REPORT #1 - SEPTEMBER 20, 2017
Tomorrow morning Leon Amstutz, Eric Kellerer, Ace Holsinger, and I will head back to Liberia. We have two gospel programs scheduled for Saturday in Monrovia, with Ace (my brother-in-law) performing.
On Sunday, we will meet with three key businessmen regarding the Samuel Morris Center project and the emerging partnership to build a sawmill-furniture factory in Greenville.
Monday, we fly to Greenville to join our IEL team of seven who have done a terrific job launching the program for the new school year. Three additional schools have received the digital classrooms. This year, every secondary student in 10 Sinoe schools will have an unprecedented opportunity to learn! Below is the promotional poster we will be distributing.
The challenges in Liberia go deeper than roads, electricity, and textbooks. Pray fervently that God would break the powers of darkness that impact thinking, influence behavior, and keep a nation from prospering. Pray that our team would be good communicators in word and deed of the life-changing message of Jesus Christ.
We’re grateful for your support,
REPORT #2 - SEPTEMBER 25, 2017
We’re off to a good start. Our flights went well and we arrived in Monrovia Friday evening. We had some car trouble trying to get to our hotel so we spent the night at the Rochester Hill compound where Elijah had his apartment and office. Elijah’s nephew, Burteh, owns the compound and graciously put us up for the night.
Saturday morning, Ace put on a program for the orphans and visiting guests at Rafiki Village, and we enjoyed a wonderful lunch with Mike and Sherri Ritter who run the orphanage and school. In the afternoon we had another program at the Nazarene Church, with Ace joining their talented choir for some more great praise and worship.
Yesterday, Eric (pictured above) preached at the Nazarene Church. Leon, Ace, and I worshipped at the ELWA International Christian Church, and then we all had lunch with Allen and Cheri Shea, Leon’s nephew and niece. Later in the day I spent several hours with Burteh and his older brother Mackins, quality men who love us and are committed to doing all they can to help move their Uncle Elijah’s program forward. Elijah was well known and loved, and many have expressed their condolences.
This morning we will fly on the MAF flight down to Greenville. We can’t wait to join our seven IEL guys who have been working so hard preparing for our arrival.
Warmly in Christ,
REPORT #3 - SEPTEMBER 29, 2017
It is hard to put into words the love I have for these guys and how proud I am of them. They have weathered the grief of losing their beloved leader and have stepped up to assume full responsibility for the IEL program. They are passionate to see Sinoe County and their country transformed.
Would you pray for these seven young men by name? Each is fully committed to Jesus Christ, individually gifted, and growing as a leader. They are winning the respect of the community. As they daily interact with students and teachers in 11 schools, pray that their lives will have great impact.
Thank you for your partnership,
REPORT #4 - SEPTEMBER 29, 2017
Wednesday afternoon we had a huge crowd of 600-700 students at the Greenville City Hall. We opened the event with a Bible Quizzing competition. Y-Club students from 11 schools had prepared for the contest, and two students represented each school. Juarzon Central High School emerged as the overall winner.
This fall we provided digital classrooms to three additional schools. Here you see students from the Bramwell Booth Jr. High School enjoying their new laptops. Ten Sinoe schools are now running Sammy’s Amazing Learning Center for 7th-12th grade students.
At Booth Jr. High we held an open air program for more than two hundred students. The kids loved Ace’s music and sing-a-longs. One of our team would then follow with a short gospel message.
Thank you for your prayers. God is answering in every way.
REPORT #5 - SEPTEMBER 30, 2017
Greenville is a small community of less than 10,000 people. Before the war it was a bustling city of 60,000 with thriving businesses, 24/7 electricity, a municipal water system, paved roads, and even fire hydrants. Now, it is a town with people struggling just to survive.
Wednesday morning we had a program in the jail, located a couple blocks from our guest house. It was really a worship service with the 30 inmates and guards all participating. Stephen has become their “pastor,” meeting with them every week. We then visited the hospital where Stephen regularly meets with those in the waiting room, offering prayer and encouragement.
Below are pictures of the outdoor program we held Tuesday afternoon in one of the poorest sections of town, down by the water.
Thomas preached and Ace played.
A special moment was when a blind man, led by his daughter (in pink), asked if he could sing a gospel song. His guitar only had four strings and was held together with tape, but he loved the Lord and he could sing.
We believe that Greenville will once again be a thriving community. Pray for many to respond to the life-changing message of Jesus Christ. Pray that the road to Monrovia will be paved. Pray that the city water tower will be repaired. Pray that schools will begin getting the qualified teachers, desks, chairs, textbooks, and resources needed for children to learn.
Thank you for your partnership in this rewarding effort,
REPORT #6 - OCTOBER 1, 2017
Pastor Stephen invited me to preach this morning at the small church he started in June of this year in Seebeh Town, a community just across the river. Two of our schools are in this town.
I will be speaking from Deut. 5:29, “Oh that they had such a heart in them, that they would fear Me, and keep all My commandments always, that it may be well with them and with their sons forever!” God is pleading with people that if they would only honor him in obedience, He would pour out His blessing on them and their children.
This is a message for Liberia, a country that has been brought to its knees because of sin and corruption. To us as Americans, it is remarkable that in Liberia there is total freedom to acknowledge Jesus Christ in the public sphere. Prayer is a part of every event, from school programs to the Liberian Senate. Public and private schools begin their day with opening devotions, typically led by students.
Liberians will readily acknowledge the disconnect among their people between words and actions, and their country has paid a heavy price. Pray that Christians will repent and become obedient to God’s ways.
Pray the same prayer for Christians in America, a nation collapsing from the inside due to sin and unrighteousness.
II Chron. 17:9, “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” What an offer!
Because He lives,
REPORT #7 - OCTOBER 2, 2017
It was a humble church in Seebeh Town, but God was there.
Pastor Stephen Swen, IEL Chaplain and Y-Club Coordinator, leads this small congregation of Kru people. From his small savings he helped the believers build this modest structure. The fresh palm branches had been carefully added the day before. This Stephen is filled with God’s Spirit as was the Stephen in Acts 7:55.
My message was from Deut. 5:29 and II Chron. 16:9. It is a message for Liberia. It is a message for America. Stephen interpreted into the Kru language so that all could clearly understand.
The Kru people can sing! I have never heard such beautiful harmonies. I told them that I was quite sure that Africans would be leading praise and worship in heaven, with the Kru choir right in front. These are Sammy Morris’s people. Watching from heaven, I believe he was smiling from ear to ear.
May Jesus Christ be praised,
REPORT #8 - OCTOBER 4, 2017
God is bringing to IEL opportunities and partners beyond what we could ever have imagined. Pray that God would bring gifted men and women to our team who “are filled with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship [forestry, woodworking, technology, education, business, radio, agriculture…]” Ex. 31:3. We are looking for leaders who unashamedly proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord, will give their lives to see His kingdom grow in Liberia and beyond, and are unconcerned about prestige and personal gain.
Leon and I fly back to the U.S. this evening, full of praise and awe at what God is doing. May we continue to be faithful to His calling.
Thank you for the role you are playing in changing the future of Liberia.
For His Kingdom,