Isatta Coker

The Yele Camp Meeting

December was a packed month. We were invited to attend the inauguration ceremony of the Sierra Leone Conference as delegates-at-large. Three days after the inauguration, the northeast mission, where the Kono district is located, held a camp meeting. The local church was invited, and we were asked to be guest speakers.

While transportation to the camp meeting was organized for the adults, the church did not make any provision for the children. The children we minister to expressed their desire to attend, so my husband and I tried to find a solution as we did not want to discourage the youth. We desire them to feel like they belong and that people care.

We prayed about the situation for a day, and my husband contacted a family friend who provides ongoing support for the children. As a result, we hired a bus to the campsite. We managed to fit 50 of us into the 35-passenger bus. It was very intriguing to see the children help each other. Happily, some would allow their friends to sit on their laps, while others took turns standing so their friends could sit. With joy, they sang all the way to the campsite.

We drove on a paved road from Kono to Matotoka for one and a half hours, then along a dusty and bumpy road for another one and a half hours. Covered in red dust and having achy feet, we finally reached the campsite. The youth were delighted to be at the camp meeting.

At the campsite, we explained to the organizers that we did not want to separate from the children because we had promised their parents that we would care for them. Another reason was that we wanted to remain together to interact with them and get to know them better.

The organizers took us to a guest house, and we hired someone to cook for the children for the duration since the organizers were providing food only for my husband and me.

We had devotions with the children every morning at our guest house, then went outside to exercise before joining the rest of the campers for the general devotion. We played games with the children and had one-on-one conversations with them, counseling them on the struggles they face as teenagers. The camp meeting was the perfect opportunity to meet their challenges with God’s word and to pray with them individually. We gained insight into how to minister to each and meet their felt needs. At the end of the camp meeting, a call was made for all who desired to give their life to Christ. Joseph, one of the youths in my daughter Patricia’s 13-to-19-year-old class, gave his life to Jesus.

After the camp meeting, we invited all the youth into our home for Christmas dinner to teach them about the origin of Christmas. My husband played the movie “Tell it to the World.” The youth asked many questions, and we tried to answer them as best as we could. At the end of the day, Joseph, the youth who gave his life during the camp meeting, declared that he wanted to be a pastor. I turned to my husband and said, “Here is the one who will take the three angels’ messages to the Kono people.”

Feedback from the parents was great. Every parent who allowed their children to go to the camp meeting appreciated the time we devoted to their children. Some youth are more prayerful and obedient than before, and parents talk about the respect the children brought home from the meeting. The care and love we provided and our time together were extraordinary spiritual breakthroughs for them. Please continue to pray for our youth.

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