The July team had a special treat when they got to help with a "Social Day" at the CRC. Students from the Child Rescue Centre, Jonathon’s Child Care, and SOS Children’s Village were invited to an afternoon of fun and fellowship at the CRC compound.
Children were organized into “houses” identified by color (blue, white, purple and yellow), and the members of the July UMVIM team helped the CRC staff provide supervision and do several fun activities for the kids.
Gary Gilkeson shared that the highlight of the day for him was helping a blind girl from SOS learn to ride a bike for the very first time, with Gary holding fast to the bike as she rode. “She wanted to keep going and going until I had to quit from exhaustion,” he laughed. Tina De Boeser shared her experience reading to a little girl. "Many animals she wasn’t familiar with so I had the chance to explain and do some fun animal voices. We were all a little sad when our time in the library was done!"
On Sunday, some of the July team members visited their sponsored students at home. It's a special time for the sponsors, the kids, and their families, and a wonderful opportunity for the missioners to learn about the lives of the children they sponsor. On Monday the rest of the team is scheduled to go on home visits.
Another sunny, hot day in Bo. Katie commented that there has been rain in the forecast every day, and it has yet to rain. This was echoed by the Director of another facility we visited, SOS, who has a number of family homes that leak, but due to global warming she never can predict when it is going to rain.
This was a day the team went off in different directions. Melody went off with our Hospital Administrator to visit Rotifunk Hospital, at the request of Catherine Norman. It was a long brutal bumpy 4 hour drive each way (Google maps claims just over 2 hours—they have not seen the roads).
In the morning Katie and Scott visited two UMC schools; Leo worked on some project planning, and Rob went off with Kim and two Mercy staff to meet with the Bo District Medical Officer and his staff to discuss their goals and wishes for Mercy to support health needs in Bo District. Then on to another NGO, CEDA, who also does work in the District villages, to share the scope of our programs. In the afternoon there were visits to two other orphanages, SOS and Jonathan's House, to discuss their progress and issues with transitioning children to their forever families.
In between was there were three great meals from Fudia at the MTC, including lunch with the CRC Senior staff, and purchases from the woodcarver Ali of gifts and carvings for the Bo-tique.
- Rob Duston, Helping Children Worldwide Board Chair
Sunday is Church day in Bo. Our team worshiped at the Leader Memorial United Methodist Church on the same tract of land as the ministries supported by HCW. Leader Church is served by four pastors, all of which took part in the leadership of the service. Recalling the air vent and fan under my pulpit back home, it was inspiring to watch them sing and dance and preach and pray during the 3 hour and 53 minute service wearing their clerical robes in the un-air-conditioned sanctuary.
It was a truly inspiring worship experience. We participated in the singing, prayers, Scripture readings, and the eight opportunities we had to give an offering or a donation. One of the donations was given to pay for a new drum set. Our team was asked to help unveil the drums still packaged in their shipping container. By the end of the service the drums were put together and played as we sang the closing hymn – The Battle Hymn of the Republic.
Shortly after the service entered the fourth hour, the pastor leading the Communion Liturgy asked for any other pastors in the congregation to come forward to help serve the Bread and Cup. I was humbled to share the honor of participating in serving this Sacrament with our brothers and sisters in Bo. I'm also grateful that Leo Fox (said as one name by Sierra Leonians) was quick with the camera to get some great photos.
After lunch, Melody was joined by Katie and Rob on a visit to meet the child her family sponsors. It was a joyous time of celebration as this photo demonstrates. The Child Rescue Center coordinates these sponsorships. As we have learned, there are many children in Bo who are not able to afford to go to school. One sponsorship of only $300 per year through HCW gives a child the opportunity to get an education, receive food and healthcare, and have hope for the future all while experiencing the love of Christ. These children also receive monthly visits by CRC staff to monitor their well-being.
Our team is having a great time learning about the work of the ministries supported by HCW, as well as the many other ministries of The United Methodist Church in Bo under the supervision of the visionary man of God, Bishop John K. Yambasu. It has been a joy to see how well the staff and board of HCW works to support the staffs leading the CRC and Mercy Hospital all under the umbrella of the Sierra Leone Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
Blessings from Bo,
Scott Wachter, Senior Pastor, Bethel UMC
The team worshiped at Leader UMC in Bo.
After lunch, some of the team went on a home visit with JJ, Sponsor A Child Coordinator.
Going on a visit to the home of a Child Rescue Centre student with JJ, Sponsor A Child coordinator.
Scenes from around the Bo campus.
Worshiping at Leader United Methodist Church on Sunday.
Today was quite a fun-filled day at the Child Rescue Center! Melody and Rob had a morning meeting with Catherine Norman, the UMC Health Care Coordinator for Sierra Leone. Rob, Leo, and Katie assisted with the special interest classes with the children at the CRC. Leo helped children make paper airplanes in Arts and Crafts, Pastor Scott read books with the children in Library, and Pastor Katie played with children riding bikes.
We rested in the afternoon, and then we played volleyball, hot potato, and soccer with the children, which was a blast! The games were filled with laughter, fun, and team-building. We even played a volleyball game with about 8 children and Katie vs. JB, the IT man, and much to our dismay, JB won! Fudia and Rosaline have been cooking delicious meals for us, and we are so grateful for them!
- Katie Lewis, Associate Pastor, First United Methodist Church of Colleyville
Today was our Team’s first full day in Bo, and it was extremely busy, and more importantly extremely successful.
The Team sat in for morning prayers with both the Mercy Hospital Team, as well as the Child Rescue Center Team.
Bishop Yambasu arrived shortly thereafter and greeted the Team, then began an epic / marathon meeting with Rob and Melody that lasted until almost 7:00 PM.
Rev Katie, Rev Scott and Leo toured the entire facility, with particular interest in the new surgical wing. We also had the opportunity to go into downtown Bo and visit the local market.
The entire team had the opportunity to dine with Bishop Yambasu, then held our team devotional and headed off to grab some well deserved sleep...
- Leo Fox, Helping Children Worldwide Board Member
We had all the children for VBS in the morning, which made things quite busy, but all went well. In the afternoon, we attended the Christmas party for the residential CRC children, as they returned today. We also got to catch up with some past residential CRC children who are living now in the community.