Sunday, March 25, 2012

Mission Trip 2012 Blog 13

Thursday, March 22
  • Charlotte Nichols, Heather Hodges, and Bro. Ron Miller went shopping, while the other four of us (Corbin Young, Kevin Young, Jason Toler, Joe Walker, and Brother G) visited Ricks Institute, one of the elite schools of Liberia. With the support of the American Women In Liberia and of my missionaries-guardians, Gordon and Paul Hodgson, I attended Ricks Institute in the 1980s as a boarding student, and graduated from there in 1985. After earning my first degree at the Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary, the Lord blessed me to serve Ricks as teacher and administrative assistant, before fleeing the Liberian Civil War in July 1990.
  • Pastor Edwin Doley, my former Ricks classmate, and currently the school's Administrative Assistant, gave us a tour of the campus. He showed us the administrative building, the clinic, cafeteria, school building, library, girls dormitory. As we stood between the cafeteria and the clinic, we observed a large herd of cows treading the campus; the livestock are part of Ricks' agriculture program. Noticing that Bro. Joe Walker was having trouble with the heat, we cut short the campus tour, and returned to Monrovia.
  • We went shopping on Randall Street, Mechlin Street, then descended to Down Waterside (Monrovia's biggest marketplace). Jason had so much fun negotiating prices on merchandise that displayed no price tags. The first rule of bargain-shopping is this: the buyer should never pay the initial price named by the seller. You can bargain the initial price down by as much as 30%. Jason did just that, paying $15 for a scarf-hat combo with “Liberia” woven into the cloth, instead of the $20 initial price, and that was just one of his many deals.
  • Bro. Ron Miller was invited to preach at Salem Baptist Church, near Ricks Institute. Pastor Jonathan Williams and Abraham Kollie (driver) accompanied him to Salem Baptist. Bro. Ron found out the church was “in revival”, and that Liberian Baptists shout and dance a lot, with little difference in worship style from Pentecostals and Charismatics. “If those people were Baptists”, Bro. Ron later said, “I'm a kangaroo”. According to Bro. Ron, nearly 30 persons claimed to have been converted when he gave the altar call.
  • Our slice of the mission team finished the day at The Transformation House, where Rev. Luther Tarpeh (my host) houses 18 boys. In addition to a safe place to stay, Bro. Luther provides food and education for the boys. More importantly he shares Jesus with them, trains them to become young men of Christian integrity, who, in the near future, can serve Liberia as businessmen, public officials, and in other capacities. Preparing these boys to form the core for a new generation of Liberian leaders, free of corruption, is Luther's grand vision for boys who experience The Transformation House.
  • One of the young men, Wardea Richards, shared his testimony, highlighting how his life has been transformed since meeting Brother Luther and coming to The Transformation House. Wardea went from selling drugs and mostly living in the streets to becoming a true Christian and staying in school.
  • Jason Toler and Joe Walker encouraged the young men to remain devoted followers of Christ as the basis for a better, brighter future. The boys sang and harmonized the song, “I Want to Be Like Jesus”, like they were a professionally trained chorus group. Those boys can really sing. We then held hands with the boys, and I uttered prophetic prayer and blessing over them. Two of our team members made monetary donations to Transformation House, and Luther told me that the timely gift will go towards buying supper today and paying for some school expenses. One day later, Jason and Kevin gave additional donations of money, clothing, and food for the boys. Our visit to The Transformation House was one of the highlights of our time in Liberia. ~End Blog 13~

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