Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Reflections from some volunteers.

Two teams made up of members from Mentor United Methodist Church
served at the Camphor Mission Station, Liberia, West Africa this summer.
Read on as they share some of their thoughts and experiences.

June 25-July 11 Tom Holt & Laura Vidmar
July 9—25 Rhonda & Larry Hoon
Paula & Bob Coleman

From Laura . . .
When we received our commissioning for the trip to Camphor Mission, we were given a rock and scripture was read from the book of Joshua. In the scripture, Joshua was commanding the people to place rocks as a reminder of what God had done for them that day. We were asked to take our rock to Liberia and to leave it somewhere we felt the presence of God most strongly.

The rock that I carried was left under the front seat of our Land Rover. It was in that Land Rover that three of us set out in the very dark of night to make the journey from Camphor Mission to the government hospital in Buchanan, carrying with us a Bassa woman who was very near death. I prayed ardently throughout the trip for any number of different things. First that we would all arrive safely in Buchanan, later that if we didn’t we would not be left in pain along the roadside. God quickly answered those prayers and we delivered our patient to the hospital where she received life-saving surgery. The following day we returned to Buchanan in that Land Rover to give blood for her to continue to help her to heal. That didn’t go smoothly for me and I overheard others of our group consider the possibility that I might need to remain in that hospital overnight. When I was able I told one of my fellow travelers, ―If you can just help me to the Land Rover I will be alright.‖ He did and I was. In the weeks that followed, a young Bassa boy was not as fortunate and ended his fight with malaria in the same Land Rover making the same trip.

My overwhelming thought while in Liberia—at Camphor Mission, in Buchanan, in Monrovia and most notably in the Land Rover—was ―Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place.

Rhonda Hoon . . .
The maternal health clinic at Camphor Mission has painted walls courtesy of Tom Holt. Paula Coleman and I installed a tile floor with the help of a local contractor and other clinic staff. During this time a baby girl was born. God gave us the opportunity to work for and with the women from Grand Bassa County.

Paula Coleman . . .
I think that it is great fun to sing and play games with children. At Camphor Mission I had the opportunity to spend parts of five days doing what we termed ―VBS.‖ It was different than VBS at Mentor UMC because we never knew who was coming and we were also not always able to communicate directly with all of the boys and girls (as most of them used Bassa and Liberian English). So, our expressive hand motions and some translating made VBS fun and exciting for the 25-80 children
that came on different days. We had a great time together.

Bob Coleman . . .
One of my projects at Camphor Mission was to get a solar panel kit (donated by Jim & Mary Lou Haines) up and running. Working with Emmanuel Josiah, a Camphor teen, we assembled the kit and tested a light bulb that came with the kit. All who were watching were amazed to see it light up. As there is no electricity at Camphor their only ability to create power is through a generator that runs off gasoline that costs about double the U. S. price, if you can haul it the hour and a half trip to and
from Buchanan, the nearest source. After our initial set up, every morning I would place the components out for Emmanuel who would assemble the panels on his own, hooking them up to a battery storage device. The panels were able to create sufficient power that we could run a fan and Rev. Kathy was able to charge her computer. We supplemented our physical work with some reading about solar energy which Emmanuel and others soaked up like sponges. They were amazed at the size and scope of some of the solar arrays that exist around the world that power entire cities. Perhaps the Camphor Mission solar project will create a budding solar engineer!

Larry Hoon . . .
I was given the responsibility to disassemble the church pews donated by the Andover church and re-assemble them when we arrived at Camphor Mission. With help from Bob Coleman, Matthew (our driver) and Stephen (a 15 year old student at Camphor), we had the pews together and in place at the church in time for service on Sunday.

The following week, Stephen and I took some extra pieces from the pews and made some more comfortable sitting benches at the girls’ dorm. We also tightened up as many of the wobbly school desks as we could. Working with Stephen was the highlight of my week. We shared water and food. I found him to be a quick learner and a hard worker. When I asked him if he was ready to quit for the day, he said, ―I’m with you,‖ meaning he was done when I was done. He made me stretch

Dr. Danny & Rev. Kathy Dickriede will again travel to Camphor in January 2012 returning home in early March 2012. You are invited to join them in ministry at the Camphor Mission Station in Liberia, West Africa. The next dates for Camphor Mission Station UMVIM Trips — January/February/March 2012.

Brochures and applications available from Becky & Charlie Suran, UMVIM coordinators at MUMC – or Kathy Dickriede,

UMVIM, United Methodist Volunteers in Mission is the UMC arm of the General Board of Minis-
tries that provides a way for everyone to serve and share the love of God in ways that make a Chris-
tian difference.