From Mike Trujillo: Have you ever wondered why you keep hearing about Sierra Leone in our church?
It all started several years ago when the District Superintendent called on churches in Austin to help raise money for malaria nets in Africa. Then a lemonade stand at Oak Hill UMC became the beginning of a huge fundraiser (over $100,000 was raised by our church). As a result of our success, Pastor Jim was invited to visit Sierra Leone to celebrate the “Imagine No Malaria” campaign. While there, he met Bob and Carol Stoner. Bob and Carol are seasoned missionaries, and the following year they helped Oak Hill send a team to Sierra Leone.
Fast forward a few years when the missions team at Oak Hill started to refocus our work toward education. We reached out to other U.S. teams doing the same work (Operation Classroom) and also connected with the Ministers of Education for the Methodist church in Sierra Leone. Then last year, Oak Hill UMC received a new member of the congregation—Saffa Koroma. Saffa is not only a citizen of Sierra Leone, but he is the previous Minister of Education and worked closely with Operation Classroom.
Coincidence? I think it’s a “God thing.”
Saffa and I just returned from the Sierra Leone Partners Conference in North Carolina. We met with the Bishop of Sierra Leone and his staff. Saffa was reunited with many friends in the U.S. and Sierra Leone—all focusing on helping to improve the education system in Sierra Leone.
We are gearing up for a mission trip in April 2018. We are planning a one-week trip in partnership with Operation Classroom.
If you are interested in supporting this mission and working with our team, please contact Mike Trujillo.