Our Missionaries in Sierra Leone: Kip and Nancy Robinson

Next Steps of the Journey… 
 heading back to Sierra Leone…
    April 2015 

Kip has returned to Sierra Leone while Nancy will join him in a few weeks.  Kip’s return ended a very protracted stay in the US due to the Ebola virus and its devastating effects on the country.  While in the US, we were BUSY doing a key part of the missionary experience for Global Ministries…itineration.  We gladly embraced visiting many churches, making presentations, preaching, providing children’s sermons, and meeting the vast number of those who support the United Methodist Church in Sierra Leone with prayers and partnerships.

 

During the time of itineration, we:

  • Visited 44 churches in Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey
  • Provided 84 presentations and messages during our time of itineration
  • Traveled over 6,000 miles by car and train.
  • Once again confirmed the immense hospitality of United Methodists everywhere…especially sharing meals together!
The return to Sierra Leone showed some marked differences from our last boots on the ground experience in July 2014.  The country is much the same but the people are much changed.  They have universally experienced a sense of fear unheard of for most of their lives.  The disease affected all levels of society in all areas of the country whose initial symptoms closely mirrored malaria, making a clear case for confusion in the initial stages of the disease.  Fear apparently followed everyone especially during November, the peak outbreak month for Freetown, more than 300 miles from the initial outbreak.  People were scared, and now they want to talk about it.
A NEW PROJECT NEARS COMPLETION

 

Only a few days in country, Kip left Freetown to see the new Mile 91 UMC Masorie Primary School, under construction since August last year.  It’s almost complete, and ready for the 210 students now meeting in the nearby Galow UMC sanctuary and under several mango trees.  The new school, funded by Operation Classroom Ministries, replaces the worst of the 350 UMC schools in Sierra Leone.  The new school incorporates many features to be used in future UMC primary schools including: large classrooms to accommodate 50 students (although the head teacher says that the demand is so great that they may have to have 60 students each); an aluminum roof that will never need replacement; electrical outlets in each classroom to accommodate future electrical needs; tiled walkways to set off an attractive presence.  The head teacher, meeting with Kip onsite, said that the school is now the best school in the district and is something that is to be celebrated by the entire country.  The pride is obvious and spontaneous.

ON THE COMPOUND

 

Kip was warmly greeted upon his return to our compound.  Our staff , Madgaline, Christopher, Musa and the security guards, felt the same fearfulness as others in the country due to the Ebola virus, but they and their families weathered the storm with “Praise God” as a resounding theme for their blessings.  The chickens have multiplied mightily, and the lizards are plump and healthy.  The chickens are no longer named, but 9, 14 and 22 look ready for the pot.  A countrywide quarantine/lockdown on Sundays does not affect churches which are free to hold services.  Inflation is 10% more that this time last year.

AT CHURCH

 

Attendance was down somewhat at our church on a recent Sunday at Charles Davies Memorial United Methodist Church here in Freetown.  The church has new chairs, a new chancel area and a new enthusiasm and energy in the wake of the nearly-over Ebola crisis.  Ethnic Sunday is coming soon where each Sierra Leonean tribe (Mendes, Krios, Sherbros and about nine others) are to be recognized.  Kip decided his tribe would be “Christian” and his “paramount chief” is Jesus Christ.
CHANGES AROUND THE COUNTRY

 

There are still lingering effects of the Ebola crisis.  There are many checkpoints along the road where the temperature of each person in the car is taken.  The health checker stands next to a soldier with an assault rifle; this action seems to keep down the complaints even when the lines are long.  “Ebola Buckets” are at most store doors, containing a chlorine mixture to wash your hands before entering.  There is a 6:00 p.m. store closing time for all enterprises each night.

THERE IS NO AAA OR GEICO ROAD ASSISTANCE…

 

…but there is a shade-tree mechanic just about everywhere.  Our motorcar broke down on the way to a project and within a mile of our breakdown there was indeed a shade-tree mechanic (actually, he didn’t have much “shade”) who analyzed the problem, dismantled the parts, repaired them, replaced them…all within less than 45 minutes.  Try that in the US!

We look forward to sharing more of this journey in mission to Sierra Leone in the coming weeks and months.  May the love and grace of God’s precence surround and keep us all active and healthy, full of life as we work together serving as family and friends in Sierra Leone. Thank you for your continued support and prayer.  Nancy and Kip

Kip and Nancy Robinson
UMC Global Ministries Missionaries serving in Sierra Leone and the USA!
  (Kip)    Advance # 3021815   phone 011 232 76926875
(Nancy)  Advance # 3021816   phone  804 873 1487