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Sierra Leonean community in Texas performed interfaith prayers for the flood victims

Sierra Leonean community in Texas performed interfaith prayers for the flood victims

Despite the hurricane tragedy in Texas, more than five hundred people of different faiths gathered together at the Nirvana Center in Dallas on August 27, to participate in interfaith prayers for the victims of the recent flood disaster that took up hundreds of lives in Sierra Leone.  (Photo: praying for the mudslide victims)

The program was organized by the entire community drawn from different organizations under the coordinating body, the Association of Sierra Leonean Organizations in Texas (ASLOT).  The thoughts of Sierra Leonean community in Texas are with our home-based Sierra Leone brothers and sisters who are facing a disaster of a monumental proportion, ASLOT asserted. As we observe the nationwide mourning for the victims, we are also responding to the challenges of safety, and sustenance amid, see the need to pray to the Almighty God for forgiveness, ASLOT president, Reuben Ndomahina stated.

A number of distinguished clergy men from Christian faith and Imams from Islamic faith, offered fervent open prayers for all of those caught up in the midst of mudslide tragedy and pray for our country as a whole. The mudslide incident was a capricious blow that has taking an innocent victims and leaving loved ones in shock and despair. After several speculations to find reasons behind this catastrophe, all what our community in Texas can say is to pose great question, the agonized cry, “Why?” Nevertheless, our natural instinct should not find somebody to blame, Pastor Kanu, the leader of Christian faith said.

ASLOT has been doing this form of interfaith prayers in the past years for the country, but this one stood out for the dual goal it sought to achieve. The event served both to remember the victims and their families, and to raise funds for the victim families.

The program began by singing National Anthems, the United States and Sierra Leone to show honor and respect to the two countries, after which an open prayers were offered in Islam by Alhaji Sununu from the West African Muslim Association of Texas (WAMAT), and in Christianity by Pastor Agnes During, a well renowned Reverend in the community. The reading of the Holy Quran was made by the Chief Imam, Alhaji Salieu Bah, while Pastor John Kanu of Ark of God Ministry coordinated the Christian prayers.

Almost all local organizations including, Alumnus, business people, and health professionals all submerged to honor ASLOT call to pray for especially the mudslide disaster victims and the country.

As we are living in an increasingly religiously plural country, in the United States where our American friends and other nationals are adherents of different religious traditions, the desire to pray together along with the Americans for mercies on our country becoming pivotal in our community in Texas.

While learning about worshiping one God by the two religions, Christianity and Islam, performing interfaith prayers enriches our spiritual horizons and can aid in our appreciation of the power of one God, Pastors and Imams asserted at the prayer service.  The Association of Sierra Leonean Organizations in Texas believes strongly that praying together is another way of strengthening unity among the community.

In his prevailing tendency of his spirit to mobilize the youth, Mr. Daniel Macarthy, a young man in the community was the biggest individual donor for at the fundraiser. He felt compelled to sacrifice his time, energy and money to print T-Shirts for the community so that, as he put it, “we will look different from all”. After the mudslide shock and amid grieving, Mr. Macarthy has been thinking unceasingly on how he should contribute to this recent flooding catastrophe. He paradoxically stated in his proposition and said, “My country first before anything else”.

After the Eleven year civil war, the Ebola epidemic struck in 2014 killing thousands of people, and now another tragedy, a mudslide episode recorded again on August 14 killing hundreds of people, living thousands totally displaced, and have destroyed millions of Leones properties.  The only thing left with us to do in our country is, prayer which is the mighty power that moves God to have mercies, some people concluded.

By Sanpha Sesay, The Texas Chief

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