“I’m a pastor in our community with over a thousand church members and founder of our school with 500 students” says Pastor Sandi during a project lead by Sponsor a Book in Sierra Leone. “I just want to tell you all something important. You see around you all these teaching aids, posters and books, they are for our kids, but the truth is, I am learning from them. I grew up in the bush, after the war I moved to the Capital, trained for priesthood, and yet I never was taught nor did I know how to love. I knew the principal, but even with my own kids I didn’t know how to practice love or show them affection, until I saw your posters. Now I realize what the Bible was talking about.”
“I started off from scratch to build this school, coming from a humble past. People were jealous of me, the war ruined us. Now I am seeing that God placed you here to teach me to love those that hated me, those that tried to destroy me. Now they are working with me, now they are healing our community. I now see love in practical terms, and what is more, I realize that I need to love my kids. I never knew how, how to incorporate values in my life. Now I can love my kids, now I can love my family. Now I can teach my community the same.”
This announcement from the pastor and founder of the school speaking to the teachers and parents after a seminar brings tears to the eyes of the volunteers. “It’s not every day that you get to see such results after years of work” says Melissa Roser, a volunteer with Sponsor a Book, “the time invested seems worth it.”
Now, a year later, amazing results can be seen. Out of self-initiative the school has painted the entire wall surrounding the compound with pictures of value and samples of character for the whole community to see. Every morning dozens of classes begin the day reciting quotes such as “love one another” or “it’s good to share” before they begin the day. Kids are memorizing scripture and songs, along with quotations from the teaching aids. Some are getting better at it than the pastor himself! Still others are practicing and living the values, and that is what is important.
Today an even greater impact has been made through Activated Ministries’ involvement in sponsoring over 2,000 teaching aid posters, 1,000 children’s Bibles, hundreds of workbooks, scores of storybooks, and dozens of teaching aids and Christian materials for more than five schools in two West African countries. The three months of planning, logistics, and final implementation was a titanic effort. To deliver such quality materials and manage such an operation in a war torn country like Sierra Leone can be quite intense, but it can also be quite rewarding. Angela Paz, one of our volunteers from Brazil, summed it up this way: “We are donating teaching aids for kids that develop character, but its results are far better when we adults are learning from them ourselves.”