The churches were stops on a tour by Rev. Istifanus Bahago, a CRC missionary and program developer in Sierra Leone who was in Canada to share news of the work being done there and to thank the churches for their support.
The congregations were some of the first to send financial support during the Ebola crisis, and Bahago said this support resulted in his district having one of the lowest infection rates in the country.
The churches form part of a global partnership between a group of CRC congregations in B.C. and the CRC in Sierra Leone, working in conjunction with World Renew and Christian Reformed World Missions. The partnership was formed several years ago as a way to connect churches to missions at a more grassroots level. Each congregation chooses its own level of participation—from prayer to financial support to other relational opportunities.
“We describe [the missions approach] as a holistic, fully integrated assistance program that includes building churches, helping to develop church leaders, helping with health care, education, environmental protection, drilling wells for water, income assistance and agriculture,” explained Dave Mayer, an elder at Smithers CRC who serves on the partnership’s leadership team.
Mayer visited Sierra Leone in 2014 just before the Ebola outbreak. Also on the trip was Joel Ringma, pastor of Terrace CRC.
“One of the most beautiful aspects of the ministry the CRC is involved with in Sierra Leone is that there is a wonderful symbiosis between word and deed,” said Ringma. “It is an incredible testimony.”