Sunday, February 24, 2013

What's happening!

Bishop Hopkins is on his way!  He is arriving at Camphor Mission any moment now!  He is bringing Judy Claycomb, Steve Court and Rick Wolcott with him!  A big welcome ceremony is planned for tomorrow with Bishop Innis and the whole mission station followed by a soccer game.

Dave Scavuzzo and Lauren Ring preached in different churches today.

Kevin Ring is working on fine tuning computers for the upcoming computer lab.

Sharon is sewing curtains.

Bethany, Leah, and Sabrina are making bracelets with the girls in the dorm.

Scott Low is on his way home!

Josh is playing with the little children and is going into the bush to set traps.

Lauren is fixing hand bracelets and is friends with Aaron.  "She is a good woman," says Kelvin.

Steve is working in agriculture and enjoying the Change the World bible study with the Liberian pastors and laity from Garfield UMC.

Ginny is teaching mathematics she is helping for the children to learn.  The children helped her hang up maps in their classrooms.  We call her Cheaplema which means book woman!  Mathematics every day!

Danny is learning more Bassa and leading hikes to the villages.  He took a bag of rice to Cecelia and earlier we had taken her a prayer shawl.  Before we came Cecelia had been burned by boiling water and fire. Danny is dazzling people with the Bassa he already he know!  He dazzles everyone but Kelvin who says he needs to learn more Bassa.

Kathy is helping the little children send letters to people in America.

Everyone is playing with kids on the front porch!

Life is good on the Camphor Mission!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Through the eyes of Lauren Ring today at Camphor Mission!

There are many new experiences in one day at Camphor, and so I have Bethany Lewis, who is keeping a careful journal, reminding me of all that this day holds.  She brought up our competitive oatmealing (a missionary sport from the brilliant and twisted mind of Danny Dickriede) in which breakfasters see who can make the most creative oatmeal.  Awards today went to Kevin Ring for most unusual (I am not surprised) as he sprinkled coffee grounds into it, and to Sabrina Snell for the most toppings in a single bowl.

Bethany, Lauren Greene, Kevin and I finished patching screens in the guesthouses by sewing with needle and thread a piece of screen onto and over a hole.  Keep the bugs out!  Since we are in the dry season, we have not seen as many insects as I would have expected, especially as we hike through the jungle to visit nearby villages.

Leah, Sabrina and Sharon Snell along with Bethany continued to paint today in the some of the classrooms.  Some of the children have been helping them put up the alphabet and numbers on the walls.  It really brightens up the rooms, and helping with visual learning!  Many of the classes we visited on our tour of Camphor on the first day had memorized a unison greeting to say to welcome us.

We had a treat for lunch again today: fresh pineapple!  This is the best version of pineapple any of us has ever tasted.  Irene, a Liberian who works for Camphor, prepares us wonderful food which includes rice and some kind of stew with vegetables, fish and/ or chicken.  Today was a bean stew that many people enjoyed.

After lunch, several in our group hiked into Goba, a nearby village.  This hike was considerably shorter than yesterday's almost 4 hour trek, which was worth the exertion to meet the people of farther villages, and see the difference made by the water wells Camphor has installed with the support of many churches and individuals.  We went to Goba to visit a woman who make fish traps out of grass which are both functional and works of art.

Along the way, we visited Cecilia, who is a Camphor Mission cook, but is healing up from a recent injury.  She fell into a fire and burned her arm badly, but is healing well.  Danny delivered a bag of rice since she can't work right now.  We have heard that she has greatly appreciated Danny and Kathy checking in on her and encouraging her as she waits for her strength to return.

When we found the woman who would make our fish traps, we found her working to plant cassava, a staple of the Liberian diet.  It is used to make "foo foo," and I have no idea if I am spelling that correctly!  It is used in place of rice with stews at lunch.  Liberians don't eat dinner, and that has been an adjustment for many of us.  It frees up alot of time in the evening and makes it hard to overeat, which are good things!  Lunch here (at 1:30pm) is more like our dinner, and time is spent making a proper meal, whereas many of us Americans don't take much time for lunch and eat much less.

What was amazing about the woman planting cassava was the fact that she is about 87 years old!  She is still working hard, and will take the next week to make our fish traps, which we will pay about $5 USD each for.  Liberians operate on USD and LD (Liberians Dollars) in most markets and trading.

We saw a boy in Goba who had a toy that nobody in our group could master.  He was running with a gear like wheel and holding it steady with his stick and nail through the end of it.  Some other boys at the Mission had created a toy with a leaf and a stick that rotated like a pinwheel when they ran with it.  Danny told them "See, you don't need no Gameboy!"  :)

We carried water from the pump today, since the generator has been down, which with a lot of people helping is not so bad.  This water serves the group for bucket baths, boiling for drinking, washing dishes, and flushing the toilet.  Josh Low was the winner here, as he fashioned a hat like the Liberian women have, and balanced the bucket on his head to carry back to the house.  The women are extremely talented at carrying things on their heads!

We have WiFi for 2 hours when the electricity comes on from 7-9pm (when the generator is running), and this is a fairly recent development.  Camphor continues to make strides to help those around here, and with each person who invests time and resources, Liberians are more empowered to rebuild their country from the devastation the wars caused.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Reflections from Dave Scavuzzo about Camphor Mission Station

We have been trained to have opinions. I mean we live among a people who love to give view points on everything from economics, global warming, church growth, conference polices, legislation, physics and even the very mind of God even when there are few facts in our minds and little experience in our history. I’m here in Camphor finally without too many opinions and simply trying to take in the wild, beautiful, other worldly people and country of Liberia. All the clich├ęs that I heard seem to be true to the mind but utterly shattering to the heart. The people, the poverty and the way of life, breaks the heart and allows in that space a new presence of God. How can one simply form an expert assessment of those kinds of things? Just today alone were attended a welcoming ceremony where the children sang to us and the very hospitality of Christ was offered. The children of the school invited us to a prayer celebration that was lead by the students. Yesterday we hiked to a bush village were United Methodist Christians bought clean water to their village by installing a well two years. As they people figured out we were connected to those “Methodists” they bought out chairs from their thatched huts and compelled us to sit in the shade. The kids are wearing our team out with invitations to play football and play any kind of game. I wonder at the very hospitality of God. It seems at Camphor, we can’t escape from smiles, hugs, being played with and showered with words of grace and acceptance. Generous treatment of folks who most would consider strangers and behaving as though we were family seems the order of the days. I’m not sure what to think about so much of this first impression other than to know that we have been in the presence of a people who trust in a God who accepts us with delight and wild generosity. So no firm assessments yet on what to “think” but instead an impression of joyful, openhanded and unspoiled invitation to see God in a new way through a people and a culture who reflect with beauty.

Monday, February 18, 2013

UMVIM Teams in Liberia

UMVIM Team 1 with Cara, Georgette, Teresa, and Sue headed home after a fun and meaningful time in Monrovia.  We visited with missionaries to learn more about education and life in Liberia, worshiped at First UMC and at the Liberia Annual Conference, we canoed to the island with chimpanzees, experienced West Point and the John Kofi Asman UMC School, ate and visited with friends!  What a blessing their presence was in Liberia!  All of our life will never be the same. 

Ginny Logan remained at Camphor Mission to continue teaching math  and begin work on the new Africa map that will go on the wall in the school.

UMVIM Team 2 has arrived!  Dave, Steve, Sharon, Sabrina, Leah, Lauren, Kevin, and Lauren are now with us!  We spent our first day working on basketball hoops, hiking to a village to see a new water well, seeing Buchanan and ordering dresses, touring the mission,, and welcoming boarding students back on the mission!  The school day is beginning again!  We are excited to see what God will do with this group! 

Scott has started a new bible study with the clergy and a few laity on the mission.  He is using the Mike Slaughter Change the World curriculum.  Should be holy conversation about how God is leading Liberia and Camphor Mission to impact the world for God!  Stay tuned for more news and stories! 

Peace Kathy Dickriede


Monday, February 11, 2013

Cara Stultz-Costello preaching at James A. Garfield UMC on the Camphor Mission.

Missions in Liberia | Teen Essay | Teen Ink
During the summer of 2011 I had the opportunity to go to Liberia, Africa on a mission trip for the U

UMVIM Team 1 2013 Updates

Cara is . . .
Preaching, playing with children and participating in teacher training.

Georgette is . . .
Preaching, painting, hemming curtains and reading with children.

Teresa is . . .
Co-leading teacher training, helping teachers with lesson plans and visiting with staff on the mission.

Ginny is . . .
Co-leading teacher training and teaching maths to the children who are eager to learn.

Sue is . . .
Painting, hemming curtains, designing dresses and learning how to plant cassava.

Josh is . . .
teaching lacrosse, throwing Soclo in the air and hunting with a rubber gun through the bush.

Scott is . . .
painting, following a plumber around the house and negotiating Liberian contracts.

Danny is . . .
hiking in the jungle to see the water wells we put in last year, working with Solo B. and riding the motorcycle into Buchanan to get supplies.

Kathy is . . .
hosting the group, visiting with friends, holding babies, checking on projects and working with the administrators.

We are having a great trip.  Much passion and many ideas for future visitors at Camphor Mission!  Please keep us in your prayers!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Progress on the Camphor Mission Station

Showers, running water!
Flushing toilets, well some of them
Leaky plumbing, the trade off
Plastering teacher quarters, GREAT improvement
2 classrooms with a fresh coat of paint
Generator and internet access

A great welcome ceremony for new guests and old friends!

Upcoming events
Relationship building
Hikes to villages
Teacher training, Thursday, Friday and Monday
Decorating classrooms
Puppet making
Distribution of sanitary kits
and more!

Stay tuned for updates!
Prayers and peace!
Kathy Dickriede