By: Ilyasa Baa
The introduction of field trips or camping by the Rawlings Foundation since 2016 has enhanced attendance of pupils in many schools as their camping has attracted a good number of pupils in both primary and secondary schools; whose pupils feel happy whenever the news breaks out that they will be taken on field trips.
A good number of pupils of the Manaratha Primary School in the Western Rural District were in a jubilant mood on Wednesday when they were taken to the Peninsula to be entertained and fed. Class five pupils, including Dauda Jalloh and Nahim Bah told this medium that they were extremely happy that their entire classes together with colleagues in other classes were taken on camping where they said they happen to learn new things that help them in their education.
Camp Program Director of the Rawlings Foundation, Pastor Dauda David Sillah has in an interview with A-z newspaper, said Rawlings Foundation, being a Christian International Non-Governmental Organization seeks the welfare of school going children whom he said should be caught young in exposing them to things that will make them responsible citizens. “Having operated for over five years now, we have extended our olive branches to many schools across the country in terms of guidance and cancelling of pupils. According to him, the main aim of the foundation is to capture the country for Christ and impact the entire West Africa positively.
“Basically, the mandate of the foundation is to fulfill the great commission of the Lord Jesus Christ according to the Scriptures in (Mathew 26 vs. 18-20; Acts 1 vs. 8; Mark 16 vs. 15).
The mission of Rawlings Foundation is to proclaim the truth of the gospel and the authority of the Scripture, and to provide a biblical role model in many communities where we serve worldwide.
The Rawlings Foundation Sierra Leone branch was pioneered by Abdul Conteh who was born in Sierra Leone and moved to the USA when he was 14 years old. His dad was a Muslim and his mom was a Christian. Growing up, he attended both mosque and church. He and his brothers attended summer camp with a local church where he accepted Christ. After returning home from camp, both his parents decided to attend church and both accepted Christ as their Savior. His father, who was once a practicing Muslim eventually, became a deacon in the church.
Conteh met his wife Vicki who was his Pastor’s daughter at the church. He began making trips to Sierra Leone to do business but quickly saw the need for the gospel in his home country. His father in-law Dr. Mike Peper was friends with Dr. John Rawlings who cajoled him about being an Ambassador to Africa for the Rawlings Foundation. Dr. Mike had made a few trips to Sierra Leone and began to put a strategy together to reach Sierra Leone and impact West Africa. Abdul now is reaching thousands of students with the gospel in his home country.
Abdul’s favorite camp story was not about an individual but an entire Muslim school asked to attend highlands Sierra Leone. He explained to them, that they are a Christian Organization and would not change what they do but would love for them to attend. The school brought over 500 kids as well as teachers and their Principal. At the end of the camping, 361 campers accepted Christ as well as several teachers and the Principal himself. Abdul says, “It is great to give students the opportunity just to be kids” as they are not afforded this experience often.”
However, the original purpose of The Foundation was to help plant new churches and financially assist church building and expansion projects.
Dr. Rawlings’ vision began to broaden in the early days of the Foundation, and that was to establish a movement known as “The International Baptist Network.” This movement was to be a partnership of all like-minded pastors and missionaries, united to fulfill the Great Commission. This led Dr. Rawlings on a trip to the Philippines in 1977 with his son Herb to hold meetings with groups of local missionaries. Out of these meetings the Foundation’s first camp was established in the Philippines. Because of the success of this first camp, Dr. Rawlings became interested in the “10/40 Window,” an area that encompassed all of Asia. This led to the purchase of a camp in Japan and construction of our third camp in the country of Cambodia. The Highlands Camp Ministry is ever expanding. Since the home going of Dr. John, the Foundation’s ministry is now under the direction of his eldest son Herb.
The focus then expanded to building Bible Institutes and Seminaries at the various camps. As a result of the leadership of the late Dr. Rawlings, and now with its current Director, Herb Rawlings, is striving to make a deeper, lasting impact with the young people who have attended these camps by equipping them with resources such as Bibles, and making the Bible Institutes available so that they may further their knowledge of God’s word and help share with others the love of Christ.