Those of you who know me know that I’ve had the incredible opportunity to travel to Liberia, West Africa on a number of occasions over the past few years. To be sure, Liberia isn’t a vacation destination, far from it. The country is recovering from a horrific, 14 year civil war. Hundreds of thousands were killed. Many more had to flee for their lives. Even today, 10 years after the violence has ended, recovery is very slow. Liberia is one of the poorest nations on the earth with one of the highest rates of infant mortality and the lowest adult lifespan.
But as with any seemingly insurmountable problem (Don’t we all have those?), the only way to deal with it is by faith. So it was by faith that I (and others) traveled these past four years to the remote city of Zwedru, Liberia in order to meet with local pastors and church leaders. We’ve held theological workshops that provide much needed biblical training for them as they work to proclaim a message of hope in a time of desperation.
And I’d like to think that our visits to Zwedru have given local pastors and their congregations something else: encouragement and support. Sometimes it’s not what you are teaching or saying as much as it is that you are being, that you are there—a ministry of presence, of being present, of being willing to listen to their stories and to share the emotions of people dealing with not just sin and death but also God’s promise of forgiveness and life.
All of this leads me to ask a favor of you: Would you pray for me?
It’s time to make some decisions about a 2014 trip to Liberia. One thing is for certain, there will be a trip to Zwedru and a 5th Pastors’ Workshop. The question is, who is going to go? More specifically, am I going to go? Am I supposed to go?
I’ve spent the last couple trips bringing along a fellow pastor who is now taking the lead on this year’s trip. But he needs a team of people (not just clergy, but regular folks as well) to go with him and I’m wondering/praying if I should be part of it. So I figure, if I’m going pray, why not get some others to help out?
This where you come in! Would you pray for me, for Pastor Philip Zielinski, for Joe Boway of the Liberian Children’s Ministry and for those who are considering their involvement on a 2014 mission trip to Liberia?
If you’d like more information on our efforts in Liberia, please contact me. I’d love to talk to you. And I appreciate your prayers for the upcoming trip and for the people of Liberia.