Welcoming Others as He Was Welcomed: Spengy's Story


If you travel to Sierra Leone with Children of the Nations (COTN), a tall young man with a warm smile will greet you like you are family. Throughout your time there, you may see him in the kitchen, serving you, or supervising a small group of Sierra Leonean teenagers as they clean, cook, and serve you and your team. 

If you travel to Sierra Leone with COTN, Spengy will probably welcome you
                     If you travel to Sierra Leone with COTN, Spengy will probably welcome you and serve you.
As the lead supervisor for the hospitality team, Spengy is in charge of making sure every guest feels welcome and comfortable. Spengy was orphaned at a young age, and grew up "adopted" into the COTN family, living in the family-style Children's Homes. So he knows what it means to be welcomed like family into a new place. 
Spengy came to COTN's Children's Homes ten years ago, after his parents died
                       Spengy came to COTN's Children's Homes ten years ago, after both of his parents died. 
Now in twelfth grade, Spengy is trying his hand at welcoming others. COTN's hospitality program exists both to serve Venture participants who have come to serve, and to provide basic training for young men and women in COTN's child sponsorship program. Spengy is taking full advantage of this training. 
Spengy became the team lead when Magnus Beah, COTN's Sierra Leone Venture coordinator, noticed his potential. “I saw that he had leadership ability and a sense of responsibility,” Magnus says. “Not only is he capable of being a leader, he is willing to take the responsibilities of making the hard decisions of a leader, accepting the costs of making difficult decisions.”  
Spengy oversees the hospitality team
Spengy oversees the hospitality team—a group of teenagers from COTN's child sponsorship program who are gaining practical skills in everything from hotel management to catering. 
As the team supervisor, Spengy works closely with Aunty Francess, a staff member in charge of the kitchen and housekeeping. Though he's now a leader, Spengy still likes to get involved directly with the work by doing the same tasks as the rest of the team—leading by example. He loves to welcome new guests and visitors to COTN and treats them like family. Spengy believes in the idea that COTN is a movement of families and has a strong desire to know guests as family.
Spengy says that learning to put God first has made it easy for him to do his job—managing his staff to serve the guests with joy. He understands that Venture participants have come a long way to be here and sometimes can be uncomfortable. He wants to be there for people when they are in need. Doing this job takes endurance, and Spengy has learned to be flexible with all the responsibilities of the job.
Spengy says he would like to be a doctor and a pastor, but ultimately, he has a strong desire to be the president of Sierra Leone. He says he feels compelled to help his country get better by tackling the problem of poverty. 
Having had this opportunity to be in a position of leadership and to serve others, Spengy feels that this experience will prepare him well for his future employment—whatever it may be. One of the key things he has learned is the importance of planning in leadership. “Some leaders have the know-how, how to do things, but because of poor planning, then end up failing,” Spengy says. 
A message Spengy has for his younger brothers and sisters here at COTN is to take full advantage of where they are and to enjoy everything their sponsors provide for them. Because God has brought them such good leadership and opportunities, Spengy says, it would be foolish to waste it. He encourages the younger kids to come into the hospitality service team and learn to have a love for the things they do, just like he does.
One of the key things Spengy has learned is the importance of planning