I have just returned from Sierra Leone, after spending time with Fr Themi; and all I can say is, those of you who financially support the works of the Church in Sierra Leone should be proud and blessed that you share in these works.
From the moment I stepped of the plane, every time I mentioned the name of the “Orthodox Church” or the name “Fr Themi” or (Fudder Temmie as they pronounce it), I was received with great Love and Affection.
During my time I met with a number of Officials including the President and the Deputy Director of Social Welfare and the one common theme that always came up, was, that this Church, this Fr Themi did not abandon the people when EBOLA struck.
The Church’s reputation has grown from strength to strength as the “Church that Gives” and now, the Church that stayed and fought EBOLA with the people of Sierra Leone.
It is hard for us to understand what this means, but I can attest, that this is no small thing; whilst the hirelings abandoned their positions, the Shepard stayed and cared for the flock; this is how they see Fr Themi and the Orthodox Church.
Everyday, I saw the work of the Church and Fr Themi save lives; Not just spiritually, but physically; Your financial support, Feeds the Poor, Looks after the Sick, Clothes the Naked and gives purpose to thoses who have none.
The Church offers education to thousands of Children for FREE; Has a Teachers and IT College; Offers thousands of meals and feeding programs that Feed Thousands; Gives FREE Financial Aid to anyone for Health, Medical and Education (within our financial limits) and the list goes on and on.
I will never forget being introduced to a lady who looked like she was in her 60’s, attending one of the Church’s everyday, cleaning inside and out, maintaining the garden and just in general taking care of the grounds; And then, I was told she was a leader in one of a notorious groups, that during the war cut off hundreds, if not thousands of limbs; Yet, here she was at Church all day, everyday seeking forgiveness and giving a new purpose to her life; And now with the commencement of two new Orphanage Projects we, the supporters will help even more children.
Which of us can say that today we saved a life in the name of Jesus Christ?
Well, thoses of you who continually support this small insignificant mission in the eyes of the world, can stand up and proclaim that you are part of something that is doing just that; saving and transforming lives in the name of Jesus Christ!
This Christmas, while we indulge in our normal feasting, holidaying, partying and spending time with our friends, family and loved ones;
Please consider joining with the Church and Fr Themi, through P4K on a regular basis, by giving $20 a month by one of our giving methods at the below website, choose paypal for Non Tax deductible Gifts or choose your country for more Tax Deductible options.
Here are some photo albums so you can see for yourselves the good work done in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Just before I sign off, I would like to recount why I went and one incident that happened while I was there.
Paradise 4 Kids USA & AU send on average 95% of every cent raised. We report all activity and expenditure of the mission in Sierra Leone to our respective Taxation departments. Every three months the mission accountants sends to the USA and Australia accounting reports of every project, so one of my duties was to go through all the projects accounts and ensure that all funding is spent correctly according to our respective Taxation laws in the USA, Australia and in Sierra Leone.
I am happy to report not only are USA & AU laws followed with precise accounting methods, but the Church is up to date with local Taxation Laws continuing to pay all its payroll (staff income tax) and NASSIT retirement benefits tax (similar to USA’s 401k and Australia’s Superannuation benefits).
Now, regarding the incident; Paradise 4 Kids USA & AU had organised funds for Fr Themi to buy a slightly used second hand 4×4 Twin Cab Pick Up and a second hand 12-14 seater Bus.
While I was there Fr Themi was able to buy a great looking and working, 2015 Toyota Twin Cab Hilux Pick Up – see video of Fr T and the missions new Pick Up and it being used.
As for a Bus; while there, we visited many other Orphanages and schools that the Church helps as much as it can, and at one of these Schools and Orphanages, Fr Themi gave the bus to where he believed the need was greater than our own. – see video of Fr Themi giving away the funds for the bus and the response received.
1. How to Give away a Bus-
When I asked him why? (I remember thinking at that moment, “he has no idea how much we struggled just to raise these funds and now he just gave it away”),
He just said “What would Jesus have done”.
Fr Themi is like no other man I have met, he cares nothing for himself and works tirelessly for the Church, it’s people and for strangers in need, he sees the Crucified Christ in everyone and is willing to do anything, go anywhere and help anyone in need.
Paradise 4 Kids USA & Australia
“The rich exist for the sake of the poor. The poor exist for the salvation of the rich.”
— St. John Chrysostom