In the village of Yiehun in Sierra Leone, West Africa live 4500 people who survived the civil war that was featured in the movie, Blood Diamond. This village became one of two headquarters where the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) was based and trained boy soldiers who they had kidnapped and taken from their parents. The people of this village were then and continue to be so hospitable that they could not foresee the destruction that had descended upon them. Today, the people of Yiehun tell stories of survival and forgiveness. In fact, it is in this village that many boy soldiers are finding their way back to normalcy through the help of a couple who returned to Yiehun to offer restoration and hope. Mohamed and Safiatu Braima came to the U.S. 30 years ago, before the Sierra Leone Civil War broke out in 1991. Both of their families endured the war while Mohamed and Safie stayed in the U.S. and sent them support. Little Church on the Lane in Charlotte supported Mohamed and Safie as they worked to help the displaced villagers by filling a freight container full of canned food, clothes, and blankets. Mohamed flew into the country, met the container, and trucked it across the country around rebel territory to Guinea. He was the first person to reach the refugee camp six months into the war, even ahead of the United Nations. Chief James describes seeing Mohamed and his friend arriving at the camp as “two angels bringing manna from heaven.” As the war progressed, Mohamed and Safie started sending their family resources in the capital city, Freetown, to which their family fled. Their money went to feed their family and to help them build a house. Fifty members of their family remained in the house until the war came to Freetown and forced them to move. Risking their lives, Mohamed and Safie went into Sierra Leone four times during the war in order to visit their families in Freetown and in the refugee camp in Guinea.
Meanwhile in the United States, Mohamed earned his Masters of Divinity degree because he believed that God was calling him to go back to his home country and help rebuild and restore the people both physically and spiritually. Safie also became convinced that God was calling her homeward, and she and Mohammed became two of the few people who went back to their village soon after the war. Many of the people who moved to neighboring countries, as well as Europe and England, have not returned. Together with some church members at Little Church on the Lane, Mohamed and Safie started the Sierra Leone Moravian Mission, which has created a non-profit in the U.S. and an NGO in Sierra Leone. Mohamed and Safie have not only gone back to their village, but have also become the leaders and providers for their village. They have built a church there, which is constantly GROWING. They have built a middle school, which has brought education to MANY children who would otherwise not have an opportunity to go to school or would have to walk miles each day to another village. Through education, they have reduced the teenage pregnancy rates from over 40% to ZERO in 2011. Boys and girls are being educated and improving their lives thanks to the resources Mohamed and Safie and this ministry have been able to provide. They have laid the foundation for a high school, which they hope to complete by the fall of 2012.
The vision continues to unfold and people are joining Mohamed and Safie in the work. Matthew Koroma, who has two bachelors degrees, heads the school as the principal. Pastor Fabah and his wife, Isha, hold Sunday services and weekday services every morning. MJ, Safie’s sister, serves as a nurse to the community. Momoh serves as a deacon and maintains the church facilities. Gifted with a ministry of helps, Vandi works tirelessly to help Safie feed workers and children and keep the grounds, in addition to countless other tasks. The children of the village provide the hope, joy, and love upon which rests the future of Sierra Leone. Safie and Mohamed continue to work for the sake of the young people. Their current project is the building of a high school. Join the team and change a village whose aim is to bring hope in place of destruction, to turn sorrow into joy, and to sow seeds of love rather than hate. You can help by supporting them with school supplies, Bibles, and medicine. Together, we are God’s children working to help children.