United Pentecostal Church Mannheim

Regina (by D. H. OKeele)

In Sierra Leone, a little country on the west coast of Africa, we have been blessed with open doors to spiritually hungry people. We have seen great and wonderful revival. We have averaged two people receiving the Holy Ghost every day for the past three years, (Note: this report has been written quite some years ago) and about the same number receiving baptism in the name of Jesus Christ.

But of the many that have shown outstanding devotion to God for His salvation, there stands out in my mind a young sister that I would like to tell you about. Her name: Regina. She was young when she first came into the church - about fourteen years. She was one of the first converts in a new church that we were starting in an area called Dworzak Farm. In fact, she was one of the first converts to the apostolic message in the country of Sierra Leone. On an overcast day in July of 1976, five young men and Regina were taken to the Atlantic Ocean and there they were baptized into Christ. She was the fifth person in this country to be baptized in the name of Jesus since our coming to Sierra Leone. She was wonderfully filled with the Holy Ghost in a service that we held in a borrowed Methodist church.

Regina was a pretty girl. She was quiet and unassuming, yet always friendly and well-liked. One of the most outstanding things about her was the sweet smile that was ever present to give to everyone.

She married at a young age, as is customary in Sierra Leone. The following year she gave birth to her first child. Married women must work very hard in Sierra Leone. They carry their babies on their backs and carry their loads on their heads. They chop wood for fuel, cook on open fires, farm, shop in distant markets, walk everywhere that they must go, sell their own goods in the markets, wash clothes by hand in the rivers, wash themselves and their children in the same rivers, and perform many other chores.

The walls of her home were mud blocks, and the floor was dirt. Her bed was a platform of tree branches overlaid with grass. Her church was a rented old tin shack with a roof so low that I could not stand up straight in it without hitting my head on the roof. The tin shack was only about eight feet wide and about twelve feet long, but fifty to sixty people would crowd into it for church services. Then it became stiflingly hot.

Regina never lost the smile and sweetness that so endeared her to everyone.

She was faithful to church. She did not let her chores or her tiredness, or the poverty and squalor of the surroundings keep her from being fully active in all of the functions of the church. In fact, you could count on Regina when others in the church would let you down. Even when the people of her Kroo tribe tried to get her to leave the church to join another one, she stayed steadfast.

The beauty of her worship to God was always an inspirational manifestation of the beauty of her own soul. It was a moving thing to watch her pray, because her tears of joy, shed in gratitude for salvation, displayed a love to Jesus Christ that made you know that she was in contact with the Lord. She was communing with Him; she had found reality; and she was basking in the glory of His grace. Her basking in God's presence was not a passive thing, but an active, glorious intimacy. When her praying was over, she was serene and happy. She was loved by Jesus.

In the middle of 1980, Regina started having some pains in her stomach. Daily they grew worse until she was hospitalized. Her pastor prayed for her and the church prayed for her, but God did not choose to heal her. Her family tried to get her to turn to witchcraft for help, but she refused, saying that she would trust the Lord.

The time came when she knew that she was going to die. She called her pastor, Brother Jalloh, and told him that she was going to die. She told him to be sure that her parents did not allow a witch doctor to come to her and that she wanted to die and to be with Jesus. She gave instructions concerning her baby. She said goodbye to the saints of her church and encouraged them in Christ. Then, barely eighteen years old, she closed her eyes and died. The sweet smile was still on her face.

I wept when Regina died. Then I thanked God that He had let me come to Sierra Leone in time for Regina to receive everlasting life.
D. H. OKeefe

United Pentecostal Church Mannheim