Sierra Leone

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.

Ministry in Sierra Leone goes hand-in-hand with what local Youth For Christ workers and volunteers are already doing amongst their own people and culture. There will be numerous opportunities for you and your teammates to work in some of the slums that dot the waterfront in the capital, Freetown. These destitute communities have no running water, roads, or electricity, and consist of shacks built from discarded corrugated metal, sticks, trash, and mud. It will be hard to believe entire families are able to make places like these their home.   You’ll also have opportunities to love on young children who have been orphaned as a result of the Ebola crisis that ravaged the country in 2014, leaving a harsh reality in its wake. Because of this experience, you’ll walk away from the summer with a new and deeper understanding about the Father heart of God and His love for orphans.   Regardless of what you do and where you do it (whether that be in the bustling capital or the quieter villages in the countryside), you’ll have the incredible privilege of working hand-in-hand with Sierra Leonean believers, broadening your perspective of just how diverse and beautiful the Body of Christ truly is. Close
If you’ve ever traveled to an area that exists beyond your own cultural cuisine norm, you know that eating local can often present many of its own “challenges” (think drinking tap water in Mexico… no bueno). And so the same goes for you while in West Africa. To avoid unnecessary digestive issues, a majority, if not all, of your meals will primarily consist of food purchased while in the USA and brought with you. But that’s not to say stops at the local supermarket to pick up a favorite candy bar or bag of chips isn’t on the agenda! Close
Under the African stars.   No, seriously, you will. But there’s also the roofs of hotels in Freetown and school compounds elsewhere in the eastern part of the country thrown in the mix of things. Now know that these places of lodging certainly aren’t 5-star locations akin to what you and I may be more familiar with here in the West, but as far as African standards go, they provide everything you need: a bed, a bathroom, and a shower head. There’s certainly nothing glamorous about them, but they’re more than enough. Close
Sierra Leone certainly isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s a harsh, raw, and challenging place. The sights, sounds, and smells can be overwhelming and, at times, assaulting. There’s also a depth of poverty and systemic corruption that is manifested at all levels of the society that will push up against and challenge your emotional and spiritual resiliency. But it’s also a place where the people are warm and embrace joy, even in what seems to be the most dire of circumstances. Sierra Leone is a place for individuals who are willing to step way outside of their comfort zones and step into a place where they might see God and His goodness in ways they might never have before. Your experience in Sierra Leone will change you. Forever. Close
There is a chaos and frenetic activity that exists and is alive and well in Sierra Leone that you’d be hardpressed to find anywhere else in the world. What this means is that adventure, or a form of it anyway, will be found around every corner. In a country where little goes as planned, you’ll find yourself embracing the local adage “TIA - This Is Africa”.   A taxi driver wants to cram you along with 23 others into a minibus that’s designed to only seat 10? TIA.   A street vendor stops you to try and sell you something you don’t want and would never use, and wants to charge you 50 times more than he would a local? TIA.   Your bus driver tells you to meet him at 9am outside the front door of your hotel, you wait for 3 hours before resigning and returning inside, only for him to show up 5 minutes after that, indignant that you weren’t ready to go and there to meet him on the curb? TIA. Close
There is often a strong correlation between the harshness of an environment and what it can call out in an individual, and that is definitely the case in Sierra Leone. As you encounter the poverty and injustice you’ll see on a daily basis, you’ll turn to the Scriptures and work out what the Gospel can mean, not only for Sierra Leoneans, but you yourself. You’ll understand perhaps a bit differently what it looks like to live out your faith in a real and dynamic way as you work alongside the Youth For Christ ministry partners in a predominantly Islamic culture. You’ll be challenged and grow in your ability to navigate through conversations about Jesus with others who have a completely different worldview, and learn how to share your faith in Christ in a personal and natural way. Here’s what some students who’ve gone before you had to say about their experience in this West African nation...  

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 Ausema

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In Sierra Leone, there are none of the whitewashed touristy areas that you find in most countries. Instead you’ll experience the raw reality of an impoverished people living in really difficult circumstances. Interestingly, for as hard as life is, the people you meet will be amazingly warm and friendly and carry about their lives with a seemingly unexplainable sense of contentment! They have a pride in their country and are hopeful of the future. So be ready, you are going to see Africa in a way very few people do - equal parts hope and despair, opportunity and frustration.Close
Like most Royal Servants teams, we seek to partner with local ministries and workers in the places we serve. The same goes for the Sierra Leone team. Since 2009, save 2 summers off due to Ebola, we have partnered with men and women who work for Youth For Christ, a well-established ministry that is unwavering in its commitment to bring Christ to the locals in their immediate contexts. They are tenacious in their outreach and evangelism throughout the country, and they will bring you in on programs in schools, the slums, various youth detention centers, and even orphanages. You’re going to leave the country in awe of the passion and commitment you see in all of the YFC workers, inspired to embrace that same zeal, and grateful for the opportunity to have worked alongside them.Close
With the intensity of working in an impoverished third-world country, debriefing will be a very necessary part of your transition home. Debriefing will give you time to process through all the ways that God has changed your life, and prepare you on what it looks like to return home well. But debriefing is also a time to unwind and have fun! In the past, this team has debriefed in exciting cities, such as Marrakech, London, and Brussels. The debriefing location depends on the international flight route, and once airline tickets are booked, we’ll update you on the 2018 debriefing location! Close

Schedule

  1. Students June 23 - July 22
  2. Staff Disciplers June 16 - July 22
Register Today

Sierra Leone Required Support

  • Students
  • Airfare & Ground Costs: $3995
  • Spending Money: $250
  • TOTAL: $4245
  • Staff
  • Airfare & Ground Costs: $3995
  • Spending Money: $285
  • TOTAL: $4280

*$USD. For information about Canadian contributions and tax deductibility for Canadian citizen click here. The Sierra Leone mission trip does require a visa, $160 USD for American citizens and $75 USD for Canadian citizens.

Sierra Leone Trip Leader

  • Andrew Larson
  • I am leading the Sierra Leone mission trip. I love Greek food, BBC mini-series, and a good cup of coffee. I've been traveling with Royal Servants since I was 15 and love serving alongside a ministry that has had such a deep impact on my life.

If anyone is thinking of Royal Servants you should do it for sure. While in Sierra Leone we met so many fantastic people. One boy, Emanuel, at a separate orphanage amazed me with how well he understood sharing Christ with people and then making sure they knew and understood that by becoming a Christian they are no longer Muslim but a new Creation. So many people there are famished for the truth, peace, and love of Christ. Not only can you see their life change but yours will as well. God will and can use you if you allow Him.

Evan