Reflections from Liberia
We thanked God for the relationship between the people of Liberia and the people of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference. We thanked God for the connection of the United Methodist Church. We thanked God for the respect and friendship that was forged in our sweat. We thanked God for hope.
We broke the circle and it took us a few minutes to actually leave. We shared hand shakes. We shared hugs. A few small tokens of appreciation were exchanged. A few last pictures were taken. There were many smiles, and then we got in the van and drove away. None of us truly left.
Eric Swanson, associate pastor of Peoria First UMC, shares a morning devotional as the IGRC delegation begins its journey from Monrovia to Ganta to attend the annual conference session of the Liberia Annual Conference. The group, led by Bishop Gregory V. Palmer and district superintendents Cynthia Jones and Gary Wilson, arrived in Liberia around 5 p.m. Feb. 6 (11 p.m. in Liberia). The following post was originally posted around 7 a.m. Feb. 7 (1 p.m. Liberia time).
Eric Swanson chronicles the IGRC delegation's first day in Liberia -- a day filled with a church dedication and mechanical problems with vehicles.
I believe I’m going to have an amazing trip. I believe I’m going to be transformed in ways I cannot even anticipate. I believe I will hear stories of hope and redemption that will fill my heart with joy. I believe I am going to build relationship with people that will last a lifetime. I believe that when I get back to Chenoa we will pack up all our stuff on time. I believe that the church in Chenoa will go on strong without me. I believe that the leadership will not lose sight of their mission. I believe that there are tremendous people, opportunities and resources in Moline that will align well with my talents and passion. I believe that together we will do great work for Kingdom of God. I believe these things, and yet I’m scared.