Feasting with Orphans

–by Vidal Cole

Background

As a result of the outbreak of the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone, twenty-two children in the Wellington and Sima Town area, situated in the east end part of Freetown, were left helpless and homeless as they lost their parents and relatives to the virus. The children are presently cared for by Joshua Sandy, a Christian brother. Through the help of friends and loved ones he has been able to rent a house where all of them are now staying together as one big family.

According to Joshua, the Ebola outbreak shattered the dreams of these young children; thus he named the house “Dream Again Home”. His desire was that through the help of God these children, whose dreams had died, would be given the opportunity to Dream Again.

We first encountered these children during the rice distribution program the church embarked on in June this year. As we spent time with them during the distribution process, we sensed a special bonding with them; it was evident that the Lord was giving us a passion/burden for them. Our time with them was very emotional as we listened to them narrate their stories. Since then, we have continued praying with and for them and we have supported them from time to time.

Christmas Party

As we approached Christmas, we went on a visit to the home and the children spoke about organizing a Christmas party for them and they asked us whether we could help them. We thought about it and concluded that it was the least we could do to put a smile on their faces. Last year, there was no Christmas celebration in Sierra Leone because the virus was spreading rapidly by then. This year was indeed the right time to give these children a special treat so they could feel loved and accepted, and so they would know that they are not alone. We wanted to extend the love of God to them by sharing food and drinks with them during this festive season.

We decided on the date for the party (28th December 2015) and we worked on the necessary preparation to ensure the children had a great day of celebration. It involved getting them some new clothes and shoes to put on and the girls getting their hair nicely plaited and decorated with colorful hair accessories. We also arranged for a variety of special meals, drinks, and snacks to be prepared. In addition, we got a sound system for the children to enjoy gospel music as they ate their food.

The program started with an opening prayer from one of the secondary school children after which various speeches were made from the children. One of the kids made a “Thank You” speech to the Sierra Leone District Church of the Nazarene and it was very touching. I was also asked to make a statement and to respond to the speech. It was an evening of fun, laughter, dancing and celebration. The children danced in groups of threes and fours and they did some drama too. The food was very delicious and the children enjoyed it very much. All of them ate and drank to their satisfaction. The little girls displayed their walking styles in “cat walk” fashion and it was very interesting; it was much fun to be with them. We took photos together and they displayed “Thank You” messages in various languages. It was indeed a great time and the children expressed much appreciation to the church.

As we were getting ready to go home, one of the little girls named Philo held on very closely to my wife and I as we took some snap shots and she did not want us to go. We had to spend some time talking to her; reassuring her that we would be back before she finally let go.

We give God all the glory for making it possible for us to be a blessing to the children. We went home with a great sense of fulfillment, knowing that we had been channels in the hand of God to bring joy to the kids. We seem to have become the family that they lost to the Ebola virus. We look forward to continuing to minister to them in the coming year.

The Midnight Dance

–Jackson Shiblo Nyanway

For quite some time now the Lord has been dealing with me to “enter into His rest.” In the Old Testament the high priest was not allowed to sweat when he entered the Holy of Holies. Sweat is a sign of work and God wants us to enter into His rest. What does this mean? In simple terms, it means to never worry about anything! This is the rest of God.

You can reach a point where you trust Him so much that you realize everything in your life is going to be okay. Yes, hardships will come but what does Psalm 23 say? “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for Thou art with me.” That verse describes the rest of God. Even though we are all in circumstances we’d rather not be in, we can still have peace and joy and enter into the rest of God

This place of rest has become my dwelling place. I trust God and I have entered into His rest. We must all reach a point where we realize we can’t make it on our own. An old saying goes like this: “God helps those who help themselves.” Wrong! If you can help yourself then what do you need God for? The truth is, God helps those who can’t help themselves. This is why Jesus is called “Savior.” He is here to save us when we can’t save ourselves. Once we realize that, we are free to enter His rest.

Too often, we want to help ourselves or get help from our spouse, our friends, the church, or the government. But what does the Bible says? “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though it’s waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with it’s swelling” (Ps. 46:1-3).

Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord. When we trust Him completely, we have entered into the rest of God. We no longer worry about anything. And then, in the midst of our darkest hour, God will reach down and bless us with a blessing that I call the “Midnight Dance.” Just what is the “Midnight Dance”? Glad you asked. Read on…

My wife is one remarkable woman. Ma Deborah Nyanway is the type of individual that only comes around once in a lifetime. You can never tell by looking at her all that she’s been through. She is so full of life and the joy of the Lord discharges out of her. She makes all those who come in contact with her believe that life isn’t so bad. You just feel better about yourself by being with her if only for a few moments. There are times when Our Ma gets so outgoingly happy that it flows out of her like a rushing river. There’s a bounce in her step and the sound of her voice is a joyous melody. She can be super enthusiastic even during the darkest of times and this blesses me so much.

Last Saturday, she was like this and when I called her on my break at work she talked my head off. She was so outgoing I couldn’t get a word in edgewise. Later that night, as I was leaving work at a little after 11PM, (as a manager of a logging company) my cell phone rang and Our Ma informed me that she was going to walk and meet me at the highway which is about four miles and a half from our house. She stayed on the line and I talked to her – or should I say I listened to her – all during the half hour ride home. I would interrupt her from time to time to let her know where I was and she’d do the same. It was turning out to be a fun-filled ride. Better than I ever imagined about Our Ma……

As I approached the turn-off to our community, a car in front of me turned down the same road and Our Ma said she could see me. I said, “No! That’s not me! I’m the next car!” I could only imagine what awaited the driver of that car had I not warned Our Ma that it was not me. I laughed at the thought. Our Ma was on a stretch of road with no lights or houses nearby and it was pitch black outside. I told her, “Get ready. Here I come. I’m about to make the turn.” When I did she confirmed that she saw me.

Out in front of me was total darkness and I asked, “Where are you?” She said, “I’m right in front of you! Can’t you see me?” Just then my headlights caught sight of her and there she was in the center of the road at midnight waving her arms in the air dancing just for me! Here she was, in the darkest hour of the night, dancing in the middle of the road without a care in the world. All I could do was stop the car and laugh.

As she approached the car the sound of laughter broke through the motionlessness of the dark night. This is how it is with God. You may not always see Him in your circumstances but He is always there. During your darkest hour He can give you joy unspeakable. When you trust Jesus you can enter His rest and dance the “Midnight Dance.” Jesus is not the light at the end of the tunnel. No, He’s the light “in” the tunnel. No matter how dark your circumstances may be, you can still rejoice in the Lord and dance the “Midnight Dance.” For sure, this is the rest of God

Youth Empowerment Program—Nigeria

–Monica Carr

“Each one Train one” was the slogan that began it all in 2012. The Nazarene Youth Empowerment program in South East Nigeria called for volunteer trainers from the church in various trades including: tailoring, carpentry, motorcycle mechanics, brick laying, computers, patent medicine, hair dressing/barbering, refrigeration and air conditioning repair. Forty-eight volunteer trainers responded to the call and applications were dispersed, applicants interviewed, and eventually 20 youth (out of 34 applicants), comprised of orphans and unemployed youth from the most financially disadvantaged families, were chosen. To date, ten of the twenty have completed their training and five have been empowered, provided a workshop, and the tools of their trade. Those trained will in turn train others, continuing the cycle of empowerment and financial independence. According to district superintendant Reverend Okokon Eshiet, in addition to providing jobs and ongoing training, the program seeks to “prepare the youth to live a meaningful Christian life and support the work of evangelism and church planting.”

Contact:

If you are interested in giving to this ministry you may contact Rev. Okokon Eshiet at reveshiet2005@gmail.com

Sierra Leone Declared Ebola Free

–Vidal Cole

Sierra Leone has been declared Ebola free, after more than 19 months since the first case of the world’s worst Ebola outbreak was reported in West Africa. On Saturday, the 7th of November, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that 42 days (the length of two incubation cycles of the deadly virus) had passed since the last person confirmed to have the disease cleared a second consecutive blood test. Statistics from the Ministry of Health state that about 8,704 people were infected with Ebola, 3,589 died of the disease, and 4,000 survived. More than 12,000 children were orphaned as a result of the outbreak and nine was the average age.

Thousands of people gathered in the streets of the capital city of Freetown just before midnight Friday, the 6th of November, in anticipation of the announcement. WHO had previously stated that the decisive blood test came back negative in September, and if no further cases were reported, Saturday, November 7th, would mark the end of Sierra Leone’s battle with the deadly Ebola Virus.

On that day, various groups came together to organize a march through the city; the final gathering point was the cotton tree located right in the heart of the city. On the eve of the announcement, it was packed with people. Some held up candles, others jumped around dancing, and a military band led the procession through the city. There were waves of celebration all over the city, including men, women and children. Although the country has been declared Ebola free, nationals are yet to be free from the havoc the Ebola virus wrecked on their beloved nation. The fragile health system and thousands of Ebola orphans all over the country testify to the fact that there is a great journey of recovery ahead of Sierra Leone.

District Assembly Follows Proclamation

Sunday, November 8th, happened to be the 10th District Assembly of the Sierra Leone District Church of the Nazarene. This was certainly not a coincidence; rather it was considered a divine arrangement. Members of the church came trooping into the Assembly in a very jubilant mood; the Assembly was more of a joyous celebration. Some came in singing, jumping, dancing, shouting and praising the Lord for what He had done. The atmosphere was full of excitement and great joy and the words on everyone’s lips was that of the Ebola Free declaration. The Assembly started with a time of praise and worship that participants seemed unwilling to end, and the presence of God was very strong in our midst.

Responses on what Ebola free means to people

For many people, the Ebola Free declaration means that life will now return to normal and they will be able to go out to work and earn their living no matter how little they may earn. Farmers can now go to the farms and laborers can now go and work on a daily basis.

For others, they were happy that they no longer had to live in fear of a disease they cannot see but which has the ability to wipe out entire families.

Students were happy that they could now go to school or university and continue their education in a safe environment without fearing the person they’re seated next to.

Some said that now they will be able to travel freely to any part of the country as the travel restrictions have now been lifted and vehicles are now plying many routes that were formerly suspended because of the crisis.

People are also happy because the restriction on social gatherings has been lifted, thereby enabling them to host various parties and celebrations at both individual and community levels.

Finally, for some, this means that they will be able to pay their last respects to their loved ones who died by giving them a befitting funeral as opposed to during the crisis time when burial was strictly done by government burial teams.

West Africa Leadership Conference—Accra

–Monica Carr

Leaders representing 12 countries in West Africa met in Accra, Ghana, Oct. 4-8th for training, to share testimonies of God’s faithfulness, to pray, to develop a common vision and to fellowship. Highlights of the conference included a graduation ceremony in Ghana of 12 pastors from Nazarene Theological Institute and an ordination service of three Ghanaian pastors including the ordination of the first woman in Ghana.

General Superintendant Dr. Eugenio Duarte, taught on the Nazarene Essentials, challenging us to reflect on the church’s roots and DNA.  Regional director, Dr. Filimao Chambo, shared his desire to seek God’s will and vision for the church in Africa, and regional Nazarene Compassionate Ministries director Rev. Mutowa emphasizing the importance of Christlike compassion. Africa West Field Director, Rev. Daniel Gomis, district superintendants, country coordinators and other ministry leaders from the field also presented.

The gathering included leaders from Sierra Leone and Liberia who had not been able to attend field or regional events during the past year because of the Ebola epidemic. Stories of heroic faith and compassion were shared—of leaders who went by bike daily to deliver food to quarantined families, of NTI classes that were held and even grew despite the epidemic, and of orphans that were ministered to and counseled. The church in Liberia has partnered with organizations like Last Well and plans to build 10 wells in the coming year.

In Senegal and Niger the church has also been involved in providing fresh water to communities through wells. Other exciting compassionate ministry projects were shared, as well, like the cattle project that was started by a church in Benin in which cattle were raised to send over 300 children to school with all of their supplies. The school was built by the church in order to meet the need for a secondary school in the community. In Burkina Faso, over one hundred orphans are being cared for by families in the church and in Ghana ten girls from rural areas in the north have received nurse’s training so that they can go back to their village and work in the newly constructed medical clinic.

Other ministry highlights included the attendance of over 1,000 women at a women’s convention in Southeast Nigeria last year and the first women’s clergy conference in Burkina Faso and Togo. The Youth ministry (NYI), which is gearing up for its first regional conference in South Africa in December, continues to show dynamic growth. Many new churches were planted this year including in new ministry areas like Mali, Niger and Guinea. The discipleship training associated with the Jesus Film has made a positive impact and several powerful testimonies of transformed lives were given. For example, a woman came to know the Lord through an all women’s Jesus Film team. She came for four nights and on Sunday morning shared that she was the voodoo high priestess for the village and that she and her assistant had made sacrifices for twenty years–once a week they would steal a child and sacrifice him. That morning she burned all of her fetishes and turned her life over to Christ. She is still serving God in the church.

While there was much rejoicing at the conference there was also mourning and intercession through prayer. During the conference, district superintendent Reverend William Grant received the news that his wife, Elisabeth, had died in Liberia. She had been sick for many years but through her suffering had remained a faithful servant of Christ. The group was also saddened to hear that a zone leader, Rev. Anthony Goleh, also from Libria, was in a tragic motorcycle accident. Please pray for the mourning families during this difficult time.

Through both tears and rejoicing participants sensed God’s close presence at the conference and could readily testify with the Psalmist that God’s love, “reaches to the heavens, [His] faithfulness to the skies. (Psalm 36:5)

West Field Coordinator shares Holiness Message at East/Central Field Regional Conference

–Monica Carr

Africa West Field Strategy Coordninator, Reverend Daniel Gomis, joined other speakers and more than 600 participants from the region and beyond at the Africa Regional conference in Nairobi, Kenya held at Africa Nazarene University from August 16th-21st.

Sunday morning, Nazarene Theological Seminary president, Dr. Carla Sunberg challenged listeners to change the world for Christ. As we love Christ, we will love others and want to serve them as Christ did, leading to Christ-like transformation of self and society.

Serving Christ through engaging fully in ministry was also a theme followed by General Superintendant Dr. Eugenio Duarte, keynote speaker, at the East Africa field ordination service. Giving a moving personal testimony of how he passed up a coveted engineering scholarship to pastor a local church in Cape Verde and contrasting the actions of Judas and Peter when faced with confusion in ministry, he reminded his listeners that ministers of the gospel do well to keep an attitude of gratitude, maintain fellowship and take advantage of opportunities to nourish the soul.

In the Sunday evening service, Regional director Dr. Filimao Chambo shared from Isaiah 52:10 “ . . .Prepare the Way of the Lord . . .” His testimony of his grandmother’s frequent prayer at the breakfast table reminded his audience of how we should be thankful for a godly heritage as well as challenging us not to grow complacent. As Romans 10:13-15 reminds us “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent?

This key idea of sending and going that we might make Christ-like disciples in the nations was infused in teaching throughout the week, from Dr. Sunberg’s session on the need for discipleship, to workshops lead by dischipleship ministries coordinator Rev. Daphne Mathebula and others, to inspiring personal testimonies of African missionaries like Reverend Friday Ganda, called to “Prepare the Way of the Lord” in new areas of Africa, to panel discussions focused on missions led by East Field Coordinator Rev. Don Gardener and in brainstorming sessions headed by global missions director Dr. Verne Ward.

During early morning and late night prayer, during the worship music of ANU and Rwanda’s New Generation worship teams, in the dance of the Maasai, and during the powerful, spirit-filled holiness messages shared by Reverend Daniel Gomis, over and again the cry was raised for Africans to go out and reach other African’s for Jesus. As Rev. Gomis shared our time is now. Like Daniel, we are to come in the name of the Lord. Though the devil tries to make believers think they are still slaves, we have been liberated. We are no longer like a caged lion, but a lion roaming free, ready to go and share the good news with others, ready to sing a redemption song so that others, too, might know of Christ’s perfect and transforming love.

(Read more in Out of Africa, http://archive.constantcontact.com)

 

Pastor Fullah thanks global church for support, prayers during Ebola quarantine

news@africanazarene.org

“We belong to a worldwide family that cares for us”

In February, the Amazing Grace Church of the Nazarene in Ogoo Farm, Sierra Leone, lost a beloved leader, Mrs. Isatu Fullah, to Ebola.

Sister Isatu was the mother of five children, ages 4 to 16, and the wife of Rev. James Fullah, pastor of Amazing Grace Church. She was a pillar of the church who worked hard to serve her family and minister to people, Sierra Leone District Superintendent Rev. Vidal Cole said.

When Isatu contracted the virus, the rest of the Fullah family was quarantined in their home. About a week into quarantine, two of the daughters started showing symptoms and were taken to an Ebola clinic. At the clinic, the 6-year-old daughter tested positive for the virus. At that point, the rest of the family’s quarantine period, which normally lasts 21 days, started over.

“This was a very difficult time for us,” Pastor James Fullah said in a letter to Monica Carr, the communications coordinator for the Africa West Field.

“We were mourning the death of our loved one, and at the same time we were stigmatized by many people in the community,” he wrote. “Many thought we would become sick and die, one after the other, within seven days. We thought of ourselves like Daniel in the lions’ den.”

Fear of the terrible disease penetrated their hearts, he said, but the family continued to pray and trust God.

“(We believed) that the God who delivered Daniel from the lions was with us and would also deliver us from the deadly Ebola virus through prayer,” he wrote.

During this difficult time, very few relatives visited the Fullah family because of fear that Ebola would spread.

“But praise be to God. My spiritual family, the Church of the Nazarene, visited us every week of the four weeks of quarantine,” Pastor Fullah wrote. “I am grateful to Rev. Vidal Cole, our district superintendent, and Pastor Marie Kamara for their prayers, support and comfort to us. They and other members of the church called me on the phone to ask (about) our welfare.”

Local churches in Sierra Leone sent money, rice, palm oil and other cooking items, Fullah said. Donations, prayers and support also poured in from believers throughout Africa and around the world.

“I am also grateful to the entire Church of the Nazarene, for Nazarene people outside Sierra Leone also sent words of comfort to us. This helps us to (be) aware more and more that we belong to a worldwide family that cares for us,” Pastor Fullah wrote.

On April 1, Rev. Cole sent the joyous news that the Fullah family had completed their quarantine period, and each family member, including the two daughters who were in the Ebola clinic, were declared Ebola free.

“Glory to God!” Rev. Cole wrote. “He is faithful and worthy to be praised.”

Pastor Fullah expressed his gratitude to the global church family and praised God for answering prayers.

“My two girls who were sick have been given a complete recovery by God, and the rest of the family was not infected,” he wrote. “All is well with us now in Jesus name.”

Churches Care for Children Orphaned by Ebola

–by Holly Beech  (www.africanazarene.org/out-of-africa)

WEST AFRICA – The Ebola outbreak left in its wake thousands of orphans who are now trying to navigate life without their parents. Nazarene churches in two of the most affected countries, Sierra Leone and Liberia, are weaving together a safety net to help some of these children stay in school and experience the love of God.

“We really have the hearts to help, to reach out to these children and show them some love, because that is the first thing that they need,” Sierra Leone District Superintendent Rev. Vidal Cole said. “We want … to do whatever we can so that these children will not think that society has forgotten about them, that the world has turned their backs on them.”

Twenty orphans in Sierra Leone and 26 in Liberia are attending school through sponsorships from local Nazarene churches and Nazarene Compassionate Ministries (NCM).

Local churches, working hand-in-hand with NCM, have also instigated the “21 and Free” campaign, an effort to educate communities about Ebola and reduce the stigma against Ebola orphans and survivors.

“This campaign has been a great tool for our pastors and young people in reaching out to our various communities with the message that these children should be treated well, with dignity and respect, without any stigma attached to them,” said Pastor Steven S. Kanu, the Nazarene Church’s zone coordinator for the Waterloo area in Sierra Leone.

The church in Liberia has created a Community Health Evangelism Team, led by Elizabeth Johnson. Mrs. Johnson is providing counseling for 11 Ebola orphans and 22 survivors in Monrovia.

Nazarenes in Liberia are also funding the education of the two youngest children of Nazarene Pastor Joe Sonkpah and his wife, Mrs. Hannah Sonkpah, who both died from Ebola in October. The family’s church, Grace Chapel Church of the Nazarene, along with others on the district are working together to care for the children’s physical and spiritual needs, said Rev. Daniel Johnson, the Nazarene ministries coordinator in Liberia.

The Sonkpah siblings, ages 16 through 31, are thankful for the help, 24-year-old Gabriel Sonkpah said, but at times they still face food shortages.

Churches’ efforts are making a difference, but there are still many orphans in need of food and access to education, Pastor Kanu said. The Nazarene primary school run by his church is sponsoring the education of 20 orphans, with the help of other churches in the district. But this is only scratching the surface of the need, he said.

“As some children have heard and seen what we have done in helping, they have also come and asked for help, but because of the space we have put them on a waiting list,” Kanu said.

There are more than 16,600 children who have lost a parent or caregiver to Ebola in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia – including 3,600 children who lost both parents, according to UNICEF. Thankfully, the spread of the disease has dropped drastically, and Liberia was declared Ebola-free this month.

With the vast number of orphans, Rev. Cole intends to explore possible partnerships between the Church and other organizations that are also trying to help.

Though orphans are often taken in by relatives, they still might face emotional neglect and a shortage of resources, Cole said. Farming is the main source of income for families in the Waterloo area, and adding another person to an already crowded home and stretched budget is challenging, he said.

Some orphans live on the streets and try to find work in petty trading, domestic jobs and farming, Kanu said. But they are vulnerable to being taken advantage of, and when the day’s work is done, they don’t always receive the food or money they were promised.

MEETING EDUCATIONAL NEEDS 

A big focus for the Church is helping orphans to stay in school. Education fees often eat up a big chunk of household incomes, making it difficult for children to go to school*.

“In spite of the economic hardship caused by the Ebola outbreak, the Church of the Nazarene in Liberia is making tremendous effort to meet the educational needs of Ebola orphans,” Rev. Johnson said.

Even before the Ebola outbreak, large percentages of children in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea weren’t in school. Attendance at primary schools among school-aged children was only 58 percent in Guinea, 34 percent in Liberia and 74 percent in Sierra Leone, according to UNICEF.

In Sierra Leone there’s another hurdle: visibly pregnant girls have been banned from going to school. The government mandate also prevents the girls from attending Nazarene schools, Cole said.

“The church is engaged with ministering to (the girls) on a one-to-one basis, and we are also helping the communities to understand their situation and reduce the stigma,” Cole said.

EMPOWERMENT FOR THE FUTURE 

More than just meeting the immediate needs of children orphaned by Ebola, the church is seeking to empower them for the future through education, loving relationships and discipleship.

“The church here in Sierra Leone, we really desire to see these children turn out and be good leaders in society, … people that know God, people that have gone through the crisis and come out successful (and) victorious,” Cole said.

The Church’s outreach throughout the Ebola crisis has drawn more children to church and has changed the way people view the purpose of the church, Cole said. They are realizing that church is not just about worshiping on Sunday, but it’s about caring for one’s neighbors.

“By God’s grace, I see the church as a beacon of hope and light to our dark community,” Pastor Kanu said. “I believe God wants to use us to bring about transformation in our community.”

GET INVOLVED

If you would like to learn more about how you can help with the Nazarene Church’s Ebola relief efforts, please contact the Africa Region. You may also visit Nazarene Compassionate Ministries’ Ebola relief page to make a donation.

*Sources for education costs: United Nations Development Programme and IRIN News

Well-drilling bring fresh water, gospel message to West African villages

–Holly Beech  (www.africanazarene.org/out-of-africa)

SENEGAL – A team of well drillers led by Rev. Tim Eby, the Nazarene Church’s district superintendent in Senegal, has touched the lives of thousands of people in West Africa by bringing a fresh water source and the message of Jesus Christ to thirsty villages.

The well-drilling ministry, EmmanuWell Ministries Africa, has drilled about 12 wells in Senegal over the past two years. The wells are funded by individual donors, churches from various denominations, and The Christian Broadcasting Network.

“This is a region of the world that only receives a very small percentage of rain every year. We’re lucky to get two months of rain out the year,” Rev. Eby said. “Most of the villages either have a poor source of water or no source. They’re traveling long distances just to get water to survive on.”

In 2004, only 64 percent of rural Senegalese had access to safe drinking water, according to the United Nations Development Programme. Several organizations have been working to bring that number up.

The change that fresh water brings to a community is enormous, Eby said. People contract fewer illnesses; young girls’ days are no longer consumed by hours-long treks to retrieve water; the well being of the village dramatically increases, he said.

But for Eby and his crew, the wells are about more than just physical health. The group is also concerned about the thirst in people’s souls.

“The power of the wells is that bringing fresh water brings you the chance to tell somebody about the Living Water. And ultimately their thirst, which is physical and very real, pales in comparison to their spiritual thirst,” Eby said. “They live in fear and darkness. … We offer hope and light in a place that is full of darkness and hopelessness.”

Eby told a story of when the crew was drilling in a village where witchcraft was prevalent. It was the first time they were using a large, high-tech well-drilling machine called the Hydra-Fab. Each time the crew drilled, something went wrong. Chains broke. Sand caved in and buried the drill. Time and time again, the group drilled unsuccessfully.

“It was one of the greatest spiritual battles that I had ever had,” Eby said.

A grandmother in the village asked them to stop drilling, saying every time they did, she heard screaming.

“I told the team, ‘This machine is not making any noise. It’s the fact that we’re drilling in the devil’s back yard,'” Eby said. “‘If we succeed here, then we’re going to prove that Christ is more powerful than Satan’s attacks.'”

On the seventh try, the group succeeded. The grandmother eventually came to the Christian leaders, who were also reaching out to the children in the village, and said, “I need to be delivered,” according to Eby. They prayed for her for several hours until she testified about having freedom from the voices that had haunted her.

“You look at this lady’s face, and she is totally different,” Eby said. “From her victory, we had 27 people come to Christ and were baptized, and we started a church there.”

The village of about 2,000 people gave the Nazarene Church land for a building, Eby said. He hopes that a new building will be paid for through an agricultural project that the church is launching in Senegal called the Joseph Project.

“We’re hoping that out of the agriculture project, when we sell the crops we’ll have enough money to build a church,” he said. “We can’t wait for money to come from the outside to build a local church. We have to get the resources from within.”

The work of EmmanuWell is expanding from Senegal to other parts of West Africa to improve access to water and share the gospel message.

“It’s pretty hard to preach the Gospel without meeting the need. And the physical and the spiritual need are both there, so you can’t meet one without the other,” Eby said. “Our goal is not just to put a well in an area but to help the community to be transformed physically and spiritually. And with that testimony, village after village, we hope to win them for Christ.”

 

Contact: To donate to EmmanuWell or to learn more, email Rev. Tim Eby, teby@awfcon.org

 

 

Fullah Family Finish Quarantine

–Reverand Vidal Cole,  Freetown
It is with great joy that I write to inform you that Pastor James Fullah and his family have completed their quarantine period and they have been declared Ebola free. Glory to God! He is faithful and worthy to be praised.
As you may recall, after the death of Mrs. Isatu Fullah, the wife of Pastor Fullah, two of their daughters, Musu age 16 and Yeabu age 6, also showed signs and symptoms of the virus. Yeabu was the first to show signs and was taken to the Ebola center. After some weeks Pastor Fullah became worried because he was not hearing any news about her. I worked with our leadership team to help trace his daughter. By the grace of God, we were able to get in touch with some officials at the Ebola command center and recently received news that she was recovering and doing well. Upon arriving at the center, Yeabu had tested positive for Ebola and she was transferred to another center for treatment. After some weeks in the new center, she began to show signs of recovery and by the grace of God she has now being declared healed and Ebola free.
Musu was the second to show symptoms of Ebola and was also taken to the center for testing. After a short stay there, she was returned home because the test proved negative.
It was quite a scene in the community, as Pastor Fullah’s quarantine period was declared over and Yeabu was released to the family. The entire community burst out in praise and thanksgiving to God for what they considered a mighty and great deliverance from death. For the most part, whenever Ebola enters a family, it almost wipes out the entire family. In this case, the people were very grateful to God for sparing the two Fullah girls.
On behalf of the Fullah family and the entire Sierra Leone District, I want to express our profound gratitude to you and the entire Nazarene family worldwide for your love, support and prayers. We believe that if this family is rejoicing today, it is because of the prayers of our wonderful Nazarene family around the globe that kept believing and trusting The Lord for His divine intervention in this family. We are extremely delighted to be a part of this great and wonderful family. May The good Lord continue to bless and keep us all and may He bring an end to this menace in the West Africa sub region, Amen.