It was January 2016. I was preparing for my trip to Sierra Leone West Africa. I had already played out in mind what my experience should look like… Two weeks later, after I returned home to Seattle reflecting on the past few days, I had to throw away all my expectations, presumptions and views as an outsider. I had to start from scratch and let my soul paint a true picture…
My missionary friends and I were set to visit a much talked about West Africa (more accurately Sierra Leone). A dream come true on my bucket list and a privilege. I expected it would be different than India, Pakistan, Nepal, Thailand, or Mexico. The face of poverty is never the same. Although the needs may be common, the cultural history and spiritual aspects dominating personal aspirations will always paint a different picture unique to the region. Africa was no exception.
It was an unusually warm June afternoon in Seattle. I met with my dear friend and spiritual mentor Pastor Dan over coffee. He had shared with me the lifelong and passionate dream of starting a free Christian school for the less privileged. My goal, however more global, was a bit simpler and more contained. Building a small mud/thatch home for village families, maybe provide them with drinking water, food and hygiene capabilities as we go along. A similar philosophy to Impact a Life projects in India and Nepal.
But God had his own plan. He always does… Starting a Christian school for up to 100 students! A school that could also work as a medical clinic, community center and a church all at the same time.
It is one thing to give-in the Lord’s will, but how could only two guys (with limited financial resources) conduct a project of this magnitude from thousands mile away? Well, let me introduce Dr. Roland Turay (read Dr. Turay’s biography here).
Pastor Dan and I met Dr. Turay during our visit in Sierra Leone back in January. A visionary man who had a heartbeat for his countrymen. We met during one of my Sunrise Photography journeys in SL (see the Souls… Lost and Found) at his community retreat “Roland’s beach”. Only after one meeting, we were convinced that Roland would be the perfect boot on the ground to spearhead the Revive Africa project.
Only a few months later, not only Pastor Dan, Dr. Turay and yours truly, but also many others (some doubtful of the success of this project) are amazed at how God has brought so many resources together to bless the children of heaven in one village (Mankneh, Sierra Leone, West Africa).