The trip began with a really long flight from JFK Airport in New York to Monrovia, Liberia. The good part about the flight was that Delta fed us four times so no one had to go hungry! At one point I was beginning to feel kind of light headed when, right on cue, along came more food. Thanks Delta for taking care of me on the way over!
Going through immigration and customs in Monrovia was a breeze. They seem to genuinely welcome you into their country. Waiting for us were three of the pastors from LEM with transportation to take us to the ELWA guesthouse, our home while in Monrovia.
The ride from the airport to the guesthouse took at least 30 minutes. I could not help but notice how similar the countryside looked to many parts of Bolivia. The tropical growth is very green and pretty. However, arriving at ELWA (ELWA are the call letters for a Christian radio station that operates from the compound where the guesthouse is located. There is also a school, hospital, offices and many homes on the compound.) I saw something that did not look like Bolivia at all, the Atlantic Ocean and a beautiful clean sandy beach. Talk about suffering! The beach and ocean were right outside the door of the guesthouse.
Over the next days we would have meetings with both the leadership and pastors of LEM as well as visit their churches and have opportunity to learn more about Liberia and the ministry of LEM.
|Executive Committee of LEM:|
Evangelist Prince, Pastor Bedel, Pastor George, Pastor Roosevelt (Superintendent)
Without going into great detail about all that we did and saw, here are some highlights from the trip:
It was good to meet the leadership and to hear from them their vision for reaching out to their fellow countrymen. God has blessed LEM with solid leadership who are committed to work together for the good of the church and and Liberia.
|LEM pastors and associated pastors|
Visiting churches and sharing with them in worship as well as preaching was definitely a highlight. I was invited to speak at the Resurrection Faith Church, Mt. Zion Church and also in a chapel session at the Monrovia Bible College.
Seeing LEM's commitment to spreading the gospel beyond Monrovia was also a good thing to see. Islam, while representing a small minority in Liberia at present, presents a real challenge in rural areas of the country and outreach is needed in those areas.
The best highlight of all was the children. The churches of LEM have a great burden to minister to children. There are many orphans and abandoned children in Liberia and LEM is committed to do what it can to minister and meet needs. In some cases it may be a program carried out in a church. One pastor has extra kids living with him and feeding them. Another pastor has helped to establish an orphanage.
|Some of the children from a rural village that we visited. We were told that many of these children are orphans.|