When ILF visited Sierra Leone for the first time in 2016, we were introduced to an amazing community called Mankneh in the northern Bombali district. A hard-working community impacted by the aftermath of the Ebola devastation who felt forgotten, left behind, and left alone. A community hungry for change, not looking for a ‘pat on the back’ or a handout, but rather validation for their resilience and their ability to survive. More importantly, they were hoping to be heard, seen, felt and maybe rescued from their devastating conditions. They hoped the arrival of ILF could be the answer to their problems. But ILF was not called to be a hero of any kind or the liberator that they had longed for. We started our ministry in Sierra Leone with a different approach, a holistic view to problem solving. Focused on the compassionate love of Christ and the grace of God, we felt called to present a gospel centered solution to the challenges. We believed in promoting local leadership and community participation, looking to “Empower, Equip, Engage and Serve”, instead of diving in and taking care of the problems. Though not so popular at first, this approach proved successful over time. (Click here to see ILF’s projects in Sierra Leone and get involved)
In 2020 the world was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic which forced many NGOs to recall their missionaries/field workers and in many cases, halt their in-person humanitarian efforts worldwide. Mama Salone (a native nickname for Sierra Leone) found herself once again, abandoned and vulnerable.
The ILF US team was not immune to these conditions either. After our last trip in October 2019, like many others, we too had to stay home and follow the global travel ban. However, 5 years of gospel focused empowerment and equipping the local leadership had prepared us to weather this global storm. It had provided the ILF local team the practical confidence and the spiritual boldness to continue to engage and serve the communities beyond anything we could imagine. Powered by a Christ-like love, God’s grace and with no significant help from the outside world, through ILF’s holistic outreach, they went village to village distributing home-made masks, fed the hungry, cared for the sick, prayed for the lost and witnessed salvations. They proved that resilience is “trusting that the height of your faith will always overcome the depth of your tragedy.”
After a 16-month absence, we reunited with our team in April 2021. We were amazed to see a team that did not feel abandoned or forgotten, but rather united, humbly proud, and so eager to live out ILF’s mission statement to “be the doers of the word, and not hearers only”. James 1:22
Every time we visit our projects in Sierra Leone, we expect a miracle. We expect to experience the grandeur of God’s vision to be tangibly felt, seen, and touched. We always leave Sierra Leone with our hearts filled with God’s miraculous presence. This trip was no different, yet not what we expected either. It did not take us long to notice something different in our team. With their shoulders back yet closely attentive, standing tall yet hand in hand, proud yet caring, we noticed the miracle this time, was not in the “what”, it was in the “who”. Our local team with their servant leadership attitude was the miracle. A reminder of a notion that we so often overlook as believers. That just being an obedient disciple may in fact be a miracle in the making.
We often define resiliency as a response to the life-altering impact of tragedy or crisis that pushes us to move on despite the loss. We see resilience as a human heart’s ability to suffer greatly and grow from it. But in God’s definition, Resilience is more than hope, different than grit and certainly not the same as courage. It is trusting that the height of our faith will always overcome the depth of our tragedy.
On behalf of the ILF community, thank you for your partnership, encouragement, and support as we offer you the simple prayer and hope that God may elevate our faith high enough, so we too can overcome the depth of our next tragedy in a resiliency of sorts that may transform us from man to miracle!
In Jesus name.
The Impact A Life Board of Directors
Grace in Action: May Spotlight
|Hernia repair surgery!
Masanga Hospital Sierra Leone is doing amazing work in Sierra Leone and Impact A Life Foundation is honored to work with them for the benefit of the people of Sierra Leone and the glory of Jesus! Thank you Dr. Dublink and Masanga team for your partnership, love and generous care. Read more
|More than just a bridge!
Sponsored by The Mission Church in Renton Washington, this bridge connects Mamanso and surrounding villages to the major programs and resources of ILF.
“ILF is an exciting ministry where lives are changed spiritually and physically.” Read more
ILF Holistic Ministry
To help the community rest in the presence of God, a holistic leader seeks Jesus in all circumstances. In this month’s three part series, we learn that a “Holistic Dynamic Community” focuses on:,
- Nurturing loving, accountable and reconciling relationships within the community.
- Ministry leaders to upheld with vision, courage, integrity, and a passion for holistic mission.
- Places every area of individual and community life under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, without distinction between “sacred” and “secular.”
ILF’s holistic ministry entails more than sponsoring a program. It goes beyond short-term, relief-oriented aid. It is a promise of hope, it is a confirmation of God’s grace. Thank you for helping us to make an impact.