It begins with Relationships
Joe Kilpatrick met Rev. Francis Charley when Joe was in Sierra Leone, Africa teaching a course on UMC General Conference polity. Francis was dean of Bishop Yambasu’s cabinet and the Superintendent of the District that had led the UMCs “Nothing but Nets” anti-malaria program. His district was also the site for the construction by the North Georgia Conference of an orphanage and school.
The two made contact again in 2013 when Rev. Charley was at United Theological Seminary participating in their M. Div. studies. Joe and Francis agree to launch the Bikes and Bibles program in Sierra Leone in time for the March 2014 annual conference. Bishop Yambasu blessed the arrangement. Funds, $7,000, were provided by a layman in North Carolina, and wired to the Annual Conference treasurer.
Francis Charley became the coordinator who purchased the bikes and bibles and worked with the Bishop and other District Superintendents to agree on who would receive them. Seventeen of the recipents were at the Annual Conference to participate in the presentation. For others the distance, time and expense of travel was prohibitive and so several DSs carried the bikes and bibles back to pastors in the remote areas.
For all, the gifts are important ministry tools, making a spiritual and economic difference in their lives and in their ministry.