We’ve been celebrating our connection with Liberia lately. As you are perhaps aware, the Detroit Conference has had a long standing partnership and covenant with Liberia. And as we begin this new thing as the Michigan Annual Conference soon, we are seeking to invite churches and individuals from our side of the state to engage with this important ministry as well.
We, on the Grand Rapids District, have had a head start on this endeavor as we have connected with the Lofa River District of Liberia and just a week and a half ago completed our effort to get Superintendent Cecilia Mapleh a truck to enable more effective ministry on her district (click HERE to read the story and see recent photos!)
Last night Bishop Quire, the newly elected Bishop of the Liberian Annual Conference, was here on our District sharing about both his vision for and the needs of his country and the church. He also shared great appreciation for the truck!
After Bishop Quire shared for a bit we asked questions and one of the questions was what are the primary needs of the people in Liberia? The Bishop’s response was telling, “Well” he said, “I hesitate to give you the whole grocery list!” Friends, there is indeed a grocery list! I listened to stories about parts of Liberia where the church has begun orphanages for children whose parents died during the Ebola crisis. As the Bishop shared about the lack of schools, medical care, clean water and other needs in many rural areas of the country and the fact that due to the years of civil war there is at least a generation that has very little if any education. As he spoke about his vision of building up the agriculture abilities especially with the amount of land that the church owns. As he lifted up the challenges and the commitment of the Pastors and Superintendents who walk miles to serve their churches and people and who experience and embrace extraordinary sacrifices to do it.
As I listened to all that he shared, I thought about some of the things that had taken my attention and energy during the earlier parts of the day. I thought about some of the things that had annoyed me or caused me some level of stress. And while those things are real and a part of my life and yours as I laid them alongside some of the things Bishop Quire shared with us, the distance between them was significant.
Now I’ve not always been good about knowing what to do with that. I tend to feel guilty and sometimes that’s all that happens because the problems seem so big (because they are), and I don’t know where to start. And so I turn on the TV and go on with my life. I can’t fix it all so I struggle to feel like anything I do makes any real difference.
We learned last night that to put a child through high school for a year costs $300. So we took up an offering and raised $300.00 among the eight of us that were there. One child will go to school because we met together last night.
Liberia still has lots of problems. And that’s just Liberia. I could write lots of other articles about the plight of Puerta Rico devastated by hurricanes, other countries and people who are living with war and daily life and death uncertainties.
But a Superintendent on the Lofa River District has a truck because of the gifts of our District, and one child will go to school next year who wouldn’t have been able to go had we not met last night. I guess it’s a start.