Letter from Rev. Abba G. Karnga to Tim Slager

Dear Brother Slager,

I’m still around, and as my duty is to people, I receive visitors daily. That makes me feel happy with great joy, sharing smiles and laughter with one another, talking about Jesus more and more.

Now that the gunshot wound on my head is completely healed, the scar remains to be used for my testimony of God’s miracle…. Many want to know what part of my body was shot, and I point to the scar on my head. The next question usually asked is, where are you now, and what are you doing?

My answer is that I am internally displaced and doing nothing other than to tell the stories of God’s goodness and mercy, with palms up to God from whence cometh my help. This is no joke. My help truly comes from the Lord.

Since July 29, 2003, I was driven from home with my wife Eileen, our children, along with those who came to us from Monrovia and Rivercess County. They came to seek refuge from the LURD rebels and Government Militia men in Monrovia and MODEL rebels and Government Militia men in Rivercess. They and we thought that Buchanan was a safe haven.

As we were threatened by gun sounds to run away from where we were sitting or standing at homes, we were unable to pick up even a pen knife, but had to leave with whatever we had on. I left with a pair of short trousers, a T-shirt, and a pair of slippers on me, to run from home without knowing where to go. And, up to now, we remain internally displaced, while our house is still occupied by rebel soldiers.

What is encouraging to us as a family is that each time we are faced with such a crisis, a new assignment from God is imminent. For example, in the heat of the Taylor rebel war in the 1990s, I refused to leave Liberia. But as the songwriter says, “God does not compel us to go, No, No, but he makes us willing to go.” A Catholic priest, Father John, smuggled me out of Buchanan on August 31, 1990, into the Ivory Coast. Prior to my departure at 6:00 a.m. that same day, C.O. Death, the name of the rebel commander, had given me a death date, and had promised to behead me with a dull knife at 5:30 p.m. When he came to do his job at 5:00 p.m., he was late. I had left more than 10 hours ago.

There in the Ivory Coast, the Lord had prepared for us to minister to ten Christian refugee centers in and around Abidjan for five years (1990-1995). My son Garmondeh took the lead in this refugee ministry. He was secretary, driver, preacher, and cook during workshops…. God blessed us to find favor in the eyes of many people, including sympathetic missionaries and some former missionaries of Liberia, and our own relatives in the USA. God was in complete control of our lives and the ministry of our hands. Our success in this ministry was a great miracle of God, and glory be to His name.

Now there is another outbreak of cruel and destructive rebel war. When the MODEL faction had taken six counties to the northeast of Grand Bassa County in less than two months (May and June, 2003), Grand Bassa County was threatened to be taken in two weeks time. Many loved ones cautioned that I should leave the county before the two-week deadline was expired. Again, I was reluctant to leave. It would be a very sad thing to just abandon the many vulnerable loved ones and run away for my safety….To either survive with them or die with them was my decision.

God honored our courage and my family and I did not leave the worried people in…Buchanan. Finally the rebel soldiers entered Buchanan on July 28, 2003, at 11:30 a.m. and besieged the city with heavy shooting. I was the first to be shot at, on my head. But miraculously, the bullet grazed the top of my skull and plunged into the flesh. I bled almost to death. That was an indication that God still had something for me to do before death.

Three days after the rebel invasion, we church leaders and some concerned senior citizens of Bassa made every effort to meet with the rebel leaders. We succeeded and held a successful meeting with them. That opened the communication gap between us civilians and the rebel soldiers. Thus the heavy shooting at random and the killing of civilians were minimized.

As there was no proper treatment for the bullet wound for more than three weeks while we slept on bare cement floors, the pain continued to increase. But as I did not want to upset the family, already worried, I tried to hide it. Then one morning, Father Boniface Flokiah, one of the Catholic Church priests came to look for me. He confidentially told me that I was needed in Monrovia today. He further disclosed that Sister S. Barbra, head of the Red Cross was coming with a convoy of six jeeps to assess the food situation in Buchanan. But on their way, they would carry me along.

Indeed, by 12 noon, the convoy smuggled me out of the rebel controlled territory. While approaching Monrovia, Sister Barbra told me that Dr. Coleman, the Minister of Health, requested her to bring me to Monrovia for proper treatment. That was another miracle of God, or else I would have died in Buchanan. I went under treatment at the ELWA and Catholic hospitals for three weeks before I came back to my true human form again.

In Monrovia, my son Garmondeh befriended the ECOMIL commander and through him Garmondeh went with their military convoy to Buchanan. And he was able to rescue his mother and the rest of the members of our family, including my brother Sam and family. Now we are all displaced here in peace.

Now to conduct a series of workshops here in Monrovia is a new assignment from God. Again Garmondeh is my secretary, my driver, and my spokesman. It has been revealed to us that the human relationships among us Liberians are so broken up that nothing can mend them other than the wisdom of God from the Bible. How do we approach it, and where do we start, and what do we have to facilitate the workshops with, and who do we have to take the lead?

Our first approach has been holding meetings with Christian leaders, opinion leaders, eminent men and women, and directors of missions. We have already started with churches and institutions of learning. The facilitators are CEFL, CHAL (Christian Health Association of Liberia), WWML (World-Wide Missions of Liberia) and other concerned individuals, groups, churches, or missions….

May we cordially invite you to join us in celebrating the mercy and goodness of God to His blessed people of Liberia. It will be a celebration of mixed feelings. Many will be rejoicing in the Lord with tears, others too will be rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing in prayer. Yet others will be rejoicing with great joy.

We are certain that many will be blessed by God greatly. Your presence, your representative, your prayer, and whatever you can do for the success of these great days will be highly appreciated. This is God’s time of genuine peace for Liberia. Many many thanks for your continuous prayers and contributions.

It’s Abba Karnga