Mission Trip to Sierra Leone 7th – 17th March
My name is Jonathan Smith, I’m 22 years old and I worship at Yardley Gobion United Reformed Church. I earn my living as an industrial plumber and for a long time I have wanted to help people who are living in a third world country, I chose Sierra Leone as I’m very interested in Africa and I wanted to go to Sierra Leone as this is one of the poorest countries in the world and therefore is one of the most challenging places you could visit. After I was accepted to go to Sierra Leone, I had three months in which to fundraise and I hoped that I would be able to raise enough money to cover costs and give donation to projects in Sierra Leone.
Some of the things I did to raise money was to wash people’s cars and I managed to wash over 20 cars. I also played badminton for four hours, had quiz night and cake sale. With the fantastic support of my church and the generous donations of you guys at the United Reformed Church, I managed to raise £3000 which is amazing and I thank you as the money is going to change lives in Sierra Leone.
Mission Direct is Christian charity that enables volunteers to bring practical help and spiritual hope to those in desperate need. It aims to demonstrate the love of God to the world’s poorest people through the provision of practical help.
The projects that Mission Direct are involved in are:
- King George VI Home for the Elderly
This is the only one of its type in Freetown. They have 44 patients and Mission Direct supplies medication and helps to do crafts with them as well as doing building projects
Whilst I was there, I helped to put a water supply in for the home, as they haven’t had mains water for 6 months. Mission Direct provided all the building materials that would enable them to pump water from the well up to the water tanks; I helped the local builders to dig the trench,. I really enjoyed spending time there as we were able to mix with the old people and they were so happy to see us and talk to us.
- St Georges Foundation
This is a hoe, for street kids and is a joint venture between the scouts who own the land, street kid’s charity who bring children off the street and Mission Direct who build the buildings and employ the local scouts to do this work.
I spent a couple of days painting a complete toilet block. There are currently over 70 street kids living there at the minute. I just thought this was a fantastic project as teenage prostitutes were being taking off the street and given the chance to re-build their lives and then eventually re-settled into a new family. The kids were just so happy to see you and wanted to hold your hand – hard to believe after what they have been through!
- Women’s Polio Clinic
Mission Direct have built accommodation for them to live in and also provide them with one of the first disabled ramps in Sierra Leone. Disabled people in Sierra Leone are treated very badly; they are at the bottom of society. Mission Direct has the funding to build more accommodation so that more ladies with polio would be able to stay there.
I was pleased to be associated with Mission Direct as the ladies were so independent and proud of their buildings.
- Men’s Polio Clinic
This is a new project for Mission Direct and was the most horrible place I had visited at the time. It is a place where men with polio can live and is based in Freetown. The facilities in this place were horrendous and it smelt terrible. 90 people have to use one toilet and 36 men slept in the floor and because of a washroom next door; worms came through the concrete at night and bit the men. We bought them some clothes that they needed.
My impressions of this place are that it is horrible and absolutely stank, I wouldn’t leave my car in there yet the people were so happy for the building and so happy to see us. Mission Direct are going to build them new toilets.
- City of Rest
This is another new project Mission Direct has become involved with. It is a drug and mental rehabilitation clinic and is situated in the middle of Freetown. It is run by a pastor and councillor; they are seriously under funded yet they do incredible work, when we visited we brought some much needed medication. There are no words I can use to describe how bad this place is, it was just so cramped and dark inside to be honest this is what I imagined hell to be like.
However horrible all these places were I’ve never experienced the presence of the Lord at work so much in my life. The fact that people who have nothing can just be so welcoming and happy is truly inspiring and has changed my views on how I live my life. I also had the chance to go to three church services and it was just a fantastic experience and such an honour to worship alongside people who are just so passionate about God. Having worshipped alongside them and seen how strong their faith is and how they are thankful for everything that God has done for them has helped to change me in my Christian life.