A TIME FOR RELAXATION AND SIGHT SEEING

AT THE KING BURGER RESTAURANT

Liberia food they say is “SWEET” Not like sugar sweet but the food has a distinctive  taste. A taste you could easily come to enjoy; but after a week or so, most visitors crave for some home food. Well, we found a King Burger on Broad Street Downtown Monrovia and our team was pleased to take a break and chow down on some burger and fries.

AT THE KING BURGER RESTAURANT

AT THE KING BURGER RESTAURANT

We were also invited to a picnic given by Vice President of Liberia Hon. Joseph Boikai for members of his staff. A very nice Atlantic Ocean view with the waves and suds beating against the sand; that brought back so many memories from my childhood.

ELIZABETH FELDMAN STROLLING THE ATLANTIC SHORE

ELIZABETH FELDMAN STROLLING ALONG THE ATLANTIC SHORE

ENJOYING A MEAL BY THE SEA

ENJOYING A MEAL BY THE SEA

2013 FARMER-TO-FARMER ECUMENICAL UMVIM TEAM

THIS HOUSE ACCOMMODATE UP TO 18 UMVIM  VOLUNTEERS FROM EAST OHIO.

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.

 

THIS HOUSE ACCOMMODATE UP TO 18 UMVIM  VOLUNTEERS FROM EAST OHIO.

THIS HOUSE  WILL ACCOMMODATE UP TO 18 UMVIM VOLUNTEERS FROM EAST OHIO.

 

 

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.