With the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan George of Guinea, I visited Sierra Leone, a country that has been tested by the deadly Ebola virus. The biggest obstacle was that I had to communicate with the Sierra Leoneans without knowing English. And yet, this was done without any difficulty at all! I remembered my English from school, although I was laughed at by the children. But with the language of love, I could talk to a child as if I were a child, to youth like a young person, to the elderly like an old man. A lot of people ask me how they can become missionaries. The answer is simple. You do not need to be rich to become a missionary, all you need is Will. If you want, you can make it.
During my stay there I was involved in the training of priests, because most come from Islam, the Methodists and the Protestants, and they need to learn about the liturgical life of the Orthodox Church. I also dealt with the youth who, with your help, will be the future members of the Church of Christ. The Mission is trying to relieve the people, by the saying of Jesus: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”. It builds training centers, takes care of the disabled and provides warm meals every Sunday after the Divine Liturgy, not only for the Orthodox, but also for everyone else, regardless of religion.
I was greatly touched by a girl when I asked her to meet her mother. “No, Father, you cannot meet her because she is illiterate and does not know English …”! At that moment tears filled my eyes! I told her: “My mother is illiterate too, and yet, she brought me into this world. I love her and I’m proud to present her without a shred of shame and say: This is my great love. “Her mother came. At the end of our conversation, this woman tells me with a touching voice: “Father, I may be illiterate, but I don’t want my daughter getting pregnant from a boy, I want her to study. Please help her, because both of my other daughters got pregnant and did not have the chance to go to school. “At this moment, these words are coming back again. I promised her that our Mission, which loves youth, would make every possible effort to realize her dream. This is our Africa … Can anyone save her? Only the Orthodox Christian would answer this question.
I saw how the people here- children and adults-would kill one another for a plate of food or for the clothes that they were given, and I could not bear it. This is why I am asking all readers to pray for this people and say “Lord, have mercy on them”. After all, St. Gregory the Theologian says: “What I consider to be the best is the love to the poor and the compassion and sympathy towards our fellow humans. Nothing is more pleasing to God than that sympathy and love. ”
† Archimandrite Athanasios Kayembe