In Memory of Pastor Sorie Morrah

11/14/07

[date unknown] 1976 – October 3, 2007

On Thursday October 4, 2007, we received a devastating phone call telling us that our dear friend, Pastor Sorie, had passed away. Pastor Sorie Morrah, age thirty-one, was the pastor of our church, Church of the Nations, in Banta Mokelleh, Sierra Leone, West Africa. During our one-year assignment in Sierra Leone, he was a continual source of encouragement to us and an example of true integrity. He always told us that he was going to write down his life story for us. At the time of his death, he had yet to do this. And since he can’t do it now, we want to write it for him. His story is one that needs to be shared because it is a testimony to the goodness of the Lord.

In September, Pastor Sorie was hospitalized in a remote medical facility near Banta Mokelleh in up-country Sierra Leone (also referred to as “the bush”). He was diagnosed with a strangulated hernia and was rushed to surgery in a nearby town. Soon after the surgery it became apparent that he was suffering from heavy internal bleeding. The doctors performed a second surgery and discovered that the wound was deeply infected. Pastor Sorie never recovered and late Wednesday night, October 3, 2007 he passed away. Those attending him said he never stopped praying to his Father—right up to his last breath.

Sorie grew up in Freetown (the capital city of Sierra Leone) in a Muslim home. As a youth, he started attending a Good News Club, a Christian outreach program. It was there that he made the decision to surrender his life to Jesus. After this he started receiving severe persecution from his family. He would be the last to eat (if he ate at all). While his brothers and sisters would get new clothes, he would get none. His parents even stopped paying his school fees. Thank God for a local pastor who took Sorie under his wing and paid his fees, becoming a life-long mentor to him.

In 2005, Pastor Sorie was hired by COTN to be the pastor at our Church of the Nations in Freetown. Within six months, he was sent up to the Banta Mokelleh chiefdom to start a new church in an area that is 95% Muslim—to a village setting where life is vastly different from the city life he grew up in. With only a suitcase in his hand, he was left in Banta, without knowing the language and without a familiar face in sight. But that didn’t stop him. By the grace of God, Pastor Sorie started a church in the village of N’golala with only four members and helped it grow into the 40–50 members that it is today. He was then called to move and begin a church in another local village, Mosenesie.

Pastor Sorie devoted his life to the people in Banta, bringing the light of Christ into a dark, dark place where spiritual strongholds like witchcraft and voodoo have long reigned unchallenged. Yet as we know, light and darkness cannot occupy the same place at the same time. When light is brought to a dark world, there will be opposition. During the last six months of Pastor Sorie’s life, he had been battling one spiritual attack after another. Lies had been spread around the village destroying his honor and credibility and creating division among the COTN staff members and the people of Banta Mokelleh. But never once did Pastor Sorie retaliate; he continued to greet and be friendly to the very people who started these lies, praying for them unceasingly. At times we would find ourselves so angry at the instigators, but Pastor Sorie was always the one who reminded us that we needed to love them. And he did, he loved them in spite of the lies they told about him and the accusations they made.

He will never know the difference he made in the lives of the people of Banta Mokelleh. He was an example of Christ—not once did he retaliate when he received opposition, not once did he ever question his faith, not once did he ever give in to the pressure to conform. With sadness in our hearts we grieve this loss, but rejoice because he is now in a land where his oppressors no longer hold power. He is in a place where his shackles have been turned into a royal crown. He is home with his Savior.

Since Pastor Sorie’s conversion as a youth, one by one, his family members have begun to surrender their lives to Christ. Please continue to pray for his mother, as she is still a practicing Muslim.