Baptists hit hard in Sierra Leone mudslide

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone — An Aug. 14 mudslide that left more than 500 dead and 810 missing in Sierra Leone hit the majority Muslim nation’s small Baptist community particularly hard, according to Baptist World Alliance (BWA).

Samuel Conteh, coordinator of the social ministry department with the 190-church, 25,000-member Baptist Convention of Sierra Leone, told the international Baptist body based in Falls Church, Virginia, that mudslides triggered by heavy rainstorms seriously affected western and central parts of Freetown — Sierra Leone’s capital and largest city — where a majority of Baptist churches are located.

Conteh said 60 members of Bethany Baptist Church in West Freetown have died. Hillside Baptist Church in Central West Freetown lost two members.

Brickson Sam, a North Carolina pastor, said about 20 members of Victory Baptist Church in Freetown, where he was pastor before emigrating to the United States in 2009, also perished.

About 400 Baptist families are among 3,000 left homeless in the city with a population of a little more than 1 million.

BWA is collecting donations for relief efforts through Baptist World Aid, BWA’s relief-and-development arm. For more information about how to help, visit www.bwanet.org. (BNG)