Ten Minutes With Our New Sierra Leone Country Director

02/19/14

Every COTN staff member has a story about how God brought them to serve in this ministry. COTN–Sierra Leone's new country director is no exception. Mr. Sahr Yambasu sat down with me and my Venture Team one evening in Sierra Leone and answered some of our questions about his ministry and vision. 

 
Mr. Yambasu came to COTN in the summer of 2013.
Mr. Yambasu came to COTN in the summer of 2013. We are looking forward to the leadership and vision he will bring to the ministry in Sierra Leone. 
 
How did you come to Children of the Nations?
 
I saw an advertisement in the paper, and I was searching for work, so I applied. After the interview, I prayed and told God, "If you really want me, you have to give me a scripture." 
 
The next Monday morning, I said the same prayer. At nine o' clock, when I went to the office, I received a call from a prayer partner. He told me the Lord laid this scripture on his heart to share with me: Psalm 124:8, "Our help is in the Lord." There and then, I sent my resignation letter.
 
Indeed, God is showing me that he is my helper. For me, life is not about money, it is about what impact you make—how you are able to touch lives, and what history will tell of you. 
 
The moment I stepped here, I realized that God had taken me through every experience in my life for such a time as this—to work at Children of the Nations. 
 
What are the greatest challenges to accomplishing the mission here?
 
The greatest challenge is space for our use. We are running the school on a double shift system because we do not have enough classrooms, and that is not ideal. 
 
In this part of the country, it is also a huge challenge to get trained and qualified teachers. If they come, they will manage for one year, but then they will leave. We have trained and qualified teachers here this year. My worry and challenge is, will I be able to retain them without accommodation? The other problem is many of the teachers are married, and have to live away from their spouses. How can you come with your spouse when three or four teachers are sharing a room? So, more classrooms and staff housing will help us. 
 
Thanks to people like you, we have just completed our first new staff housing
Thanks to people like you, we have just completed our first new staff housing. Mr. Yambasu (left), along with several other members of senior staff, moved in last month. Additional housing for teachers, nurses, and administrative staff continues to be a need
 
What encourages you in your work?
 
You know, when I came, I was going through the history of some of these children. I'd read their story and then go down and see them. It is amazing to see the transformation God has brought in their lives.
 
I read Precious' history—which is so difficult—and today I can see her as a university graduate. It warms my heart. 
 
Seeing Precious, who was homeless on the streets of Freetown before she came to
Seeing Precious, who was homeless on the streets of Freetown before she came to COTN, achieve her dream as a university graduate, gives Mr. Yambasu hope for the next generation of children, like Becky (pictured here). 
 
Also, for me the presence of people like you in Sierra Leone gives me the zeal to push on. I think to myself, "If you can sacrifice this much to leave your country and come here, if the passion of God can move you that far, why can I not make that same sacrifice for my own country?" 
 
What is your vision for the future of COTN–Sierra Leone? 
 
I want to see a sustainable COTN, effectively supported and managed by Sierra Leoneans. 
 
It's a very unique ministry. If we are able to grab that vision and even replicate that throughout Sierra Leone—because there are thousands of children out there like this. My vision is to see a home like COTN's in every district of Sierra Leone—all fourteen districts. 
 
Mr. Yambasu's goal is to work toward sustainability
Mr. Yambasu's goal is to work toward sustainability, through in-country partnerships, in-country fundraising, and investment in sustainable projects like COTN's farm.
 

Comments

Wow Sahr, you are doing some really great stuff! I was thrilled to read about your good work you are doing at COTN. All the best

Seth