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  • Writer's pictureOC Ministries

A Letter from Rev. Judith Banya from Baiwalla, Sierra Leone

Updated: Jul 8, 2019

Our long-term vision, in partnership with community leader Rev. Judith Banya, is to equip a newly constructed secondary school with teaching expertise, teaching materials, technology, and small class sizes to become a “model school.” Judith shared some updates with us on the school's progress.

Operation Classroom – Operation Curriculum – Operation Connection

Pastor Judith hired Amara Fomba to become the first principal of the Baiwalla Secondary school.

In Judith's Words...

"The physical structure of our school is almost finished! It is our hope we will be able to open it when the new school year starts in September of this year. We are already using the auditorium – Lyndon Hall – for worship services on Sundays. The chief of Baiwalla recently organized for the Kailahun District councilors’ quarterly meeting to be held in the auditorium. It was a great showcase for the school. Although people already know about the

school, it is helpful for such stake holders from all over the District to be officially informed especially as we are pushing for Government assistant in the shortest time possible."

A group of workers working on some finishing touches to the secondary school roof.

Community Members Hard at Work

"The community people as always came to our help one more time and broke down the ant hills so that we can level the ground to have a school ball field. To get a machine to do this would have cost us in the region of $5,000. All we did was provide food when they were working."

Welcoming Back Our Minnesota Brothers and Sisters

Children and sponsors meeting for the first time and getting to know each other was a big part of the visit

"We were blessed again this year with a mission team from Minnesota. While in the country the team visited secondary schools to have an idea of how they are run and see if there are any ideas that we can copy for our school. Visits were also made to the government education officer in the District headquarter town, Kailahun. The team met with sponsored children and their families, observed and participated in feeding plus lot of playing with the

children. Meetings and getting to know each other was a big part of the visit."

Minnesota volunteer Ann Carlson meeting her sponsored child for the first time.

Yay Beans!

"The beans win! There are many things that we thank HAUMC for, like scholarships for school children, school feeding both in cash and in kind, computers, mission teams who also bring a lot of goodies and most of all people who have the heart to love us. This time around thank you for dry beans too. I think it is the variety and flavor that has won peoples’ heart. Everyone enjoys the beans. Last dry season, lots of finishing work was going on, on the

school and vegetables were scarce. Cooking the beans once a week for the fifty plus

workers and the household was really helpful!"

More Thank You's

"Also, thank you St. Stephen UMC in Charlotte for your financial contribution toward the finishing of our school. Also, for all the goodies that you packed in three barrels and shipped to Baiwalla. Special thanks to Kathy for making the connections. Grace UMC , Charlotte: we cannot thank you enough for your generosity. Always there to help us with T shirts, work tools, my own personal needs, paying for the shipment of our barrels etc."

"Pastor Tim thank you for the confirmation Bibles. At Easter this year we baptized fourteen and confirmed eight people. Boone UMC North Carolina thank you for your continuous yearly support to our ministry as a whole. We hope some of you will come see us someday."

"Thank you Messiah UMC for help toward the finishing of our school floor. We look forward to continuous relationship. Pine Island UMC, you were there when I embarked on this journey since Rick was at your church at the time. Thank you for embracing me and my dream."

"Annette in Anoka and Judy at Huntersville UMC thank you for billow case dresses for the girls. All the girls in the elementary school now wear uniforms from Annette’s team in Anoka. Also, this time around, there were enough pillow case dresses for every girl to have at least two! And, another thank you Lake Harriet for paying my assistant’s salary for a year..."

Call to Action

As Judith mentioned, there is so much to be grateful for! After 4 years of ongoing construction, the secondary school in Baiwalla is officially built! Here is what it has to offer:

• 11 classrooms

• 4 offices

• 1 library • 1 auditorium

• 1 science lab

Capacity: 600 students; 200 enrolled year one

The challenge now is furnishing the building, supporting students and teachers, and providing basic supplies to open the doors and keep things running! Your donation helps with these expenses.

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