By Haley Simmons, Social Media Director
When I share of my time in Africa, it will not sound like your normal mission trip.
We did not go to Sierra Leone to help build houses, play with children, nor provide for the local people. Rather, we went to witness what God was doing, and to bring it back to North America.
We went to encounter a story of darkness, demons, and spiritual battle.
We did not stay in a typical comfortable house, but a village home with no plumbing and light only when the generator was on.
We did not go to teach our songs and our ways to the children and people. We went to learn from them, to love and get love from them, to pray for them and ask that they pray for us.
And we became more convinced than ever that Sierra Leone is a mighty nation which, with faith, can rise up in the name of Jesus and bring light to a dark hemisphere.
We visited 14 of 140 villages, rode canoes across rivers to isolated villages, and witnessed congregations gathered with no pastor. We clapped to the sound of African drums and sang along to their worship – songs of praise to their loving, caring, able Yahweh.
We cried out together with them for wisdom for the leaders of their country, for growth in their economy as they gain confidence in their worth and ability to provide for their families. We visited four rice farms deep in the jungle and prayed for a bountiful harvest.
We had front-porch Bible studies with local pastors and gained knowledge from their perspective and encouragement from faith expressed amidst suffering.
We prayed for a blind, paralyzed man and he walked. We witnessed 63 new women receive a microloan to grow their small business to provide for their family. We visited an orphanage where a pastor and his wife were trying to care for 44 children who were starving because the pastor’s tractor was broken.
Our hearts broke as we prayed for the girls involved in the cultural Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) tradition; we prayed for deliverance, education, and rescue through the new rescue program led by a former FGM leader who has been convicted and is now being used as a powerful weapon against this evil.
We saw visions of demons dancing on the riverbank, taunting us that the gospel could not reach their villages. We saw fiery chariots of angels going before our village pastors as they reached destitute villages. We saw light being poured out like water over a broken, dark country. We saw children who were starving and naked, but full of joy and laughter. We heard the sounds of goats bleating, dogs barking, chickens chirping, the constant hum of cicadas. We saw the wonder of God’s creation in century old trees, songs of birds, and a black sky filled with millions of stars.
We visited multiple churches, and Lulu Founder Mommy Emily shared this message with each congregation: We come to Africa to share our things, and in exchange we gather up their strong faith and bring it home to our countries who are lacking true faith.
“At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality…” 2 Corinthians 8:13-14
We prayed for them, and asked that they pray for us. For though Sierra Leone is a country embedded with suffering, darkness, and poverty, it is also a nation of impenetrable faith. And we believe this faith will gradually shatter the barriers keeping them from rising up.
Even now, as local pastors are going out and Christian churches are being planted across the country, light is spreading. And with light from the church, they gain education and sustainability. They are joyful in suffering, patient in affliction, helping one another in love.
So no, we did not go to “help” them, or teach them how to do their lives better. In fact, we learned from them – to work hard every day, to be joyful always (1 Thes. 5:16), to give even if we have nothing, and to greet one another with love.
Please join us in praying for Sierra Leone as the light spreads through the nation, and take faith, for they are praying for us too.