Makeni and Freetown, Sierra Leone. Monrovia, Liberia

Hello friends! Here’s the latest from Africa. The most recent trip was a difficult and yet a good and rewarding adventure. During the first week I was in Minneapolis at staff meetings and then we left for Makeni, Sierra Leone.

We had a very productive 3 weeks of training pastors and church leaders. Here’s a recap and news about future trips.

After our first week (see last blog post) we hiked up the hill behind the Bridge of Hope compound in Makeni on Saturday morning. It was a 1/2 hour climb. Every year the hill is burned the hill to keep the vegetation down. The plants look dead but out of the darkened branchlets come new growth. There is a sermon illustration in there somewhere.

This hike was one of the very rare outings we have taken when we travel to Africa. We had some wonderful hosts at the compound in Makeni but just a little free time and so we enjoyed the morning’s hike together with our guide, Joseph. On the way home back to the center, we met the man who owns the land. His son attends the Bridge of Hope school. The owner was very happy to meet us.

This photo below shows the kitchen that serves lunch to several hundred students every day.

Here is the group from Makeni. We have grown to love these student. Our partner provided all the students with very cool TLI shirts!

Our first official class in Freetown began the Monday morning of our second week in Sierra Leone. We had 45 students and three teachers including me.

We met in the newly constructed block wall classrooms, complete with white boards and fans.

The students came well prepared and were on time. We are looking forward to another great week of training in early September.

During the third week the Sierra Leone American teaching team returned to the U.S., but I took a short flight to Liberia to join 4 other U.S. trainers for another week of instruction.

Three of us team-taught with three Liberian men who have been faithful to their studies and have grown in their faith tremendously over the last 2 years. The ministry in Liberia has been greatly assisted by TLI’s full time, in country, trainer, Ryan Currie. Ryan and his family have been residents of Liberia for the last 15 months and trained, discipled, and loved these men and developed them so that they could ably co-lead our classes.

Unfortunately, this will be TLI’s last trip to Liberia until administrative changes are made with the Monrovia site. With sadness we left, but we are trusting God that our labors will bear fruit and that in the future we will be able to return.

For me, this departure means that my two primary training centers will be in Sierra Leone – Makeni and Freetown. I will have some free weeks during the year to travel to other TLI sites and teach.

The picture below is of our final team meal together at the airport restaurant. Tim, on the left next to me, brought his daughter on the trip. She added a little 16 year old perspective and humor that we haven’t experienced before. Fun!

Team teaching requires listening to one another and giving helpful instruction. Tim, seated foreground, is one our our best volunteer teachers ( shout-out to William Tennent School of Theology, ), and he was able to coach and encourage Roland, one of our star trainees.

As always, the students have open Bibles and student handbooks, during the discussions.

Additionally, some of you contributed reading glasses for the students who were having trouble. Here’s a common site in our classrooms – cell phone flashlights for clearer text. All 20 or so pairs of glasses were scooped up, and very much needed and appreciated by the students. THANKS!

I came home happy, encouraged by the progress in Makeni, excited about the new students in Freetown, pleased with the progress over the last two years in the church leaders in Liberia, and sad that our time there is over for now. Please pray with me for all three sites and that the difficulties in Liberia can be overcome.



One Comment on “Makeni and Freetown, Sierra Leone. Monrovia, Liberia

  1. We will certainly be praying for these things. Thank you for the update and all of the photos!


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