Saturday, April 6, 2019 – Leadership Conference and Goodbye Dinner in Waterloo (Freetown)

With nothing on the agenda for the day I was able to sleep-in. I’m in a proper bed for the first time this week so I got my best night sleep all week. I think I am finally adjusted to the time change just in time to go home and suffer jet lag for another week.

I stepped outside and my glasses fogged up immediately. It is already hot at 7:00am and the air is thick with smoke. Today is Clean Day, the first Saturday of the month – a day designated for everyone to clean, either their home or the streets around their home or business. Since nobody is allowed to drive until noon it is very quiet outside. There are even kids across the street doing cartwheels in the road, a four lane highway.

I spent the morning reading the word and preparing for our devotional time at breakfast. I shared an article in Tabletalk Magazine about Life in the Light of the Cross, discussing how we need to “encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all” (1 Thess. 5:13), and how that applies to prison ministry and our daily lives in interaction with everyone.

Pastor Watts arrived just on time at 1:00pm to take us to Pastor Alpha’s church for our second Leadership Conference but Morris was not to be found. Watts called him and, in typical African fashion, he said he was right around the corner and arrived almost an hour later. We explained the importance of punctuality and quickly departed to start the conference more than an hour late.

20-25 people were waiting for us when we arrived. They were singing praise songs and we got started as soon as we arrived. The speakers and topic were identical to the last conference and we finished about 5:30pm.

We told Pastor Morris he could bring 3 or 4 people to dinner with us so he grabbed five people and threw them in the truck (Watts, Alpha, Sonita, Bridgette and James). We ate at a small restaurant that I never would have considered walking into in the center of town but it was decent food, and very inexpensive (about $2 each). Everyone had Fanta for the first time this week and I was surprised that Dan stopped at 2 bottles. 🙂

Returning to the hotel after dinner we settled up with the hotel so we could leave in the morning after breakfast. The largest bills in Sierra Leone are 10,000 Leones, about U.S. $1.15. Paying for the hotel with one dollar bills is a ridiculously tedious process. The hotel staff needs to count each stack of filthy, grimy bills one-by-one. We finally called it a night and prepared to depart the next day.

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