Tag Archives: Sierra Leone

Posts from or regarding Sierra Leone.

Emmanuel: Christian Maturity Series – Jesus Christ

Christian Maturity

 

STUDY 1   JESUS, WHO HE IS

 1. The Character of Jesus 

 The Scripture passages clearly show us that:

 (a) Jesus is God: Jesus is not only with God, but He is God.  See John 1:1.  He is part of the Trinity: God, the Father, God, the Son, and God, the Holy Spirit.

 (b) Jesus has always existed.  Scripture affirms that Jesus has always existed, even before the beginning of time.  See John 1:2.

 (c) Jesus is the Creator of the World.  The World and everything in it did not just ‘appear’ or ‘evolve’ from nowhere.  Jesus was at the beginning of Creation and all things were made through Him.  See John 1:3.

(d) Jesus is Supreme in the Creation.  Jesus has the supreme place in the created order, above anyone or anything that has ever or will ever live. He is also Head of the Church, God’s people on Earth.  See Col.1:18,19.

(e) Jesus, the man, was God in human form.  Jesus was born as a human being in Bethlehem, and lived on Earth among us. See Mt.1:21-23

Jesus is the Word and the Word is another expression for God. In the Hebrew Scriptures the Word is an agent of Creation (Psalm 33:6), the source of God’s message to His people through the Prophets (Hosea 1:2), God’s law, and His standard of holiness (Psalm 119:11).  John’s description of Jesus as the Word clearly shows that he was speaking of Jesus (especially in John 1:14), a human being whom he knew and loved, but who was, at the same time, the Creator of the Universe, the ultimate revelation of God, and the One in whom all things hold together (Col. 1:17).

Though He was God, in His human life Jesus never demanded nor clung to His rights as God.  He took the humble position of a servant.  See Phil.2:5-11.

Through the way He lived His life, Jesus showed us God’s Glory. 

Jesus lived His life full of unfailing love and faithfulness.  See John 13:1. 

2. Memorisation: It often helps us to understand what the Scriptures are saying by memorising key verses. The following verses are taken from The Good News translation:

1.  “Before the world was created, the Word already existed; he was with God, and he was the same as God. From the very beginning the Word was with God.”  (John 1: 1-2)

 2. “Through him God made all things; not one thing in all creation was made without him…the world was made through him.” (John 1: 3, 10)

 3. “He always had the nature of God, but he did not think that by force he should try to become equal with God. Instead of this, of his own free will he gave up all he had, and took the nature of a servant. He became like a man and appeared in human likeness.” (Phil. 2: 6,7)

 3. Questions

 1. St. John said that Jesus brought light to this world and the light shines on all people.  Have you allowed the light of Christ shine into your life?  What does this mean?

 2. God created all things, including you and me. Because we are created beings, we have no basis for pride. Remember that we exist only because God made us, and we have special gifts only because God has given them to us. What does this mean to us as Christians? What special gifts has God given you? (See 1 Cor. 12: 1-11)

 3. The passage in Philippians 2; 5-11 was probably a hymn sung by the Early Christian Church. Although it doesn’t say everything about who Jesus is, what main things does it say about Jesus?

 4. Further Reading.  Please look up the following passages:

 Isaiah 52:13 –53:12                  Colossians 1: 15-20                  1 John 1: 5-10

  

STUDY 2  WHAT JESUS HAS DONE           

 1. Scriptures: Look up and read the following Scripture passages. They will help you understand what Jesus has done. Think and pray about the passages, and note down any thoughts and/or questions you want to share with the Group.

Isa. 53: 1-6                  Acts 2: 22-24               Acts 10: 34-43             Rom. 1: 1-6                                          

2. What Jesus did: The uniqueness of Jesus Christ can be seen in the way He lived a perfect life and the wonderful things He did. This is an example to us all. His death on the Cross was an offering for us and His resurrection from the dead is a proof that He is the Son of God. Jesus fulfilled what the Scriptures had forecast.

1. He lived a perfect life: He lived a perfect life, without any sin, conceit nor deceit. Unlike us, Jesus committed no sin. Unlike Adam, He chose to do the will of His Father (1 Peter 2: 22).

2. He did wonderful things.  The life of Jesus was an example to us all, for He went around doing good.  As a man, in order to do God’s work, Jesus needed to be anointed with the Holy Spirit (Acts 10: 38).

 3. He died for our sins.  When Jesus died on the Cross, an exchange took place; Jesus, who had never sinned, became an offering for our sins, and God laid upon Him the iniquity of us all. In turn, we have been given peace with God through Jesus. His punishment brought us peace and His wounds heal us (Isa. 53: 5-6; 2 Cor. 5: 21).

 4. He rose again from the dead.  It was impossible for death to keep its hold on Jesus because He had committed no sin. His resurrection from the dead is the greatest proof that He is the Son of God (Acts 2: 24; Rom 1: 4).

 3. Memorisation.  It often helps us to understand what Scripture is saying by memorising key verses. The following verses are taken from The Good News translation.

1. “He committed no sin, and no one ever heard a lie come from his lips.”    (1 Peter 2: 22)

 2. “God poured on him the Holy Spirit and power. He went everywhere, doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, for God was with him.” (Acts 10: 38) 

3. “Christ was without sin, but for our sake God made him share our sin in order that in union with him we might share the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5: 21)

 4. “But God raised him from death, setting him free from its power, because it was impossible that death should hold him prisoner.” (Acts 2: 24)

 4. Questions:  After reading and thinking about the passages of Scripture, try and answer the following questions.

 With regard to the life and work of Jesus:

 1. What is God saying to us about Jesus?

 2.  How should we reply to God?

 3.  What can we do in response to what Jesus has done for us?

 4. Further Reading:  If you want to undertake further study on this topic, please look up the following passages:

John 8: 21-29               John 20: 30, 31            Rom. 6: 20-23

2 Cor. 5: 16-21            Heb. 4: 14-16              Heb. 7: 26-28

William: June 10 Update

It is a shame that I have to share this with you, that one of my lecturers called Mr. ____ openly in his man-made thinking, declared that our class is cursed [In the West African context this means that he has invoked evil spiritual powers to ruin others] because all the ladies in the class have refused to sleep with him.  In fact, he gave us an assignment but is refusing to provide the information so we can do it; and this is to be part of our final assessment!  A fool indeed; what a shame. 

 

He actually has in mind to fail us [Often students are pressured to bribe instructors with money, sexual “favors,” or initiation into ritual secret society cults], if not me in particular, because for some reason he knows I believe in the Lord.  I’m not threatened though, because I know I’m not under the Law and I’m free from its curses; just to let you know how the prince of this world has blinded the eyes of people and made their hearts gross.  May the Lord deliver him.  Love, William.

 

 

Emmanuel: Thanks June 6

Dear Daddy Steve,

 

Good to receive your letter on Lacking Leaders [see Steve Phillips post of June 6] to us as brethren.

 

It come to me as an iron sharpener and support to the work we are doing here.  I was able to read it and share it with the brethren in our Thursday Bible study meeting.  They were well moved and happy to hear a word of knowledge and wisdom coming from you to us all.

 

Though all the words and expressions made are all challenging and encouraging and express the true heart of a father that cares for his children, but there stands out a peculiar statement which I believe touches our hearts and the brethren here which reads, REMEMBER THOSE WHO LED YOU, WHO SPOKE THE WORD OF GOD TO YOU, AND CONSIDERING THE RESULT OF THEIR CONDUCT, IMITATE THEIR FAITH – HEB 13.7.

 

We are captured with these words strongly and we cherish them so much; more especially when we are receiving it from somebody who has spent time with us in sharing the word of truth, slept with us in one of the most neglected communities in the eastern part of Freetown just for the sake of the gospel, and has been faced with persecution in the hands of our religious leaders of the so called high places.  

 

We are proud to imitate you as you imitate Christ, which you have demonstrated times without number during your time spent with us and your family.    We are expecting more challenging statements from you as time goes on.

 

With much love from us all to your entire family and the brethren out there.

 

Thanks

 

Emmanuel and Liz.

 

Foday: May Update

 

 

 What can separate us from the love of God?  We say, “Nothing!”

To God be the glory forever and ever, Amen.  The work here is going well with the Lord still doing wonders among the brethren in the fellowship.

Brother David [that Foday has recently led to the Lord] is facing serious problems in his life.  He was going to take his high school exams so as to enter the university next year.  He used to write with his right hand throughout his school days, but suddenly during the exams he was no longer able to write with his right hand and had to immediately switch to his left.  He could not finish his work in the exam hall and is worried about the outcome.

Also, he became seriously ill and we had to spend time in prayer and reading God’s Word together.  Before that, whenever he wanted to commit himself to the way of the Lord, he faced difficulties that tended to shake his faith.

Join us in prayers as we look forward to see what the Lord will do for him.  He has zeal without knowledge and the spirit of timidity and fear is still in him.  But the Lord has been merciful to him and He is restoring his health.  Gladys and I are helping him with some finances to take treatment in the hospital.  We are confident that He who has started a good work in him, will bring it to completion till the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Another sister (Hannah) who has been a member [of our fellowship] for sometimes now also got some attacks.  In a dream, she was bitten by a cat [a cat in West Africa is often believed to be a witch] on her foot which resulted a few days later in experiencing pain on the same foot.  Two days following on one Saturday as I was going round to visit the brethren, I met her in her house vomiting blood and the situation became serious.  As we were praying, she explained the dream to me and I told her to take courage, trust in the Lord with all her heart, and it shall be will.  

Sunday morning after the fellowship we went to see her again together with some brothers and sisters and we spent some time in prayers and hearing the Word of God.  She received a lot of advice [from outsiders] to see traditional people [juju men/spiritists] to do some funny things [obtain charms/magic potions] but she was convinced to trust in the Lord.  We are happy to inform you that sister Hannah is now doing fine.  She lives in a Muslim dominated community, but her testimony has proven to a lot that Jesus is Lord.  She is still young in the faith but we trust the Lord for her continuing progress in the faith.

Our brother in the Lord, Victor Conteh [younger brother of William Yandi-Conteh whose contributions are on this blog], who is qualifying year [a graduating senior] in the college of medicine, is also in a very serious situation.  As he is coming closer to his exams, he is experiencing brain fatigue and cannot comprehend as he reads.  We have spent some time in prayers and even now, we are still praying as his health is still to be perfectly alright.

The fellowship is still growing on Sundays and so also on Tuesdays for Bible study.  The Lord is using brother William to help us understand His word.  We thank God for all the brothers and sisters and despite the difficult circumstances we face, we have not given up the faith and we are very much willing to search the word of truth.

The meeting with Ishmael is suspended for the moment, yet I visit him every Saturday for personal discussions.  He loves the Lord with all his heart and we are trusting the Lord to reveal Himself more and more to him.  Please pray for his father so that he can be transformed by his son in due time.

As we go through these trials we are being restored all the more, and what we are facing helps us to demonstrate true love to one another living a Christ-like life.  We no longer care about personal interests, but what will serve as a blessing to all and open doors for more to be brought to the saving knowledge of Christ.

The Lord helps us as we (Brother William, Sister Gladys and I) will be visiting the brethren in Port Loko [the area where the Phillips used to live] in mid June to spend two days with them in the Word of God.  What we are going to teach we don’t know as of yet, but we believe the Lord will give us direction as we get to them.  Pray for us.

May the Lord who is capable of doing more abundantly and exceedingly than we can ever imagine, keep us all in His grace.  As long as we live, we want to do the work of an apostle we find joy in converting souls for Him that loves us.

 

 

William: May 22 Update

There is a teenager whose parents are Muslims and, as the Lord would have it, I preached to him and he has accepted the Lord Jesus as his personal Lord and Saviour.  In fact, I am holding a Bible study session with him at 5:00AM every morning in my room behind closed doors.  According to him, he is willing to be a Christian, but if his father knows that now at this initial stage, he will be in trouble.  I encouraged him though from Ps. 27:10, “If your mother and father forsake you, the Lord will take care of you.”  He can read from the Bible [literacy in Sierra Leone is estimated at around 25%].  Remember us in you prayers for the Lord’s work in ABDULAI JALLOH and wisdom to impact him all the more with the truth. Love, William.

William: May 12 Update

The Lord has granted us [William and Foday together] the chance to see the people of Rogbere, Rotaprr and PortLoko [the area where the Phillips’ formerly lived].  In Gbere Junction we met with N and K [a Christian married couple] and no doubt the information that we have received about him was confirmed; indeed, he has a girl friend and has even impregnated her. That undoubtedly brought turmoil between them.  But as the Lord would have it, we spoke to him in hard language and encouraged him from the pure milk of the Word of God.  In his response, K wept in repentance over his sin and asked the Lord for mercy.  N was too encouraged and charged to forgive K as the Lord has commanded.

 

We will not give up K for this, but would rather keep in close touch with him and N to see what the Lord will do.  Remember, we all stumble in many ways and those who think they are strong should be careful lest they fall. Truly K is a baby Christian.

 

In Rotaprr we started off by checking on A and encouraged him to live the life the Lord wants him to live, not what men would dictate to him.  We actually prayed for his and Kono Boy’s households. From the look of things he seems to be devoted to the “work of God,” but I’m not sure of his relationship with the Father through the Son. The reason being, Christianity is a way of life, not activities of men.  We are still interested in him, pray for him, and trust the Lord to help him out.

 

We met Marie, Ibrahim and Momoh, Aunty Sama [these are children and a woman that Patti had great influence on, both spiritually and practically, all of whom professed to receive Christ], and the village leadership. We had a fruitful encouragement with the children; in fact, in response they wrote letters to Channa and Stephan [two of the Phillips’ children] which I’ll find time to send to them soon.  

 

Honestly, their lives need help; they look very malnourished.  Marie has taken her NPSE exams to move on to a secondary school, Ibrahim is walking daily to and fro to Gbere Junction [about 9km] to attend a Muslim secondary school [the only high school in the area], and Momoh has dropped out of school because there is no money to pay his fees.  Aunty Sama is too in a very bad condition and I’m not sure of how she is doing spiritually.  We have agreed to be meeting them as often as the Lord will have us do. 

 

In Portloko, we met Isatu and Alimamy with a lot of spiritual challenges [this couple was led to the Lord and baptized by Steve and Patti].  Foremost among them is the fact that one so-called “Pastor” who claimed to represent the LORD, has just abandoned his wife and impregnated a girlfriend in the town. This was not actually helpful to these new converts feeding from milk (Alimamy and Isatu).  In response to that, we actually encouraged them that man should not be our example in the faith, especially those who live in sharp contrast to the Words they proclaim.  

 

Added to that, Isatu’s stomach problem [female trouble] still continues and the need for an operation has been diagnosed which, when done, except for God’s intervention, she will not bear children any more [the typical African perspective is that barrenness is due to a spiritual curse and often the wife is divorced because of it in order to obtain another who will bear children; the bearing of children generally being the most important reason to marry in West Africa]. They were requested to pay the sum of Le 800,000 for the surgery [about $275 or equivalent to 5 months’ salary in Sierra Leone].  

 

On the issue of the operation and the fears of the wife, we exhorted them that they should continue to seek the Lord to tell them what to do and that they should cast their burden to the Lord, for He will care for them.  Child bearing is not man’s work but the Lord’s; that if God pleases, He will remember them with or without the operation as He did for Hannah, Isaac’s wife, and Elizabeth in Luke 1.  We shared the little that we could from the Word of God, prayed with them, and returned.

 

The trip on the whole was, by the grace of God, successful.  

Emmanuel: May 21 update

I am pleased to share with you that the majority of the people who saw me as a rebel when I left where I was [the large Pentecostal ministry that had accused him of being an agent of Satan in their midst], are now coming to me to say sorry for what they did.  They are realizing the truth very clearly by what they are seeing the Lord do in our midst. Whenever any one of them comes around, I remember your wise words spoken to me that “one day they will all come to see you;” and we are seeing this happen now as the Lord continues to manifest His glory in the work he has called us to do.

 

I am still working on the material of my testimony which I believe will be of great help to those who have not faced such situations and for those who are faced with it and want to make decisions that glorify the Lord and Master whom we serve.

 

Give our love to everyone with much love from us and the brethren here.

 

Emmanuel and Liz

 

Emmanuel: April Update

We still have memories of your fatherly and motherly input of love and concern as you passed into our lives and family which is continuing to bear good fruit. 

 

As the Fellowship continues to grow in the eastern district of Freetown, in December 2008 14 people were baptized, 6 of them were former Muslims.  The teachings we received from you did not only save us from the dangers of this sinful and wicked generation of our time, but has empowered us as agents for change in our community.  Even Muslims are believing the words we speak; while some so-called “Christians” are opposing the very truth of the gospel that we speak to them. 

 

We are encouraged by your examples as we continue to speak His words.  Please give our love to everyone, tell them we love them all.  Yours, Emmanuel and Liz

William: March/April Update

Middle March:  About our evangelism to the Provinces, we are planning to go to Magburaka on the 16/03/2009 and return on 22/03/2009. The Lord has made up a group of 82 students available for this mission trip; pray for us. The passage of Scripture that the Lord has laid in my heart for the programme is Jos. 6:1-10 and the theme is Exodus 5:1 ‘LET MY PEOPLE GO’.  I also want to teach on the tabernacle and “The Gospel for Muslims” [one of Steve’s books instructing Christians how to present the gospel to Muslims] to the students.

 

The Lord has answered one of my prayers that has to with Simeon’s decision about the gospel. To the glory of God, Simeon has agreed that the Lord laid it in his heart to continue in fellowship with me, Francis, Morris and some others who would join the trail to contend for the faith [by being willing to endure persecution from the extreme Pentecostal version of the church in West Africa]. This he said to me this evening. Pray for us, for the Lord’s wisdom and wise counsel in all our ways. Love, William.

 

April:  This guy called Saliu Kamara has been a friend to us for so long a time and all through that period we have been telling him about the Lord.  Pray for his salvation that we might encourage him in our little ways. 

 

As the Lord would have it, a few days ago I prayed and talked to him again, and he honestly confessed that he has an evil spirit from childhood that has been controlling his life.  The spirit, according to him, is a female demon.  Added to that, he prayed willingly to receive the Lord Jesus as his Lord and personal saviour. 

 

The following day he called his Muslim father who had held him right before now a Muslim and told him about his decision to follow the Lord. In fact, the Lord has laid it in my heart to engage him in a personal Bible study to show him about the Lord.  The name of the brother again is SALIU KAMARA.  I started with him today this morning before I went for lectures. The passages we looked at are, Jn.3:3-19; 14:6; 10:10; Acts 4:12; Rom10:9-10. I’m hoping to meet with him this evening for further studies.   

 

Remember us in your prayers that the Lord will draw him closer and closer to himself and to grace me to die to self all the more, that as long as I leave I will remain a voice and He will be seen, received and believed by many who will hear His voice through me. Love you, Mom and Dad, William.

Foday: April Update

     We thank God whom we serve with clear mind and who also considered us to be partakers in His vineyard as fellow workers.  The fellowship with the brethren is growing and doing fine despite the storm of sin that is blowing hard here in Sierra Leone which seems to take away a lot of young people from the kingdom of God; but He always has His own and His own know Him.

     The message in this past month has been about our responsibilities in the lives of other young people around us and how we should help to rescue them from this world of perversion.  I have personally embarked on house to house evangelism, preaching the gospel to young Muslims as I meet them in various places.  During my three weeks holiday from teaching at school, the Lord enabled me to meet a few people whom He has considered worthy to partake in the salvation of His Son, Jesus Christ.

    I was able to meet the following people that I will like the family of Christ to join with me in prayers for them.  Their names are Ishmael, Sao Sesay, Isatu Mansaray, Hawa Koroma, David Kanu, Amie Sesay, and Sarah Kamara.  I will give a brief explanation about some of them.

     Ishmael is a boy of 8 years of age who has heard the message of Jesus Christ from his primary school [religious education, either Christian or Muslim, is part of the mandated curriculum in the Sierra Leone school system]. His father is an imam [a teacher/leader in the Islamic religion] who owns and leads a very big mosque around Aberdeen Road here in Freetown.   Ishmael told me when I met him that after hearing the saving message of Jesus Christ, he came home and explained to his father about what he was told at school, about this Jesus.

     His father was so angry with him that he promised to beat him to death if he ever heard that he was listening to such messages again.  So even when I was talking with him, he was so fearful that his father might meet us talking.  Ishmael made it very clear that he loves Jesus and has accepted Him as Lord and Saviour, but the problem he was facing is how to attend church. After a long discussion I encouraged him to pray to Jesus even in his heart, and not to try to come to any church.    

     Presently we are having Bible study in one unfinished house nearby [there are many uncompleted cement block abandoned structures throughout Sierra Leone since the war] and we have met three times now.  His father and mother are always in the shop for the rest of the day and they come home by 10 pm.  Pray for Ishmael; the seed has been planted and we are looking up to the Giver of fruit to give the increase.

     Sao Sesay is a young man that accepted Christ recently after I preached  to him in his house.  He is about 28 years old and has been a Muslim throughout till the day I met him though he has been thinking of becoming a Christian.  Since his whole family is Muslim he found it difficult to decide, but now he has taken the bold step to follow Christ. He has joined the fellowship [where Foday does much of the teaching] and we are studying the Bible together every Saturday in his house at 5pm. Pray for this soul too.
 
     Isatu and Hawa accepted Christ few weeks back when I met them in their home.  They have been Muslim though not fanatic.  They are now part of the fellowship.