Update from Charlie Trip to Liberia:
I have made it back home from my month in Liberia last week. Sorry for the little delay in the post trip report, I was quite busy last week getting some medical forms completed for the organization I am applying to serve with in Thailand. It was a fantastic trip. On June 20th, I was suppose to leave Charlotte, NC on a flight to JFK airport in New York City. That did not happen because the flight was so delayed I would have missed my connecting flight. I had to get on a flight to Laguardia then took a shuttle to JFK to make my connection. By the time I made it through security I had to run all the way across the terminal to get to my gate. Thankfully, I made it on my flight just as they were closing the gate. After a quick stop over in Accra, Ghana where we did not even get off the plane, we made it to Monrovia, Liberia. I spent the first four days in the capital city (Monrovia) before going across the country to the orphanage home where I spent the next two and a half weeks. From the orphanage we went to another town on that side of the country for four days then returned to the capital for four days to conclude my trip. Below I want to give you the highlights of what took place on my trip.
The Beginning in the Capital: I arrived on a Friday afternoon at the airport in Monrovia, Liberia. That same day in the evening after arriving at Pastor Emmanuel Jonah's, we had prayer service at LCMI church. I stayed with Pastor Emmanuel Jonah and his family until we left for the orphanage on Tuesday. On Saturday, I had a day of mostly resting before I took part in the singles meeting at LCMI church in the evening. On Sunday, I attended Sunday school and worship service at LCMI church. Just before worship service Bekah, Tim, and Shane, three Americans who came to Liberia to work with the same orphanage for six weeks, arrived from the airport. I preached on John 15:12-17 during the worship service at LCMI church. In the afternoon, LCMI school had their closing program for the school year. It was very different from a graduation in America, but I enjoyed the experience. Monday was a busy day of getting supplies and doing other task so we could leave for the orphanage the next day.
The Time at the Orphanage: On Tuesday afternoon, after an eight hour trip across most of Liberia on rough roads, we made it to the Betty Jonah Orphanage. The children and others at the orphanage were so happy to see us. It was great to be back with everyone at the orphanage after being gone for three years. I spent seventeen days at the orphanage. We did many things at the orphanage and the community near the orphanage. We played soccer (which they call football) along with other games, helped with the orphanage pigs and the farm, helped to gather wood for cooking with the children, and many other daily activities. One of the other regular occasions I got the privilege of helping with was the nightly devotion which includes singing, sharing of what people are thankful for and prayer request, reciting Bible verses, several of the children giving a news update, and a short Bible lesson. I was given the opportunity to lead the Bible lesson each night while I was at the orphanage. I taught through the book of Colossians. The older boys in the orphanage and I met together three days a week for the two weeks I was there. To conclude our meetings for all the boys that came to each meeting we had a meal and watched a movie together. In our meetings we had a Bible study, played some games, and just spent time hanging out. I was able to collect updated information about the orphanage, school, and clinic that Liberia Christian Ministries International helps to support with sponsors and other supporters in the USA. If you would like to learn more about LCMI check out their website at http://www.liberiachristian.org/. Both Sundays while at the orphanage, I had the opportunity to teach the youth Sunday school class and preach the sermon at Redeemer Baptist Church. I preached from Matthew 20:20-28 and Romans 1:16-17. Tim, Shane, and Bekah were blessed with the ability to do a large project while in Liberia so they choose to replace the roof and entrance way of the Redeemer Baptist Church. It was a need that the congregation of the church has been praying about the week before we arrived. The church members were so thankful for the new roof and entrance. Getting to live with fifty kids and the adults that lead the orphanage was a true blessing. It was sad to leave as it always is because you get attached to those children so quickly.
The Saclapea Visit: We spent four days in Saclapea, Liberia. Saclapea is a town that I have visited a few times before on trips to Liberia. Pastor Dennis Monmia is my main connection with ministry in Saclapea. He is the younger brother of Mother Betty Jonah who runs the orphanage. Pastor Emmanuel Jonah lead a leadership training for church pastors and deacons on Saturday after we arrived. I went to the beginning of the training then spent the afternoon and evening visiting with friends. Sunday was the Father's day service at Refuge Baptist Church. Special occasions like this are a big deal in Liberia. The service lasted over four hours with special recognition of some fathers and a guest preacher. On Sunday evening, I was able to go with Pastor Dennis to visit with some church members at their homes. On Monday and Tuesday we made the drive out to the village of Fanplay where Mother Betty, Pastor Dennis, and their family are from. It is a village about 45 minutes down a small dirt road from Saclapea. While in Fanplay we visited with people who live in the village including the chief and village elders, visited Pastor Dennis' farm, and visited the orphanage rubber farm. Pastor Dennis and his wife started planting rubber trees on some of their property five years ago intending for the money made from selling the rubber to go to help the orphanage. When we saw the rubber farm they informed us that the trees are now ready to start producing rubber to sell. It was great to see Liberians working hard to do their part to help support the orphanage. The visit to Saclapea was lots of fun and an encouragement to be able to spend time with so many solid Liberian believers.
The Conclusion in Monrovia: After leaving Saclapea I spent the last four days of my trip back in the capital. Most of these four days was spent helping Pastor Emmanuel and others prepare for a youth camp they were leading that started the day I left for home. It is through a ministry called Ignite. We visited the mission where they are having the camp, went to several churches to encourage youth to attend the camp, and worked on logistics for the camp. To end a great month the teenagers from the orphanage who were coming for the Ignite camp came a day early so they could all be in Monrovia for my last night in Liberia. It was awesome to get to spend time with all of them again to conclude my trip. On the last day of my trip I had the opportunity to preach at a church in Monrovia before going to the camp. Once at the camp, I was only there for the beginning of registration then left for the airport.
The travel home got interesting as soon as I arrived at the airport. I was told when checking in that we would be spending the night in Ghana then flying to New York City the next morning. We were delayed leaving Liberia. Delta put us up in a hotel for the night in Ghana even though I was only at the hotel for about four hours. Because of those delays when I arrived in NYC I missed my connection. The weather turned bad from there causing more delays. I finally made it home to North Carolina after midnight.This was a great month in Liberia. I was blessed in so many ways by this trip. I am so thankful for each person who prayed and gave financially to make my trip possible. God continues to be at work in Liberia. I asked you to continue to pray for the believers in Liberia, for Liberia Christian Ministries International which has many projects going on in Liberia, for the orphanage, and for Bekah, Tim, and Shane who are still in Liberia till next weekend.
The application process with OMF the organization I am hoping to serve with in Thailand is going well. I will be writing a longer update about the application process with OMF soon. Thank you for your prayers as I continue to prepare to serve in Thailand.
Update From Emmanuel Jonah LCMI Director in Liberia
Betty Jonah Orphanage:
The Betty Jonah Orphanage continues to make tremendous difference in the lives of orphans and indigent children. It is a joy to watch these precious little ones learn about Jesus and grow in their walk with Him. Pray that God will continue to keep each child focused on God and to win their peers by the lives they live each day in the community of Camp Four.
The orphanage clinic is going well. It provides services for 50 orphans and indigent children, and the Camp Four community, as well as surrounding villages. The clinic stands in need of medications,
LCMI-Liberia is grateful for the opportunities to impact the lives of many Liberian children through its educational programs. It is a joy to see what Randy Godfrey School is doing in the Camp Four-Yekepa area. The school has the student population of 350 and a teaching staff of 12.
Due to limited space, there is an annex project under construction. The completion of this project will enable Randy Godfrey to take in many students.
LCMI Elementary school is also touching lives in Monrovia. The school has 120 students and a teaching staff of 7.
A big thank you to LCMI Sponsors for the level of support over the years. LCMI US has been so faithful in sending funds every month to enable us take care of the Monthly needs. Thanks for your partnership and we pray that God will reward you.
Yours in Christ,