Again we are overwhelmed by God’s unceasing grace for us in Liberia. He has made the “death angel” pass over us, rescuing us from the hands of murderers who called themselves liberators.
We also appreciate and have felt the power of your prayers and the timeliness of your contributions to our work in Liberia. During the displacement of the Executive Director in Monrovia, we were enthused by his initiative in planning workshops in which we were privileged to participate. Truly, it was through your tireless prayer and financial support that we could play a part in the reconciliation and mending of lives of our people.
The administration of the CEFL is grateful to God for sparing the lives of the staff and members. The “last round” of the conflict in Liberia has been very tough. Lives and property were taken.
The war extended to Buchanan, and to the headquarters of the CEFL on July 28, 2003. This time, the savage MODEL rebels, or “robbers” as people commonly called them, were extremely greedy for whatever property they could find. Even coal-spoons used for putting fire-coal in coal-pots were looted. This means that nothing whatsoever was left with anyone; the CEFL was no exception.
CEFL main office
The CEFL Production Center, which is used for meetings and workshops and also used as an office for the Executive Director, fell prey to the rebels and community looters. Everything, including office equipment, furniture, doors, bathroom commodes and face basins, shelves, generator, etc. except the zinc and window frames was carried away. Three motorcycles for the TEE program and a pickup, together with the personal car of the Executive Director, and Rev. Henry B. Goeh’s car were bait that invited the rebels to Buchanan. Every piece of documentation, including TEE lessons and books (concordances, encyclopaedias, dictionaries, yearbooks, Bible commentaries) provided by the Executive Director, was removed.
With the presence of UNMIL (United Nations’ Mission in Liberia) forces now in Buchanan, we hope to re-open the office soon. However, opening of the office requires replacing the needed equipment: typewriters, computers, photocopier, mimeographing machine, portable generator, and office supplies. This means that doors and furniture must be re-installed. This will require some money. But we believe that God can provide the needed funds to begin operation again. Notwithstanding, we are spending precious time in meeting and fellowship in the communities. We are conducting workshops periodically in order to mend broken relationships for reconciliation purposes.
The TEE Program
Though we lack transportation and needed resources for the program, we intend to re-open the centers. Presently, we have identified at least twelve centers, some to re-open and others to establish. They include:
Grand Bassa County:
- Buigbarhn – Harmonville
- Gbaywin – Tubmanville
- Gbarpaywhea – Palm Bay
- Russell Town – #4 District
- Johnny Joe (Camphor UMC)
- #3 “A” Gorblee Compound
- Boe Dayugar Town, #4 Dist.
- BIA – Fortesville
- PCAF Church – Wrotoe Town
- Old-Road, Sinkor, Cabra Estate
- Pipe Line – Redlight, Paynesville
The establishment and re-opening of these centers will demand from us the purchase of some means of transportation, such as motorcycles (at least three or four).
We have already established a TEE Coordinator’s office in Monrovia headed by Rev. Joseph T. Garkpee, to vigorously promote the TEE ministry among the large population of Bassa people in Monrovia. This is especially important since the Liberia Bible Society, office of the UBS in Monrovia, has informed us that Rev. Don Slager and his translation team have put the finishing touches on the Bassa Bible. Hopefully, each leader and member in our indigenous churches will own a whole Bible in their own language by the end of this year.
As we look forward to opening our 12 TEE centers, each center shall enroll no less than 15 students. Each center will have two teachers: one a language teacher, and the other a theological teacher. Each is paid US$25 per month. Satan, being the greatest enemy of God and God’s people, has been fighting vehemently to stop the translation of the Bible into Bassa, the second largest language group in Liberia and the most receptive tribe to Christian ministry in Liberia, but has failed to succeed. The only chance that he has now is to stop any facility that might come in our way to facilitate the teaching of God’s Word to many in their own mother tongue. He will fail again!
We are not afraid of Satan’s threat because our God has a power-house and we know the key that can open the door to it. That is prayer. Please join us in turning that key in the Great Door of opportunity, with no fear, for we are of God…and have overcome the forces of Satan, because our God who is in us is greater than the man Satan in the world (1 John 4:4).
The Production Center
The Production Center was not only a great help to the TEE Department, but it was a necessity to the community. Most of the churches and schools brought in certificates, conference and graduation programs, wedding programs, computerizing of documents, etc. Other NGOs took advantage of our photocopier as well.
Regrettably, all of our equipment and production supplies were looted. But it seems many people would want their documents to be re-fixed. A production center such as we had would be in demand.
In order to have translation and production of TEE materials done faster, the CEFL has agreed to take on a group called BALITA (Bassa Literacy and Translation Association) as an associate member. BALITA decided to work with the CEFL after they had attended the series of workshops we held with the BMA (Bassa Ministers Association) and other churches and Bassa groups in Monrovia. Having the objective of training the indigenous Bassa speakers to read and write the language, both CEFL and BALITA planned to standardize the orthography and spelling of Bassa words.
BALITA consists of a group of young Christian men of the Bassa tribe, from various missionary-planted churches in Liberia. They are trained how to teach the Bassa language and do some minor translation. They have a permit from the Liberian government to teach Bassa from a Christian perspective. Since they are recognized an already useful, we hope to enter into an agreement with them so as to teach some of our TEE and language classes. We like to help them in their effort to equip their office with at least a portable generator and a used laptop computer or a manual typewriter.
Liberia Christian High School
The administration is highly grateful first to God that peace is at least in sight after fourteen years of brutal civil war, and then to our supporters for both their prayers and financial contributions during our nightmare.
The civil war has had a devastating effect on Liberia Christian High School. All of the buildings (the school, administrative building, Principal’s residence, teachers’ lounge and the student cafeteria) on the campus are in bad shape. All the buildings have been vandalized or looted by criminals and rebels. Window glass, doors, ceilings, desks, chairs, tables, books, file cabinets, etc. have been taken away or damaged. The roof of the palaver huts (teacher’s lounge and students’ cafeteria) are off.
Despite the difficult situation and the limited materials to work with, the doors of the Liberia Christian High have been open for the most part of the war years. Presently, there are 165 students enrolled from grades 7 through 12 and a few more are expected to come. The words, “In storm or strife, may she survive to make her quota to the task,” penned by Mrs. Mary G. Beh in the LCHS anthem, are so true of LCHS. LCHS has been contributing greatly to the educational need of our country. We graduated over two hundred students over the years of the rebel war. We will be graduating 49 students on March 28, 2004. These students should have graduated in July 2003, but the program was delayed because of the conflict in Buchanan at the time.
The CEM Clinic
The clinic building was one of the refuge centers for over 400 displaced people in the heat of the MODEL occupancy of Buchanan. The CEFL Executive Director and the CEM Acting Director were among the IDP (Internally Displaced People) at the clinic
The clinic warehouse was looted. Three motorcycles, equipment, and medical supplies in the consultation rooms and delivery ward were also carried away.
The staff at the clinic started operation with a little resource that was hidden. But with drugs being provided by MSF-Belgium, Merlin, and the NGOs, the clinic finds it difficult to even charge a meager fee for drugs given out. Nevertheless, due to the clinic’s previous service to the community, especially to pregnant women and to children, people prefer to pay a little charge to receive the needed drugs.
Despite the insufficient resources of the clinic, it is very encouraging to meet the dire needs of our people. We know them, and they know us. Therefore, we know their innermost needs more than any international NGOs.
J. Peter Gorwor, Acting Director – CEM
Dr. Abba G. Karnga, Executive Director – CEFL