A logging company that built a new road in Sierra Leone has unwittingly provided a way of bringing Bibles to communities that were previously reachable only by foot. Sierra Leone is predominantly Muslim and small communities sprinkled throughout the north are home to some of the least-reached people groups in the country.
In this region, where folk Islam dominates, individuals who become followers of Christ are often persecuted by their families and neighbours.
Christians, including entire villages that have left Islam to follow Jesus, have little opportunity for fellowship with other believers, so a visit from other Christians is a huge encouragement.
A frontline worker named Francis drove a load of Bibles to a remote area where he has been working for several years.
Before the road’s construction, Francis had to hike to each village, spending nine hours to cover what now takes two hours by vehicle. Let’s follow Francis on this missionary trip.
Day 1: Kabuita
When the Bible distribution team arrived in Kabuita, villagers were eagerly waiting by a river, where Francis soon baptised 30 believers who had come to know Christ in the previous year. Since his previous visit, the community had doubled the size of its grass, outdoor church and made plans for a more permanent church made of mud bricks.
The entire community celebrated the baptisms with a four-hour service at which Francis preached and another worker spoke on John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” “They are so eager to learn and so innocent of basic truths,” the worker said. “The preacher preached simple truths.”
The Bible distribution team gave audio Bibles to those who could not read, saving the print Bibles for those who could. They also presented the village chief with an audio Bible. “He was so grateful and told me that since they have become Christians in the village, God has been helping them so much,” the worker said.
That evening, Francis took a 35-minute motorcycle ride to a neighbouring village, where they showed the Jesus film before returning to Kabuita. “They have no school, no clean water source and no church or other religious structure,” he said. “But they are very open to the Gospel.”
Shortly after the roosters began crowing the next morning, at about 5am, most of the village gathered in the grass church, as they do every morning, to thank God for His protection through the night and ask for His help that day.
Day 2: Kamatou
After devotions, the team headed farther down the logging road to Kamatou, where they were greeted by villagers dancing and singing. The village pastor, who cannot read or write, preaches from an audio Bible he received four years ago, and there are no other Bibles in the village. Frontline workers gave print Bibles to those who could read and solar-powered audio Bible players to others so they can share God’s Word with groups of people. “They were so excited to receive such a gift,” the worker said.
When Francis asked how many people had heard of Paul, the village chief said, “We are still in much darkness concerning the Bible. Pleae tell us about Paul”
Francis then preached on Paul’s dramatic conversion. Before the team left, villagers presented them with a gift of two chickens and a goat, and said they hoped the team would return to visit soon.
Day 3: Kanatortor
Two hours farther down the road, the team visited the village of Kanatortor, where the welcoming villagers said the team’s vehicle was one of the first to come to their village. After the greetings, workers distributed print Bibles to the four villagers who could read as well as 16 audio Bibles, including one to the village pastor, Momodu. “Now I am the happiest man in the world,” he said. Momodu had been preaching from memory since his audio Bible stopped working two years ago.
After 5am prayers and devotions, everyone gathered at a small creek. Francis and Momodu then baptised 36 new believers to the accompaniment of villagers singing, “ I have decided to follow Jesus.”
The believers in these villages along the logging road are the fruit of years of work by the frontline worker. He has planted the seed of the Gospel in their hearts, and he prays that their faith will grow now that they have access to God’s Word.
Pray for frontline workers like Francis. Ask the Lord to direct frontline workers to seekers who are ready to place their trust in Christ. Pray that seekers are willing to pay the price for making such a decision and that they will grow in their faith.