Thursday, December 30, 2010

Introducing Lindsey, Long term UMVIM Volunteer to Camphor Mission

"It is true that God may have called you to be exactly where you are. But, it is absolutely vital to grasp that he didn’t call you there so you could settle in and live your life in comfort and superficial peace." Francis Chan

I have no doubt in my mind that a short twenty-three years ago, God carefully placed me in the hands of parents and family that would raise me in Galveston, TX and in the halls of Moody Methodist Church. I have no doubt that He purposefully constructed the experiences I have had, the education I am blessed enough to have obtained, and the potential employment opportunities that are knocking at my door. I also have no doubt in my mind that He has called me to leave these things behind to go serve Him, and I could not be more excited about it.

I have an indescribable passion for international mission and have been blessed to have had the chance to be a part of many trips and adventures throughout high school and college. God has taught me about His faithfulness as He has commissioned me to do construction in Mexico, sent me to play countless hours of soccer in Belize, love on the widowed and orphaned in Brazil and Guatemala, help establish an orphanage in Ghana, hold VBS in South Africa, work with a team of therapists at a school for children with disabilities in Costa Rica, and more.

Although I should have learned a long time ago that His plan for me is far greater than the one I could create, I am in awe of the opportunity that He has entrusted me with this time around. The time I spent at Texas A&M pursuing a degree in psychology as well as the invaluable information I gained at the University of Texas University earning my Master’s in Rehabilitation Counseling have proven to be part of God’s glorious and intricate plan for me.

Although Liberia’s infrastructure and economy have begun to stabilize over the past few years, the hearts of the people are likely to still be burdened with grief and traumatic memories of the civil wars that they have experiences in the recent past. Through the community that has been established at Camphor Mission Station, I will have the honor to serve as a counselor for God’s children who are struggling with how to move forward. I am overwhelmed with God’s graciousness for giving me the opportunity to use my areas of academic interest in conjunction with my passion for mission.

I also hope to get involved in the church's ministry. Because I have seen first hand how important it is to live within a community of believers that will support your walk in faith, hold you accountable, and advise you with a heart that is ultimately for Christ, I am hoping that God will use me to help organize and establish small groups/bible studies within the community at the mission station.

As I prepare for my trip, I am seeking out those of you who will commit to praying for my full dependence upon God throughout my experience, peace for the love ones I am leaving behind, and the hearts of the Liberians I have yet to meet. Prayer and confidence in His will are the most important needs for my trip. If you would like to follow my journey, I am honored to have the chance share what God is doing in me and through my on blog at


Lindsey Brown

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Camphor Clinic

Here are the latest photos of the new Maternal Health Ward at the Camphor Clinic. Funds were donated by the Mentor UMC to begin the completion of this structure.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas Cards to support Camphor Water Wells

Jordan Martin is back with Christmas cards to benefit Camphor Mission. Designs created by kids at the Camphor Mission Station. Support the raising of funds for water wells in the villages around Camphor Mission Station.
Each package contains 16 cards (4 of each of the four designs) for a $12 donation.
Cards can be purchased at online at or on Sundays at Mentor UMC, 8600 Mentor Ave. Mentor, Ohio 44060.

Monday, November 15, 2010

East Ohio UMVIM Team

We are headed to Camphor Mission Station June 25-July 25, 2011! We are so excited to meet all of you in ministry!

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Creative Donor, being a blessing

Field of Sunflowers I (size 18” x 18”) Field of Sunflowers II (size 18” x 18”)
An Opportunity to own two Diane Arthurs signed prints….all proceeds going to an Camphor Mission Liberia Africa

I have an opportunity to help a child in Liberia Africa and hope you will help me.

Through my church, the United Methodist church of Chagrin Falls, I was given $5.00 as seed money. I am to take the $5 and multiply it in any creative way that I want. The monies I make will go to the Camphor Mission in Liberia Africa. Camphor is a United Methodist Mission that my church has been affiliated with for a few years. This mission is a clinic and school. To learn more, you can go to or Goggle Camphor Mission. Some of the children that are educated there have to walk 1-2 hrs to and from their home each day and back. We can sponsor a child, who would stay at the mission during the week and go home on the weekend, for $300.00 one year. My goal is to personally sponsor a child for one year.
God gives every one of us a talent and he has blessed me with the talent of being artistic. I have a wonderful career and business using my talent and I decided to use it, to give back.

I am putting up on eBay auction, 2 signed prints called “Field of Sunflowers I & II” These prints are each 18” x 18”. I have chosen these specific prints because right now they have been mocked up for a set of dinnerware through Lifetime Brands. This is not a DONE deal, but they mocked up the design so that a major department store will pick up the design for dinnerware. I have seen the mock ups and they are wonderful. You may have seen some of my Christmas designs in Kohl’s last year, and” Evergreen Ernie “is at www.

These prints will go on eBay today with a starting bid of $50.00. All proceeds will be going towards the Camphor Mission. If you are interested in bidding on these prints go to: and search Diane Arthurs signed print for charity.

I will personally sign the prints for the highest bidder. The closing of the bid will be November 9, 2010.
I would also appreciate it if you emailed this note out to all those on your email list. Let the bidding begin.
Thank You, Diane

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Camphor Update

From Paul Glaydor Camphor Mission Station Superintendent/Principal

Judy Olin UMVIM Guesthouse
After its completion, the first unit was used recently by two guest groups; St. James UMC (team of eight) from Kansas Missouri on October 21 (one night), and a German team(team of five) from the Christian Health Association (CHAL) that has been sponsoring TBA and other health related programs at the mission. This team actually came to inspect CHAL’s work at the mission when they got attracted by the Guest House after they lost their hotel in Buchanan to Presidential delegates attending a Cabinet retreat of President Sirleaf.

This is an area of major concern at Camphor. I am in discussion with some NGO’s regarding the feeding program. I had a very positive conversation with one of the guests who stayed at the guest house. She is associated with an American based NGO responsible for school feeding. She has promised to get us on her list of schools for feeding but that could be next year. If our partnership relationship with the Liberia Agriculture Company (LAC) is concretized by the end of this year, we should be getting some support also from that end.

UMVIM Longterm Volunteers
I am happy that a lot of volunteers are coming in next year hopefully to help with program support for the various projects. I am specifically pleased about the return of Janet Keckner and Kevin Schanner both of whom will be working with the school in the areas of teaching math and supporting the reading program/Library.

Jordan's Wishing Wells
The new hand pumps will be helpful for the village communities. Krayngar town will be the first town on my list. They are offering us land for our rubber plantation that is being arranged with LAC. Guehzeo Town and other towns could benefit at this time. This should be exciting news for the villagers. Extend our thanks to all donors who are partaking in providing “life” through safe drinking water for our people.

Camphor Guesthouse

We moved in furnitures last week. Two teams have already stayed here; St. James UMC volunteers (team of eight) and a German team from Chal (team of five). To God be the glory for great things He is doing at Camphor. May God bless all cheerful givers to this project.

Paul Glaydor

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Garfield UMC at Camphor Mission Station

Donations for the new floor made by the Garfield UMC in Pepperpike, Ohio East Ohio Conference.

Camphor Guesthouse

Friday, September 10, 2010

East Ohio 3C's Clinics are on the move!

Tom and Laurie Joyce visited Liberia in February 2010. They had a great visit and have been moved to action. Laurie is actively helping to work with the Ganta Hospital, Camphor Clinic in Liberia and the Manjama Clinic in Sierra Leone.

Laurie and Tom had a great visit with Mimi at MedWish last week! Very impressed by the scope of their operations. The three pallets of medical supplies headed for Ganta were truly overwhelming. It's hard to imagine until you are standing next to the tall pallets.(I sent a picture!!) Mimi also sent me the packing list and I am thrilled they will be receiving so much of their needed medical supplies. MedWish and Brother's Brother Foundation in Pittsburgh are working together to ship these items to Ganta. Camphor will receive some items from Medwish in the future.

The East Ohio Conference and Clinics in West Africa are a partnership at work!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Westlake UMC Block Party

Kathy Dickriede and Kevin Schaner share about Camphor Mission Station at the Westlake UMC first ever summer block party. Introducing the neighborhood to the ministries the church, worship, music, missions and clean and dirty water needs. It was an exciting event. Thanks for sharing the photo Nancy Danburg!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mentor UMW Camphor Event

Eighty or more United Methodist Women of Mentor UM Church gathered on Sunday evening, August 22nd for our first Girls' Mission Night Out. Daughters age 2 to 82(or more!) were in attendance. There was even a daughter-mother-grandmother combination in the crowd!

The evening began with the women creating their own dinner salads and the meals were only complete after creating desserts with a chocolate fountain!

Kathy Dickriede then showed slides of Liberian women and girls at work, worship and play, reminding us of our similarities. We had fun "talking" with Sarah Forsyth in Baltimore via "Skype." Sarah told us about her months at Camphor and described how her nursing skills were used at the Camphor birthing center.

The women and girls were energized by all that they had heard and were eager to create something for the folks at Camphor. So, they used their talents to either make and write notecards, or bead bracelets or prepare birthing kits.
By the end of the evening there were bracelets, letters, and completed birthing kits to be delivered to the Camphor Mission Station, in addition to an excited buzz about gathering together again, soon!

Renovations for Boy's Dorm

Staff housing and boy's dormitory renovations have begun at the Camphor Mission, I wish to inform you that I have begun the process of renovating the dormitories from funds received as miscellaneous gifts through GBGM Advance. The boys’ dormitory is being reorganized for face lift and to provide some security as I indicated in my June “Update”(See photo). The roof of the girls’ dormitory also is being worked on. These are proactive initiatives as students will be in school by next week.

We have hired four new teachers including a phonics teacher, in the kindergarten and elementary division because of the necessity to upgrade the level of the lower school as mentioned in my “Academic Report” and a Business Manager for the School and Mission. We will have to provide housing for these new staffs. Some of them are temporarily staying at my house while others will be “shagging up” with other staffs until we can arrange housing.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Peoria UMC GIC

Kathy and Danny traveled to Peoria UMC to share the Camphor Story. Peoria has been long time supporters of the Camphor Mission Station providing water, agriculture tools and funds, feeding program, scholarships, latrines, staff housing, UMVIM teams, music, school supplies, text and library books, salary support, and so much more! Thank you Peoria!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Camphor Update

I am pleased to update you on activities at the Mission since May. The last update was in April of 2010. I have however been posting sporadic information about special events at the Mission. It is my hope that this information will meet you strong in the service or our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and that it will help you as you partner with us in ministry here at Camphor.

Special Project
Funds for latrines and scholarship from Peoria were received; totaling USD 9,100.00(Peoria - $5,000.00, Latrine - $4,100.00). The latrine project was started immediately. Up to date, two units have been completed; one designated for the Teachers’ Quarter and another for the Security (Togba’s) residential community which will be proximate for the Dinning Hall staff as well (see photos). Construction of the third unit was started. We had earlier earmarked the third unit for the Clinic area so that the families of the OIC, the TBA Coordinator and other staffs in that community will have access, but upon a second thought, we intend to complete the one started by the District near the school building so that the students will have access to one upon resumption of school, considering that the OIC, the TBA Coordinator, etc. are presently using the latrine next to the Clinic. Upon the completion of this unit, if any funds are left, we will renovate the one next to the church parsonage so that residents in that community will have access to one. But, in the meantime, they have access to the one built near the Teacher’s Quarter.

Funds - Advance Gifts
Balance 40% salaries for May and all of June for teachers and other mission staff were paid out from Peoria Scholarship/Salary support. We also received undesignated advance gifts in the amount of USD 8,100.00 for the months of May and June. Part of this amount will be used to settle July salaries, begin renovation on the boys and girls dormitories, in preparation for the reopening of school and continue other projects at the Mission; i.e. on-going timber project, Palm project, housing improvement, etc. Thanks to Peoria and all cheerful givers who made this possible. It is our prayer that God will continue to shower His blessings upon you and give you what it takes to remain in the business of building His kingdom here on earth.

We closed school for academic 2009/2010 on June 27th. With school not in section, the Campus is quiet with little activity, except for the administrative staff and a few teachers retained to make preparation for next academic year (2010/2011).We are presently working on entrance examinations, recruitment of additional teachers for new courses that will be introduced and for those for which we did not have teachers last year (Geography, French, etc.). First entrance examinations were administered on Saturday, August 7 at various centers. Second entrance exams will be administered this Saturday, August 14th. This year, the number of examination centers was increased to cover other areas that are distant from the mission where parents have expressed the desire to enroll their children at the mission. These include Ganta, Gbarnga, Kakata, Unification Town, Gorblee (The Liberia Agricultural Company) community.
We intend to spread the work load of present teachers among new ones so that each teacher will be more effective. Our focus from now on will be “quality learning”, especially on the lower school (kindergarten and elementary) through a robust reading and writing skills development program. We have engaged the expertise of a veteran Phonics and Reading Skills teacher who will work with our kindergarten and lower school for three hours each week.

The School Board approved the proposed increase in tuition. Justification was to increase feeding and improve other boarding facilities, etc. We have already purchased two (2.5Kva) generators for each of the dormitories in order to provide some minimum amount of electricity for study and other activities that will be scheduled during evening hours. We will hopefully be enclosing the front way of the boys’ dormitory to have a single door at the entrance. This will ensure some level of security. The cost of doing this has been estimated at US 800.00. Total renovation; including refurbishing of beds and making additional ones, adding a Dean’s apartment at the back and painting is estimated at USD 2,100.00. Study is being done for the Girls Dormitory. It also needs some renovation. There is presently a profused leakage from the roof that needs to be corrected. Part of advance gifts received for May and June will be used to begin the process of renovating the dormitories so that we will catch up with the reopening of school scheduled for September 1st.

The mission support project launched during the closing ceremonies of the J.F. Yancy School may be getting some external support. We have just submitted an investment proposal upon request of the management of the Liberia Agricultural Company (LAC) for possible consideration. This proposal is for a partnership with that company for the planting of 36,000 rubber trees on the mission’s tree farm. This investment when concluded will hopefully generate about USD 8,000.00 monthly. Do keep us in prayer so that our God who is a God of empowerment will make this project come to fruition.

The amount of USD 675.00 was received for planting of additional rubber trees. A total of three thousand (3,000) rubber strums were purchased from this amount and are being planted. This will bring the total number of trees planted to four thousand and five hundred (4,500). As stated earlier, the Management of the Liberia Agricultural Company is considering getting in partnership with the Mission in planting some thirty-six thousand (36,000) additional trees. This will require securing additional two hundred acres of land for the mission. We have begun talking with Elders of towns and villages in close proximity to the mission for this additional land. Bishop Innis has been informed about this development, and will be involved with the negotiations for this additional land with the villagers.

The present rubber farm is being intercropped with plantain. This will also provide feeding subsidy for the students, while at the same time; hopefully provide some cash in the short-term. About five thousand plantain heads have been targeted for this project.

Land has been cleared for off-season cabbage plantation. We realize the high demand for cabbage from sale experience of the pilot project of about a few hundred heads planted last season. The department will be busy, after the on-going planting of rubber, with planting approximately 3,000 heads of cabbage. Harvesting of the palm farm has resumed after a temporary lull in production due to administrative reasons. The first consignment of “soap production” will commence next week. Funds have been allocated for this. We have engaged the services of another contractor to do the Palm Processing House due to the busy schedule of Mr. Nelson with the completion of the Judy Olin Guest House. The foundation has since been completed. Materials required to elevate and roof the structure were long since purchased and are in stock in warehouse.

The Timber production project is on-going. The mission has also got in partnership with Goah-yah Section in Wee Statutory District of Grand Bassa County for a community forest management arrangement. The citizens and elders of Goah-yah has given the mission access to their community forest covering over eight thousand hectares of tropical forest that has over 35 commercial species. We managed to purchase one new chainsaw and pit sawing is presently in progress there. Seven hundred (700) out of the targeted one thousand (1,000) 2” X 6” X 14” timbers for the maiden production of this project has been produced and awaiting transportation for market (see photos). Negotiations are on-going with the management of the Liberia Agricultural Company (LAC) to purchase the first product of five hundred pieces. The balance five hundred pieces will be reserved for roofing of the third unit of the Judy Olin Guest House. Subsequent productions will be purchased by the Liberia Agricultural Company. Total cash expected from the projected monthly production of one thousand timbers will be USD 4,000.00. These are all part of our financial sustainability program.

The Community Health Outreach program at the clinic is on-going. Immunization program is continuing. A total of two hundred and seventy-two (272) persons; including pregnant women, mothers and children were vaccinated against yellow fever, measles and polio. The TBA monthly consultative meetings and other community health outreach programs involving TBAs are also continuing. A good quantity of drugs was purchased recently from drugs fund and funds generated at the clinic. Kerosene to preserve vaccination is available.

Regular worship services continue at the James A. Garfield United Methodist Church.
Tiling of the chancery was completed and painting of both the inside and outside of the parsonage was done from funding from James A. Garfield UMC of the East Ohio Conference. Presently we have in stock thirty (30) cartoons of floor tile to continue the tiling of the rest of the church. Tiles on hand will be able to complete only twenty-five percent of the sanctuary. We are in need of more tiles and other materials for completing the renovation of the church and parsonage. Thanks to the people of Garfield (East Ohio) for the kind of partnership that continues to improve Garfield at Camphor.

Judy Olin Memorial Guest House
The first unit (Bunk House) of the Guest has been finally completed and ready for habitation. We had earlier planned to move in available furniture before Volunteer Sarah Forsyth could leave, but this was not possible because finishing touches on the bathroom was expected a couple of days before she left. The second unit (for medium term stay) is being tiled and will be completed (also ready for habitation) by next week. The delay has been due to inadvertent omission of tiles from the final estimates. We have however been managing the situation and tiles for the first unit have been provided. Sixty percent of tiles for the second unit have also been provided from undesignated gifts to Camphor. I have been in series of meetings with Bishop Innis and the Board of Trustees of the Liberia Annual Conference. Serious efforts are being made to move USD 7,000.00 worth of materials for the third unit hopefully within a week’s time. Tiles to complete the second unit will be made available through this arrangement within the next couple of days. We will need funds for interior decorations (curtains, start-up furniture, etc) and landscaping of the yard. I have given contracts out for clearing of the surrounding.

Mission Business Manager:
Efforts at getting a Business Manager for the School and Mission are yielding some results. Two applications have been received. Both applicants have degree in Accounting and are also teachers. What a blessing, after a long search. Copies of their applications and credentials have been submitted to various agencies and individuals concerned for review. Formal interviews are set for Monday, August 16th by the School Board and Mission Council after which final selection will be made. We hope to achieve this before the reopening of school.

Local Friends of Camphor
Initiatives for establishing local Friends of Camphor is also gaining some grounds. This group which will comprise of Camphor Mission alumni, former key players at the Mission, prominent United Methodists, Company representatives, Businessmen, Donors and Partners, etc., when finally established as a working unit will operate in like manner as Friends of Camphor in the overseas donor community in doing the following:

Promote the Mission in the country and community
Identify local sources of funding for the Mission
Target and gain access to social development funds of local companies, Mission Support grants, etc. for the benefit the Mission
Help identify and bring into contact with the Mission; donors, partners and other resource persons who will render program support to the Mission.
Work along with the leadership of the Mission to focus on development and expansion of the Mission.
Work in the general interest of the Mission.

We have established contacts and are presently holding talks with two individual local company representatives; Madame Theresa Doegbah, Managing Director of the Seatrans Shipping and Stevedoring Company and Mr. Edwin Nelson, Purchasing Manager of the Liberia Agricultural Company (LAC) both of whom have shown great interest in the ministry of the mission and have been doing advocacy and making financial contributions to mission support and the financial sustainability program of the Mission in recent time. Madame Doegba has agreed in principle to serve. She recently donated USD 500.00 towards Village Girls’ Education and Mission Support, while Mr. Nelson who also has been making financial contribution, is presently advocating for the mission with his company for the planting of 36,000 rubber trees for the mission’s financial sustainability program. We hope that we will be able to come across other well meaning personalities, including United Methodist who will work in the interest of the mission.

GBGM Individual Volunteer, Sarah Forsyth ended her two months stay and service here at the Mission on July 29th. She returned home on the 31st July after a 24-hour change in her flight from Monrovia. An elaborate farewell program was held which was spearheaded by staffs of the clinic. Personnel of other projects at the Mission participated. The Agriculture Department presented flowers for her participation in agricultural activities while the clinic, church and other projects made presentations. We are very grateful for having Sarah here. She served well. The new UMCOR Country Director, Cynthia Harvey arrives here at the mission on Wednesday, August 11th. A team of engineers from “Power From the Son” a U.S. based organization visited the Mission on Tuesday, August 3, to evaluate the electricity situation with the objective of preparing a proposal for electrification of the mission in the future. Discussions are on-going with a number of donors, including Ms. Sarah Forsyth for the establishment of a “staff development fund” to benefit staffs who will be willing train and to return after their training to serve the mission. This is in support of our expansion program of projects at the Mission. Ms. Sarah Forsyth also has set up a fund drive for the purchase of one utility vehicle for the mission, considering the necessity of having transportation at the Mission. The “African Car” an old twenty-one years old vehicle donated by Ganta Mission several years ago seems to be finally giving up in serving as ambulance and the only utility transportation for the mission.

Terje Wibe of the Norwegian United Methodist Church visited the mission and donated five tables and seventy-five chairs for the dinning hall at the mission, and USD hundred dollars for tuition for children of the late Jerry Innis, former instructor at the school. The tables are still at the Ganta Vocational Center, where they were made awaiting collection. We are thankful for these donations, and pray that God will grant him, the Norwegian Conference of the UMC and all donors the grace that is sufficient to continue and prosper their ministries.

It is my hope that these updates will provide information that will be helpful to your partnership with and support for the Camphor Ministry to the glory of God. May the grace, peace and love of our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ and the sweet fellowship of the Holy Spirit abide with you all as we work together to build God’s kingdom here on earth.

Telling the Camphor Story,

Paul J. Glaydor, Sr.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Kentucky Derby Party

Mentor UMC hosted a party of the Year of 100 Gatherings. the Fellowship Committee hosted a Kentucky Derby Party with appetizers, drinks, and the movie Seabiscuit. It was a fun night with all of our gambling debts going to the Camphor Mission. A fun night with big hats and all!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Unique Fundraiser

Thanks Kurt and Jan Reichert and friends from Bass Lake, Michigan! They held a Yard Sale during their two week vacation to raised over $200 for the Camphor Mission Station in Liberia. What a great way to make a difference! Thanks for being a part of this ministry.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sarah's Last Reflections on her time at Camphor

The last several weeks have been full of events at the mission. During the week of July 12-16 My Daughter’s Place, the girl’s vocational school, held a workshop at the mission with students from other vocational programs in Buchanan and Monrovia. These programs are designed to give young adults a chance to learn cooking, tailoring, carpentry, computer skills and other trades so they can make a life for themselves, as many of them were unable to attend school while growing up during the Liberian civil war. It was a week of learning, sports, fellowship and fun. Our own Anthony Jackson and John Toe from the clinic also participated in the program doing HIV/AIDS and family planning education.

At the clinic we have been continuing with vaccinations; we just received a new supply of Pentavalent vaccines (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Hepatitis B and H. Influenza) from the Ministry of Health in Buchanan, and we used it to have an infant vaccination outreach day at the Johnny Joe Town market. Sometimes the Ministry of Health runs out of vaccines and last week they (and we) were also out of the ACT (artemisinin combination therapy) tablets that we use as our primary treatment for malaria. The clinic has been using Quinine in these cases, which we is what we use as first-line therapy for malaria patients that are either pregnant or severely ill. Recently we added either Doxycycline or Fansidar when administering the Quinine, as it is more effective than the Quinine alone based on the reading and learning that I have done here and shared with the staff.

Paul recently took time to show me some sites outside the mission where Camphor has some revenue-generating projects in the works. One of these is the timber project, which is in partnership with Paul’s village of Goah-yah, about an hour’s drive from Camphor. From there it was a long hike out in the bush to the timber processing site; it felt like a real jungle trek! The workers often stay out overnight in the bush and all the timber that is produced has to be hauled out by manpower alone. The timber is used directly for building at Camphor and portions of it are also sold for profit by the mission and by the people of Goah-yah who own the land. I also toured the LAC (Liberian Agriculture Company) plantation, whose primary product is latex rubber. LAC has been involved with the mission through providing student scholarships and in assisting Camphor’s efforts to establish its own rubber tree farm. It takes about seven years for the trees to be mature enough to harvest the rubber, but it, along with many other projects, are part of a long-term plan to eventually make Camphor Mission self-sustaining. The LAC plantation itself is beautiful and we were able to tour the community there, including the tree farms, hospital, staff living areas and the club house, which is at the top of a hill with a fantastic view of Grand Bassa County.

Liberia celebrated its Independence Day on July 26th, and I spent the day with the Glaydors and Mary Gargar at the beach in Buchanan. We had a picnic of rice, cassava greens, and fufu with fish and pepper soup, and the weather was perfect- it didn’t even rain (all day!) In downtown Buchanan the streets were full of commotion; most businesses were closed except for a few restaurants and street vendors, but the streets were full of people enjoying the day dancing and celebrating.

My time here at Camphor is quickly coming to a close and I am thankful to God for the experience; it has been the fulfillment of a life-long goal for me. Although I am ready to go home and see friends and family again, in some ways I feel like I just started to really understand the culture and how I could best serve the mission, and with more time I could have made further progress. However, I have no regrets and I have made some cherished friends and have learned so much during my time here. I plan to remain in contact with Paul and to still be involved with the mission, and will hopefully be back to visit someday. An effort to raise funds for a new (used) vehicle for the mission is currently underway through the support of my friends, family and local church, so hopefully there will be a blog update on that front in the near future!
Peace and God Bless,

Sunday, July 25, 2010

News from the week of July 18th

The Camphor United Methodist Mission is a ministry of the Liberia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church in an underprivileged village community in Grand Bassa County, Liberia. The Mission is providing education, health care, Christian discipleship and community empowerment etc. for village people and their children. It operates a Junior High school, a clinic, a church an agricultural program aimed at reaching financial sustainability, etc. The leadership plans to move the school Junior High school to full high school by 2012 due to increased in number of village children moving on to high school, whose parents cannot afford the cost of sending their children to big cities for high school. This will require attracting additional qualified teachers to move and settle on the Mission which is a predominantly village setting. Creating incentives such as good housing facilities, salaries, etc will help accomplish this. The housing project is therefore being looked at as a priority.

Partnering Church
Kathy spent a great morning of worship at the Geneva UMC, sharing the stories about Camphor Mission. A good contact was made with people who may want to travel to the Camphor Mission in 2011. News about other UMVIM trips to Russia, Sierra Leone, and Zimbabwe were shared. So many opportunities for mission and ministry in East Ohio Conference.

Strongsville UMC, Christmas in July
Camphor Mission was blessed with Christmas presents of school supplies, backpacks, educational board games, and other goodies as Strongsville UMC hosted a meal and information time to learn more about the Bishop 3C's Initiative. These items will be a part of other donations being sent to Camphor Mission early 2011 on a container. Kathy and Danny Dickriede shared about the ministry that they joined at the Camphor Mission. It was exciting to meet generous members of the congregation, people who were curious about what the UMC is doing around the world, and meet other people who had served on the mission field in the past. Strongsville has been long time supporters of retired GBGM missionary Beth Ferrell. Check out the for more information about Missions and UMVIM trips scheduled for the future. See the exciting ways you can be a part of the ministry in these places.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Traditional Birth Attendants Refresher Training Workshop

The Traditional Birth Attendants refresher training Workshop at the Camphor Mission Station Clinic started from June 21-25, 2010. It was organized to provide follow-up training for the TBAs who are conducting most of the deliveries in the catchment area of the George Z. Dean Memorial Clinic.

The workshop brought together 52-participants with prior training from 40-villages plus 8-TBAs helper. However, the training was marked by many unprecedented events. During the opening, one of the TBAs felt off and was urgently rushed to the clinic. Thank God that she recovered within 3-hours. She was later sent to her village. Also, during the course of the exercise, one of the TBAs lost her baby. She was also sent back to her family. Still, another one lost her sister

The opening ceremony of the Refresher workshop was attended by the senior staff of the Camphor United Methodist Mission Station and some local authorities who expressed their full support for the overall continued conduct of the TBAs program in the catchment area.

The workshop was facilitated by two persons. The focus of the training was to educate the TBAs on how to prepare their report in order to facilitate a follow-up on whether they are doing well.
The Pre-test was an oral test. Its scores range from 0/10 - 8/10.

The following topics were facilitated under the indicated areas:
Traditional Birth Attendants Basic Information
Woman and Baby problems
Preventing problems

Woman Information
Bleeding too much
Sickness with pain and fever
Birth delay
Swelling and fits
Too many children/ family planning

Baby Information
Baby has trouble breathing at birth
Baby born too small
Baby is sick

General Health

Family planning
Child survival

Before the beginning of the trainings, the TBAs were asked to say their individual perspective of the program since it began. All of them recounted the many benefits their communities have enjoyed from the training. It was clearly revealed by the TBAs that the knowledge being acquired is helping them to address the challenges they meet on a daily basis as community Health Volunteers (CHV). The TBAs said the training is practical because what are being taught is encountered on a daily basis in their respective communities. However, they appealed to the LAC/UMC Health Program to obtain License for them to do legal practice. The TBAs also appealed for increase in the workshop’s stipend. In response to the appeal to raise the stipend given to them during the training, the Training Management said that the workshop is sponsored 100% by the Trinity Church while the Community is not providing any support. As such, they only need to make themselves available for the training in order to prevent maternal and new born death in the catchment area.

At the close of the TBAs refresher training, post-test was given. It was done orally, one at a time, with the score ranging from 4/10 - 8/10, the lower to the highest. The TBAs were very happy for the knowledge and expressed the importance of the report for deliveries.

There is still widespread involvement of the community ownership of the project as evidenced by the outcome so far.

However, there are still grave challenges that tend to undermine the successes being scored. The most of these challenges are the lack of safe drinking water, lack of mosquito nets, subsistence farming which do not provide financial income to the villagers, the bad road condition which can most often delay referral to the health centers and some villagers are still going to black baggers for purchase of drug, especially for pregnant women.

Recommendation from TBAs
Increment of stipend to 10USD
Construction of hand pumps in the villages
Distribution of mosquito nets in the villages
Up-grading of outreach program in the catchment area
Video for TBAs

Monitoring and Evaluation is still ongoing for TBAs in the catchment area every quarter.

Sanitation and health provided by Peoria UMC at Camphor

Construction of new latrines for clean sanitation began on Monday, the 4th of July. The first unit will hopefully be completed by tomorrow Monday, the 12th. Many thanks to Charles Bush and others at Peoria who continue to make improvements at the Camphor Mission Station a priority.

J.F. Yancy Elementary & Jr. High School Closing Exercises

Closing exercises of the J. F. Yancy Elementary & Junior High School at the Camphor United Methodist Mission was held on June 27. Eleven (11) kindergarten students were graduated to move to the elementary division. This was the first time for kindergarten graduation. Fifteen (15) ninth graders were graduated also to attend high school. Some students were awarded for resilience at their academic pursuits, good conduct and academic excellence, while others were expelled for gross indiscipline. Ms. Churchemar Krangar, a village girl who after being a mother of two children continued her education at the school until she graduated was honored for her determination. Student Alphonso Brown who also started as a kindergarten student and continued until he was graduated was also honored.

During the occasion, a “village girls’ education program targeted at getting a hundred and fifty (150) girls in school next academic year was launched. Launching the program, Madame Theresa Doegbah, Chief Executive Officer of Seatran Shipping & Stevedoring Company, who herself started her life as a village girl expressed her appreciation for the thoughtfulness of the leadership of the school in helping get village girls in school. She held the cheery congregation captivated as she told her own story; being an underprivileged village girl. Madame Doegbah then encouraged parents to send their school-aged girls to school as education could change their lives for better. Closing her launching statements, she offered to support student Churchemar Krangar in all of her high school academic pursuits and further donated a check of US five hundred dollars ($500.00) as initial contribution to Mission Support and Girls’ education at the Mission . Speaking also at the program was Mr. Edwin Nelson, Purchasing Manager of the Liberia Agricultural Company who also told his story being a village boy. Mr. Nelson highlighted ways in which the Mission could get support from his company and other local companies. In closing, he offered to sponsor student Alphonso Brown throughout high school and university, and donated a check of fifteen thousand (15,000.00) Liberian dollars on behalf of his family towards Mission support and village children education.

The District Superintendent of the St. John River District, Rev. G. Roosevelt Goah served as Guest Speaker. He spoke on the topic: “Focus on the Future with Hope”. Rev. Goah reminded the graduating classes that there is a future ahead of them that has hope, but it depends on the preparation they make for themselves today. He said their graduation from the J.F. Yancy Elementary & Junior High School was the first step they have made in preparing themselves for the uncertain future, and therefore they should be hopeful. He further admonished them to continue their academic pursuits.

Giving highlights of academic activities at the School for 2009/2010, the Principal and Mission Director, Paul J. Glaydor, Sr. said that out of 297 students who ended the school year, a total of 205 made strait passes (with no deficiencies) to various classes, 33 will attend vacation school to clear deficiencies and 53 failed. Mr. Glaydor then outlined plans for next academic year, which he said will include working towards attracting new and additional qualified teachers, introducing phonics as a course for the improvement of reading and spelling skills in the lower (kindergarten) classes and computer studies for middle and upper schools ( 4th to 9th grades). He also said that dormitory facilities and feeding will be improved.


SUNDAY, JUNE 27, 2010

Madame Guest Speaker, Chairperson and members of the School Board, Members of the faculty Senate, the District Superintendent and officers of the St. John River District/UMC, Directress, Department of General Education and Ministry/the United Methodist Church, County Education Office/Grand Bassa County, Government Officials, Special Guests, Distinguished invitees, parents, friends and well-wishers Ladies and gentlemen.

It is my distinguished pleasure to present to you highlights of academic activities here at the J.F. Yancy Elementary & Junior High School, Camphor Mission for the academic period 2009/2010 which ends today, June 27, 2010.

We assumed leadership of the school on March 1, 2010 from a decision of the 177th Session of the Liberia Annual Conference held in Gbarnga in February of 2010 after briefly serving as Mission Station Superintendent for Camphor Mission. From the onset of this appointment to provide leadership of the school we saw the responsibility as a big challenge, and yet, an opportunity. It was a challenge considering the several limitations and conditions of scarcity under which we would have to operate the school. A ninety percent dependence on donors for financial support, insufficient facilities and programs to motivate teachers; including inability to pay salaries for some long periods, were some of our fears. Other specific concerns were getting community people to respond to the need for early learning and supporting the continuous education of their children, the effect of indigenous village community traditions on decisions of both parents and school-aged children on schooling, and the consequent low level of girls’ enrollment at school within this community, high poverty levels of parents that would not allow them to send their children to school etc. In all of these conditions however, we found an opportunity to respond to God’s call to serve a deprived community, a community that is left behind in the contest for education, health care and prospect.

Our first response to this call was to try to create a conducive environment in which children in this community will receive the kind of education that will make them capable of meeting the numerous challenges of life with confidence, despite any limiting conditions. This meant to us first, making frantic efforts to provide incentives that will improve learning and learning conditions. Establishing good relationship with villagers and encouraging them to send their children to school in time, adhering to prescribed curriculum, ensuring professional teaching skills and methods, improving students/ teachers’ and teacher to teacher relationship, addressing discipline issues, motivating teachers and support staff for increased productivity were laudable goals. We are pleased, Madam Chairperson, to report that much of these have fallen in place, and that is why we are here today. Many thanks to you and members of the School Board, our donors both local and overseas, the Department of General Education and all those who have lent helping hands.

Academic 2009/2010 began on schedule. The doors of the school were opened and classes began on September 1, 2009 with a total enrollment of three hundred and fifty (327) students. This number included two hundred and seventy (247) community (village) students and 80 boarding students. Sadly noted, the enrollment of girls was only twenty-six percent (26%) of the total enrollment. Out of the total enrollment, thirty (30) students dropped and one (1) was expelled for gross indiscipline. The school year ended therefore with a total of two hundred and ninety-seven (297) students.

Instructional Activities
Instructional activities were carried out throughout the period under the supervision of sixteen (16) teachers. The lower school (kindergarten) had five (5) self-contained teachers, whereas the middle and upper schools (Elementary & Junior High) schools jointly had eleven (11) teachers. The various instructional departments remained active during the period in report. Mathematics, science, language arts and social studies were given major attention considering that these subjects are the focus of national examinations and foundation for future academic pursuits and professional studies. Overall academic activities at the school resulted into a total number of two hundred and five (205) students making straight passes (with no deficiency) to various classes. A total of thirty-three (33) students who have deficiency in one subject were recommended by the Academic Committee for vacation school as prescribed by the Division of General Education and Ministry of the Liberia Annual Conference/UMC and a total of fifty-three (53) with deficiency in two or more subjects failed. In the category of those who passed, we will today be graduating fifteen (15) students ten (10) boys and five (5) girls) from Junior High School to enter high school, and eleven (11) students; nine (9) boys and two (2) girls from kindergarten to primary school. Madame Chairperson, the above statistics puts academic performance at the school at seventy-nine percent (79%) which is above average. Many thanks to our able teachers and support staff for working assiduously towards achieving these goals. We are also grateful to our parents for the level of support they gave us and their children during the academic period.

As part of instructional activities several workshops aimed at improving the instructional skills of teachers were held during the period in report. In furtherance to securing qualified teachers, a number of our teachers will be enrolling at teacher’s training institutes on an in-service basis. We are making special arrangements to ensure that after the completion of their studies, they will return to the school.

Campus life of students
As stated in our report on enrollment, there are a total of eighty (80) students that are boarding on campus; fifty-five (55) boys and twenty-five (25) girls. They are resident in two separate dormitories (boys’ dormitory and girls’ dormitory). The school has ably borne the responsibility of feeding, providing lodging, medical care and doing guidance and counseling. Madame Chairperson, we would like to report that our staff has not only seen these children as students, but as members of our various families because we realize that every child needs a parent, and that these children are away from their parents. During the period in report, cordial relationship existed between these students and our faculty and staff, including other mission personnel not connected directly with the school but who are staff of other projects at the Mission Station. The school has provided them a minimum of two meals per day, safe drinking water, given intermittent electricity, provided recreational and sporting facilities and activities, nurtured them in Christian discipline and discipleship. We proffer many thanks to all faculty members and mission staffs who have helped us maintained our children on campus.

Rewards and Discipline
It is good to give people their flowers while they are alive. The Holy Scripture also states that we should not spare the rod and spoil our children. The Camphor Mission Station is a place that provides secured learning environment, supports social transformation and encourages the molding of responsible character. On account of the aforesaid, some students will be receiving award for good character while others will be receiving notice of disciplinary actions including expulsion for gross indiscipline.

We like to note that discipline here at the Mission Station is intended to correct, and not to destroy. As such, we are very careful on the process that leads to taking disciplinary action against a student. The process for disciplining students begin with classroom punishment or “special attention”, and then to work punishment or counseling on second or repeated offenses. Suspension is the third alternative and then expulsion is the final option for continuous defiance. This process is prescribed by the Department of General Education and Ministry and is standard for all United Methodist Schools. A student will be expelled who has gone through the abovementioned stages of discipline and the school’s administration no longer sees any way that he/she can improve. Against this background, Madame Chairperson, the faculty senate and the Administration of the school have unanimously decided that seven students be expelled on account of gross indiscipline and glaring academic incompetence.

Our objective of deciding expulsion is to avoid such students influencing other students of good conduct, especially those sharing dormitory facilities.

On the other hand, awards will be given to students who have demeaned themselves during their entire academic sojourn here at the school. The process of giving award is based on collaborative reports of discipline and good conduct from a majority of instructors, other mission staffs, background checks with parents and community dwellers. A second condition is the resilience of students at academic pursuit and excellence; in spite of the many odds against which this underprivileged community is existing. The following students will receive awards for good conduct, academic excellence and resilience. They are:

1. Alphonso Brown(longest staying student – from ABC to 9th grade)
2. China Dossen
3. Isaac Yates
4. Churchemar Krangar (longest staying student – from ABC to 9th grade)
5. Christiana Brooks
6. Ruth Sayuo
7. Annie Nimene

Students Alphonso Brown and Churchemar Krangar will receive “Resilience Awards”, in addition to good conduct, and academic excellence.

2010/2011 In Preview
Madame Chairperson, we are pleased to inform you of the following goals that we have set for academic 2010/2011.

1. Staff Development: As we embark on moving the school to full high school beginning 2012, the prerequisites of improving the instructional skills of teachers will be of major interest during the next school year. We will be advocating for scholarships for teacher to advance their studies in teacher training institutions. We are pleased to report that some of our teachers are already ahead of this process. Three of them have been enlisted for study at the Kakata Rural Teacher Training Institute under a government sponsored program. We will also be advocating for improved facilities; housing, salaries, etc for teachers. This we believe will attract more qualified teachers.

2. Academic Activities: Considering that kindergarten and primary education are the foundation levels of any academic pursuits, we will give these areas much attention. Every academic shrewdness depends on its foundation. Improving reading, writing and spelling skills of the lower school will be focused. We have identified resource persons who will help us introduce Phonics as a subject for the next academic year. We are also making frantic efforts to introduce French during the next academic year as required by the Ministry of Education. Information technology (computer studies) will be introduced to the middle and upper schools (4th through 9th grades).

3. Boarding facilities: As we advocate for increase in student population for the next academic year, dormitory facilities will be improved and possibly extended to accommodate more students. Electrification of the dormitories has already begun to provide reasonable “lightning time” for study and other extra curricular activities scheduled during evening time. The feeding program will also be enhanced. We are anticipating providing three meals daily beginning academic 2010/2011.

4. Girls’ Education: Realizing the low level of girls’ enrollment at school in our country and specifically in this community, it is our intention to steadily increase the percentage of girls who come to school here at the Mission. We have targeted to recruit and enroll about one hundred and fifty (150) girls during the next academic year which will put the percentage of girls’ enrollment from 26% to at least 31% for the first time. This process will continue each year until we can hopefully narrow the gap to a reasonable proportion or attain a one to one ratio.

5. Extra Curricular Activities: Madame Chairperson, subject to the School Board’s approval, we will create a Department of Extra Curricular Activities in the school that will focus on occupying the “out of classroom” time of the students with meaningful activities. These activities will include sports and recreation, academic clubs, press clubs, drama clubs, devotional and spiritual growth programs to include Bible study groups and evening services, choir, and etc.We have realized that when children are kept idle, they find anything to do. It is our responsibility as school administrators to give direction to what students do while here on campus.

6. Discipline: The United Methodist Church and the United Methodist School System give us the charge to develop in students Christian principles and moral standards. Doing this will require relentless efforts to keep a well demeaned student population. In order to ensure this, students and parents will jointly be required to sign a “behavior bond” prior to admission. In addition, our discipline process as prescribed in the Handbook of United Methodist Schools will be strictly adhered to. Students who are found to be grossly indiscipline and perform very poorly in their academic activities will be expelled.

Madame Chairperson, distinguished guests, parents, in closing, we wish to extend many thanks to our students, parents, donors and all who helped in making academic 2009/2010 a smashing success. As we will embark upon the journey into 2011/2012, it is our hope that you will continue to give us your support and cooperation so that together, we will mould the minds of your children, in order that our homes, our church and society will be better places to be. Long live the J.F. Yancy Elementary & Junior High School, long live the Camphor United Methodist Mission.

God bless you.

Submitted: Paul J. Glaydor, Sr.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Checking in again…

The days have been going by quickly here in Africa! Most weekdays I am at the clinic from 8am-4pm, seeing patients along with Mary, the resident RN. The majority of the patients are either pregnant women or young children, and more than half of the patients that come in are treated for malaria. We don’t have the ability to do many diagnostic tests, so we often have to “do our best” and treat based on the patient’s symptoms, history and physical exam. As I am learning, medicine in the rural tropics is very different! Other ongoing activities at the clinic include oral polio vaccination for children and onchoceriasis medication distribution throughout Camphor and other surrounding villages. I have tagged along a few times with Agatha, the clinic registrar to administer polio vaccines and it has been an interesting experience to travel on foot to the different villages and go inside people’s homes. Our clinic director, Meleiah, has been distributing Ivermectin as part of a nationwide campaign to prevent and treat onchoceriasis, or “river blindness”, which is caused by a parasite transmitted by the bite of a black fly. The medicine has to be given every year for several years in order to be effective, so she has been making her yearly rounds with “the stick” to measure people’s height so that they get the right dose.

One recent highlight was the trip to Monrovia from June 9-11. My primary reason for traveling was to buy drugs and supplies for the clinic, but I was also able to do a little sightseeing as well, which was nice. Paul, two of the students at Camphor and I all started the journey in the African car, but it broke down about an hour after we started driving. After trying to find and fix the problem himself with no success, Paul sent me ahead with a group of travelers that agreed to take me part of the way for a small fee and then find me a taxi. I felt a little bad for leaving them behind! Thankfully the necessary repairs were made quickly with some professional help, and Paul and the students made it safely to Monrovia later that evening.

I also recently visited Ganta United Methodist Mission up north in Nimba County with Nyamah and Helen, who are both UM missionaries both working in Monrovia. We happened to be there when the school was having an end-of-the-year concert for the students and we were treated to the soulful sounds of a fantastic local gospel choir and a band all the way from Arizona in the US. I was also able to tour the hospital and eye clinic while I was there. Ganta Hospital is definitely a much bigger place than Camphor, with full-time physician staff, inpatient units, and even a nursing school. There are several permanent missionaries that live there and mission teams coming through all the time. It was good to see what it was like, but it also made me glad that I am “stationed” at Camphor where I definitely feel needed.

Another recent event was the TBA refresher training, where I helped teach and answer questions along with Meleiah. It was a nice change of pace from work at the clinic. We also had the school commencement program on June 27th. The outgoing 9th grade class and the kindergarten class celebrated their graduation, and many of the other students were present to support their classmates. Everyone at the mission spent the last several weeks preparing for the program; preparing the students report cards and certificates, painting the mission gates, re-surfacing the road and cutting the grass. Now Paul and the mission staff can rest (at least for a little while!) after a successful program.
More next time!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Judy Olin UMVIM Guesthouse

The Guest house is on “finishing”. I really did not know that the “finishing touches” (smoothening of external walls and pillars, tiles laying, painting, etc) was the most meticulous stage of construction. Mr. Gbaa says so. It’s taking some time. We are however slowly, but surely getting to completion of the two units.

Liberia comes to East Ohio and Mentor UMC

Shaffa Seward, Liberia Annual Conference UMVIM coordinator arrived in East Ohio on Sunday, June 13th. Shaffa spent time at Lakeside for Annual Conference and then shared in ministry with the Jr. High Mission Group at Mentor UMC. The photos of our attempt to cook Liberian rice and beans and plantains, YUMMY, and of us hauling water and filling up larger vessels for washing and cooking. Shaffa and the group watched Pray the Devil Back To Hell and learned about the realities of life in Liberia and their history of war. A great time with one another.