ABOUT 500 years ago, near the mouth of the Sierra Leone River, a tiny silk-cotton tree took root and sprouted. For 300 years the tree grew tall as a tragic procession passed before it. Ruthless slave traders shipped nearly 150,000 men, women, and children overseas to foreign slave markets.
On March 11, 1792, hundreds of freed American slaves gathered under the Cotton Tree to celebrate their repatriation to Africa. That day they founded a settlement that embodied their fondest hope
For nearly 100 years, Jehovah’s Witnesses in Sierra Leone have been comforting their neighbors with the hope of a far grander freedom
Over the past 50 years, the Sierra Leone branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses has also supervised the preaching work in Guinea. This neighboring nation has experienced political, social, and economic upheavals, prompting many of its citizens to welcome the Bible’s heartwarming message.
Jehovah’s Witnesses in Sierra Leone and Guinea have proclaimed the good news in the face of countless obstacles. These include physical hardships, deep poverty, widespread illiteracy, ingrained traditions, ethnic divisions, and appalling violence. The account that follows testifies to the unswerving faith and devotion of these loyal servants of Jehovah. We trust that their story will touch your heart and strengthen your faith in “the God who gives hope.”
IN THIS SECTION
Learn more about these lands, their people, religion, and language.
In 1915, the first baptized servant of Jehovah arrived in Freetown. Many were interested in the Bible.
The clergy had schemed to silence God’s people, however, Jehovah had ‘turned back their hurtfulness upon them.’
The Freetown congregation became ‘intensely occupied with the word.’
Twice a week Zachaeus Martyn walked five miles, up and down a mountain, to attend Christian meetings. What convinced him that he had found Bible truth?
William R. Brown preached throughout the Caribbean Islands and in West Africa. Learn why he felt that he had one of the highest privileges that a human can have.
The preaching work would be greatly expanded. Missionaries were sent to stimulate growth.
In 1956, the film The New World Society in Action was screened in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Would anyone come to see it?
Jehovah’s Witnesses are well-known throughout Sierra Leone and Guinea as a people who honor marriage.
Why did Poro politicians submit a motion in Parliament to ban the work of Jehovah’s Witnesses?
What influence do secret societies common in West Africa have on the lives of men and women?
To help others advance spiritually, congregations conducted literacy classes. As more people learned to read, the need for translation increased.
How did delegates without proper travel documents, or a passport, cross the border into Guinea to attend the convention?
Jay Campbell, a polio victim, wanted to attend a congregation Bible study. She said that she would walk there on her wooden walking blocks. Did she succeed?
Despite the war, material aid and spiritual comfort was provided for fellow Witnesses and others. What helped them to display strength and courage?
In the midst of conflict, Jehovah’s Witnesses “continued without letup teaching and declaring the good news.”
A young rebel soldier remembered the warm welcome he received when he attended a meeting of Jehovah’s Witnesses. What motivated him to change his ways?
Amid killing and chaos in Pendembu, why were the lives of several Witnesses spared when war broke out in 1991?
One of Jehovah’s Witnesses served as a courier during the civil war. How was he able to carry correspondence and supplies from Freetown to Conakry, Guinea?
Tamba Josiah worked in diamond mines before becoming one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Why does he feel that he found something more valuable than diamonds?
After the civil war, congregations were formed, Kingdom Halls were built, and special pioneers were assigned where there were few Witnesses.
Today, Jehovah’s Witnesses in both countries are convinced that many more people will yet respond to the good news of the Kingdom.
Philip Tengbeh and his wife fled for their lives while rebel soldiers overran their hometown, Koindu. They helped build five Kingdom Halls while living in refugee camps.
Cindy McIntire has served as a missionary in Africa since 1992. She tells why she especially enjoys preaching in Sierra Leone.