ARRIVAL IN LIBERIA

Dear ITEM Friends,

It is late afternoon Thursday here in Monrovia, Liberia. It’s hot and humid and the power is out so there are no fans moving the air around. That is just the way it goes in this part of the world. For those of you ready for the clouds and rain to disappear for awhile in Oregon, I wish we could switch places right about now! Enough about the weather.

FLIGHTS: ON SCHEDULE, UNEVENTFUL

My itinerary took me from Portland to Amsterdam to Freetown, Liberia to Monrovia, Liberia. Everything was according to play. Thank you for praying. Thank you, Lord, for answering!

LIGHT’S OUT, PAY UP

Our newly appointed coordinator for Liberia picked me up at the airport about 10pm Wednesday in Monrovia. His old Jeep broke down coming to the airport so he grabbed a taxi. The taxi had only one headlight working. He got stopped at a police stop on the road. Mentioned that in the US we get a ticket and have to pay a fine and asked what they have to do. “We pay the police whatever we have and he lets us go.” I asked if he kept the money himself. Answer? You guessed it: “OF COURSE!”

WHAT DEMONSTRATES GOD’S FAVOR?

Pastor Michael Allen, ITEM’s new coordinator here, told me that the “Prosperity Gospel” is out of control here. “The way people know the pastor has been ‘anointed by God’,” he explained with some urgency in his voice, “is if he has a big house and drives a nice car.”

Michael has been praying a long time for someone to join him in doing something about the situation in his home country and believes ITEM is the answer to his prayers.

WHO IS MICHAEL ALLEN?

Pastor Michael came to our initial seminar last summer. (They don’t have seasons here. They have dry season and rainy season. We are transitioning right now from dry to rainy.”) After almost every lecture he’d corner me and state, “This is exactly what we need in Liberia and I want to work with ITEM.” After interaction with the man who invited me in the first place, we appointed Michael as our coordinator.

Michael’s grandmother was a sorcerer. He grew up as a nominal Muslim. He was left handed and was beaten during a Muslim holy season for using his left hand. He was told that the left hand was evil. He was also told that Arabic was the heavenly language.

By God’s grace, an American Christian sponsored him to go to a Christian school then a college then a Bible school. And now God is using him. He is the principal of All God’s Children Christian School and the pastor of New Life Bible Church. He’s a humble man with very little. His church is made up mainly of students from the school. And week by week he is teaching them the Bible verse by verse. I believe he is the right man for the task of leading ITEM’s efforts in Liberia.

AGAPE FELLOWSHIP MEETING

The only business on today’s agenda was for Michael and I to be sure we were on the same team and meet with leaders from the pastors’ fellowship who, after the last seminar, offered to partner with us here in Liberia. Michael is not an official part of that fellowship do to some doctrinal differences. We want them to be involved but do not want them to be put in an eventual teaching position where they would be expected to teach doctrines they aren’t yet in agreement with.

Besides that meeting, pastor Michael took me by his home and church.

TOMORROW: MEET AND ORIENT THE TEAM

Tomorrow, Friday, I’ll officially meet the team Michael has assembled and try to ground them in ITEM distinctives, philosophy of ministry, ministry priorities, core values, mission and vision.

PRAYER:

Please pray for us as we meet. Getting a team up and running has been a 3 year process in the past. We hope to find a way to shorten the time without sacrificing the quality of the preparation we normally give our teams.

PICTURES were placed in the online photo album. CLICK HERE FOR PHOTO ALBUM

Thanks for praying.

By His grace,

Steve

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