WAGNER URGENT UPDATE: Ebola & Evacuation

WAGNERS update 7-29-14ACTION: With great sadness we inform you that we have to leave Sierra Leone for a short time until the Ebola epidemic in West Africa is controlled.

WHY: The Ebola virus has begun infecting people in our city and civil unrest is a growing concern. Up until this week, we’d been planning to stay and were taking appropriate safety precautions. Unfortunately the outbreak has reached a point where our work and family activities are significantly restricted. It appears that things are likely to get worse before they improve.

WHERE & HOW LONG: We are initially going to LBT’s home office in Aurora, IL for debriefing and discussion of plans while we wait to return to Sierra Leone. We are evacuating with essentials and valuables and saving everything else in Sierra Leone for our return.

HOW WE FEEL: Heartbroken. We write this with tears and deep disappointment. We were seeing the light at the end of the tunnel of cultural stress and adjustment, a difficult pregnancy, and much sickness. We were seeing a way forward. Now we have to leave. While we know God’s ways are greater than ours, our emotions are raw. It’s especially difficult to leave our local partners, the work, our neighbors and friends. Most people don’t believe that Ebola is real or that it’s as bad as it is. We feel burdened to plead to God for their physical lives but also their spiritual lives. We plan to return. We plan to see the Word going forth and touching lives… in Themne.

FINANCIAL SITUATION: As evacuation plans continue to develop, we don’t know what our situation will be for the next several months. We know we have unexpected travel costs and living expenses as we keep our home in Sierra Leone and live in the USA for a short time.

– we can obtain an emergency passport for Isaiah (2.5 weeks old).
– we would be able to get tickets to travel with family visiting—Ruthie’s mom and Josh’s sister and brother-in-law. (Praise God they’re here to help us!!!)
– for the epidemic to be controlled and that people would believe!
– for encouragement, strength, and protection for the Themne translation team.

Thanks, Team, for standing with us,
Josh, Ruthie, Elijah (2yo), & Isaiah (2.5wks)

Missionaries with LBT to Sierra Leone



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Wagner June Update


201404 Themne Checking-3 (1) web ready


These are books of the Old Testament that have been drafted into Themne.* These particular ones have also made it through the next step of commenting by external reviewers, who focus especially on clarity and naturalness. To address accuracy, we will soon be hosting an experienced consultant from Ghana (later this month). He comes periodically to check the translation work and advise on progress. May our time be productive and give a boost of energy to the team!

*Themne is the mother-tongue of over 2 million people in Sierra Leone (30+%). Our family has been assigned as translation and Scripture engagement advisors among the the Themne. The translation project began nearly thirty years ago, and the current team is in the process of revising and checking a draft of the Old Testament.

wagners update 6-2-14 web ready

Thanks, Team!

Josh, Ruthie, Elijah, & Baby due in July
Missionaries with LBT to Sierra Leone

Weekly Texts for Prayer: Text “BIBLES” and your name(s) to 612-208-7680
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Josh and Ruthie Wagner update

Wagner_JulyBaby-webWagner_ElijahPuppy-webWagner_Makeni-webWagner Vehicle-web

































Hi, Team! Makeni sure feels more like “home” now.

We recently spent four weeks (instead of the expected three/four days) in the capital, Freetown, to get our vehicle out of customs. Josh spent several days of those days working on computers, cellphones, etc. for our literacy and translation partners. We were overjoyed to get our car, drive home, and pull into our driveway! Even Elijah exclaimed “Home, home, home!”

Since we returned a week ago, we’ve had the pleasures of…

  • “Running stomachs” for a few days.
  • Driving the three minutes to the local hospital to check on July baby. — Picture attached!
  • Caring for a new puppy/watchdog and new bush kitty (both given to us unexpectedly). — Picture attached!
  • Practicing Themne in the neighborhood and meeting more neighbors. — Picture attached!
  • Worshipping at our village church in Romankeneh (15-minute drive and only Lutheran church in the Northern Province).
  • Printing and distributing copies of Krio liturgy to the church in Romankeneh (not translated into Themne… yet!).
  • Helping draft 2014 goals for Themne translation team.
  • Finishing up end-of-the-year reports… Thank you for your generosity!
  • Hearing the Muslim call to prayer nice and loud, several times a day… reminding us of the very few Christians in our neighborhood and a reason why we are here.
  • Taking on the rough roads with our new vehicle. — Picture attached!


Thank you for your prayers. Obviously, they’re needed and appreciated. Many have asked about mailing to us in Sierra Leone.  For those who haven’t seen them in our Facebook group, WAGNER UPDATES, instructions are below.

Love to you all!
Josh, Ruthie, Elijah (and July baby)

—–SEE MESSAGE BELOW-————————————————-

Mail call February 24! Several people have requested mailing info. We haven’t received any postal mail here in Sierra Leone yet and have heard that mailing anything has about a 30-50% success rate. We’re still hoping to find a good option. Until then we’re going to have a barrel shipped to Sierra Leone in February to arrive in April/May. The barrel will include a car seat for coming baby, baby and birth supplies we need, and any letters or care package YOU have been eager to mail.  Time is short, so please have things mailed to arrive by February 24th. Please contact Josh’s mom, Kathy Wagner, for an address or to arrange drop off if you live in the Twin Cities.

P.S. In a barrel size matters but weight doesn’t.


1) Would someone from the Twin Cities (Minnesota) area be willing to pick up a barrel in New Hope and deliver it to Cottage Grove? It would need to be done sometime in the next two weeks.

2) For those interested in contributing to the cost of the barrel & shipment, contact Josh’s mom.

Contact Kathy Wagner: 58romans@gmail.com651-278-2500  Deadline: February 24

Missionaries with LBT to Sierra Leone  http://www.lbt.org/missionaries/jrwagner.php

Weekly Texts for Prayer: Text “BIBLES” and your name(s) to 612-208-7680
Facebook Updates: http://www.facebook.com/groups/wagnerupdates
Monthly Email: Sign up!
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Support: Here