On Septemeber 30th I’ll be leaving for a 17 day trip to Sierra Leone to teach on the first year of the Global Leadership Institute. I’m excited about this opportunity to spend 2 weeks training 25 pastors from surrounding towns and villages. I’ll be working with John Thompson, pastor of All Nations Fellowship in Tulsa, OK, Brian Main, pastor of Walnut Creek Community Church in Warren, Ohio, and Gregory Bangura, our host and missionary living in the country.
Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, was originally founded in 1787 as a home for freed salves. It later became a British colony. The slaves in Freetown were a captive audience for the European missionary societies, and many ex-slaves were converted to the faith.
It received its independence from Britain in 1961. Then in 1990 the Liberian Civil War caused a collapse in the government. For the next 10 years civil war ravaged the country, destroying its infrastructure and terrorizing all. The mayhem and destruction was caused by an internal war over Sierra Leone’s valuable diamond fields.
In an effort to bring terror and control, the rebels in the country ruthlessly maimed thousands. It is reported that over 250,000 people had their arms or legs hacked off. Over 70% of the women and little girls who fell into the hands of the rebel soldiers were brutally raped. It is estimated that 6,000 children were kidnapped and forced to become soldiers, killing others, even forced to kill family members. Since the end of the war a string of peaceful years has led to some hope, but it is fragile.
What so exciting about the Global Leadership institute is that we are filling a need. It is estimated that 70% of the pastors in the county have no formal Bible training. Many of the seminaries were destroyed or abandoned during the civil war. Today, what was once a Christian stronghold is now only 12% Christian.
 Patrick Johnstone and Jason Mandryk, Operation World, 6th edition ed.(Tyrone, GA: Authentic Media, 2006), 565.
 Mandryk, 563.