Liberian Now Blogs

 
An Ebola is Real sign in Monrovia, Liberia.

An Ebola is Real sign in Monrovia, Liberia.

As many of you may have heard from various news outlets, Liberia has declared a state of emergency for the entire country. All schools and non-essential government services have been shut down. There are curfews and restrictions on movements throughout Liberia. Most health clinics remain closed throughout the country, and as a result many more people are dying not just from Ebola but from malaria and other extreme ailments that aren’t being properly treated. In light of this desperate need, the clinic Liberia Now works with has decided to remain open to serve these Liberians in need of vital medical attention.

Any donation you make towards the Ebola Emergency Outreach fund will help this Liberian clinic to keep it’s medical workers safe by purchasing the necessary protective gear needed to combat the spread of Ebola through contact with patients. It will also be used to purchase scarce testing equipment that is needed to ascertain whether one has Ebola or not.

On top of this, Liberia Now is beginning a community outreach to the entire Virginia community where the Ebola virus has spread. Virginia is a suburb of the capital city of Monrovia and houses 50,000 people. Liberia Now will be distributing to every home in the Virginia Community a cleaning station for anyone entering a home. This cleaning station will allow every home to have a cleaning bucket for water and the necessary cleaning supplies to throughly rinse, wash and disinfect all persons entering their household. This is one of the primary safety precautions the government in Liberia is encouraging all citizens to do, but many don’t have the funds to purchase a cleaning station for their own home.

Please be sure to designate your online gift to the Ebola Emergency Outreach once the payment option appears. Thanks so much for your huge heart to help the Liberians who are in dire need of any help we can provide them during this crisis.

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This is the house where George's family lives along with five other families.

This is the house where George’s family lives along with five other families.

I’m going to go ahead and write this while the feelings are so fresh within me. It’s either that or lecture my kids who just came in fighting over which ipad game to play.

I just went with George to see where he lives. I now feel I can never complain about any discomfort in my life… ever. My heart is so heavy as I think about all the sweet, smiley faces that greet me on the street, living in such absolute misery. There is nothing comforting about their home. You could never call it your refuge. Every day is a struggle, with no hope of change in sight.

George’s home is right next to the church. These pictures could be duplicated for the entire area that the church ministers to. These are the homes of our sponsored school children.

When we drove up I thought, “It looks so old, so broken and dirty.” I assumed the entire building was his. However, I soon found out his mom rents one room here. She pays $20 a month to live in this one room with four adults and six children. Just recently George and his cousin got the landlord to block off a portion of a room for him and his older cousin to rent. There is no running water or electricity. They must go to the community pump daily to get their water.

As heavy as my heart feels after visiting George’s reality, I have a sense of hope knowing that George now has a high school degree. He is determined to get a degree in mining engineering and with that he can change the future of his entire family. It makes me think of what Mother Teresa was known for saying, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” The need here is daunting. I know Liberia Now is limited in who it can help, but when one child in a family gets educated it will change their family’s life and their future. The same way one micro finance loan can have a ripple affect for the owner, his family, his customers and employees.

I’m leaving Liberia encouraged by the progress I have seen here since I last visited five years ago. Yes, there is still much to do, but I’m going to look at this the way my Liberian friends do and say, “To God be the glory for the great things He has done!” Kelly Tippit

George with his mom and some family members in their 17 by 11 foot room which has been Goerge’s home since he was 7. The bed is a piece of foam. There is no door to the main house or to their room. They use a blanket to cover the entrance.

George with his mom and some family members in their 17 by 11 foot room which has been Goerge’s home since he was 7. The bed is a piece of foam. There is no door to the main house or to their room. They use a blanket to cover the entrance.

The hole in the ceiling which leaks during the rainy season (April-October)

The hole in the ceiling which leaks during the rainy season (April-October)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The common area for all the tenants to cook their meals over an open wood burning stove.

The same area that is used by all six families to wash dishes and their clothes.

 The common area for all the tenants to cook their meals over an open wood burning stove.


The common area for all the tenants to cook their meals over an open wood burning stove.

 

The public restroom for the two homes side by side, where all 11 families live, with no water or electricity.

The public restroom for the two homes side by side, where all 11 families live, with no water or electricity.

The toilet, which is just a hole in the ground and no door. Here you bring your own water to wash yourself.

The toilet, which is just a hole in the ground and no door. Here you bring your own water to wash yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ebola is real

One of several signs about Ebola you can find while driving through Monrovia

When I first visited Liberia in the summer of 2008, little did i know this war-ravaged country would capture my heart. That next year, I was part of a team that founded an organization called Liberia Now which is dedicated to bringing hope and healing to a nation a need. Ever since then, over the past six years, Liberia has consistently been in my prayers and thoughts.

Fast forward to today. Kelly, the kids and myself have spent the past eleven days in the midst of the worst Ebola outbreak ever, with Liberia being the epicenter of where this deadly disease is seemingly spinning out of control. I never would have dreamed we would have been in the middle of this Ebola mess, but I am thankful that my family is here during these days.

I am thankful because it is giving us a small taste of the kind of fear and uncertainty much of the rest of the world has to deal with on a regular basis. I am thankful because it has caused my own family to go to God with their own fears and then for the peace that surpasses all understanding to become a reality in my own family’s hearts and lives during these dark days. I am thankful because it is helping the entire Tippit crew to place themselves in someone else’s shoes for more than a passing minute and for it to really sink in how hard life really is for most people on planet earth. Don’t get me wrong. I despise this horrific disease and all the heartache and havoc it is causing to too many lives. I loathe the fear and panic that is just beginning to set in here. But in the midst of this unfathomably horrible outbreak, I am thankful for the invaluable sober reminder it has been to both me and my family.

We want those of you to know who pray for us, that we are ok. We genuinely believe that the threat of one of us catching the virus is miniscule. We are being wise by limiting our contact with others and the kids feel completely safe as no one is being gripped by fear. The Liberian government is quarantining many of the Liberia communities where the Ebola virus has had the greatest impact. The community we are living in is not one of those. Also, we are scheduled to leave Liberia saturday night and feel like there is no environment we will be in between now and then which will put our family at any risk.

Corey and the kids leading worship at the kids camp

Corey and the kids leading worship at the Scholarship kids camp.

The recent outbreak of the Ebola virus did change many of our plans for this week though. Unfortunately, we were only able to do a portion of the kids camps we had planned because the Liberian government recently mandated that there be no public meetings in the country for the time being. We also had to switch our flight out of Liberia to another airline as the airline we were scheduled to fly out with has suspended their flights in and out of Liberia. The health clinic which Liberia Now works with has temporarily suspended admitting new patients as health facilities are one of the places where the virus is most likely to spread.

Obviously, if we would have known ahead of time that in the two weeks we were scheduled to minister in Liberia that the Ebola outbreak would begin to spread out of control, we never would have come to Liberia during this time.. But we are here and I am grateful for all the amazing works God has and is doing in each of our lives during these difficult days. Please be in prayer for our dear Liberian friends here who can not just leave the country like we can and escape the threat of Ebola. Pray for their safety and for supernatural peace to guard their hearts and minds. Please pray for the victims and communities where this evil disease has ravaged too many lives.

Also we would covet your prayers for our family’s and the City Church team flights out of Liberia . Pray that we would be able to get out of the country and into the next country we are scheduled to minister in. We can’t tell you how much we appreciate your encouragement and prayers!

Dave Tippit, Executive Director of Liberia Now

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George and Braden

Braden’s buddy – George

The first thing I noticed about him was his perfect and beautiful smile. Sweet George drove 2 hours, along with several other wonderful people, to pick us up from the airport. He has been with us every minute since that night. George is quick to serve us in any and every way. He’s the one walking us to the car with the umbrella, taking our plate after we eat, ironing our clothes off the clothesline, keeper of the gate where we stay, and most importantly-our live in nanny for Braden. The two of them have become quite the buddies.

One of the best things about being in Liberia this year is living with some of our African friends. It gives us a chance to get to know them better and spend some fun time with them. The other night we taught our subdued friend, George the game of Pit. We got to see him get a bit competitive and be the first to ring the bell and yell, “Corner on the Market.” Right now as I type this he is playing a game of soccer with Dave and the kids on this beautiful rain-free afternoon.

I’m always intrigued to hear the Liberian’s stories. They consistently have a smile on their faces, but most have seen some very hard days or more likely years. Our good friend George is no different.

George is 21 and the eldest of four. Being the only brother he takes on the responsibility to care for his sisters. When he was just eight his dad was taken from him by the rebels as they were fleeing their home during the war. A few days later they found him dead on the side of the road. This began a long hard journey for his entire family. After the war, George and his family lived in a one room house with his aunt and her three kids. This was their home for about 12 years. They have recently moved into a two room home.

George’s mom could barely find money to feed her kids, and many days was unable to. George got use to living life hungry. His dream was to go to school, but in order for this to be possible his mother would have to pay his school fees. She knew this was impossible for her, but she always told George, “God will make a way.” George and his mom prayed every night that God would provide a way for him to go to school.

One day, George went to church and heard Pastor Gyamfi talk about a scholarship program that was coming to their church. George hoped that this would be God’s way of allowing him to go to school. He applied for a Liberian Now scholarship the first year it became available, and was accepted as an 8th grader. He couldn’t wait to tell his mom the great news! God had provided a way, just as they had believed He would.

George and two other 2014 Liberia Now graduates

George and two other 2014 Liberia Now High School Graduates

As of this June, George is a Liberian Now high school graduate. His passion is physics, and his dream is to come to America to get a degree in mining engineering. He knows that Liberia has some mineral rich soil and he would like to come back and help Liberia to become a better nation.

He can’t put into words how much Liberia Now has changed his life and has opened the door to make his dreams come true. I’m thankful for ministries like Liberia Now who make something as basic as an education a possibility for kids who otherwise would grow-up in a world without hope and little room for dreams. I believe it’s determined, smart, hard-working young men and women like George, who are going to help this nation see a brighter tomorrow.    By Kelly Tippit

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Purposeful-PrayersHere are a few purposeful prayers we would love to have prayed over our time in Liberia. We can’t express how much your prayers mean to us! Much love and thanks!

1) Please pray for children of Liberia who need scholarships to attend school. Pray that God would use organizations like Liberia Now to provide a quality education for these children in need.

2) Please pray for the kids camp that will take place next week, that the sun will shine and that as it does that they will be reminded of God’s great love and plan for their lives.

3) Please pray for the Liberia Now school which is currently under construction. Pray for all the plans and resources needed to make this school a success when it launches with Kinder-3rd grade in 2015-2016.

4) Please pray for the City Church team that will arrive on Sunday from San Antonio as they will be ministering in a variety of areas from a Pastor’s conference, to the kids camp, to producing a health clinic assessment, to capturing video footage.

 

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Every time I travel to Liberia, the experience inevitably teaches me something new. One lesson that I have been taught by the Liberians on multiple occasions is the declaration of Psalm 28:7.  An undeniable fact about Liberian believers is that “the joy of the Lord really is their strength.”

scriptureWhen Liberians buy into something and get excited about it, their exuberance is highly contagious. One can’t help but be challenged by how they give all of themselves to the worship of God. Whenever I get the privilege to experience this firsthand, I become acutely encouraged in the entire fabric of my being.

Below is a short video clip from the most recent pastor’s conference that Liberia Now conducted in Monrovia. Click on the link below to get a glimpse of what I am talking about.

 

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brent.png.opt269x269o0,0s269x269In February, three pastors from Bandera Road City Church led a church leadership conference for eighty pastors and wives. Liberia Now has sought to train the same group of pastors and churches over five years to make the greatest impact possible. During the three-day conference, they explored the heart, their marriages, their personalities, and the skills of great leaders.

It helps tremendously if great leaders have great marriages. As pastors and wives have grown in their marriages, people in their communities have noticed the changes. One pastor told the team that his church had doubled in size because of the changes that occurred in his marriage due to the conference. And he said that many of the new people in his church came from non-Christian backgrounds.

pastors-conference2These pastors have led their churches to become more focused on the mission of the church, which they said is to reach lost people and help them believe in and follow Jesus Christ. They identified Grace-Barriers that might keep unbelievers from coming to church. They also discussed creative Grace-Bridges that might connect the timeless message of the Gospel with their unique culture and people. Exciting times.These pastors have led their churches to become more focused on the mission of the church, which they said is to reach lost people and help them believe in and follow Jesus Christ. They identified Grace-Barriers that might keep unbelievers from coming to church. They also discussed creative Grace-Bridges that might connect the timeless message of the Gospel with their unique culture and people. Exciting times.

pastors-conference-1

Pictured to the right is City Church Community Pastor Miriam Callahan with conference attendee Lydia Wessah.

Please join Liberia Now in praying for these pastors and their churches.

Brent Saathoff

Lead Pastor, City Church

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Pastor-Gyamfi.png.opt311x311o0,0s311x311Introduce to us, your family.

Pastor Gyamfi: Ruth K. Gyamfi is my amazing and beautiful wife. She works at BIVAC a French company that is involved with container inspection of import and export in and out of Liberia. She is the manager for that section.

Roseline G. Sombai is my lovely daughter. She is the oldest and she studied nursing in college. Rose is a RN who works at the New Community Clinic, which we built for the Virginia community.

Rufus Yaw Gyamfi is my wonderful son. He is the youngest and is currently studying accounting and economics at the University of Liberia. He did graduate with a diploma in Computer Science at the International Institute of Computer Science and Manpower Development. But, he still seeks further education in the Information Technology section.

How is Liberia Now currently making a difference in the Lower Virginia community of 50,000 people?

Pastor Gyamfi: Liberia Now is making a big difference in Virginia by bringing hope for the future in so many ways. In the area of education, parents that did not have money to send their kids to school now are able to give their children a quality education. So many families are now benefiting because Liberia Now is helping to pay the tuition fees for those parents and children who wanted to learn but had no way to because it was beyond their reach.

In the area of infrastructure, Liberia Now has been able to construct and rehabilitate close to twenty water wells in various communities and now thousands upon thousands of residents have clean drinking water. In the economic area, Liberia Now has helped many people improve their lives through the micro-loan program. These micro-loans have helped many businesses to begin and some to even expand.

Gyamfi-family2Pictured above is the Gyamfi family in front of a
new medical clinic which is being built by their ministry.

In the area of health, the pharmacy that was established has served thousands of people by making affordable drugs available to them. In the area of spiritual renewal, the Liberia Now Pastors conference is making a major impact in the lives of pastors and wives. It is helping these spiritual leaders to understand their mission, their relationships with their families and to build strategies for the growth of these Liberian ministries. Liberia Now has been  such a blessing to so many people.

 

stats-for-webWhat are the two main challenges your community faces and what do you hope to accomplish through Liberia Now in the near future?

Everything we do is based on the spiritual foundation, which Liberia Now is bringing to our community. But the two main challenges we face are an economic crisis and lack of proper infrastructure in our community. Even with the current micro-loan program, many of the youth are still unemployed so we are praying for a change in that area.

The ultimate vision for Liberia Now is to see all these good things that are happening in Virginia spread to other communities throughout Liberia. The most important thing I hope to see in the near future of Liberia Now is for our school to be completed. We still need to help improve the educational system in our community and building a model school would make a big difference in the lives of many children.

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Pastor-Gyamfi.png.opt311x311o0,0s311x311Before Liberia Now even existed, you built a health clinic to service the community your church was located in. How did this come about?

Pastor Gyamfi: In 2002, on the 20th of January, the Great Commission Victory Ministries Int’l. was establish to win souls, plant churches, and seek to address the social, moral, spiritual and physical needs of disadvantaged people.

Our church was located in a community where no health center was nearby. Inhabitants of the community had to travel long distances to get medical attention. Some patients even died in route before reaching a clinic.

One day when we were holding a church service, one of our members, Mamie Massalay, became extremely ill. She was rushed to a clinic named Saco. When we arrived at the clinic, she was asked to pay $1000 Liberian Dollars (about $15 USD) which we didn’t have. We begged for treatment before payment, but the clinic wouldn’t treat her.

 

 

New-Community-Clinic2So, in 2005, we deemed it necessary to construct an eight-bedroom clinic to be able to run medical services to the community, due to our passion to save lives.

How did your church and Sammy Tippit Ministries (STM) connect?

Pastor Gyamfi: After the church was established in 2002, we started an evangelism program. We noticed that the membership was growing. We saw that we needed to expand the vision for which we were established.

We started searching for partners through the Internet to enable us to fulfill the task God had given us. In 2003, we went on Google to search for ministries who were interested in partnerships. We contacted eleven ministries, but by His divine grace only Sammy Tippit Ministries responded.

In June 2003, I received an email from Chris Dillashaw, who worked with STM, about the possibility of Dr. Tippit coming to Liberia. As a result, Chris and I planned to meet in Ghana in July 2003.  But right before we were scheduled to meet, the rebels began to attack near the capital city and the airport area. God protected me though and saved my life, as the rebels were only hunting down foreign nationals.

Liberian-refugees1On the plane though, I began to worry about my family, the church members, my community and friends. My wife, Ruth had a phone with her, so we used it to communicate. One day while I was in Ghana, she told me that many of the church members had run to our residence to seek refuge from the battles that were nearby. Ruth told me that there were 48 people now living in our home, including my family. My heart became extremely heavy.  Chris and I had the meeting and it was successful. Chris went back to America but I couldn’t leave Ghana. There were no planes flying in to Liberia at that time because the rebels had overtaken the airport right after I left for Ghana.

During that time, I stayed in Ghana for one month. Every day, I called Ruth to ask her how everyone was doing and to encourage her. One day, as I was talking to Ruth on the phone, she heard a heavy knock on the door. She told me that the rebels were at the door and that she needed to switch the phone off, hide it and call me later.

Thankfully, she called back later that night and told me that the rebels had made everyone leave the house while they looked for government personals and materials to loot. She told me that they we were robbed of everything but that their lives had been saved. Thanks be to God that my family and members of the church went through the war unharmed.

In spite of all these difficulties though, we were able to partner with the Sammy Tippit Ministries in hosting evangelistic meetings and pastors conferences in 2004, 2007, and 2009. God’s Word manifested greatly in lives for many individuals.

Gyamfi-Liberia-NowTell us about the origins of Liberia Now. How did this ministry begin?

Pastor Gyamfi: I’ll never forget the date. In  2008, on January 3rd, at 4pm Liberian time, I received a call from Dr. Tippit.  He told me that since he left Liberia in 2007, he had been praying on what he can do to help Liberia.  He said he was going to send his son with a team to do an assessment.

In late June, early July 2008, an assessment team consisting of Dave Tippit, Allyn Anderson, Pastor Brent Saathoff and Corey Winfield visited Liberia. Dave and the team met the Vice President of Liberia, Commissioner of Virginia, and the City Mayor of Brewerville. They had a series of discussions on how they could help Liberia develop and decided to begin in the area known as Virginia, where our church is located.

Prior to their departure, we had a meeting at The Cape Hotel.  In that meeting, both the Liberian and the Americans saw the immediate needs Liberia had. Both teams had a passion for Liberia. We felt that there was no time to delay so that was why one of the team members, Corey Winfield, proposed calling our organization Liberia Now.

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Pastor-Gyamfi.png.opt311x311o0,0s311x311Over the next three days we will profile Emmanuel Gyamfi, who is the Director of Liberian Operations. Pastor Gyamfi has shown himself to be a faithful steward and an exceptional partner. We hope you begin to get to know this amazing man and his life mission over the next few days.

What was your childhood and life in Ghana like?

Pastor Gyamfi: I was born into the union of Kwabema Gyamfi and Mary Adu Gyamfi in 1964. I lost both of my parents when I was very young. I did have an older brother, but he was also struggling and he couldn’t take care of me, so an Aunty brought me up.

I began my education in 1972 by attending a Presbyterian school. In 1978/79 I entered a well-respected boarding school for my secondary (Jr. high/high school) education. Due to the absence of my parents though, I didn’t have the money to continue my studies there and I had to leave the school dormitory and move back to Berekum to stay at my Aunt’s Residence.

In 1984, I completed my secondary education but  there was no means for me to go to college. I became extremely sorrowful especially when I saw my friends improving their lives and entering colleges. Sometimes I thought to myself, “if only my parents were still alive, I wouldn’t be going through all this.”

How did you come to Liberia then?

Pastor Gyamfi: Based on the circumstances surrounding my life, I found it very hard to stay in Ghana. Every time I think back on my days in Ghana, I grieve a little. So, I thought it would be wise to take a journey to another land, to have peace of mind. I came to Liberia in 1985.

Ghana-grungeWhen did you and your wife Ruth meet?

Pastor Gyamfi: When I came to Liberia I joined a church named Grace Pentecostal Church. Ruth was a member of that church and she was also a member of the choir. I was the Choir Director. I saw her good will, care and concern towards others and me. Sometimes she even provided food for me.  There was no doubt she was the right person for me. That was how we met in 1988.

How did the civil war affect you, your family and the Liberian people?

Pastor Gyamfi: In 1989 the Liberian Civil War began. We thought that it wasn’t going to last long. We thought it would end soon. But we were very wrong. The war lasted longer than any of us thought possible. During this time we were robbed of everything we ever had, in terms of our “material possessions”.

Liberian-warAs the war became more terrifying, living in our community was no longer safe so we had to leave. I saw friends die. Anyone could die at any moment. Even dogs had more value than humans at that time. I had never experienced something so terrible.

I couldn’t believe that humans could be so mean and cruel. I saw parents abandon their kids. There were times where we had to jump over dead bodies or run from one direction to another with bullets flying over our head. It was really a terrible time.

(Be sure to check back tomorrow to read part II of this profile)

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