Betty Florence has returned from Sierra Leone, where she spent her 16th anniversary as a missionary, and her 80th birthday!
Betty does not sugar coat her life as a missionary, and will always praise God for all He has done.. protection, provision, and saving souls is all within His power!. With limited access to a phone, we await with anticipation to hear her voice on the line when she returns home. Sierra Leone is among the world’s poorest nations. Located on the Western coast of Africa, with a population of over six million people, and only an average of 46% are literate. After arriving in Freetown, Betty travels many miles to Fakonoh Village, where she relies on a boat and a good pair of shoes from there. While traveling to outlying villages to share the Gospel,she recalls walking until dark, trying to find a host family willing to allow her and the team to stay the night, but none would. This year she revisited the village that was unwelcoming during her first arrival sixteen years ago,together they celebrated and are thankful for asking her to come back. The old mud hut she called home is no longer standing, but the gospel that was shared with them, still has a firm foundation. Through the years Betty and her team established two schools, so that the children would have a chance to break the cycle of poverty. Unfortunately the government agreement to lend support was not honored, so the entire process was left up to the foundation. Finding missionaries willing to take on the task of teaching children with little or no pay, is an answer to prayer. Working among the villagers can be just as difficult, they are accustomed to fending for themselves, and with a cycle of constant poverty they are naturally self-seeking. Betty proclaims that Jesus will provide if they in turn have a change of heart, and work together. The Gospel and the people she loves keep her returning, despite the roadblocks along the way. Several years she has faced opposition, including the Ebola crisis and it never came nigh her dwelling, she credits constant prayer and faith.
Is their weight behind the Biblical adage ” Can a leopard change its spots” ? For generations the villagers have relied on their survival skills, and how you never trust an outsider. This has made it difficult for Betty and her team through the years, as she attempts to show the people she is there to give, not to take. Through it all relationships have formed with her second family, and she has seen the work of Gods hand many times over. In Fakonoh Village, there is no motel or comfortable host family to stay with. Betty lives in a small room with no modern amenities, and attempts to collect some back up supply’s before leaving Freetown, since traveling the great distance is rare. She recalls the struggle to get supply’s by freight, and the container of goods sent by her church did not arrive. This often happens to missionaries, as custom officials hold up, or sort through the shipments and help themselves. Local fish mongers, or road side vegetable stands are where she buys food. And you must learn the art of haggling, the men want to sell her a basket of fish, when she only needs one.. the same man she provided with a net so he could fish, is not willing to give her a bargain!. This nature is something she tries to change, as she shares the teachings of Jesus Christ. Betty is very frugal and her work on the mission field is to help the people learn ways to provide for themselves off the land, or through a trade. Through the Betty Florence Foundation they were able to dig another well this year, clean water is something they dearly need. Betty also teaches the villagers sanitation, learning how to prevent sickness before it starts. The volunteer nurse was an answer to prayer, but he also lacks proper supply’s to cover such an area. Betty has seen her share of miracles, and this year was no different. A man went into a diabetic comma, there is no medicine or hospitals for these people. They prayed and God was the Great Physician, the man awoke with no sign of brain damage, or loss of motor skills!. Betty recalls traveling to other villages which can be a great distance, and God has given her protection, and even stopped wind and rain.. calming the storm that could easily set them back from their journey. We give thanks to the Lord our God, for the way He works and moves throughout our lives and there is no end to what He can do. Many missionaries seek to be paid for their work, and this has aided to the difficulty in helping the villagers. Betty believes as a missionary, you are working for the Lord, and He is your great reward. Some missionaries require great sums of money so they can work on the mission field with common amenities,this is not how Betty operates. Living among the people, and showing them how God provides her daily needs, is what she has always done. At Eighty years-old I believe she has acquired a wealth of knowledge to show us how God is the key in all things, and we live and learn through His guidance, and the vessels he sends.
If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution to the Betty Florence Foundation, to continue the efforts in Sierra Leone. Please send a check or money order to:
The B. Florence Foundation P.O. Box 3100 Statesboro GA, 30459 Thank you 🙂
How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:
“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace
Who bring glad tidings of good things!”