Ebola free!

7 January 2016 |

Sierra Leone: praise … and prayer

‘We praise God that Sierra Leone has been declared Ebola free by WHO’, writes Christo Jonah, the Langham Preaching country coordinator in Sierra Leone.

It is wonderful to be able to start 2016 praising and thanking God with our brothers and sisters there!

Pastors in the preaching networks across the remote parts of the country were well placed to help distributing aid during the worst times, and they have been publicly acknowledged for this.

God made it possible for us not only to pray and encourage but also to meet real needs at a very difficult time. We did not have the means to do so; God used our friends to help us to respond. I remember dropping food in Bo for a Langham member who was out of town and working somewhere else. When we met him later he said he had not been paid for three months and that the rice and milk came at ‘just the right time’.

The monthly radio sermon broadcast became a lifeline for many during the crisis, especially across outlying rural areas. It continues to grow. The phone-in afterwards is proving very popular.

Our engagement with the public during our 15-minute question-and-feedback time has been very good … we are able to answer some difficult questions, confront some difficult issues and model good preaching.

Most preaching clubs have now resumed.

Despite the disruption of Ebola, these students completed their Bible training courses successfully!

Despite the disruption of Ebola, these students completed their Bible training courses successfully!

Our group in Freetown was the only group that continued to meet during the Ebola crisis. Following visits to the other clubs, many were able to meet up once before the end of 2015. We pray that in 2016 they will all be established again.

But post-Ebola recovery has sadly also presented significant new challenges.

There are thousands of Ebola orphans and survivors who are left to fend for themselves.

The side-effects that some survivors developed after treatment is causing hardship. Some have hearing, speech or weakness difficulties. A few have died after they had survived Ebola.

Finding enough food to live and maintaining general sustenance remain a challenge for many.

These are the challenges in the communities where pastors work who attend Langham training seminars and preaching networks.

The challenge of leadership at all levels is another urgent one.

The enquiry into the misuse of Ebola funds by government agencies is almost dead; it appears that those who could not account for huge sums of money will not be held accountable … The way ahead is uncertain, especially with [so much disappointment in] the kind of leadership we had during the Ebola fight.

Christo urges, ‘Please pray for us that God may provide for us [many pastors are exhausted, several have struggled with illness, and travelling is very difficult] and give us wisdom to know how to respond to the many needs and be relevant at this time!’

Langham Preaching has planned the following for 2016:

Our regular training will continue with visits to the preachers clubs in the Northern Province and two refresher days in Freetown and Bo. Level 1 and 2 Preaching training seminars are scheduled for July and September.

by Elria Kwant for Langham Preaching

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