REPORT #1 - November 27, 2016

Dear Friends and Family,

Jan, Kiersten, Eric, and I arrived safely in Monrovia last night just before 8:00 pm. Elijah met us at the airport. It was a long trip - over 30 hours of travel. All of our luggage came through except for Jan’s case with her electronic keyboard and gear. We spent an hour with the Brussels Airlines agent filling out the missing luggage forms. The next Brussels flight does not come in until Tuesday evening and we’ll already be in Sinoe. Pray that her case will be found and that we’ll somehow be able to get it down to Greenville before our gospel programs on Wednesday and Thursday. Or, if the case doesn’t make it, that we’ll be able to find another keyboard or a guitar for her to play.

We’re looking forward to meeting with the Youth for Christ (YFC) team this morning for a time of fellowship. Early afternoon we’ll all fly down to Greenville on the MAF plane. Last week our IEL guys launched the Sinoe County soccer (boys) and kickball (girls) tournaments and they are in full swing. The community is waiting for us.  

We’re anticipating a great week. Thanks for praying!

Gary Friesen


REPORT #2 - November 28, 2016

Dear Friends and Family,

We have good news. This morning, Jan called the airlines and they found her keyboard case in Brussels! They will send it to Monrovia on tomorrow evening’s flight. The case will be handed off a couple times, and if all goes well it will be delivered on the MAF flight Wednesday morning, in time for our afternoon Youth for Christ rally at the Greenville City Hall.

Here we are with our new YFC friends, shortly before taking off this morning to Greenville.

  L to R: Kiersten, Maima, Jan, Elijah, Caroline, Eric, Alex, Samuel, Theo, and James

L to R: Kiersten, Maima, Jan, Elijah, Caroline, Eric, Alex, Samuel, Theo, and James

Late in the afternoon we had an engaging meeting with a room full of local pastors, representing the wide range of community churches including Adventist, Baptist, Catholic, Episcopal, Methodist, and Salvation Army. The pastors spoke with passion and concern about the needs of their young people. It was special to be able to discuss the role an IEL-YFC partnership could play, and then pray together for the community.

Gary Friesen


REPORT #3 - November 29, 2016

 

Dear Friends and Family,

This morning the YFC team held their first training session for young people who desire to be spiritual leaders in their schools. Thirty boys and girls from the Greenville area schools had been selected by their pastors to participate. While we were waiting for the building to be unlocked, Caroline, Maina, and Jan led in a time of praise and worship.

Following the training session, the girls were gathered together. Jan and Kiersten shared their stories, and then asked the girls to talk about the challenges they faced. The women on our team are adding a whole new dimension to our ministry.

Life is hard for Liberian girls. Years of war and displacement have taken its toll on family structures. Abuse is common. There is a high rate of teenage pregnancies. Most of the girls struggle with self-confidence and see little hope for their futures.

This girl shared about the challenges of peer pressure. She wanted to be faithful in church attendance but was being pulled away by her friends. 

In the afternoon, our team visited the local jail that houses men serving sentences for crimes ranging from burglary to murder. Twenty or so inmates were contained in three cells. They receive very few visitors and were most appreciative for the kindness shown by our team.

Thank you for supporting our efforts to bring hope to Sinoe County.

Gary Friesen


REPORT #4 - November 30, 2016

Dear Friends and Family,

This morning our team divided up and visited nine Greenville schools, going from classroom to classroom inviting students to the afternoon Youth for Christ rally at the City Hall.

Jan was all smiles when her keyboard was delivered to our guest house at 4:00 this afternoon. The rally was to start at 4:00, but fortunately this is Africa and events don’t start on time.J An hour later, more than 250 young people were seated in the auditorium. We opened the program with a set of gospel music. Eric preached on the story of the blind man in Mark 10 and Jesus’ question, “What do you want me to do for you?” Pastor James followed with an altar call.

Many have been praying for this event, and God’s spirit was present. Over 100 students came forward to dedicate their lives to Jesus Christ!

It is evident that the students in this community are sensitive to God and spiritual things. We are blessed with this great start to our IEL-YFC program launch. Following the service, Pastor Theo met with the students who had committed to being YFC club leaders in their schools. They will be key in building on what took place tonight.

Tomorrow the tournament championship games will be played at the soccer stadium. It will be Methodist vs. St. Paul for both boys (soccer) and girls (kickball). The students are eagerly looking forward to these matches. At the stadium we will be putting on another gospel program between the two games.

A lot has transpired during this short week, and we’re grateful to God for His blessings. Your prayers are making a difference!

Gary Friesen

 


REPORT #5 - December 1, 2016

Dear Friends and Family,

Over a thousand fans packed the stadium grandstands for the finals of the Sinoe County kickball and soccer tournaments. This was our second time to sponsor this tournament. Adding girls’ kickball has generated even greater enthusiasm.

The kickball game was played first. In dramatic fashion H.G. Methodist School scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to beat St. Paul Parish High, 16-15.

The boys’ soccer game also matched Methodist vs. St. Paul. Twenty minutes into the game we were hit with a torrential rain storm. Play continued until lightning forced the players to take cover. After the storm passed, play resumed and Methodist won their second championship of the day, 2-0.  

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Winning a championship trophy is a big deal for these kids. They have few opportunities to display their talents and compete for a prize.

The Methodist students celebrated in grand fashion, parading their trophies through the town.

It has been a wonderful week with the YFC team. Tomorrow we fly back to Monrovia, and then four of us will board Brussels Airlines to head home.

Thank you again for your partnership and prayers,

Gary Friesen