The country of Sao Tomé and Principe, two islands off the coast of Central Africa in the Gulf of Guinea, is not a place that most people in the West are familiar with. These uninhabited islands were discovered and colonized by the Portuguese in the fifteenth century. Slave labour from Africa was brought in to develop cash crops such as sugar cane, cocoa and coffee. The majority of the population is of African descent with Portuguese as the main language. Sao Tomé and Principe, now independent of Portugal, is prospering.
Sano and Samy Morrema were born and raised in Sao Tomé and Principe. Since Samy’s conversion he has had a deep desire to reach out to the unreached peoples of the world with a special burden for the Fulani people of West Africa. To prepare for missions Samy and Sano attended a Bible school in Brazil. On returning to Sao Tomé, Samy enrolled at the newly opened WEC Bible School to begin theological studies. Samy and Sano were excited to hear that WEC worked among the Fulani in Guinea Bissau. They inquired if they could go there on a short term exploratory trip to confirm their call.
Roly and Cristina Grenier, beginning a ministry of recruiting, training and sending African missionaries, were invited to speak at the WEC conference in Sao Tomé in 2017. At the same time they gave an orientation course to Samy and Sano to help prepare them for five weeks in Guinea Bissau.
The church in Sao Tomé was supportive and raised the funds to send Samy and Sano. Since Sao Tomé is very influenced by Portugal and Brazil, Sami and Sano were looking forward to serving in the ‘real’ Africa, but in a country also colonized by the Portuguese.
Leaving their three children behind, they flew to Guinea Bissau in July, 2017. The experience was more challenging than they expected. The lives of the Muslim people groups they encountered were very different than what they read about in books. The people spoke Creole, and very little Portuguese was heard, and Sami and Sano were surprised by the extremely hot weather.
But the positives far outweighed the negatives. The more they saw the more Sami and Sano were burdened to reach out to the Fulani. God affirmed their call. They are now making plans to serve long-term in Guinea Bissau taking along their two youngest children ages 14 and 6.
Samy and Sano’s first priority will be to concentrate on learning Creole. Samy and Sano will be the first missionaries sent out by ACTS 13.