Slowly our 15 passenger van meandered around craterous potholes, winding its way to Yagoi, the port we would leave to go to Bonthe Island, Sierra Leone.
At crater 216, one tire blew out. While we had a spare tire, we had no jack.
“No problem! Your country serves you!” The Sierra Leonean military just happened by, leapt out and lifted and changed our tire. Amazed, we thanked them and wished they would continue with us.
Especially when we got to Yagoi. There we discovered that while there was a boat to take us to Bonthe, there was no pier to the boat which sat out in the water 25 feet from shore.
“How do we…?” I began, but then noticed the captain smiling, eyes twinkling, with his arms held wide open. “You don’t mean?...” but he did, and soon he had carried each of us to the boat.
Some journeys we just can’t predict, and it’s better that we can’t! On that trip all the Canadian and Sierra Leonean students had something in common: we were all pretty nervous about the boat passage. Our fears were confirmed when we saw a crewmember bailing out waters leaking in from our overfull boat.
What do you do in the face of fear? In Africa you sing praises. Actually, in Africa you sing praises when you are afraid, happy, lonely, tired, sick, content, in the morning, afternoon, evening. Always praising God. And so we did, this mixed group of 30 Canadians and Sierra Leoneans, making up songs as we went "We are on a boat, going to Bonthe, we are covered by his grace!" This morphed into a rap, into a guitar solo, back into a chorus.
We arrived safely to an eager crowd of folks who showed us amazing hospitality. So many stories to tell from our outreach on the island together, but what first comes to mind is that boat passage, singing away fear together, experiencing how much better we are all together, and that this was just the beginning of new relationships.
That summer we 15 Canadians learned about boldness, compassion, and servanthood from our Sierra Leonean teammates. But most of all we learned to trust Jesus in our goings, and that the mission road is best traveled with new friends and partners.
And it helps if someone can start the worship singing.
-- Steve Colby
Video interview with Matthew Brima, General Secretary of Sierra Leone Fellowship of Evangelical Students (SLEFES). Matthew updates us on the devastating ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, and what gives him hope for his country.
director of missions IVCF
Mission Pilgrims is the call to live all life as a mission road following Jesus, growing as disciples as we go making disciples.
I host this blog but will involve many other contributors who are walking in Jesus mission with their lives, including:
Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship staff and students, campers, alumni, teachers, engineers, doctors, business, social workers, bakers, and candlestick-makers. Jesus calls all in His life-long mission pilgrimage whether its across the street or across the world.
For more extraordinary stories of our short-term missions, go to Extraordinary Stories