Weekend Recap from Sierra Leone

Tom Cox and I are greatly enjoying the fellowship we have in Christ, as we partner together in this work.  Here is a recap of some of the ministry opportunities of this past weekend.

Saturday, February 10

We gathered for our third teaching session on the doctrine of the church. I taught through the various Biblical images God has given to illustrate both the nature and the purpose of His church in the world.  We specifically focused on the church as the body of Christ with Christ as the head, the church as the temple of God with Christ as cornerstone, and the church as the family of God with Christ as our elder brother. The approximately 25 church leaders and members who attended engaged deeply in our discussion and are demonstrating that they are making connections to their own local context.

Following the teaching, we participated in an important afternoon meeting between representatives of the Presbyterian Church of Sierra Leone (PCSL) and Jim Weaver, the chairman of our denomination’s work in West Africa (W.A.R.M). He joined us by Zoom to share exciting news about potential additional ministry partners, who may be considered for a future in-country partnership with the churches here. If the Lord leads in this direction, this would be a huge answer to prayer, as well as an enhancement of the work of raising leaders of which Tom and I have been part. Please pray with us that the Lord would continue to raise up workers for the harvest.

Sunday, February 11

On Sunday, Tom and I attended separate churches, at the request of the elders, so that each of us could observe and encourage one of the men in training, as they proclaimed God’s Word to their people. Because our role is to come alongside the churches in raising up leaders and pastors from among their own people, we believe it is vital that we have the opportunity to observe their preaching in their own context. Each man preached from a text that we assigned that connects to teaching we are doing during the weekdays. I was greatly encouraged to worship with the congregation at First Presbyterian Church in Freetown, and hear one of their elders faithfully proclaim the gospel from 1 Timothy 3:15-17.  

In addition, the Lord gave me two opportunities to exercise the biblical exhortation to be ready “in season and out of season.”  

#1 – I noticed my name was listed in the bulletin as leading a blessing over the children of the congregation. I asked what that meant, and learned they wanted me to pray a blessing over the next generation, which I was delighted to do, using Jesus’ words from Luke 18:15-17 to inform the basis of my prayer.

#2 – Following the worship service, one elder, named Alfred, informed me that we would be visiting the home of a woman whose husband recently died, while he was in Atlanta. When we arrived, I saw many of the young people from the church, gathered on the front porch of her home, and when we went inside, many of the members of the congregation were gathered in the living room. I was asked to sit in a chair in the middle of the room next to Alfred, and he informed me he would like me to speak words of comfort for about 5 minutes. I prayed silently that the Lord would lead me, and I turned to 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. I acknowledged to Sara, the young widow, that though I do not know her, she is my sister in Christ, and though I have no wisdom in and of myself, I bring God’s Word of comfort in the face of grief. I was deeply touched by the expressions of love from this congregation, showing up together both in times of joy and times of sorrow.

We’ve had several other ministry opportunities, as the Lord has led us to conversations with people of various backgrounds, not only in the church but also in at the hotel.  In my next update, I will share a little about how the Lord is at work and how he is using your gifts of kindness to bless people with whom we come in contact.

Here are a few prayer points for today:

Please pray for each night’s teaching session.  I will be doing the teaching on church leadership tonight, and one of the students will be giving a short sermon for our sermon lab.

Please pray for a young man who is part of the hotel cleaning crew. He is a Muslim with whom we were able to share the gospel today, after he found and read a book on the Lord’s Supper that I left out on the desk in our room.

Please pray for the young woman who suddenly lost her husband in Atlanta. She is planning to go for the funeral in the next couple of weeks, and I have offered to help connect her to folks from our denomination, if that’s of help to her and her family.

Photos below, left to right are: 1) Tom and I with church leaders from the PCSL; 2) a selfie photo with the class, used as a illustration of “pictures” the Lord gives of his church; 3) student, Sorie, with his daughter Samara, whose naming ceremony we attended last March, just after she was born.

In Christ,
Pastor Nate