Before arriving in Liberia, Kelly and the team from her church were a bit apprehensive: would they be able to relate personally to the people? Would their differences keep them apart?
The mission team traveled with ANM to serve a local ministry in Liberia, one of the more than 260 ministries ANM partners with globally. Kelly, a teacher, would be mentoring the teachers of the ministry’s school.
It didn’t take long to see how the reality wasn’t what the team feared.
“Thankfully, our fears were not realized,” Kelly said later. “We were immediately welcomed in and accepted.”
Investing in education
During Kelly’s first day, she observed in each classroom. The second day she held a professional development conference for the teachers, complete with training folders and notes for each teacher. She also had brought a Bible for each teacher. The ministry has already requested more training on the church’s next trip.
Later that week Kelly led the effort to set up the school’s library. The church’s team leader, Amber Parker, sat on the floor shelving books. With Kelly and the team putting in long hours, at the end of the week the library boasted seven full, organized bookcases.
“I was overcome with emotion watching each teacher take turns during recess, pulling up a chair in front of the library, and just pouring over the books,” Kelly said. Many of the books had been collected and donated by Alice Johansen, another member of the ANM community, and the team brought them over in their luggage.
Running water at last
The school and ministry compound previously depended on water drawn from a well, and the team helped complete the project to supply running water.
Kelly shared, “I witnessed this teacher struggling to find the clean water necessary to wash the classroom cups that the students would be drinking from. It would have taken too much time to gather the water from the well. This teacher seemed frustrated.”
Later that day, when plumbing had been installed, she witnessed the teachers turn on the water faucet for the first time. “This was such a powerful moment. What was a precious and rare resource that morning had become readily available.”
Transformed hearts and lives
Tony Weedor, ANM’s regional director for Africa, said the team was a blessing to the ministry in Liberia because they came with the intent of leaving their skills behind through training. And the team served with unity and focus: not concerned about themselves but trying to display Christ in all their actions. Everyone pitched in no matter what the activity was.
The team members also came home with a different perspective. Kelly said, “If I had no obligations at home, I would move here to help with the school.”
“The way we look at our lives at home has also been transformed. When you get to see God’s work, and participate in it, you are no longer satisfied with sitting idly by, waiting for the next opportunity. You long for and begin to seek out more opportunities to share in and experience his great love and wonders in everyday life.”