Andy Chinn - Second Time Around

03/31/09

"I am back to collect what I left behind—my heart," was the opening statement made by Pastor Andy Chinn [of Peninsula Bible Fellowship in Bremerton, Washington] last month at the welcoming program held in his honor at Senehun village in Sierra Leone. It was his second visit to the Banta chiefdom within nine months.

During his first visit in June 2008, in addition to leading children’s and youth camps and VBS activities, Pastor Chinn initiated the first village outreach, a "Goat Soup Fellowship" at Senehun village, a nearby community COTN has just recently begun ministering to. The event attracted over half of the community to a colorful program of soccer, sharing the gospel, and climaxed with a feast of tangayasa, boiled cassava and goat soup. By the end of the day Andy had evangelized and adopted a whole family, including a child named after him. I learned from the testimony of the mother that she gave birth to the child the day Andy arrived at the village. "Having gone through several days of unsuccessful labor pains, I know within my heart that Pastor Andy is a man of God," said the mother. "His presence brought about the safe delivery of my baby, so we named him Andy. Pastor Andy immediately accepted as his brother," she shared.

Last month, Pastor Chinn was back in Sierra Leone and Senehun village to see his eight-month-old brother—"his heart." This second missionary journey to Senehun, a typical African village setting, presented every imaginable challenge that an American can encounter in a village located in one of the poorest nations on earth. This made Andy one of the most admired Venture team members that has visited COTN ministry center in Banta. Pastor Andy is gradually dismantling the long-perceived concept in the minds of our people that missionaries are to stay in well-furnished houses, away from the community in their mission field, eat imported canned food from china plates, and drink distilled water. Not so with Pastor Andy—his activities in the village ranged from working on the farm, threshing husk rice, helping mama Nyandu (his African mother) cook spicy food which they all ate together, to befriending and hugging the village kids—even a half-tamed wild monkey!

Andy impacted the village community with his genuine demonstration of God reaching out to all classes of people in such a practical way, without discrimination. His ways were easily understood and appreciated by the local church pastors who also gained a lot from his teachings in the book of James at a pastors’ seminar he co-facilitated. He succeeded in touching every heart with his Gospel of Love.