The Cry Vol 16 No 3 . 1

This past year, WMF Sierra Leone stepped into a new season for the community and ministry. For the past seven years, we have met and ministered out of our homes and borrowed spaces. Last November, after much thought, prayer and searching, we rented a beautiful house overlooking Kroo Bay, where we minister regularly. We, along with our kids, have named our ministry center the “Ale’ Ale’ House of Hope.” Although the house is still a bit rough and the grounds require some work, we feel that with this house, God has given us a blank canvas to draw on and dream into as we reach out to children and families in Kroo Bay. (Photo: Chris Harrell)
This past year, WMF Sierra Leone stepped into a new season for the community and ministry. For the past seven years, we have met and ministered out of our homes and borrowed spaces. Last November, after much thought, prayer and searching, we rented a beautiful house overlooking Kroo Bay, where we minister regularly. We, along with our kids, have named our ministry center the “Ale’ Ale’ House of Hope.” Although the house is still a bit rough and the grounds require some work, we feel that with this house, God has given us a blank canvas to draw on and dream into as we reach out to children and families in Kroo Bay. (Photo: Chris Harrell)

Seasons of Redepmtion

Seasons in Sierra Leone are different from the familiar four we were accustomed to in Nebraska. Here we experience two basic seasons: a rainless sultry heat, stretching from November to April, followed by a wet blast of monsoon-like rains from June to September.

During the extended dry season, it is difficult to remember what the rainy season was like. The overhead sun parches dirt roads, and once-green leaves are covered with a sooty layer of fine, brown dust. Many seasonal plants that sprouted during the past rainy season shrink and wither under the pervasive heat. Any effort is readily accompanied by sweat. By the end of each day, the cold-water bucket bath is a welcome relief. By April, the oppressive heat’s crescendo is matched only by a persistent, ever-growing anticipation of the cool first rains.

When the rain does come, new life spontaneously springs up in response. Hidden seeds and bulbs, left dormant for months, suddenly appear in unison as if called forth by an unseen power or command. Nearly overnight, dusty yards are dotted with green sprouts, which are little more than signs of what’s to come. As the rains continue, the once dry, barren ground is transformed into an abundant cacophony of green life.

As we enter the rainy season here in Sierra Leone, I’ve been reflecting on how our small Christian community is like one of these green sprouting shoots. In the world around us we see brokenness. Whether it’s in the hope-lost gaze of a hardened street youth or the startling screams of a child being beaten behind closed doors, we are constantly reminded that all things are not as they should be. However, this realization of brokenness is accompanied by a persistent anticipation — an anticipation that this is not the end of the story!

In God’s redemptive plan He uses Christian communities, such as ours here on the edge of Kroo Bay and yours all around the world, as signposts of hope pointing to a larger emerging realization of His Kingdom. Although inherently imperfect, our Christ-centered communities point to a new reality of restored fellowship with God and reconciled relationships with our fellow man and woman. This sprouting shoot of our community both proclaims and invites others to share the God-given restoration and reconciliation into which we are growing. Isn’t that how God’s Kingdom advances, turning broken to beautiful, one life at a time, until the whole earth is filled with the knowledge of the Lord’s redemptive plan?

So here we stand, on the threshold between two seasons, two realities. We are too often brutally reminded of the broken world that surrounds us. At the same time, though, we look ahead, and stand in anticipation and hope because of the promises we have received and have even begun to see and experience in our own lives and communities.

This broken world is not the end of the story! There is still another chapter yet to come for those whose hope is in the Lord. Our lives and communities are the small sprouting signs that point to the impending reality of God’s eternal reign and His restoration of all things as they should be. Behold, He makes all things new! Let us be that signpost!

sl-chris-dscn5271Chris loves life! Shared life experiences with his wife, Erin, and joy-filled moments with his 2-year-old daughter, Keyara, brighten each day. He is passionate about ultimate frisbee on the beach with his youth, board game nights with the guys and living and serving in Christian community.

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One thought on “The Cry Vol 16 No 3 . 1

  1. Stacy Fogleman says:

    Praise God! Thanks for sharing. It seems that we can despair in both the ‘rainy’ and the ‘dry’ seasons…. all of which allow us to long even more for our heavenly home. It also forces us to lean upon our solid rock and foundation, Jesus Christ.

    praise God for your work in Sierra Leone. I cry incessantly each time I watch the movie Blood Diamond. Do you know of any other films that hilight that country and/or surrounding area?

    Thank you for serving the Lord, His people, and those who are not yet His people.

    Blessings,
    stacy 🙂

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