LaMoine River District, Canton Wesley works in Tubmanburg on second mission trip
MONROVIA, Liberia -- In January 2011, the LaMoine River District completed its second mission work team to Liberia to work in Tubmanburg, a 90-minute drive northwest out of Monrovia. The A.B. Anderson UMC in Tubmanburg sits along one route to Sierra Leone and it was heavily damaged and looted several times during the war.
In February 2007, A.B. Anderson, Jr., was clear that the war devastated the town, church and parsonage, but it did not deter their hope. While standing in the doorway of the looted church and looking through the rusted, leaky roof and seeing only one rickety pew left in the church, he calmly said: “I don’t know why God brought you here, but there must be a reason.”
As we commented on the condition of the building and the looting by several rebel factions, he said: “Before the war we had everything! We didn’t have to depend upon others for anything. Our offerings were sufficient to support this church. We had pews, windows, ceiling, electricity, a choir – everything, but the war has made us beggars. Yet as people of God we have to have hope. They can take everything away, but they can’t take away our hope!”
Holding Onto Hope with the People of Liberia is the theme of our conference partnership. It is not our hope – it is a hope that wells up from deep within our brothers and sisters in Liberia. It is a testimony of God’s protection and power that kept them through years of war and continues to sustain them. It is that same hope that transforms us when we journey to Liberia. It is a faith and hope that many of us in the U.S. never experience or fully realize. It is a hope that only God can provide.
The A.B. Anderson UMC is located in the St. Paul River District of Liberia which is partnered with our LaMoine River District. In January 2009, the first team from LaMoine River District visited the A.B. Anderson UMC and provided funds for a new roof and ceiling. In January 2011, Rev. Randy and Laura Robinson from LaMoine River District returned to Liberia along with Carol and Dennis Rankin, Rev. Kathryn Herring, Rev. Mark Dickerson and Patricia Estes. The team laid tile on the floor of A.B. Anderson UMC and resumed construction work on a library for the Anderson-Weamah UM School, also in Tubmanburg. The LaMoine River District has raised more than $30,000 for these Tubmanburg projects and has received a matching grant of $25,000 from the Fellheimer Trust of Macomb Wesley UMC.
Our first trip to Tubmanburg this year was intermittently interrupted by a flat tire and brake repair on our rented van while en route, followed by another flat tire on a taxi that came to carry us onto Tubmanburg. It was a challenge every day to reach Tubmanburg, but God provided what was needed.
Dennis and Carol Rankin worshipped at their partner church in St. Paul River District, the New Georgia UMC. We returned with the entire team to visit the New Georgia UM School, also supported by Living Faith UMC in Bowen. Matching partnership banners will soon hang in each of these partner churches.
Joining the team from LaMoine River were Rev. Marc Brown, Carol Russell, Brenda Derry, Bryce Falk and Renee Gage of Canton Wesley UMC. Everyone worked at Tubmanburg and then traveled to visit three sites in Gompa District where Canton Wesley has built Borpoaynee, Gelepa and Kpain United Methodist Churches and the parsonage at Kpain.
One of the praise choruses in Liberia refers to our “able God.” While in Liberia we experience firsthand God’s ability to keep, protect and surround us. Truly, God is able!
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