OUR BEGININGS

 In 2011 a few of us helped at a free medical clinic in Sierra Leone, Africa. We had the joy of serving people in two communities - Wilberforce Barracks near Freetown, and also in Lungi Mahera Beach.

 

The following year we scheduled a combination medical clinic & building team trip to West Africa.

 

The building team returned to Wilberforce Barracks and built diversion walls around The Door Christian Fellowship church building to prevent flooding during the rainy season.

This enabled them to construct an extension classroom for their school in an area that was often unusable because of heavy rains.
 

After branching out from the medical clinic work and forming an educational team, we returned to Lungi to bring school supplies and to hold in-service training sessions for the teachers of The Door International Academy, a school of 52 students at that time.

So, over the span of four separate trips to Sierra Leone beginning in 2011, we have built meaningful relationships not only with Pastor Saffa’s Door Church in Freetown, but also with Pastor Fayia at the Door Christian Fellowship in Lungi, and Pastor Marvin in Wilberforce Barracks. Our latest trip in October 2018, brought us to Rokel Village in the western province where we have engaged in our latest fund raising project to build our second school in the Nation of Sierra Leone. In the spring of 2013 we traveled to the Wilberforce church and built diversionary block walls to alleviate the flooding that took place there each year during their rainy season. It was our first step in an effort to improve the infrastructure of that church with a view to it becoming the center of community life in that area. In the fall of 2013, went to Lungi to work with the teachers of The Door International Academy. We brought them teaching supplies and held teacher training clinics to demonstrate how best to use those supplies in the classroom and deliver meaningful lessons. The teachers expressed the need for further training. They also needed government certification and we were blessed with the means to support them in their education.

The Ebola crisis kept us away for nearly 5 years. Sadly, the country lost over 10,000 souls to this devastating disease and our friends were not spared the heartbreak. Their friends and family members were not spared. And today the country is still reeling from the devastation with Ebola survivors and orphans feeling the pain of loss and continued stigma associated with fear of a killer disease. But in the spring of 2017, Steve and Jean Stiles were able to travel to Sierra Leone and participate in the dedication of the new school building. The Lungi school, which formerly met in the church sanctuary is now holding classes in a well utilized two-story building with over 120 children (ages 4-11) in attendance. Signpost successfully raised over $74,000 to construct the facility which was dedicated in April of 2017. The impact on the community of Lungi Mahera Beach is evident as children from all over the village travel up to an hour each day to attend school. With the building complete and the teachers holding state certification, the Door International Academy is recognized as a legitimate school site.

The construction of Godwin Vocational Training Center’s new facility is our most recent project. The planned 36 classroom school will serve as a place where women can come to receive training and certification in their chosen field. With this education and on-the-job training they will join a much ,needed qualified work force, which presently is lacking trained women. As of December 2020, we have raised $140,298.00 of the $180,000 needed to complete construction. Continued financial support will be used to make this facility a reality. Please donate by clicking the donate button.

One of the more exciting, and promising aspects of this project is the partnership that is being forged with the Sierra Leone department of Technical and Higher Education. During our most recent trip, we had the privilege of meeting with both the Minister and Director of this agency for over an hour. We discussed the needs for an improved, well trained and skilled work force; especially among women. These high-ranking government officials were very pleased to hear of the plans and vision for this new facility. We learned that we were on the right track and in line with their hopes for a renewal of their educational system.

And so our course is set...and the story continues.

 

OUR BOARD

JEAN STILES

I am a retired Special Education Teacher/Speech Pathologist who still enjoys teaching and helping children meet their full potential whether that be in the United States or some country abroad.  Being a part of Signpost MissionWorks allows me to continue to work with children and families through education and community projects such as getting clean water into a community or bringing in health workers to help with hygiene and wellness.  Most of all, Signpost MissionWorks gives me many opportunities to show the love of God to a hurting and broken world.

JOE VAUGHAN

I’m a Ventura, California native, a U.S. Army veteran, and a retired teacher and coach with over 40 years’ experience in education.  I received my B.A. in Social Science from Westmont College in Santa Barbara and my M.A. in Education from Chapman College.  I spent my entire educational career at Buena High School in Ventura where I taught history, coached, and served as the Athletic Director.   “I was attracted to education because it is a giving profession and I love to work with people.  I’m excited to be part of Signpost MissionWorks and the quality team that we’ve assembled, and I look forward to the continued opportunities to give to the people of West Africa and wherever else our mission leads us.”  I’m married to Kathy and have three daughters and five grandchildren.

SANDRA KUNES

I was raised in Tijuana, Mexico where I attended school. Later on I studied in San Diego, CA. After getting married, I moved to Ventura, Ca, where I took classes  to be an Early Childhood Educator in California. I have loved being a preschool teacher for over 21 years in Mexico, as well as in the USA. I love sharing God's love with all of my students by showing them their worth in the class, their families, and in their communities. Participating in mission trips has allowed me to learn and contribute in different cultures and situations. I have made several trips to San Vicente México, where I utilize my translating skills. I have participated in two mission trips to Sierra Leone, Africa to share God's message of hope through education. I serve as a member to the Board of Directors for both of these great organizations. I am excited to learn new things in future mission trips as I serve and share my teaching experiences.

STEVE STILES

I’ve worked for non-profit organizations for a good part of my adult life: most notably with Youth for Christ as a Campus Life Club Director for ten years, and then for eleven years with Focus on the Family as Executive Director of the Film Department. Telling stories for the screen is what took me to West Africa in the first place to capture an amazing ten-day medical mission trip to Sierra Leone. And now Signpost MissionWorks with its emphasis on education and infrastructure projects brings me back along with my wife, Jean, and the rest of the Signpost team.

I’m a Southern California boy who loves the ocean, tennis, and working with my hands. Jean and I live in Ventura and have three beautiful daughters.

Tim Weir

I am a retired public school educator with over 16 years administrative experience, which included budgeting and grant management. I started my career as a high school teacher, and later taught in middle school. I earned a B.S. in Health Science and an M.S. in Health Education from California State University, Northridge. During my first trip to Sierra Leone, Africa in 2011 I knew I had found my second calling and am devoted to the betterment of the lives of children in developing countries. My core belief is that all children, given the opportunity, can achieve at the highest of levels. If that opportunity includes a safe school, engaging curriculum and clean drinking water to promote health, all children can succeed. My wife, Christy, and I live in Ventura, CA where we raised our two children and now enjoy our six grandchildren.

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