Saturday, July 26, 2008

Banta Mokelleh

So, we are here – in Banta. This place is so very different than the capital city of Freetown. It’s the country – with clean air and lush jungle surroundings. The night is black with a magnificent view of the stars and the frogs croak loudly as we try to ignore them in our sleep. After being here almost a week, I understand why COTN wanted to bring the “home kids” here to live. Not only are they not exposed to the inevitable things in a big city, but here they have room to run, play and explore. Its safe and there’s space for lot of growth. As we walk among the school buildings, the medical and malnourishment clinics, I am simply amazed that this place exists – it’s like a haven in the middle of nowhere. Not to mention the houses where the children now live. Compared to the second floor of the school where they used to live, I imagine these buildings are a refreshing amount of space that feels like their own. Each Aunty decorates and arranges her house the way she sees fit.

The even greater impact, however, is that of COTN on the surrounding villages in Banta. Suddenly, a school is close by with the ability to offer help with school fees and food for lunch. Suddenly, education for the children of the village is not as impossible as it once was. And suddenly, after trust has been established, the village witch doctor is not the only option for an illness. Jobs are created, buying and selling becomes a demand, new pathways are created between villages that never existed before and parents become open to the idea of attending the Christian church that’s affiliated with their child’s place of education. Men emerge who are interested in becoming pastors for their own village church and soon new churches are springing up in villages all over Banta – 10 at the moment, with the help from certain people here at COTN. Two nursery schools began in villages that are too far away for such young children to walk to COTN’s school. Through that, these remote places are being exposed to English, education and the excitement that children have for learning. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s a farm, weekly Bible studies, a girls church choir, health representatives in each village and teachers who are excited about education.

This is the ministry here in Sierra Leone that Scott and I are privileged enough to join. Just being here and seeing all that has been done is quite an honor. I just hope we can somehow offer something to help further what God is already doing here. I trust He knows the many reasons why we came much more than we do.

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