Teens Learning to Sew in Harrisburg, Liberia

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Missionaries from East Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church traveled to Harrisburg, Liberia to empowered women and teens by teaching them how to sew. They bought treadle machines and appointed Clara Bass and Cora Ricks to teach the classes. The students recently sent a package of stoles and Liberian shirts for the missionaries to sell in Ohio. The proceeds were sent back to the group with hope that this will continue.

Harrisburg Clinic

HARRISBURG CLINIC
CLINIC AND SUPPLIES

CLINIC AND SUPPLIES

This clinic serves patients from five communities. They walk for hours to receive medical care that barely meets their needs. The Save The Children Foundation recently added five rooms that will house near term pregnant patients. Before the rooms, these pregnant women had to walk for miles in their condition to deliver their babies. This clinic definitely needs more space; the examination table we delivered in 2012 is not being used due to lack of space. With financial donations from partners, we will expand by adding additional rooms; improve the water system; basic sanitation and sterilization; improve clinical practices, (basic hygiene). This was  a Farmer-to-Farmer visit from The East Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church in 2013.

http://youtu.be/0zOh6fSsxS

Thoughts on a Liberian Gas Station

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Today’s thoughts on our Liberian Mission trip
Liberian Gas Station(I will be writing something like this up for the next few weeks to try to share a little of the wonderful experience we had in Harrisburg)
We all know about getting gas when the car is low – you pull into the station, slide your card down the slot so the pump kicks on and then automatically bills your card for the amount you have spent once you are done and shut it off. Some of us even remember the ‘good old days’ when an attendant came bouncing out with a big smile, and while you sat happily in the seat put however much gas you wanted in the tank, and also checked the oil, tire pressure and washed the windshield for you while the tank was filling! I gotta admit I miss those days when it is rainy or cold and snowy, not to mention the big smile, wave and shout of “Have a great day!” as you pulled away.
We found things a little different when we were in Liberia. Instead of the gas station with its big sign and the price visible for miles we are used to ,you looked for a collection of quart and gallon jars filled with orange or green liquid on a stand or table by the side of the road and a hand written ‘Gas’ sign on the ground beside it with the price per gallon on it.
There is an underground tank somewhere – this picture shows the guy in the yellow shirt hand cranking the gas out of the tank and into a barrel where the man in the plaid shirt is dipping the gas out in one gallon mayonnaise jars (the official gas measuring container at almost all stations!)
liberian gas station 2This picture shows the gallons of gas we have paid for (and yes you definitely pay for the gas before it is ‘dispensed’) sitting in the red clay dirt as the are poured into the tank. Note Pryde on the left side of the picture looking into the barrel to see how much dirt has been rinsed off the mayonnaise jars as they are hand dipped into it to be refilled – thank God for fuel filters in Liberia!!
The man on the right of the picture in the yellow/orange shirt is our driver David. He is keeping a careful count of the amount of gas we are getting. Remember that the average daily income in Liberia is about $1.00 per person per day – that $60.00 fill up is equal to a person’s income for TWO MONTHS in Liberia. You keep careful track of that kind of money!!
This last picture shows the gas being poured into the funnel by hand and into the tank. And yes it is the gas is indeed little cloudy (that thank God for fuel filters stuff remember), but you know what we did get again??? That personal service, great big delighted smile, calls of have a great day and even waves as we pulled away!

Our Mission

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Farmer to Farmer roadsign

Our mission is to provide technical and mechanized training in profitable and productive farming to Liberian Farmers.

 

Our Vision: While working through the Churches of the East Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church, and in partnership with the St. John United Methodist Church- St. Paul River District of the Liberia Annual Conference UMC, we will teach Liberian Farmers the business of mechanized farming.

 

We began in 2010, a “Divine Intervention” when Pryde C. Bass, a native of Harrisburg, Liberia met Rev. Ray Ake, pastor of Henrietta United Methodist Church. The two men had never met before, yet God had everything arranged. They were attending a New Church Start Seminar at Lakewood UMC in Lakewood, Ohio where the group was discussing Passions in Ministry.
The question was, what passion will you bring to ministry? Pryde had been burdened for 40 plus years about going back to his native Liberia and give hope and a new way of life to many Liberians. He reasoned that farming was the perfect vehicle; he also thought that mechanized farming would be most productive. He would contact farmers in Ohio and ask them to donate recondition farm equipment to the United Methodist Church. The problem he faced was that he knew no farmers, and had no idea where to begin looking. Then he met Pastor Ray Ake who had a number of farmers in his congregation in Henrietta, Ohio. The two men talked all that afternoon and plans were made to meet the farmers at Henrietta United Methodist Church.
The evening we met, Warner UMC, now Celebration UMC with Rev. Dogba R. Bass as pastor, formed a partnership with Henrietta UMC, pastor by Rev. Ray Ake. They then formed partnership with St. John UMC – St. Paul River District, of the Liberia Annual Conference.
They then connected with Bishop John L. Hopkins’ 3C ‘s Vision for Missions in Russia, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone and Liberia; The ministry of help for Churches, Classrooms and Clinics. So, we inserted the farming component to bring REAL economic change to people victimized by a brutal 14-year civil war.
Our first UMVIM visit was in 2012 for 2weeks. Church members from Celebration, Henrietta and Garfield Memorial help prepare items and loaded the container with a Ford 9N Tractor, chairs for St. John UMC, medical supplies for the community clinic, soccer balls, jerseys, boots, school supplies, and lots of farming tools. With funds supplied by the 3Cs Committee, we put a new roof, ceiling, windows, doors, lights and bought a motor bike to eliminate the 3 hour walk one way that pastor Modesco had to do twice on Sundays. Also with 3Cs funds, we did a partial renovation on the United Methodist Retreat Center in White Plains, Liberia. We cleared some land behind the church and planted a banana and plantain grove.

 

Our 2013 UMVIM trip was also a wonderful success. The Lord was with us all the way. Fourteen of us from seven different United Methodist Churches – EOC and one Baptist Church left the US, bound for Liberia. Well, we were asked to finish a community building that was raised to the roof level 40 plus years ago. Our budget would have allowed us to do a minor addition to the community clinic; but community leaders insisted we use the financial resource we had to do as much as we could on the unfinished property. The community building would house qualified medical personnel and teachers that would live in the community instead of commuting daily.
We also started a brand new women’s ministry. Dr. Linda Crowell, one of Bishop Hopkins’s early envoy team member to determine the needs in the four countries 3Cs serve, always wanted to start a sewing ministry. So, she and Rev. Cathy Ake, pastor of Vienna UMC collaborated and came up with a plan. They bought two treadle machines, taught the women, teens and young girls to hand stitched pillow case dresses. They taught the mothers how to sew purses with a shoulder strap. More than a hundred women and children showed up for the training; and when we arrived, we met them waiting patiently and singing hymns. The whole St. John community is excited and motivated about this ministry. As soon as we left, the women began making mud bricks to build a St. John UMC sewing center. They will need our help.
Just imagine, they can see themselves sewing their children school uniforms, regular clothes while saving themselves a few hard to come by dollars. Rev. Cathy Ake has established a monthly support for the purchase of sewing materials; and we are very excited to get the first sampling of their work in the month of May. Ms Clara Bass, an accomplished seamstress, had her own business before the war; and Ms. Cora Ricks are members of St. John and are in charge of the Teaching and Training Ministry. We ask your prayers and financial support.