Monday, March 18, 2013

A Little Bit of History

A Sierra Leonean named Brother Samura was living in the Netherlands when he learned of the Church and was baptized in 1981. He returned to his home and found that the church did not exsist in his country of Sierra Leone. " I decided I'd had better do something about it", he stated.  Bro Samura contacted the missionaries that were serving in the ward he attended while living in the Netherlands.  He wrote letters to the Church in Salt Lake City, asking for a church to be established in Sierra Leone. 
Five years later another Brother Sankoh was baptised in 1986 in Spain.  He also returned to Sierra Leone and began telling anyone who would listen about this new church that he found.

In 1987, Moses Will was a member of a Protestant church in Goderich. After some controversy, 42 members of that church broke away and held their own worship services. During that time, Elizabeth Bangura and Monica Orleans, who had been baptized in Ghana, settled in Sierra Leone and told him and his group about the Church. Sister Bangura gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon, “Gospel Principles,” and other LDS literature “so we could get first-hand information.”

Brother Samura, Brother Sankoh, and Brother Will were unaware of what each was doing to get the Church established in Sierra Leone. Brother Sankoh said the first reply to the letter he wrote was, “‘Wait, the Church will come to Sierra Leone, but we don’t know yet when.’ After some time, I received a letter from Utah telling me they are prepared to establish the Church in Sierra Leone. I was so happy that for the rest of the day I could not eat anything. [I was] just singing. My parents met me in my room, dancing alone. … I said, ‘My dreams have come true.’”

The Church is Established

On May 6, 1988, Liberia Monrovia Mission President J. Duffy Palmer and his wife, Sister Jocelyn Palmer, arrived in Freetown to welcome two days later the first missionaries called to serve in Sierra Leone: Elder Claire J. Fisher and his wife, Sister Ilene Fisher; and Elder C. Erwin Waite and his wife, Sister Colleen Waite.
The missionaries started teaching Brother George and the Goderich group and others. A group was established at Lower Pipe Line, Goderich, in West End Freetown. The first converts, 14 in number, were baptized on June 11, 1988, at Atlantic Beach, Lumley.

The Goderich Freetown Branch—the first branch in Sierra Leone—was established on August 7, 1988, with Christian George as branch president, Michael Samura, first counselor; Joseph P.E. MacAnthony, second counselor; Bai Sama Sankoh, branch clerk; Elizabeth Judith Bangura, Relief Society president; and Joyce Orleans, first counselor in the Relief Society presidency.

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