What a wonderful ecumenical team! The Farmer-to-Farmer 2013 UMVIM Team is a part of East Ohio’s Resident Bishop John Hopkins 3Cs Vision. They left Cleveland Hopkins Airport on January 1st for Liberia, West Africa by way of Chicago. The Team led by Pryde Bass of Celebration UMC and Pastor Ray Ake of Coalburg and Masury Churches, spent 14 days working in the Harrisburg community at the invitation of the Liberia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. Bishop John Innis, resident Bishop Liberia Area; Rev. Christopher G. Marshall, District Superintendent; and Rev. Modesco Shakai, Pastor of St. John UMC.

Our team comprised of United Methodist from East Ohio, Baptists from Cleveland and a Catholic from Mansfield, Ohio. Dr. Linda Crowell, Aldergate UMC Cleveland; Rev. Catherine Ake, Vienna UMC; Jeanne Freels, Celebration UMC; Nathan Brause, Bucyrus UMC; Rev. Ted Knapp, New Cumberland UMC; Andrew Knapp, New Pointe Community Church; Emily Adamescu, St. Peter Catholic Church; Jason Bonar, Coalburg UMC; Frieda McMath, Vienna UMC; Harland Holcomb, Henrietta UMC; and Furman & Noreen Brown, Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church. We were greeted with great joy and enthusiasm by our brothers and sisters in Christ.  

We worked on four projects. The above picture is a badly needed community clinic building; which will be used as a permanent resident for the clinic head nurse and school teachers. Due to a lack of adequate housing in the community, Nurses have to live in a nearby community away from the patients. And we were told that babies have died in the community for lack of urgent medical care due to this living arrangement. As for the school, the community could not attract or maintain qualify teachers for the same reason, lack of adequate housing in the community. Thanks to East Ohio for their prayers, volunteers and financial support, the community now has a 40-year structure completed with a roof, exterior windows and doors.

Another well received program was WOMEN and young GIRLS learning to sew. This project is  the brain child of Dr. Linda Crowell; and because we had so many women going on the trip, they felt the need to do something meaningful and lasting. They were so right! We communicated with Pastor Modesco and Community leaders to spread the word and when we arrived at the St. John UMC, we were pleasantly surprised. About one hundred women and young girls were singing and waiting. Dr. Crowell and Rev. Catherine Ake set up a class schedule; mothers to attend from 11:00AM to !:00PM while the young children were in school. When school was out, they came to class from 2:00PM to 4:00PM. In no time, teen girls were making little dresses from pillow cases and their mothers were sewing hand bags with shoulder straps. The Volunteers soon ran out of fabrics and had to go shopping. They bought two new treading machines, thanks to Bucyrus UMC for one machine and two small drums they used in worship; and thanks also to Vienna UMC, Pastor Catherine Ake for the other sewing machine, fabrics and clinical supplies delivered by retired nurse Frieda McMath. Also, Solon UMC collected boxes of sewing supplies for the project for which we are very grateful.

The team also presented to active members of the St. John UMC 1 lap top computer, 2 digital cameras and one video recorder to keep us abreast of their progress. These items were donated by Dr. Linda Crowell’s son Mark. Other gifts were presented by team members to members of the church upon our departure.

We visited the elementary school in the community. Although this was not on our agenda, God had a plan for our visit there. The Principle, Samuel Kpadeah, told us about the high teen pregnancy rate that is plaguing the community; girls dropping out of school to have babies, dropping out of school due to financial hardship, and not going to high school due to a lack of transportation. Two volunteers, Emily Adamescu and Andrew Knapp, are in their mid 20’s and have no children, Principal Samuel Kpadeah began using them as examples to his teen girls and I believe the Spirit of God was surely having an impact on these girls for where ever Emily was, there would be a drove of teen girls and children around her. We affectionately called her “Aunt Emily”, and she loved the children. Rev. Catherine Ake and the Vienna UMC family have already bought 15 bicycles to be sent to Liberia. These bikes will provide transportation for all students that want to advance their education by traveling to a nearby community High School. Rev. Ake got the names of the students and plans to personalize the bikes. Principal Kpadeah motivation for our students”


We completed the well project. Now, the 1,000 gallon tank is mounted and filled with drinking water for the community from a nearby well. Also, we can now irrigate crops regularly during the very hot dry season.  Now about the farm, Rev. Dogba Bass and I planted some banana and plantain sprouts in March 2012, they now have fruits on them. Nathan Bauser and Harland Holcomb, our farmers in residence, walked the land to understand how to best prepare to work the land. The Harrisburg Community Elders gave approximately 500 acres of land to the Farmer-to- Farmer Project in Harrisburg. Our goal is to erect a Guest House for UMVIM Teams and a Mechanized Agricultural Training Center, which will be the first of its kind in all of Liberia. We are very excited about the partnership that is developing; and we are committed to building relationships and changing lives, making disciples of Jesus Christ.

Out team will leave for Harrisburg Liberia, West Africa on January 3rd 2014 on United Airline. We are very excited about the mission work our volunteers will be doing.  Such as, installing pews that were donated by the fine folks at Bucyrus United Methodist Church; continue construction on the St. John’s Sewing Center which will empower the women and teens in the community – these women are so excited, they have begun making mud bricks for their building construction; We will also clear farmland to plant cassava to feed pigs for the local market. In addition to teaching sewing skills, we will conduct Leadership Developing and Christian Education Sessions for members in the St. Paul River District.






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