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Christian charity raises £7.5K to support village communities in Sierra Leone amidst the coronavirus outbreak

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Christian charity Grace Sustains Africa (GSA) has raised £7.5K for Sierra Leonean village communities in Mobai and Baiima in a bid to help them get through the pandemic.

Fundraiser Jonathan Brooks contributed to £500 this sizeable effort by creating a sub-fundraiser.

Brooks set himself the challenge of performing 10 muscle-ups at the end of a 10-week fitness regime, documenting his progress on Instagram.

“I’ve learnt to work out and so decided to do a work out challenge, something that would capture people’s imagination and something that looked exciting. Something worth donating for” said Brooks.

Last week marked week 10 and Brooks successfully reached his goal of 10 muscle-ups.

He originally set a fundraising target of £250 and managed to double it. He believes this testament to people being “inspired” by the challenge and its cause.

GSA was Brooks’ choice of charity, he says, because he knew the founder Emmanuel Ayoola personally and was in support of the Christian ethos of the charity.

The charity says it ‘exists to empower self-sustaining and raise Jesus loving communities in Africa’. It seeks to do this by combating poverty and a lack of water and education facilities.

“It’s great to see a Christian charity that is actually helping people, both in material terms as well as providing them with the gospel, which I think is healing not just to their bodies but to their souls” he said.

He continued: “There is more to life than food and shelter. I believe there is a deeper level of charity that needs to be given to these people. Hope in Christ Jesus is what I think we’re actually in need of and I see a temptation for Christinas to overspititualise things into just praying for people, but not actually putting their hand to the plow and doing the work! Putting their faith into action.”

The desire to raise money for a cause started earlier this year in Brooks’ final year of university at the University of Birmingham.

He recalls feeling very privileged, “blessed” as he put it, during the height of the pandemic, considering that his main focus was his dissertation rather than worrying about his health and finances.

It was at this point he came across the work of GSA and decided that he wanted to give to it out of the “abundance” of his time, energy and contacts.

In total there were 12 volunteers, including founder Ayoola, whose collective effort made the grand total possible.