamed of doing living on the streets. 

When Janet visited Bethesda in 2018 with Bethany and Esther Green, they spoke to the children about their career aspirations and received many answers: Pastor, Doctor, Lawyer, Nurse, and even Prime Minister! 

Abdul and Mariatu have continued to apply themselves to their studies. Abdul has been appointed Head Boy and Mariatu is Student Chaplain. Both are working towards their final exams, and depending on the results, they will be eligble to go to university. Abdul hopes to study law and Mariatu hopes to study medicine.

An appeal was made at the end of 2020 by the Sierra Leone Mission for financial contribution towards the cost of enabling these bright, hardworking teenagers to achieve their dreams and go on to serve their communities. The estimated cost of Abdul’s four-year course is £542 and Mariatu’s seven-year course is estimated at £620. We thank God for his answer in prayer of bringing such a generous donation to the SLM to help these deserving young people gain access to opportunities that will change their lives! 

With the creation of the new Health Centre, it would be equally amazing if Mariatu will one day be able to work there.

Health Centre

The completion of the Health Centre will make a vital difference to people’s lives, as Magnus describes:

The healing ministry in Sierra Leone is a huge need. This is an even greater need for children whose health care facilities in Sierra Leone is one of the poorest in the world. For many years now, we have always been among the worst countries in terms of maternal, infant and child mortality rates. Beyond the statistics, I see this practically every now and then. Many children die of illnesses and diseases that could have been prevented with access to health care facilities. In the location where the new clinic is being built for instance, there is no specialized clinic or hospital for children in over 50 miles radius with very bad roads to add to the problem. The only hospital focused on children which is 28 miles away serves the entire city of Freetown and its environs, which means those from the rural areas will sometimes return with their children dead without going beyond the queue.’

Magnus adds:

‘The new clinic, which has been named the Ralph O’Shea Memorial Children’s Clinic will initially focus on providing primary health care for children and also treat other patients generally. The structural part of the building is at a very advanced stage. This is thanks to the SLM for supporting the initiative and to the late Morgan Pearce of the UK who mainly funded over 95% of the work done so far, yet preferred to be anonymous until his departure to be with the Lord on the day we started roofing. His legacy in Sierra Leone will never die.’

roof on health centre

Thanks

The Connexion and the Sierra Leone Mission express huge thanks to all those who have so kindly and generously contributed to these life changing causes. We also give thanks to God for his amazing answer to prayer and need.

How to give to the Sierra Leone Mission 

Click on the Donations button at the top of the website page. This will take you through to the SLM donations account.

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.

Container arrives in Sierra Leone!

The container dispatched from the UK to Sierra Leone at the end of October, has now arrived in Bethesda! 

When opened it was evident the container had been tampered with and a few boxes were torn, likely with missing items.

This is very common in Sierra Leone, but thankfully most of the goods have arrived intact.

Magnus and Daniel send huge thanks to all of our churches and donors of items, who have generously helped to make this possible, particularly during this year of the Covid pandemic. 

 

 

Inside the container

  • Childrens’ book and reading schemes for the schools
  • Study books and donated boxes of books from Christian Books Worldwide for the pastors
  • Clothes for children and adults, school uniforms and baby items
  • Toys, especially cuddly toys. These are gratefully received as most children in Sierra Leone have no toys
  • Knitted items, childrens’ hats, blankets, cardigans and jumpers
  • Health Clinic items: sheets, blankets, surplus from surgeries eg donated bandages, pads, saline, sample bottles, wound dressing kits and masks (at least 500 handmade masks are included) 
  • Additional: bedding, school items and Christmas presents!

The shipment is being held at Bethesda, which is a home for children in need. The goods and shoe bags containing mixed items will be distributed from there to the Connexion Churches by Magnus and Daniel, who make absolutely sure that the children receive their shoe bags!

In addition, when Magnus travels to remote villages he takes items, such as clothes and toys for the villagers, brought to them with the love of Jesus. This forms a valuable part of his Christian outreach and the folk are extremely grateful. Magnus also supervises the distribution of items to ensure they are divided fairly and equally - there have been occasions where a few skirmishes have broken out over who gets what!

On announcement of the container’s arrival, Magnus reports that “Bethesda was turned upside down with excitement!”

We look forward to receiving some pictures when the shoe bags are distributed, and we praise and thank the Lord for the safe delivery of these goods to our communities in Sierra Leone!

The image shows children in Songo Loko receiving their shoe bags following dispatch of items from the UK last year

Help for the Health Centre

Work has temporarily halted on the construction and fitting of the new Health Centre in Sierra Leone, which will serve the urgent need for communities in Brama and Bethesda.

Two generous donations enabled the purchase of land for the Centre as well as the brick structure and roof. We give thanks for this fantastic answer to prayer and God's wonderful ability in prompting blessed people to contribute. 

Completion of the project, however, will require further funding, estimated in the region of £30,000. Windows have already been purchased, but they cannot be installed until money is raised to buy doors. The next stages would be to carry out works on the interior of the building: plastering, tiling, electrics and plumbing, followed by painting and decorating, and the installation of furniture and equipment.

An application has been made to Difid for a grant to cover the costs of the first two year's operation, including salaries for midwives, setting up visits to schools and villages, inoculations and general hygiene education.

A midwife is on 'stand-by' in readiness to go to Sierra Leone to implement everything needed to make the Health Centre available to the communities, but she is unable to take on this role until the building works are completed.

Prayer

We thank God for His amazing power to answer our prayers and ask that He will find a way for the necessary funds to be raised to complete this vital project, which has the potential to change so many lives within our Sierra Leone community.

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. All contributions, no matter how small, are of huge value to enable us to continue the legacy of the Countess of Huntingdon.

 

Background to the need for a Health Centre

During their November visit to Sierra Leone, Janet O’Shea with Bethany and Esther Green were introduced to a church service congregation, where they noticed a young boy. Sitting next to his mother, he was in pain, whimpering quietly to himself, and it soon became obvious that there was something seriously wrong. His mother explained that two weeks earlier her son had been playing football when he fell and broke his leg - in two places. She could not afford medical help and could not raise the money for transport to reach a clinic where he could be treated.

At Mabang, the team met a young man with his two small children. He had just buried his wife because she had not been able to reach the hospital quickly enough.

In addition, at Brama School during a two-week visit in the summer, at least six children were taken ill with malaria, while at Bethesda two children needed treatment for malaria and one for typhoid.  

Help was given to those mentioned, but it left no doubt of a great need for improved health care facilities. 

 

Update - Jerusalem Avenue School

Excellent progress is being made to the repairs of Jerusalem Avenue School, Sierra Leone, with the installation of a new roof.

jerusalem ave roof

The Sierra Leone Mission express deep gratitude to our UK Connexion churches for helping to raise funds to carry out this work. 

The building became unsafe a few years ago with the roof leaking badly and causing extensive damage to the interior of the school, particularly during the rainy seasons.

jerusalem ave 2

The Sierra Leone Mission has been working to raise necessary funds to cover this restoration project for two years now. With the contributions they have received, work has now begun on the installation of a second floor to the building. This will significantly increase the size of the school and make the entire building watertight with the completion of a new roof.

Huge thanks are conveyed to the Connexion Community for their generosity in making this possible.

We look forward to seeing more photographs as the work progresses!

Donate

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

Jerusalem Avenue School

The Sierra Leone Mission thank our UK Connexion churches for helping to raise funds for the repair of Jerusalem Avenue School, Sierra Leone.

The building became unsafe a few years ago with a badly leaking roof, which has caused extensive damage to the interior of the school during the rainy seasons.

The Sierra Leone Mission has been working to raise necessary funds to cover this restoration project for two years now. With the contributions they have received, work has now begun on the installation of a second floor to the building. This will significantly increase the size of the school and make the entire building watertight with the completion of a new roof.

Huge thanks are conveyed to the Connexion Community for their generosity in making this possible.

We look forward to seeing more photographs as the work progresses!

Donate

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

More Shoe Bags!

More of the shoe bags sent to our communities in Sierra Leone have been happily distributed to children from local schools and churches.

Magnus and Daniel send their grateful thanks to all of the Connexion church members and volunteers who have made the shoe bags possible with donated items - and quite a bit of hard work putting everything together. 

The shoe bags contain practical items, clothing, books and a selection of toys.

Below is a snippet of some of the children in receipt of their goodie bags!

shoe bag grid

 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. All contributions, no matter how small, are of huge value to enable us to continue the legacy of the Countess of Huntingdon.

 

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