Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Sunday morning at Camphor Mission and Garfield UMC

Church is the place to be on Sunday morning at Camphor Mission.

To begin, our 45 minute walk from the village had us arriving totally soaked in our Sunday best but our sweaty bodies were more noticable to us than anyone else! What acceptance of all people just as they are! The "church bell" was a tank hanging from a tree but rang true to start the worship. Families walk hours to get there some carrying their own chairs up the steep steep hill to the church as pews were destroyed in the war. Many just stand or sit on the dirty dusty floor.

Arthur our "adopted parent, guide, and brother" greeted and registered the offerings that were so full of weath as given with cheerful hearts, Service erupted with song, dance, and praise and never let up. Our worship included the good bye to Rev Roosevelt as he took new assignment, the welcome of Rev Kulah, guitar music by Matt and Jamelle, babies sleeping at our feet and a spirit that lifted us off our seats more than once.

How we did not want this time to end. Until next time we keep all in heartfelt prayer.

Written by Sandy VerDuin, Garfield UMC

Bible Beat, Garfield's ministry with Garfield at Camphor

"Being showered with so many blessings as we spent time building community among our brothers and sisters in faith is my most treasured gift from our service at Camphor Mission." Sandy

Bible Beat
Ten young adult students on the day wer arrive spent the afternoon building a base for our team to lead the week's daily VBS program for 100 students in the HOT afternoon hours. Ice breakers, games, discussions, food, smiles and God's grace and love bonded our hearts together to make an amazing week of ministering to the children ourselves and each other. How blessed we were to be in their presence. No work just working on friendships, acceptance and loving one another.

The next day we came together again and did Leadership Training- yep just like in the states to help empower them to have confidence, compassion and have teaching tools to be group leaders for our three age groups ranging from 4year-20+. They were such good leaders! naturals! How wonderful it was to see them take ownership, how eager they were to be treated as the responsible, fun and energetic adults they are. One 7th grade student leader was older than Matt and has asked for a man's suit so the students will know that he is a teacher to lead them through the Bible!

Bible Beat was the first program at Camphor to have physical rotations so each leader received a watch to be sure to rotate on time. WOW what an esteem booster from a $10 watch! After each day we met and reflected on what went well and what could be betters. It only took one day for them to learn that this wasn't our program but theirs and by the end of the week all were participating with ideas and discussion. WIth new Bibles in hand and notebooks, they quickly seized the opportunity to be heard and lead. What holy moments to have walls fall down and get the spirit ignite such growth!

The week went so well, the kids had such a good time, scripture was taught and learned, and 10 leaders were born. Paul, the director and principal at the Camphor Mission, personally thanked each one and with them and the religious teacher, they are implementing a Bible Beat class every Friday! Now we just need to get them lots more curriculum. Yes, we brought program ideas and supplies but we received such wealth in seeing them take it and make it their own. Working together, seeing and hearing how God works in others to help our journey continue. Thank you Lord.

Reflections by Sandy VerDuin

Reflections from Garfield (East Ohio) at Garfield (Liberia)

Travelers, Sandy VerDuin, Matt Wills, and Jamelle Jones spent a week at the Camphor Mission.

First was the trip to Buchanan to shop for tiles that were being provided by sister church in Pepper Pike, Ohio! Yep, all crammed together in the jeep about 100 degrees- jeep goes caput in the middle of no where - but were we really out of God's reach? No way! Enter dust on the road and here comes the former Defense Minister-plntation owner extraordinaire in his new truck to give us a lift to town! Unbelievable!

Returning to the church---Construction work at Camphor Mission was a wild and holy joyous event of community as the blessings that were recevied to make life a little bit nicer were truly celebrated! Ages 4 through elderly pounded scraped, shoveled, loaded and hauled cement and tiles as we removed old tiles from the church floor to ready for 'the man' to lay new tiles. Even when 'the real mason' showed up his love overflowed as little ones helped him LAY the tiles! Just when I thought this patience and love couldn't be more precious teen boys kicked off CHRISTMAS CAROLLING in high soprano voices in 95 degree heat! Abosolutely the icing on the cake! No one saying no kids allowed, construction in progress don't enter- it was God's house and all of God's children doing His work. What an honor to experience such joy!

Written by Sandy VerDuin, Member at Garfield UMC, East Ohio Conference

Quilts for Camphor

With the help of volunteers from the East Ohio Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, a suitcaseful of Operation Healing Hope baby quilts left for Liberia on Friday, March 5. We look forward to getting a full report from our mission colleagues when they return.

Thanks to all who contributed their Advent Visions quilts for this shipment and thanks to Sandy for helping us get them to Camphor Mission. There will be more quilts sent, so keep them coming! We also plan to display them at our booth at the United Methodist Women Assembly in St. Louis April 29-May.

Picture sent by Sandy VerDuin, Garfield UMC and words written by Jill Wiley, Board of Church and Society

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

An update from Paul Glaydor, Mission Station Superintendent and Principal

We were able to pay March salaries!

I also made contact with J.J. Roberts Educational Foundation while in Monrovia. There are also two checks totaling 16,000.00LD to be picked up by next week. One is for salary support and the other is for scholarship for three students. Parents are still paying fees through ECO Bank. I picked up few slips while in Monrovia. Regular reminders to them concerning unpaid tuition are being done. We will be more aggressive on this when close to the 5th period at which time students will risk being sent home for unpaid fees.

We had first faculty meeting successfully last week. The teachers all overwhelmingly resolved to work along with the new leadership to move the school forward towards vision 2020. Relationships, discipline of students and teachers, academic excellence were focused. Occupying student’s day with meaningful activities was also highlighted. Weekly assembly programs, Joint evening services during weekends(Saturday & Sunday evenings) etc. were suggestions. Sandy Verduin (East Ohio volunteer) program (“Bible Beat”) was one of the specific programs adopted. Rev. Joe Giahque, head of the Religions Department of the school was appointed to help coordinate this program. It seems that we will have a new “team” to work with. Still looking forward with expectations.

The school is participating in the county sports tournament, the Inter School League for the first time. The good side of this is that the Mission and the school have been getting much publicity and exposure to the public. This, we anticipate will increase student population during the next academic year.

We still have School Board meeting ahead of us. It was delayed because I had to familiarize myself with activities of the school before making presentation at Board meeting. The School budget (considering the proposed increase in tuition) will be highlighted among other issues. I have been having some meetings with the D.S. on Local Church scholarship issues in advance of the new and realistic fees payment scheme We are trying to figure out a way through which the local churches will accept the new fees or at least collectively raise funds to increase support of these scholarship students should the school board approve.

The 6th and 9th graders are now gearing up for WAEC. Mock (demonstrative) exams will be administered the end of this month (April). Teachers have already completed drawing up mock exam questions.

Alvin is keeping up with records and acting as Business Manager. We are now in the process of preparing the monthly report of accounting for both GBGM funds and other income for March, 2010. The Guest House accounting will be ready hopefully by the weekend.

Cabbage has been transplanted and now bulging (see photos). More okra planted on newly cleared farm. Corn is being planted as well. More cassava planted and growing. We have harvested more palm oil (now two drums and half drums on hand). I just received a letter today from a “team” that is coming exclusively for Oil Palm at Camphor. Exciting. Still cutting bundles. Will be processing again this weekend. The soap making guy will be coming in next week. Foundation of the Oil Palm and soap processing house to which the Minnesota and East Ohio Teams donated will begin this weekend. We have concluded a contract for this. As a cost saving measure, we will use mostly local materials (dirt bricks, rafters, etc), but zinc roof with concrete pillars. Nelson has made an estimate of USD 2,900.00. I have also contracted with some villagers from Guehzeo town for under brushing the palm farm for the first time. Subsequent under brushing will be done by agriculture workers. Clearing for more vegetable plantation is on-going.

Although the chainsaw gave us so much trouble, we have not abandoned the Timber project. Since it is now a bit stable, we have located a new forest where the guys have prospected and got good results (lots of logs). We have already concluded a deal with the villagers there. The chain saw crew will be moving there by mid next week to begin felling and ripping. We expect to make about one thousand pieces (two loads) of 2 x 6/2 x 8 for further conversion to 2 x 2 and 2 x 4. Within one month. Transporting the timbers to Camphor or to market could be a challenge, but we are becoming more optimistic about providing timber for the last unit of the Guest House and other constructions on the Mission.

We were able to cross-cut two ovens of wood for charcoal making from our own farms (rubber and vegetable farms). Two ovens will probably make one hundred and fifty bags. We also purchased an old farm for wood to be cross-cut. From the volume of wood on that farm we should be able to make another three ovens.

TBA training began on Monday at the Clinic. This, Meliah (OIC) and Vic (Conf. Health Coordinator) said is advanced level for the last group of 35 that was earlier trained from 15 villages. Mary Davis, John Toe and Anthony have being running the TBA follow-up and inspection schedules. They (John Toe and Anthony) are doing HIV awareness throughout the villages. Health education and preventative health is being stressed by the clinic administrators. Vaccination of babies, prenatal and well baby clinical services are on-going. The quilts that were donated through the Board of Church and Society, Meliah said will be distributed among the TBA’s at the end of this round of training. Alvin withdrew funds for more vaccine. Good news! Bob Gibbs donated a new motorcycle to the clinic to enhance the outreach program of the Clinic to the TBAs.

The main campus of the Mission is being kept clean by the Service Department. The long awaited lawn mowers are now being repaired. I visited Othello today when I was in Buchanan and saw them dismantled and being reassembled. The old and torn-up frames and tires have been welded and reconditioned. The delay, he said was in getting the spare parts. One or two will be ready by this week-end he told me. This will increase the work capacity of the field workers. I can reassign a couple of them for thicker bushes while others use the mowers for the low soft field grass cutting.

I am in the press frequently about Camphor and the public is getting conscientized about happenings at the Mission, I can meet with the Superintendent and make a presentation to her and to see if she can assist in getting BRE or some local company to help with our road and some of the work on the Mission that needs heavy machine. This is one reason that we need this Camphor Mission Contact Group that I have proposed. These are the kinds of things this group can do for the Mission.