Part of the travel team’s goal in 2017 is to increase awareness about the Sierra Leone initiative and get more buy-in from the United Methodist Susquehanna District. This film was shared at the annual conference and used to share the stories of Team Panguma.
For those that missed the pictures from travel team’s presentation take a look below. We’re excited to share our experiences and stories with you.
Today the Panguma Travel Team 2017 met at the Secondary LBSS School along with the principal, several teachers, and hundreds of students who greeted them with applause.
The principal of the school shared some statistics and progress they have made. In 2010, the school was at risk of closing its doors but now they have over 900 students and continues to grow! Last year’s testing results were the best to date–221 students passed out of 235 overall. He also spoke about the ways Camp Hill UMC has contributed to the progress of the school and also the challenges they face. He said in closing, “the only hope was CHUM–through the power of God.”
Fred then spoke at length, introducing the travel team and expressing his joy of returning to Panguma. Fred encouraged the students to stay strong, resist temptation, and not to lose hope for their future endeavors. He stressed the importance of relying on the power of the Holy Spirit to achieve their goals and become a light in the darkness for the community.
The travel team then handed out cards with gifts of appreciation to each of the teachers from both primary and secondary schools.
Our team met for devotions at the hospital this morning. Many members of the staff prayed and expressed their sincere appreciation to Camp Hill UMC for our support and prayers. They delivered hospital supplies, infant clothing, eye glasses and solar panel components to the staff.
Dr. Wai led our travel team on a tour of the hospital which included the Waiting Room, Pharmacy, Labor Ward, Children’s Ward, Operating Room, the Male and Female Ward and TB (Tuberculosis) ward. They were also able to see where six hospital staff members reside on site. There are 76 hospital staff working currently alongside Dr Wai. There are also four CHO’s (Community Health Officers) in training which lasts three years. Today in the waiting room, there were more than 20 patients waiting to be seen which is the norm. Some walk for miles, coming from outside of the village for treatment.
Fred shared with Dr Wai that the expenses for the hospital was paid in full this year for the first time through the sale of goods in the village thanks to Camp Hill UMC and Drs. Tom and Karen Asher. In a matter of three to four years, the hospital has made significant strides towards sustainability due to the collaboration efforts of the UMC and Catholic church.
Back when the country was hit by the Ebola crisis, hospital staff recited Psalm 91 daily. Miraculously, no one on the grounds was infected!
Fred and Drew had a great meeting with Dr Wai and were reminded just how humble and skilled he truly is.
Also today, Pastor Drew spoke at length with the upcoming Pastor Christopher regarding the transition of leadership in the church, as he will be taking the place of the current pastor (Matthew) in Panguma. Drew stressed the importance of keeping open lines of communication to further build the relationship with Camp Hill UMC.
The team was led to what the community hopes will be the future site for a market. Pastor Matthew and Denise prayed for the provision and wisdom for both Christian and Muslim individuals in the community to work together towards a common goal–one they have collectively had for the past seven years. Both the mayor of Panguma and a leader in the Muslim community prayed with the team over the site.
Palm Sunday in Panguma was amazing! In the morning the team followed a procession of people dancing, singing, “Hosanna to Jesus in the Highest” and waving palm branches the entire journey to the church.
Each team member participated in the church service: Fred, Lonnie, and Denise read scripture, Marsha sang, Sarah recited the Responsive Reading, and Drew preached to a full house. There was lots of singing and worship prior to sharing communion together.
Marsha sang “I must Tell Jesus”.
The Secondary School sang “I Surrender All”.
Drew preached the sermon along with the help of an interpreter.
Fred shared the news of his retirement to the congregation which was accepted joyfully as they learned of the transition with Drew.
After the three-hour church service, the team met with Pastor Matthew, elders, and many leaders of the church to pray over their continued leadership and future plans and needs. Each team member prayed and then shared a delicious meal listening to worship music at the parsonage.
The Panguma Travel Team 2017 has been very busy the last two days! Friday our team was at the Primary School feeding the scholarship students. They presented the Primary School teachers with gifts, and the Pre-school with school supplies. That evening they met with the Paramount Chief and Drew was introduced as Fred’s successor (congratulations, Drew!).
Also on Friday, two of our team members (Lonnie and Sarah) became sick. Dr. Wai cared for them and they recuperated so much so that Saturday, they were able to join the team on a two hour hike to the fresh water springs, which supplies all the water to the village.
Saturday was also the day the Camp Hill UMC pre-school hosted an intramural event. A crowd of about 1,000 people from the community turned out to cheer on their teams. The three soccer teams were: Blue (Faith), Red (Love), and Green (Grace).
Our team had the privilege of handing out certificates to first place winners after halftime. A table was set up for us to observe while the crowd gathered around the field.
The crowd gathered in front of the team at the end of the event and Fred spoke to the crowd and the team presented gifts to the school.
Today around 4:15pm (Panguma time) our Travel Team 2017 arrived to an exuberant crowd cheering, singing and dancing! They were greeted by lots of old and new smiling faces. The team was very happy to arrive before the sun went down. They are now heading to their friend, Amadu’s house for dinner and then to the convent (their home for the next seven nights) for their first night of rest in Panguma.
Please pray the Lord will lead the team as they work on an itinerary in order to accomplish His will.