It is difficult to be separated for seven months from the mission that you started, prayed for, and for which you thank God for his guidance and protection. Just ask Mohamed and Safiatu Braima from Luawa Yiehun, Kaihlun, Sierra Leone.
They returned to the U.S. in June 2014 to celebrate their son’s graduation from chiropractic college. Just before leaving their village in West Africa, news broke about the fast growth of the Ebola virus just over the border in Guinea. The disease quickly spread into Sierra Leone and this past fall, at the urging of the Board of World Mission (BWM), the Sierra Leone Ministry Committee at Little Church on the Lane in Charlotte, N.C. and the villagers back in Sierra Leone, Mohamed and Safie agreed to remain in the U.S. until the Ebola outbreak showed tangible signs of decline. Although Ebola had been reported in many areas surrounding the village of Luawa Yiehun (the center of the Moravian Mission Area), no cases occurred in the village itself!
At the demand of the government, all schools in Sierra Leone are closed and have been since last summer. Traffic between towns and villages has been strictly controlled to decrease contact with people passing through who may have been exposed to the virus. Unfortunately, this means that commerce has also come to a halt, making food scarce for many, especially in the mission village.
With the economy severely impacted, farmers and tradesmen cannot sell their produce and wares; the education shutdown has teachers out of work and students are unable to move forward in their schooling. It is almost as if this war-ravaged country has experienced another setback from which many will need to begin again.
Mohamed and Safie have checked the status of the Ebola spread on a daily basis, using sources both here in the U.S. and in Sierra Leone. The capital city, Freetown (across the country from the village) is now the main concentration for Ebola cases. Freetown is an overcrowded city, where the probability of contact with the virus is much higher than in any other area of the country. The people of Freetown are also skeptical as to the existence of the virus, thus aggravating the situation.
With the help of Sierra Leoneans here in the U.S., the Mission Area people have been contacted and educated about the virus and about how to protect themselves from exposure. Conference calls from the U.S. and local radio programs back in the village area have been used to warn people of the real dangers of exposure to the virus. This has been a positive step in controlling the spread of the virus into the Mission Area.
Because the virus is concentrated in Freetown, with no cases reported in the village, Mohamed and Safie have decided to return to Luawa Yiehun to continue their work in the guidance of the Sierra Leone mission. Through education in protecting themselves, moving quickly through Freetown to severely limit exposure and driving directly across the country to the village, they will ensure the greatest amount of safety for themselves.
Mohamed and Safie desperately miss their people, and serving our Lord in Sierra Leone. Their people are longing for their return; when the Braimas are working with the people of Luawa Yiehun, they provide hope and peace in the villagers’ lives.
Emergency funds have been sent to the mission to help secure food for those who cannot travel and purchase basic necessities. The Sierra Leone Committee has established means through which supporters may help provide food and other critical needs for the villagers in Luawa Yiehun. See the Sierra Leone website at www.sierraleoneinmission.org for donation instructions, or visit www.littlechurchonthelane.com for a link to the mission website.
The BWM is also providing $1,000 from its disaster relief funding for food support and anyone wanting to help replenish this fund can do so either online at www.moravianmission.org/give or by mailing a check to PO Box 1245, 1021 Center St., Bethlehem, PA 18018. Please designate contributions for disaster relief.
Mohamed and Safie are asking for your prayers for God’s protection, safe travel and strength to resume their work as quickly and seamlessly as possible. Their return is scheduled for March 10 and plans are in the making for prayer and special worship gatherings in the Southern Province prior to their departure.
The gathering will be on Sunday, March 1 at 5:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall of Fairview Moravian Church in Winston-Salem. It will be a time of prayer, sharing and fellowship with Mohamed and Safie Braima before they return to Sierra Leone. Please come out and show your support for the Braimas and for the work that God is doing through them (and through us!) in Sierra Leone.
We are asking that the Northern Province gather and join in prayer as well to ask God’s guidance as he calls Mohamed and Safie back to the village. We thank God for all of his great work in Luawa Yiehun, Kaihlun, Sierra Leone. We thank you for your support of this vital Mission Area of the Worldwide Moravian Church. We thank you for your prayers as Mohamed and Safie prepare to return to the mission and people they cherish and serve. ν
From the January/February 2015 Moravian Magazine