There’s no place in the world like the African continent, and there’s certainly no place in Africa quite like its Western shore. For being such a small country, in a tucked-away corner of the world, the nation of Sierra Leone certainly has received its fair share of international spotlight and media attention. This has been in large part due to the civil war that ravaged the country nearly 20 years ago (think Blood Diamonds) and, more recently, the deadly Ebola outbreak that claimed thousands of lives. Despite getting knocked down on her feet time and time again, crippled in many ways by systemic poverty and political corruption, this country and her people exhibit a warmth, a friendliness, and a resiliency of spirit that is both convicting and inspiring.
Being in Sierra Leone I truly learned that Jesus + Nothing = Everything. In Sierra Leone, you will see poverty, hunger, and adversity at its deepest level. It will make you question God's goodness and ask hard questions that we don't always have the answers to. But, amidst all of this, I saw complete and utter joy in those who have Christ in their lives. They have very little, their life is hard, but with Jesus Christ as their hope and strength, they exhibited more joy than I've ever seen. That is the kind of relationship I want to have with my Lord and Savior. - Courtney Anderson
This summer I learned more than I could've imagined, I was stretched in ways that I would have never expected, and I met some of the most amazing people. When I signed up for the Sierra Leone team, I had no idea what I was signing up for. All I knew was that I was doing what God was calling me to do. Sierra Leone had an immense impact in preparing me for ministry back at home. This summer helped me to be bold, confident, and intentional with my faith. I would not trade any of those testing experiences for anything. I am so glad that I took a step of faith by trusting God with this summer because it was definitely a summer that I won't forget. - Sam Painter
The experience of evangelizing throughout the slums of Sierra Leone is one that both challenged and shaped me. This summer I learned to see God’s goodness everywhere, even in the places of enormous poverty… God’s grace lives there, and it’s in His people where you can find it. The spiritual lessons and truths I learned during my time in West Africa will stay with me for the rest of my life. - Pieter AusemaClose