Thursday, September 19, 2013

Update from Camphor Mission Directoress, Cecelia M. Cephas

Words from Cecelia M. Cephas September 2013

Great and tremendous improvement of changes are unfolding at Camphor Mission in the areas of infrastructure and relations since East Ohio's connection with the mission. In the area of infrastructure, we can sing praises of a three unit guest house, an improved teachers and clinic staff quarters, with other buildings on the book for renovation and construction. As it relates to relationship, we are connected with the entire East Ohio Conference and beyond. Every now and then we cannot stop receiving more teams and guests. People you (Kathy Dickriede) have interacted with about Camphor Mission are zealously on fire to identify themselves with us and to be part of the life improvement at Camphor Mission, as well as its infrastructure agenda/plan.

The past school year – 2012/2013 was successful. 
We began with 311 students (168 boys and 143 girls).
We ended with 245 students (138 boys and 107 girls). 
Nine students (6 boys and 3 girls) graduated from the 9th grade.
Thirteen students (10 boys and 3 girls ) graduated from the nursery/kindergarten to primary school.

We have just begun the 2013/2014 academic school year with a very good number of 275 students, with registration still going on. We will inform you of the total number of students at a later time. 

All the teachers are well and have started their teaching activities with joy of happiness. We have three new teachers (Rev. George V. S. Welah, Alphonso Brown NAD Garmondyu Kpelleh) joining our instructional staff. Both  Alphonso  Brown and Garmondyu Kpelleh are products/alumnae of Camphor Mission who have come back to help build up the learning process of the school.

The government has built the salaries strength of its public school teachers. This increment has posed serious problem on the private schools Most teachers are leaving the private school and crossing over to the government schools. Some of our own United Methodist schools are now closed down as the result of the improvement of public schools teachers salaries. The monthly salary at Camphor Mission is now on  $5,275 USD. When you come next year, we will sit and put the salaries business in proper perspective.

We are still hoping and anticipating to have the feeding program for the students. Especially the village students who come to school  empty stomach and go back home under the same condition. Just few days ago, a six years old boy in the nursery or kindergarten cried of being hungry before recess time. Mrs. Mary Baysah and the Principal provided something for him quick which he ate and was made lively again.

It is all of us dream and aspiration to elevate Camphor Mission to a high school status in the near future. And as we think thoughtfully of the realization of this vision, there are key areas of concerntration, which when handle, the road to th obtainment of the high school will be paved. The areas of concern are the construction of a new modern boys dormitory, the development of staff and teachers in specified subject areas such as language arts, the liberal arts, the sciences and the building of a wee-equipped library.

When you were here, we gave you the names  of persons/teachers who have been earmarked for the staff development program. We want for you to add Alphonso Brown and Garmondyu Kpelleh to the list. Plan for the new modern boys dormitory will be prepared and sent to you subsequently.

The students (old and new), teachers, support staff and administrators send their greetings to you.

The peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, Kathy as you go on the story telling campaign trail/venture of Camphor Mission throughout the length and breath East Ohio and beyond.

Always be blessed,
Cecelia M.Cephas

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Dear Friends,
I am so happy to let you know that the funds you helped to raise at the welcome dinner in May for Bishop and Irene Innis have been used to purchase and ship a 2005 Toyota van.  This 9 passenger van was picked out by Bishop Innis in Trenton, New Jersey and shipped to Monrovia.  It should arrive this week and be used to take the Camphor Soccer Team to away games this semester as well as other transportation needs.  Here is a picture of the van.  Bishop Innis will send pictures when the van arrives in Monrovia.  Thanks for your part in this.
In Christian Love,
Don Richards

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Camphor Clinic Staff Quarters

Hello Rev. Don Richards and Pedaling Parsons,

Thank God for great things you are doing at Camphor Mission. As of April to June of this year you wired us through Money Gram $8524 for the improvement of the Clinic staff quarter.We are pleased to inform you about the completion of the units at the total cost of $8076.  Please see the photos of the porches,living/dining rooms and bathrooms.We are now tiling the floors of the guest house porches with the balance.Thanks for the supports.This is a true demonstration of Christian love and concern for us.

Our next target is the Mary Davis/James Darsaw residence as soon as funding is available.

The 2013/2014 school year is picking up gradually with the registration process in progress.Classes will begin early September 4.The staffs are well and preparing to start school.We all appreciate you for all you are doing,wish you God`s protection in everything.

We just hosted Bishop Innis and his cabinet ( August 14 to 18).  He spoke so much about you people.

Thanks for the kind of the generosity you showed him and the many good plans you are putting together to develop Camphor.

Faithfully yours,

Monday, August 26, 2013

UMW at Mentor UMC Women in Missions

Here is Eliana and Hannah Kate sharing in their duct tape ministry! Raising funds for Camphor Mission with duct tape bracelets, bookmarks, wallets, purses, and more!  Kiersten was there too with her Silly Banz rainbow bracelets.

Young people using their talents to leave the world better than they found it!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

UMVIM Team Forming

We will have our first team meeting for the February 15-March 3, 2014 UMVIM trip to Camphor Mission Station.  The meeting will be held in the Macedonia area at 2:00 on Sunday, September 29th.  Contact Kathy Dickriede with questions leading up to the meeting,  In the meantime, here is the application to complete and bring to the meeting.

Camphor Mission has a clinic, a boarding school, a church, and an agriculture department. 

UMVIM teams will sleep in single beds with mosquito nets.  Food will be mostly rice and vegetables with chicken or fish. 

Time will be spent in the school with teacher, tutoring students, and perhaps painting classrooms.  The clinic is very rural and does not do a lot of medicine. Time will be spent with the traditional birth attendants and doing outreach to rural village for vaccination and water wells.  It is always possible to be at work in the agriculture fields and working with the newly formed 4-H group on the mission.  Building relationships with staff and students and the people in the surrounding village is always the priority. 

Possible construction jobs on new housing and renovations on current staff housing. 

Cost is $3000 for airfare, food, lodging, and in country travel.  Additional costs for VISAS, immunizations, and souveniers.

Required Immunization is the Yellow Fever Vaccination.
Strongly suggested  Typhoid, Hep A, Hep B, Tetanus/Diphtheria booster, Measles Booster, Polio Booster, Influenza.

Malaria prophylaxis mandatory.

We will also spend some time at the end of the trip in Monrovia doing some site seeing and seeing urban UMC sites. 

Team meetings (3 total) will be once a month beginning September 29th running through November.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

 3 Cs 
3Cs UMVIM Orientation Meetings

Westlake UMC Sunday, August 11th at 2:00
Mentor UMC on Sunday, August 18th at 2:00
Faith UMC, North Canton on August 11th at 2:00 
These will be meetings for anyone interested in traveling to any of the 3Cs locations sometime in 2013-2014. We will be working in clinics, classrooms, and churches!  There will be people on hand with answers to most of your questions about all of the ministry areas.  The focus of the meetings will be how to raise funds and prayer support, team meeting expectations, and living conditions in the ministry locations.  Other details will be discussed later in the year at team meetings.   These are the dates for future trips.

Zimbabwe Clinics Classrooms and Churches
Emsizimim School contact Russ Ham rham@
Fall 2013 or January 2014
July 2014
Chivu Church and Hospital contact Allen Hill
Spring 2014

Liberia Clinics, Classrooms and Churches
Camphor Mission Station contact Kathy Dickriede
February 15-March 3
March 1-March 17
Farmer to Farmer contact Pryde Bass or Ray Ake 330-531-4221
Ganta Hospital and School contact Kevin Schaner
January 18-February 3

Sierra Leone Clinics
Manjama Clinic contact Beth Ferrell
October 2014

Russia Classrooms and Churches
Kursk Orphanage contact Harry Askin
June 26-July 8 


3 Cs   
Camphor Mission Station - Camphor, Liberia, West Africa  
September 14th to 30th, 2013 

The Mid-Ohio District will be sending a team of mission workers to Camphor 
Mission Station in Liberia, West Africa with tentative dates being September 14th to 30th, 2013. 

The team will be staying and working at the Camphor Mission Station. Bishop 
Hopkins has said about Camphor, "The mission cares for the whole person - body, mind and spirit - with a church, a medical clinic and a school. Thus, the 3Cs mission project includes Churches, Clinics and Classrooms." The Lead Missionary of the station is Kathy Dickriede of Mentor UMC. 

Due to September being the rainy portion of the year, we will be asked to focus on working within the clinic and classrooms at Camphor Mission.  Camphor Mission is addressing the needs in rural Liberia for Christian spirituality, education, health, clean water, and agriculture. We can be in partnership with other United Methodist Churches 
around the world. 

Estimated cost per person would be approximately $3000 per person for the 
travel, meals, and transportation. Contact Stanley Wertz about joining the team at or by phone (419) 892-3539.
Group orientation and training are in process so be in contact ASAP!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Solving Poverty Is Rocket Science. Christians are among America’s most compassionate people. But we can do a better job responding to the complexity of poverty. Richard Stearns [ posted 7/08/2013

 Most of us at one time or another have thrown a dollar bill into the cup of a homeless man standing on a street corner. We do it because we want to help even though we know that our dollar won't really solve a problem that has much deeper causes. He'll be on the street again tomorrow because we've just treated a symptom of his condition without really addressing the cause.

As president of World Vision, I see Christians taking a similar approach to helping the poor internationally. Out of obedience to Christ, churches rightly want to respond to the desperate needs of the billions who suffer in poverty around the world and so they often reach out by feeding the hungry, caring for orphans, sending medical teams or shipping in various supplies. And these things do help to relieve suffering, but at the end of the day the poor are still poor. It's not much different than handing that dollar to the homeless man.

American Christians are astounding in their generosity. Tens of thousands of churches pour resources into feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and building houses and orphanages. Hundreds of thousands trek to Africa, Asia, and Latin America each year on short-term mission trips desiring to offer their help.

But here's the problem: Poverty, whether here in America or abroad, is one of the oldest and most complex problems plaguing the human race. It is tangled in social, cultural, economic, political, ethnic, geographic, and spiritual factors that challenge even the most skilled experts. Simple solutions just don't work, and well-meaning amateurs can not only waste valuable resources but even cause unintended harm in their efforts.

The complex puzzle of poverty
We are right to help, but we also need to help in the right way. In the complex system of poverty, well meaning efforts can have unforeseen and unintended consequences in another area. Here's a hypothetical example. Let's say that a church here in America decided to partner with a sister church from its same denomination in Zambia. Looking to encourage its members toward missions and to respond to their needs, the senior pastor arranged for a short-term missions trip to the church in Zambia, where they helped build a school.

Over the following year the church planned a bigger project to help address the grinding poverty their brothers and sisters in Zambia faced every day. They began shipping bags of grains and beans to the Zambian church to distribute to the hungry and fundraised for a new health clinic to treat children in the area.
These actions seemed to be quite positive until problems started to arise. The rice and beans, sent regularly from the U.S. church, drove down the prices of those items in the local markets. That caused area food production to drop because farmers, who were already struggling, could no longer afford seeds and tools needed to farm their land.

The clinic also ran into trouble. During construction, the local government learned about it and decided to cancel a clinic they had planned for the area. The church mobilized doctors and nurses from the U.S. to staff the clinic, but the costs of finding and transporting these volunteer staff meant that the new clinic could only be open sporadically. When U.S. doctors were there, people were treated for malaria, dysentery, and other diseases, but the rate of new infections stayed the same because causes had not been addressed.

Despite these challenges, more people flocked to the little church in Zambia to take advantage of the food and health programs. It grew quickly, but that growth provoked resentment. The village chief, who attended a different church in the village, resented its sudden popularity. So now the community had become divided denominationally and politically.

Finally, during a subsequent visit, one of the American visitors noticed the Zambian pastor doing suspiciously better financially. A new motorbike, a new house, and finer clothes appeared to confirm rumors that the pastor was taking some of the money the church had sent to maintain the clinic.

I often say that the complex task of helping communities is, in fact, like rocket science. We easily underestimate the intricate complexity of the puzzle of poverty—culturally, politically, socially and economically, even in a small community. The American church had intended to do good, but their initiatives had damaging and unintended consequences. Effectively addressing poverty requires cultural understanding, technical expertise, and a great deal of perseverance. It takes wisdom and experience to recognize the difference between the symptoms of poverty and its causes. The simplistic solutions brought by the well meaning church had only managed to put short term Band-Aids on problems that had much deeper causes.
In this hypothetical example, giving food to a church treated a symptom—hunger —while actually exacerbating the underlying problems of poor farming methods, and access to markets. The constant illnesses were largely due to the contaminated water supply and inadequate sanitation and hygiene. The clinic would have been more sustainable had the community petitioned its own government to provide one, or at least to provide local health workers to staff it. Involving leaders from across the community instead of from just one church might have avoided the divisiveness that erupted.

A more complete solution to this community's problems would have likely required addressing the water and sanitation issues, improving agricultural methods and irrigation systems, economic development initiatives, facilitating access to markets for farmers, youth leadership development training, safe childbirth courses and AIDS and malaria prevention to name just a few of the puzzle pieces needed for this community to truly begin to overcome its poverty. Addressing all these issues simultaneously takes most American congregations way beyond their current capabilities.

Principles for a new approach
It is critical for the church to get this right. We have been called to preach the good news to the poor, to feed the hungry, bring water to the thirsty, care for the sick, and stand up against injustice. We have been sent to care for the widow, the orphan, the alien, and the stranger. This is the work of the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. Despite these many challenges, churches can and must equip themselves with new strategies, innovative approaches, and the expertise needed to do this work with excellence. Let me propose four principles that can help guide us toward a new approach to the puzzle of poverty.

1. Poverty goes beyond material things.
Because poverty is a complex puzzle with multiple inter-related causes, solutions addressing just one or two pieces of the puzzle will not fundamentally change a community trapped in poverty. We have to help a community address their challenges on multiple fronts: food, water, health, education, economic development, gender, child development and even leadership and governance.

We have to get beyond the notion that providing 'stuff' to poor communities will lift them out of poverty. No amount of material assistance will transform a community that struggles with gender inequality, domestic abuse, alcoholism, inadequate education, tribal tensions, and other cultural issues. It isn't enough to just provide things—schools, clinics, food—to a community.

I like to use the analogy of a computer's hardware and software. Poor communities do need "hardware" inputs like water wells, irrigation systems, schools, clinics and microloans. But hardware alone is not enough. Thriving communities also need good governance, committees to manage community health, water and education, savings and loan groups, business training for farmers and entrepreneurs, support groups for domestic violence victims, farmer's cooperatives, access to markets, and strategies for disease prevention, neonatal care, and child nutrition. We may also equip the community to advocate on their own behalf for better services—roads, electricity, teachers, and health workers—through their local government.
Solving the puzzle of poverty requires that we go well beyond just meeting material needs.

Working with a community through these "software" strategies provides them the foundation they will need to leverage their physical and structural assets while equipping them with the tools needed to take charge of their own development going forward.

And let's not forget that the most powerful software tool we can offer is the human transformation that comes from a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, something no government or United Nations agency has to offer. This is why the church is potentially the most powerful change agent of all.

2. Sustainable solutions require community ownership.
Americans like to fix things. Often we rush into a community, diagnose its problems, and prescribe quick-fix solutions, without taking the time to listen and learn. Imagine if the roles were reversed. How would we react if a group of Christians from Africa, upon learning that our local public school system was performing poorly, came to your hometown to help? With no knowledge of our culture, our language, our children, our schools, our political processes or the real causes of the problem, they would look rather silly to us. Might we not look the same way to them?

When we seek to work cross-culturally we need to take the time to appreciate the rich knowledge and considerable assets already present in a poor community. The people of the community are created in God's image, brimming with gifts, talents, and abilities very useful in their context. They often know a great deal about their own problems and their potential solutions.

More importantly, if we seek to solve all of their problems for them, we become more likely to create a harmful dependency than a lasting solution. This is about their community and their children's future. We can advise, encourage, help, and provide some expertise they may lack, but the community should lead and direct its own change. We simply help make it possible. When a community takes pride and ownership of its accomplishments, the solutions are more likely to be sustainable and we can work ourselves out of a job.

3. We may need to bring in the experts.
When a U.S. church sets out to construct a new sanctuary building, the pastor doesn't just post a sign-up sheet in the foyer. For big and complex projects, we hire professionals—an architect, general contractor, skilled tradesmen, and so on. There are roles for us "amateurs," maybe hanging drywall, spackling, and painting but building a new church is not a volunteer project.

Yet, when we approach global poverty—one of the human race's most intractable problems—we think we can somehow tackle it using only amateurs and volunteers. Churches call in experts to help with all kinds of things: music, accounting, audiovisual support, counseling, and building construction. Shouldn't we do the same to assist us in tackling complicated problems halfway around the world? Some of this expertise may reside within our congregations, but we will likely have to look outside as well, perhaps hiring people with the necessary skills or partnering with organizations that have experience and a long track record of success. (Interested churches can start with these two umbrella groups: InterAction is a respected secular alliance of international NGOs, with many Christian members. The Accord Network brings together Christian organizations working internationally.) Even when those with specific expertise provide project leadership, there will always be some valuable places where volunteers from your church can also add value.

4. Change doesn't happen overnight.
Be patient and stick with it. Many poor communities have been poor for decades—even centuries. They won't transform in two or three years. A church that commits to go deep and long with a community can experience the richness of relationships that come from doing God's work with God's people in a spirit of love and commitment. World Vision invests between 10 and sometimes 20 years in the communities in which we work, but the changes we see are often remarkable. Our goodbyes are often both tearful and joyful knowing that our friends can now continue their journey without us. If you don't have an exit strategy the community you are serving may never become fully independent.

A few months ago I visited a community in Honduras where World Vision had been working for 18 years. I got a glimpse of the kingdom of God coming in all its fullness. Once poor, despairing and without hope, the community was bustling with life and optimism. Farmers had been trained and organized into co-ops to gain better access to markets. Crop yields and incomes had improved. Mothers met in groups to weigh their babies, assess their level of nutrition, and help new mothers to know how to raise healthy children. Savings groups were stimulating savings, giving loans, and boosting family incomes and assets. Children had participated in leadership development programs, attended school, and grown more involved at all levels in their community. Meetings began with prayer and Bible reading, often led by the children, and local churches had become more deeply involved in people's daily lives. Bible study groups had sprung up—one founded by a former alcoholic and wife abuser who had found new faith when he came to receive agricultural training.
When Jesus told his followers to preach the gospel of the kingdom to the ends of the earth, he asked us to show the world a different way to live. He asked us to demonstrate His great love in powerful ways and to restore, redeem, and renew the brokenness in our world. There is no more powerful invitation to this new way of life than the tangible demonstration of that kingdom to people who have been broken, exploited, forgotten, and ignored.

Christians do a good thing when they eagerly respond to the needs they see around the world. Sometimes, though, as business guru Jim Collins has said, "the good is the enemy of the great." It is a good thing to give a meal to a hungry child, but it is a great thing to offer "life in all of its fullness" to that child, her family and her community and to do it with compassion, excellence, and the good news of the gospel.

Scripture says, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news" (Isa. 52:7). When we offer loving help to our neighbors in ways that allow them to live full and abundant lives, we make the good news attractive and we bring substance to that oft prayed line, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."

Richard Stearns is president of World Vision US and author of The Hole in Our Gospel and Unfinished: Believing Is Only the Beginning. Follow Rich at
Christianity Today