Recent News from the SLM

As you will no doubt be aware, the last year has been a trying time for the Sierra Leone Mission, with the ramifications of the ‘credit crunch’ began to bite with the crashing exchange rate wiping off a significant portion of our spending power in Sierra Leone. This caused us to reluctantly initiate cut backs in our expenditure in order to survive and protect our long term viability. I am very aware that as hard as it was for us as a Committee to instigate these, it was even harder for our brothers in sisters in Sierra Leone as salaries were effectively cut (even though we were spending the same if not more in the UK), and in the case of the teachers, jobs were lost. I have been impressed with their understanding and patience in these trying days. I have also been – as is so often the case – staggered by the generous response of the Connexion to our appeals for help. Thank you! God is good!

A special thank you must go to those who signed up to the Sierra Leone Champions scheme, committing to give regularly for a year to support our work with children. These contributions have gone a long way towards getting us through this difficult period whilst we look to set ourselves up on a securer footing for the future. At the time of writing, things are significantly better, with the exchange rate having moved closer to the level we were operating with a year ago. That said, please continue to pray, as the situation is still not stable, and the rates may plunge again. Of course, if you were thinking of joining the Sierra Leone Champions, although September has now passed it is not too late to sign up. Get in touch with me if you want forms, or download them from our website – yes we have our own website now! The URL is: www.sierraleonemission.org.uk The site is still being put together, so bear with us, but hopefully this will provide a quick and easy way to keep in touch.

Our gratitude must also go to all of you who helped with the shoebags filled with gifts for the children of Sierra Leone this year – those who put them together, gave towards transportation costs, got them to us, and finally helped transport them to our shippers. As I type, I am awaiting confirmation that they arrived so that they can be distributed for Christmas.

Do you recognise this plate? I recently received an email from a lady who has in her possession a Royal Doulton plate with brown line drawing of St. Mark’s Waterloo on it. Under the picture is the script, ‘Society for the Spread of the Gospel at Home and Abroad – The Rev’d Samuel Trotter Williams Memorial Fund’. Around the top lip of the plate it reads ‘The Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion’ and round the bottom lip ‘The Free Church of England’. The Doulton marks on the back indicate that it was made between 1902 & 1922. She asks if we know any more about this plate? If you can tell us more, we’d love to hear from you.
In the New Year, our postponed visit to Sierra Leone looks like it will finally take place. If all goes according to plan, Tim Wells and I will visit for a couple of weeks to catch up on how things are going for our friends, and learn better how we can support them.
Finally, it would be remiss of me to neglect to tell you that e have a new committee member, Sarah Waters, our Youth Conference representative. It’s great to have Sarah with us and to continue the long relationship between the SLM and Youth Conference. Welcome Sarah and well done on surviving your first meeting! Our next full committee meeting is on 16th January 2010, please pray for our discussions that day.

Just after posting this article, I received the great news that the shoebags full of gifts for the children in Sierra Leone have safely arrived!

About Ben Quant

Ben is the former Chairman of the Sierra Leone Mission Committee in the UK, now serving as a co-opted member of the SLM, as well as the minister of the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion church in Wormley, Hertfordshire (www.wormleyfreechurch.org.uk)
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