Liberian Now Blogs

 
about-liberiaA Nation of Hope

Six thousand miles from the United States lies the war-torn country of Liberia. Having emerged from one of the bloodiest civil wars in history, Liberia is struggling today with extreme poverty due to the devastation wrought by the military conflict. The war left the country of Liberia decimated and its people struggling to survive.

Approximately 250,000 people lost their lives during the civil war and the country’s infrastructure was totally destroyed. Access to basic needs such as clean water, healthcare, and education were non-existent. Diseases, such as malaria, yellow fever, and AIDS plagued entire communities. The unemployment rate hovered around 85% and those who were employed struggled to survive on less than 50 cents a day. A nation that was once founded upon the principles of freedom is now enslaved to extreme poverty.

nation-of-hopeAfter almost two decades of civil unrest, Liberia has entered into an era of stability and hope. In 2006, Harvard trained economist, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was elected president of Liberia. She became the first female head of state in Africa. Since her inauguration, she has received numerous accolades and praise for her work to restore her country’s democracy. Her wise and tempered approach to governance and reconstruction has set Liberia on a hopeful path of once again becoming a healthy nation. But the work has only just begun. Despite its vast stores of natural resources and potential, the majority of Liberians continue to struggle with extreme poverty.

________________________________________
storylibmap.jpg.opt531x477o0,0s531x477The Geography

The Republic of Liberia occupies 43,000 square miles (slightly larger than Tennessee)

along the west coast of Africa. It is bordered on the south by theAtlantic Ocean and surrounded by Guinea, Sierra Leone, and the Ivory Coast. From antiquity through the 1700s, many ethnic groups from the surrounding regions have settled in the area, making Liberia one of Africa’s most culturally rich and diverse countries. Liberia is one of the most resource-rich nations in all of Africa with a temperate agricultural climate, vast mineral deposits, large oil reserves, and one of the most lucrative diamond mining industries.

______________________________________________

History

European Foothold

Portuguese explorers established contacts with Liberia as early as 1461 and named the area Grain Coast because of the abundance of grains of Malegueta Pepper. In 1663 the British installed trading posts on the Grain Coast, but the Dutch destroyed these posts a year later. There were no further reports of European settlements along the Grain Coast until the arrival of freed slaves in the early 1800s.

 

Arrival of Freed Slaves

Liberia, which means “land of the free,” was founded by free African-Americans and freed slaves from the United States in 1820. An initial group of 86 immigrants, who came to be called Americo-Liberians, established a settlement in Christopolis (now Monrovia, named after U.S. President James Monroe) on February 6, 1820. Thousands of freed American slaves and free African-Americans arrived during the following years, leading to the formation of more settlements and culminating in a declaration of independence of the Republic of Liberia on July 26, 1847. The drive to resettle freed slaves in Africa was promoted by the American Colonization Society (ACS), an organization of white clergymen, abolitionists, and slave owners founded in 1816 by Robert Finley, a Presbyterian minister.

Samuel-Doe.png.opt243x300o0,0s243x300

Samuel K Doe’s Reign

The True Whig Party dominated all sectors of Liberia from independence in 1847 until April 12, 1980, when

indigenous Liberian Master Sergeant Samuel K.Doe (from the Krahn ethnic group) seized power in a coup d’etat. Doe’s forces executed President William R. Tolbert and several officials of his government, mostly of Americo-Liberian descent. One hundred and thirty-three years of Americo-Liberian political domination ended with the formation of the People’s Redemption Council (PRC).

____________________________________________________________

libatglance_____________________________________________________________

Charles-Taylor

Civil War & Charles Taylor

On December 24, 1989, a small band of rebels led by Doe’s former procurement chief, Charles Taylor, invaded Liberia from the Ivory Coast. Taylor and his National Patriotic Front rebels rapidly gained the support of many Liberians and reached the outskirts of Monrovia within six months. From 1989 to 1997 one of Africa’s bloodiest civil wars ensued, claiming the lives of more than 200,000 Liberians and displacing a million others into refugee camps in neighboring countries.

Exporting War to Sierra Leone

On July 19, 1997 Charles Taylors forces emerged victorious and for the next six years, the Taylor government did not improve the lives of Liberians. Unemployment and illiteracy stood above 75%, and little investment was made in the country’s infrastructure. (Liberia is still trying to recover from the ravages of war; pipe-borne

water and electricity are generally unavailable to most of the population, especially outside Monrovia, and schools, hospitals, roads, and infrastructure remain derelict.) Rather than work to improve the lives of Liberians, Taylor supported the Revolutionary United Front in Sierra Leone.

Opposing Liberia’s Lord of Misrule

Taylor’s misrule led to the resumption of armed rebellion from among Taylor’s former adversaries. By 2003, armed groups called “Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy” (LURD) and “Movement for Democracy in Liberia” (MODEL), largely representing elements of the former ULIMO-K and ULIMO-J factions that fought Taylor during Liberia’s previous civil war (1989-1996), were challenging Taylor and his increasingly fragmented supporters on the outskirts of Monrovia.

_______________________________________________________

President Taylor Resigns

In July 2003 the Government of Liberia, LURD, and MODEL signed a cease-fire that all sides failed to respect; bitter fighting reached downtown Monrovia in July and August 2003, creating a massive humanitarian disaster. On August 11, 2003, under intense U.S. and international pressure, President Taylor resigned office and departed into exile in Nigeria. He was succeeded for an interim period of two months by President Moses Zeh Blah of the NPP. Taylor’s move paved the way for the deployment by ECOWAS of what became a 3,600-strong peacekeeping mission in Liberia (ECOMIL).

Free and Fair Elections, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Takes Charge

ellen-johnson-sirleaf-election

The October 11, 2005 presidential and legislative elections and the subsequent November 8, 2005 presidential run-off were the most free, fair, and peacefulelections in Liberia’s history.  Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf  defeated international soccer star George Weah 59.4% to 40.6% to become Africa’s first democratically elected female president. She was inaugurated on January 16, 2006 and formed a capable government of technocrats drawn from among Liberia’s ethnic groups.

 

All source material for this article was taken from “African History” http://africanhistory.about.com/od/liberia/p/LiberiaHist1.htm

 

No Comments
 

dirty-water-2What if?…What if you couldn’t read these words?…What if… five dollars seemed like a small fortune… What if…your baby girl had a deathly high fever…and you couldn’t do anything about it?…What if…instead of savoring that Latte in the morning…the brown liquid you swallowed every day was dirtywater?…What if…only fifteen out of every one-hundred people in your community… actually had a job?… What if you lived “in the land of the free”…but all these things were true too… What if?

While some of these questions still linger in Liberia today, they actually were extremely prescient and relevant to the Liberia of the mid-2000’s. But slowly the times are a changing. Liberia has begun to enter into an era where genuine hope reigns supreme.

In 2006, a Harvard-trained economist, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf became the first female elected head of state in African history. This fellow follower of Christ has received resounding accolades of affirmation throughout the international community. The verdict has been that her wise and tempered approach to good governance and realistic reconstruction of this war-torn nation is putting Liberia on a hopeful path.

hope-africa-2.png.opt468x229o0,0s468x229Out of the ashes, out of the chaos, out of the heartache, a masterpiece is beginning to form. Liberia Now desires to be part of the solution of seeing this country realize a more hopeful today. Liberia Now seeks to holistically address all the major channels of Liberian culture by linking the Body of Christ and the international community-at-large with the needs and opportunities that exist in Liberia today. We hope you will consider joining us in seeing these “what if” questions turned into oh, wow — living, breathing miracles of today.

 

No Comments
 

Liberian-MapA few years ago, my father who is an international evangelist, received an interesting e-mail from an unknown pastor in Liberia. In the e-mail, this pastor expressed his desperate desire to connect his people to Christ and knew that in the midst of this horrific civil war that the time was ripe for an eternal harvest. After scouring the internet for international evangelists who may be able to come to his nation in need, he ended up deciding upon contacting ten different globally-minded ministries. He contacted all ten, yet only one ministry responded back to his plea for partnership during those dark days – Sammy Tippit Ministries.

Sammy-preaching-Liberia.png.opt245x329o0,0s245x329As a result of this correspondence, my dad ended up sending one of the STM staff personnel to meet with this pastor in a neighboring West-African country. As they discussed the possibilities of pursuing future ministry missions together, this pastor received word that the rebels had come to the community where he lived and that his house had been taken over by these insurgents. Throughout this period, this man – pastor Emmanuel Gyamfi displayed such a powerful presence of the peace of God upon his life that my father was convinced that he was being called to go to Liberia. It ended up taking Pastor Gyamfi a month to return to his home where fortunately he found his family unharmed by this foreign invasion.

Not long after that, my dad went to Liberia to preach the good news about the person and promise of Jesus Christ. God moved and lives were forever changed. A couple years later, STM ended up going back to conduct more meetings and to follow-up on what God had previously done in so many lives. When my parents returned to Liberia for a second time though, they found that Pastor Gyamfi and his wife Ruth had been busy. Through some outside help, and by using the savings that his wife had built up, (she works for a foreign shipping company), they had built a medical clinic to service the Lower Virginia community consisting of about 50,000 people. They were using Mrs. Gyamfi’s monthly salary to provide as much medications as they possibly could, though the demand always outnumbered their supply.

Gyamfi-family-pic.png.opt385x289o0,0s385x289My parents were moved by the compassionate heart of sacrifice and the culture of excellence that they saw displayed through the lives of the Gyamfi’s and the medical clinic itself. They came back burdened to do more. So they decided to ask my wife and I along with my sister and her husband if we would like to, (as three separate, but connected families),  provide the financial support for all the malaria treatments in this particular clinic. We all answered with a resounding yes to this invitation.  In the years previous to this question, God had been working in our personal lives and in our particular ministry callings about becoming agents of Shalom (caring for the whole person – physical & spiritual).

Then my dad asked me what I thought about the seemingly improbable idea of making a long-term physical and spiritual investment to target the entire nation of Liberia.  I began rigorously researching the possibilities and potential pitfalls associated with such a proposal. Soon thereafter I shared this far-fetched vision with my good friend, Allyn Anderson and he was immediately in. My dad also shared this same vision with one of the STM board of directors,  Brent Saathoff who readily resonated with the purpose and possibility of such a wild and wacky adventure.

Mosquito-drugs-pic.png.opt397x265o0,0s397x265After much planning and preparation, a few of us from representing various non-profit organizations decided that an exploratory trip in July of 2008 would be the first step in this long Liberian journey that awaited us. During this fateful trip in the summer of 2008, we were able to meet with dozens of pastors, local community leaders, and various government officials (mayor, county commissioner, the highest ranking Senator in the Liberian Congress and even the Vice-President of the country of Liberia who is also a believer). Out of that, a long-term plan was birthed between our Liberian partners and us few Americans. Our plan was to begin with one community – the Lower Virginia community which consisted of 50,000 people. In 2009 we formed an entirely new 501-c3 and in the spring of that year, we kicked off this campaign by inaugurating assorted projects which pertained to these various areas of need. Over the past four years since then we have expanded our various outreaches and have been apart of impacting over

Meeting-with-VP.png.opt397x254o0,0s397x254

35,000 lives. By the grace of God and according to His perfect timing, our prayer is to duplicate what has been done in Lower Virginia throughout the various fifteen regions of Liberia over the next generation.

Early on we decided to name this organization Liberia Now because we believed that though our American forefathers helped to create this nation, never has there been a time in the history of Liberia that our distant cousins need genuine partners more than now. Please pray with us for Liberia, not next year, but now.  In some ways, this dream seems daunting and fanciful, yet in other ways it feels like we have been plucked and placed into the territory of the unknown, into the terrain of a fantastic faith adventure.

 

 

MLK-quote1.png.opt548x547o0,0s548x547Pray that the God of today will be present in all that we plan and do right now. We hope you will partner with us in this peculiar quest where the past, present and future all collide together to form this baffling invisible reality known as faith.

A fellow partner,

Dave Signature

 

 

Dave Tippit

 

No Comments
12