Nets Draw New People to Church in Sierra Leone
In 2010, The United Methodist Church partnered with the health ministry of Sierra Leone to provide bed nets and education about how to prevent malaria deaths. The campaign has led to increased church attendance and to the construction of a new church building.
(Locator: Kortihun, Sierra Leone)
(People dancing in the street)
Excitement is in the air in Kortihun, Sierra Leone. People have come to a town meeting to talk about the successes of United Methodist health programs here.
(Pastor with mic speaking to crowd) “Imagine no malaria.”
(Crowd says) “Imagine no malaria!”
Morie Jusu, Kortihun Tribal Chief: “Because of malaria our children and loved ones used to die. But after some time United Methodist people supplied us nets, the malaria infection reduced drastically.”
A 2010 gift of insecticide-treated bed nets opened doors and minds here bringing people to church. On Sunday mornings, a new United Methodist church overflows with a crowd that draws Christians and Muslims including elders and the tribal chief.
Morie Jusu: “When you are a chief in a village, what makes you a chief and a good chief? When you bring unity in the village, when the village or your community loves something, you, the chief, must love it.”
Attendance is way up all across the region. Pastor Moses M.K. Sandy serves four churches, walking miles each Sunday between villages. In response to growth, the town of Kortihun constructed its first United Methodist church.
Pastor Moses M.K. Sandy: “We started the church in 2011 on the veranda of one of the chiefs in the community but when the congregation started growing beyond the capacity of the home where were worshipping, the idea of a new church came on our mind.”
Sam Thomas, United Methodist Church member: “In 2012 when this roof was put up, it was a day of joy and celebration. Every member of the church was excited and we were all very happy. It was a day of joy in this church.”
United Methodist district superintendent, the Rev. Francis Charley, isn’t surprised that new people want to learn more. He says life-saving bed nets are a meaningful example of the church’s commitment to the people of Sierra Leone.
The Rev. Francis Charley, District Superintendent. Sierra Leone Conference: “One of the things that is unique about this country is that we have the Christianity. We have those who are Muslims, of course, in a large population. But we also have those who are yet on the fence you know. They do not know quite know where to go. When they see us coming to them as Christians with all of these changes affecting their lives, definitely they want to identify themselves with us.”
The Imagine No Malaria campaign also reminds church members that we are all one body of Christ around the world, committed to supporting one another.
Sarah Karimu: “We’ve even heard that sometimes the donation comes from children. May the Lord continue to bless those children who are very thoughtful of us.”
A simple gift of bed nets is a gift of life and of unity for Muslims and Christians in this community.
Morie Jusu: “We are happy for the church and we are happy because it is God that supports to you and it is God that sent you here. And it is even God that supports the donors who give you the money to supply us nets in our communities.”
Learn more at ImagineNoMalaria.org.