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[Sierra Leone] “Who Started the Schools to Open the Way to Preach the Gospel?” (February 23, 2012)

God has given us Good News Mission the word in Mark Chapter 16 verse 15, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” It was very delightful and thankful to hear God working in Sierra Leone Good News Freetown Church to fulfill the promise through the openings of middle and high school.

1. How did you get to start the school in the beginning? In fact, it was impossible for me to start the school – I have no experience of running a school nor was educated enough. At first, everything was problem. More than anything however, getting the permit from the Department of Education was the biggest problem. Because it was nearly impossible and time-consuming to get the permit after having all the conditions met, that problem was the most burdensome.

Nonetheless, I had a heart that even though our school is weak and little of importance, because God is with us, He will allow us to get the permit from the Department of Education. When I went to the Department of Education to see the director in charge, he strongly rejected the opening of “Lincoln High School.” By their policy, we were to open a middle school first and then open a high school about 3 years later, when the middle school graduates will be entering into high schools. Yet we proposed to start both middle and high school at the same time. The director in charge said that he could issue a permit for the middle school. I explained to him why and how the Lincoln schools started in Korea and told him the reason why we were trying to start Lincoln High school in Sierra Leone. Then the director opened his heart wide. He said that when he was young he also studied at the school found by a missionary, and that was how he was able to serve his position today. He promised to give us permit for middle school within a year and will approve the high school later. I was very thankful.

Preparing school facilities was not an easy task either. Classrooms, desks and chairs, textbooks and curriculum…… there was nothing we could prepare with what we had. By the grace of God, we were able to rent a building on 0.25acre big land, and we built the school there. With woods we built classrooms and made desks and chairs. We did not know what to do at all, but just like the word “For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has…” (2 Corinthians 8:12) we were able to proceed with a heart saying “as long as we have a heart to do, then God will work.” Amazingly many students registered to our school that we ended up getting more than 400 students. “God truly loves the youths in this country! He is sending this many students for them to hear the gospel!” As we did the school-related work, we were truly thankful and had joy in our hearts always.

2. Would let us know about school management and any progress?

When we first built the school, we were wondering, “would many students really come?” We never thought that more than 400 students will come. Yet it was started by God. God was working beyond our limit; we gained so many students. Every day we preach the words and the work of salvation take place – I was very thankful to see that.

The house we are residing in right now is owned by a Sierra Leonean who lives in the United States. His relative was taking care of the house. The owner of the house discussed with his custodian about everything and allowed us to build a church and have school in his property. So we started a church and schools, but it became too crowded that we had to move the schools.

On top of that, the house owner who lived in the States came back in 2 years and demanded us to take down the school building saying, “Move the school right away. Who did you get the permission from to start the school? This is a residential property, not a school property.” Afterward we got a notice from a lawyer, warning us to take down the school building immediately. Otherwise, he warned, he would report us to the court. After getting the notice, sorrow and despair fell upon my heart; I thought, “I will end up going to a jail, trying to run a school.”

But as I reflected upon all things, hope instead of despair started to arise in my heart before God. I am not a person to pray, but once my heart grew sincere for the grace of the Lord, I knelt down and began to pray.

“Who started the school to open the way to preach the gospel?” the Lord asked me in my heart. That moment, I was assured in my heart that “the Lord started the school, sent us many students to preach the gospel, and had them receive salvation.” The words from Pastor Park – “The Lord does His work” – kept on coming to my heart, and it brought me to think once again, “If so, why did God give us such problem – that we had to stop and take down the school?”

At that very moment, God gave me the word in Deuteronomy Chapter 8 verse 5, “It is not because of you righteousness or the uprightness of your heart that you go in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord your God drives them out from before you, and that He may fulfill the word which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

I came to have faith that not only we will get a big land for a chapel, but He will have us to build more classrooms and school facilities. In fact, it was impossible to get a land in a few days. Because we had to get the land in the same district as where we started the school, but here Freetown, the capital city, it was really hard even to get a land. However, because God was pleased with us getting a land for church and school facilities, and because of the promise that He has given to Pastor Park, God has accomplished what was never possible to be done in a short amount of time – He allowed us a land.

Right now, we are starting church and school anew on the land we recently got. Instead of joy from getting the land, we were truly thankful to have felt the helping hands of God – if we couldn’t move the school we could only go to jail.

Currently, 400 middle and high school students are coming to our school, and 25 middle and high school teachers have accepted the word and been working with the church. This September begins a new school year; we believe to have more than 1,000 students to come. For next year, we are expecting more than 2,000.

For that, we started basic constructions for church, school facilities, and more classrooms under the grace of God. We are working with a goal to complete the construction of 20 classrooms, school facilities, and chapel by this year.

Just like the words in Psalms 2:8, “Ask of me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession.” I was thankful to think that Sierra Leone has become one of the “inheritance.””

There are so many things we have to receive grace for. I hope to receive grace and hope that you will pray for the completion of Lincoln High School and Good News Freetown Church construction, that the true education and gospel can reach many youth under despair from prolonged warfare to bring them life and peace.

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