Sierra Leone Initiative

Dusty Knisley (left) of Calvary United Methodist Church in Dillsburg, Pa., shares her family story and photos with the Rev. Daisy Gbloh from Sierra Leone. Knisley hosted a team from the Sierra Leone Conference at her home. Photo by Phileas Jusu, UMNS.
Dusty Knisley (left) of Calvary United Methodist Church in Dillsburg, Pa., shares her family story and photos with the Rev. Daisy Gbloh from Sierra Leone. Knisley hosted a team from the Sierra Leone Conference at her home. Photo by Phileas Jusu, UMNS.
By Phileas Jusu
Nov. 13, 2018 | MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (UMNS)

The Sierra Leone Initiative — a partnership begun 12 years ago between the Susquehanna and the Sierra Leone annual conferences — continues to build relationships and open new mission opportunities. 

Through the initiative, a Susquehanna “covenant church” works with a Sierra Leone “partner church.” Covenant churches commit to providing five or 10 years of salary support for full-time pastors in Sierra Leone at three levels: $1,200, $1,500 or $1,800 per year. 

The initiative also builds and develops direct relationships between the congregations through prayers, letters, phone calls and text messages.

U.S. covenant churches provide resources for community needs in Sierra Leone, a nation that has experienced a succession of tragedies — war, Ebolanatural disasters— in recent years. Dilapidated churches and parsonages are rehabilitated or replaced by new buildings, enlivening United Methodist presence. School buildings are repaired or replaced. 

In remote communities, the partnership furnishes safe drinking water through drilling boreholes funded by covenant churches. This reduces waterborne diseases. Scholarships, provision of toilets and improved health care are other results of the initiative.

Sierra Leone Bishop John K. Yambasu said, “The general membership of the Sierra Leone Conference remains thankful to God Almighty and deeply grateful to the Susquehanna Conference for journeying with us … in touching souls through the many life-changing ministries we have shared together.” 

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