We greet you in the name of our Savior and Lord, hoping that you are doing fine.
We write this letter giving thanks to God who surely does continue to “redeem our lives from destruction, and to crown us with loving kindness and tender mercies” (Ps 103:4). At this time we are praying for God to supply the crucial needs of our people in Liberia. The whole country is suffering and in desperate need for food and shelter, water, and medical care. However, we will concentrate our efforts on behalf of Buchanan where we have lived and served.
As you know by listening to the news, President Taylor has left Liberia but the humanitarian crisis is far from over. In Monrovia, the capitol city, there are over 50,000 refugees. In Buchanan, there are at least 20,000 who are without homes.
On July 28, 2003, when the rebel soldiers entered the seaport city of Buchanan they began looting every home and every building as they forced everyone to leave their homes. About 12:30 pm on that day, my Uncle Abba, Rev. Abba G. Karnga, who has ministered in that community for over 50 years, was shot in the head. He fell to the floor unconscious. He writes about that day giving thanks to God for a miracle: “No one will easily believe that a machine gun shot hit my head only to go through the flesh without a bone fracture nor brain damage. Prayer indeed is powerful. Please give my thanks to the faithful brothers and sisters there in the US. Their prayers are powerful.”
Only with thanksgiving to God can we report that the rebel soldiers did not kill and massacre the people of Buchanan. The church leadership of Buchanan and Grand Bassa County immediately asked for a meeting with the rebel leaders, and the meeting was granted. During the meeting the rebel leaders said, “We will do everything not to kill any civilian intentionally for the fact that when we entered the Buchanan city, a great fear gripped us. Not only that, but you, the people of Bassa, did not resist our invasion into the city. God will not bless us if we shall turn around to fight you.”
During this meeting we learned that President Taylor had a plan underway to massacre the people of Grand Bassa County and it would have been “done under the guise of rebel soldiers,” but the rebel soldiers had repelled this attack. By the middle of August we were glad to hear the good news that Uncle Abba was safe and recovering will from his wound. We write to you now after being in several planning meetings discussing how we can respond to the needs of the people of Buchanan.
We are glad to report that we have made a decision to send a 40-foot container filled with supplies and food. We hope to have this container on the way to Liberia by February, 2004. We are praying that God will put a burden on your heart to respond and share generously. The needs are great! The basic cost of shipping a container will be around $10,000 and we are counting on your generous response so we can fill the container with many items that were lost in the war.
Listen to Uncle Abba’s report of the looting:
They told us that they would try to protect our lives but not our properties. They said their solders have no pay other than to do massive looting (“operation pay yourself” by gunpoint). They terrified us to leave our homes and be gathered in the city center. While we were out of our houses, they broke into them. They brought many trucks to carry looted goods: beds, mattresses, pots, dishes, spoons, chairs, money, suitcases, cars, and generators. The two cars of CEFL and Uncle Abba’s car were taken.
Our method in World-Wide Missions and CEFL is to pray and live faithfully day by day, witnessing to the power of the gospel, the power of Jesus Christ, to overcome despair and bring peace to individuals, families, and to this country. This is our only right weapon against violence and demonic powers. We will begin soon to conduct workshops to enable the people of Buchanan to find healing from the trauma of these last months.
Will you share this letter with friend, family and in your Sunday School classes. And please send us names and addresses of others that you think will respond to this letter. Checks and communications for “Hope for Liberia” ministries will be directed to Tim Slager (see address below) who is treasurer of the Christian Education Foundation of Liberia – US. Please make your check to “Christian Education Foundation of Liberia – US” and note on the check, “Hope for Liberia.” You may also send letters and checks to our home, and we will forward them to Tim. All of your contributions are tax deductible, and you will receive a letter of thanks and acknowledgement when you send a gift. CEFL-US is a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization.
We count on your prayers for us that God will sustain us and protect us, and that the unity of all people of faith, the working together of all denominations, which we have been endeavoring to develop in all these last 20 years will continue and grow. God is doing a mighty work in Liberia! We are being faithful. We trust God with the results, with the future. Again, we thank you for your support in the past, now, and in the future. Now, more than ever, God is calling on each of us “to bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of God.”
In His Service,
Rev. Henry Goeh