Forgetting About Himself to Love Others: Magnus’ Story

01/21/14

After a long day of work, Uncle Magnus Beah, the Children of the Nations (COTN) Venture Program Director in Sierra Leone, came to the guest house to share with us. 

 
"I want to talk to you about three things," he said. "Sacrifice, passion, and compassion."
 
When I think about the sacrifices I make in the United States to work for and support COTN—and of the sacrifices people like you make to serve and provide for the children—it's hard to compare them to the radical dedication and passion of our in-country staff. They amaze and inspire me daily. Magnus is just one example. 
 
Uncle Magnus (left) and the Children's Home father, Uncle Thollie
Uncle Magnus (left) and the Children's Home father, Uncle Thollie. Both staff members have made incredible sacrifices to live with and serve the children. 
 
Magnus began by sharing some of his story with us. He told us how he’d stayed in Liberia to serve the nonprofit he was working for long after war erupted, and how he’d returned to Sierra Leone and then fled through the bush to make it safely to Guinea. Magnus was clearly willing to risk his life in order to be where he felt God was calling him. 
 
The most difficult moment for Magnus came when COTN was just beginning in Sierra Leone. Magnus was one of the first employees, and he was standing guard over a shipping container of supplies that people like you had sent to Sierra Leone to provide for the first refugee and orphaned children that COTN would take in. 
 
Freetown had become much too dangerous to stay in—people were fleeing as fast as they could from the roving bands of soldiers, rebels, and anyone else wanting to take advantage of the general chaos and lawlessness. Everyone who had the means to get out did. 
 
"Chris Clark [COTN founder] called me and told me, 'Magnus, you get out of there, now!’" Magnus recounts. "I thought about it, and then I said, 'If this paint and supplies were children, would you tell me to leave them?'" Chris had to say no, so Magnus stayed, knowing that the supplies you sent would soon be necessary to save and rebuild children's lives. 
 
Children like Adamsay are rebuilding their lives in COTN's Children's Homes
Children like Adamsay are rebuilding their lives in COTN's Children's Homes, because of the sacrifice that Uncle Magnus made that day, and because of the sacrifices you make to support them. 
 
Magnus looked at our shocked faces. I don't know why we were so surprised. The dedication and passion with which he does his job clearly shows that he is willing to sacrifice his life for these children. He laughed and explained what we might have judged as foolish or irresponsible actions.
 
"We caught the vision, and we were going with it, and we forgot about ourselves," he said. 
 
"When we talk about love," Magnus continued, "we're talking about forgetting yourself, and loving someone. When you love, you let go of what you have because it's just like the Bible said, ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only son.’" 
 
It's hard to disagree with that. But not easy to actually live it out, as Magnus is doing.
 
He left us with a challenge, which I will pass on to you. "If that boy in the Bible could give his bread and fish to feed five thousand, what can you give?" Magnus asked us. "What do you have? Just let it go, and God will use it to bless many children in this nation."
 
My prayer for this new year is that I, and all COTN partners and sponsors, would let our hearts be so captivated by God's mission in this world that we would, as Magnus said, forget about ourselves—and go with it. 
 
Magnus is willing to sacrifice his life for these children
 

Comments

The staff in our countries are Rock Stars!! Thank you Uncle Magnus and every staff member who serves COTN internationally! Bless you.

Magnus was one of my favorite people in Sierra Leone. He took me under his wing and made sure I was looked after. I so appreciate Magnus' servant heart and brave leadership for the sake of Christ. Great to see him still serving the children of his community after all these years!

Thank you Cassia for this great article on uncle Magnus! I was hoping you would recap all that was told. This is great.

Nothing like being there in person, but I do my best! Hope you and your family are adjusting back to life in the US ok... More stories from our trip to come!