ICEJ Breaks New Ground in West Africa

Building bridges between the Church and Israel

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17 Dec 2012
ICEJ Breaks New Ground in West Africa

One of the chief missions of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is to serve as a bridge builder between local churches worldwide and the nation of Israel, which we accomplish largely through our global network of national branches. In early November, ICEJ International Director Rev. Juha Ketola set out on a visit to Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, to dedicate a new Embassy branch in that country and explore openings for our ministry in other West African nations.

Under pressure from the Arab bloc, Sierra Leone broke off diplomatic ties with Israel in 1973 and was only able to renew relations with Jerusalem in 1992. But the next year a devastating civil war erupted which would last 11 years and rob the nation of countless lives. With normalcy now restored, the Christian community in Sierra Leone has been praying earnestly for closer bonds with Israel, and many local church leaders were thrilled to attend the opening of an ICEJ chapter in their country.

On the day of the inauguration, 40 different ministries from across the country were present. The event started with a prayer of repentance, led by a former vice president of Sierra Leone and a former national police commissioner, to ask forgiveness for the break in relations with Israel in the 1970s.

Rev. Joseph Francis Williams was then appointed by Rev. Ketola as the new National Director of ICEJ-Sierra Leone. Williams is already well-known in church circles across Western Africa as a pastor and itinerant minister. He expressed confidence that the new ICEJ branch in Sierra Leone will strengthen the local churches, and quickly identified a team of 24 church leaders to help organise the work in his country.

“It has been our heart cry over the years that God would heal the gap that broke out between Sierra Leone and Israel”, insisted Rev. Williams. “But thanks to prayer, God has opened up the doors for the ICEJ to come and launch a branch here. I believe this is a divine visitation. We have repented and would like to let Israel know that we are sorry.”

Rev. Ketola also gave a series of Bible teachings on Israel for more than 100 pastors and ministry leaders which were well received.

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