Since my last blog, I traveled home for two months to America (February-April). I had a chance to spend time with my family. It is always good to be loved on by my siblings and friends, and they went out of their way to do so. We all got to spend a long weekend together at the beach – which is a stretch when you have seven siblings! We laughed and caught up on life. We made memories that will forever be remembered. Thanks guys!
I had opportunities to see some of my donors and to speak at various churches while home. A special thanks goes out to Crosspointe Church of Valdosta, Georgia, First Baptist Church of Lake Park, Georgia and Northside Baptist Church of Valdosta, Georgia.I had a wonderful time home connecting with other missionaries at Pioneers’ base camp in Orlando. I was refreshed and pointed in a slightly new direction as I sought God on my future work. Many of you have been in the loop of the growth and progress of our Tree of Life ministry. Last year, our first year, we served over 110 students and 5 communities teaching community health, Moringa education and the Gospel. As a result, a house church was planted by our lead instructor Pastor Emmanuel Sesay. I cannot say how thankful to God I am to see his passion and desire to use Tree of Life as a tool in bringing hope and health to Sierra Leone. Pastor Emmanuel will be traveling to Ghana this month for training with Pioneers Africa. I am excited to see how this opportunity will grow him and challenge him as he perseveres in doing God’s work in Sierra Leone. I also would like to share that last Sunday Pastor baptized 9 new believers at his church in Deep Eye Water.
My good friend, Mark, is now back in Jui and closer to Pastor Emmanuel. He is co-teaching with Pastor and telling the Bible stories within the class. Pastor has nothing but praises to ring about Mark and has taken him under his wing to be mentored. This is exactly what I have been praying for through the birth of Tree of Life – disciples training disciples. Mark has even shared with me that he is feeling that God may be calling him to be a pastor. Please pray for both Pastor Emmanuel and Mark as they continue to follow the path God lays out for them.
I will be here in Sierra Leone for the next two months and will return in June. I feel that it is time to pass the Tree of Life baton in Sierra Leone to Pastor Emmanuel and Mark. This will mean that they will take my place as a in-country director of the ministry. I will move into more of a consultant/support role as I pray about expanding the project to other countries and people groups. Because West Africa is predominantly comprised of French speaking countries, I have been advised to learn French. This will allow me to travel into countries that have an interest in Tree of Life and do training in the national language of those countries. Because immersion is the best way to learn French, I will be raising funds to spend a year in France at a language school. This is a leap of faith for me and a big cultural shift from where I am living now. I will be coming home in June to begin fundraising for the extra monthly funding needed for the difference in the cost of living expenses.
· Please pray for me as I enter this time of transition. I still will be traveling to Sierra Leone each year to reinforce the work and to encourage Pastor and Mark.
· Pray for Pastor and Mark as they take on more responsibility and realize their autonomy in making Tree of Life a thriving ministry in Sierra Leone.
· Pray for more students to come forward as teachers within Tree of Life – Sierra Leone.
· Pray for my team that I will be leaving behind (temporarily) as they continue to be faithful to God’s call on their lives and to the people of Sierra Leone.
· Pray for the Ebola outbreak in Guinea and Liberia that potentially could affect Sierra Leone and other surrounding countries.
· Pray for me as I strive to raise the monthly quota needed to make my transition to France.
I love you all and encourage you to share this blog and prayer requests with your churches, small groups, and others. I am forever grateful for your partnership, love and support. We all are beginning a new chapter of this adventure. Thank you for walking with me! LG+LP-Chuck