Post and photos by Jeanne Damoff

The simple wooden benches in the small church are filled with the people of Kamassaralie Village, young and old. They’ve gathered for Sunday service, and their young pastor, Ezekiel, stands before them delivering a powerful sermon.

Next to Ezekiel stands an even younger man — only eighteen years old — dressed in a clean white shirt and crisp black suit in spite of the wilting heat. With every impassioned sentence Ezekiel preaches, the young man interprets his words into English, his zeal and fervor and punctuated movements mirroring the pastor’s.

It’s November, and shortly after we arrive in Kamassaralie we learn that every weekend this young man travels for hours from Freetown where he attends university to this small village hidden away in the bush of Sierra Leone. He comes to teach Sunday School, serve the people, and sit at the feet of Pastor Ezekiel, who is training him in the Scriptures, in preaching, and in prayer. And it’s working. It didn’t take long to see there’s a special anointing on him.

The young man’s name is Dominique. And his story is remarkable.

Dominique was orphaned as a young boy and was adopted into a village family. On the surface this sounds lovely, but the man who adopted him is the local witch doctor.

Even though his home was dedicated to darkness, Dominique attended the local church and, as a young boy, met Jesus. The light shone in the darkness, and the darkness could not overcome it. Whatever the witch doctor may have had in mind for his adopted son, Dominique had now been adopted by Another, and he never looked back.

But there’s more to this story of salvation and discipleship. Because Ezekiel was once in similar shoes. He needed a mentor to train him in ministry and truth, and the Lulu Tree’s National Director, Pastor Sonnel, was the one who took Ezekiel under his wing.

When Paul wrote his letters to Timothy, he addressed the first one to, “Timothy, my true child in the faith,” and the second to, “Timothy, my beloved child.” Paul not only led Timothy to faith in the Lord, he fathered him, mentoring him in sound doctrine and biblical practice. And in his second letter, he wrote these challenging words:

“You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”

In Sierra Leone, there are many villages without a church, and these men of God are following Paul’s example, raising up Timothys to take the gospel to those villages and then, in their turn, to entrust it to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.

And that’s exactly what Dominique is about to do. Now that he has completed his university studies, Pastor Sonnel and Ezekiel are commissioning him to plant a church in a village where there is no Christian witness. Every weekend, rain or shine, Dominique will ride a bicycle to Kakonky Village and stretch a tarp across an open space. Every weekend, he will call the villagers to come to church, and he will faithfully preach the gospel that’s been faithfully taught to and modeled for him. He’ll preach with the power the Spirit pours into him, like Ezekiel before him, like Sonnel before him. And God will honor his obedience.

When Pastor Sonnel asked Dominique if he was ready and willing to take this commission, he quietly answered, “It is the work of God, so it is no problem for me. I’m very willing to do it, and by the grace of God I am going to do it.”

And I won’t be surprised at all if, in a few years, we can sit in a small church in Kakonky Village, surrounded by wooden benches filled with young and old, and their young pastor, Dominique, will preach a powerful sermon, his Timothy at his side.

Because the light still shines in the darkness, and the light always wins.


Sierra Leone

Praise God for the new Christian leadership growing and thriving in Sierra Leone!

We thank God for the new church in Kamassaralie and the church/school being built in Kakonky Village.

We praise God for the 100 villagers in Sierra Leone who received business training and microloans this month.

Praises that, as the church is being built, a pastor is already preaching in Kakonky Village.


Thank you, Lord, for the new teen mamas who have joined the School of Hope!

Praises for the new school building and the work being done to ready it for classes.

Praise God that a large pastor training has just taken place, with many attending from far and wide.

We thank the Lord for the completion of the wall around School of Hope, and for the work being done on the kitchen.

South Sudan

Praise God for the hearts of our dedicated team in Uganda as they fast and pray, seeking God’s will for The Lulu Tree’s mission in South Sudan.

Please pray with us for the Sudanese refugees living in Uganda–for their protection, salvation, and restoration.

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