Liberia – A Land of Many Languages*
Liberia is a country struggling to recover from two civil wars almost back-to-back ending in 2003. The infrastructure outside of the capital city of Monrovia is almost non-existent. Apart from the rough roads, driving through the Liberian countryside is a beautiful experience. There are hundreds, if not thousands of of villages hidden deep within the jungle. Outside every village is a “secret forest” where they will go to worship demons with animal, and sometimes, child sacrifices. Witch doctors are believed to be so powerful that Liberian politician and businessmen will go to them for power through their witchcraft incantations and rituals. This is the mission field for a small band of warriors; pastors and evangelists with the Christian Revival Church of Association of Liberia, led by Dennis Aggery and his U.S. born wife, Vania. CRCA is our ministry partner in Liberia.
On our first journey to Liberia in 2014, our team was met by an IMB missionary and two of her national helpers. We departed on an eight-hour journey to the village of Konia where fifteen young pastors and evangelists greeted us. Most of them walked for hours to meet us. They were expecting some teaching and training that we had not planned on. We rapidly put together a four-story evangelism story set and after learning each story, the students were sent out in the village to share with someone; they would return excited, “someone liked the story and wanted to hear more”.
After finishing, Stephen, the head pastor, told us, “If we don’t know what to say, we cannot go to the field. If we don’t know how to say it, we don’t have courage. What you have given us is very valuable. You gave us the tools and the courage to go to the field.” With that it was decided that you, members of First Arnold, would adopt the Loma People. A few months later we returned and visited another tribe, the Kpella people. The response to the training was equally enthusiastic. Pastor Kenny said, “We cannot not come back.” We now have two adopted people groups: the Loma and Kpella.
Unfortunately, shortly after that visit the Ebola epidemic broke out in Liberia. That prevented us from going back for nearly three years. But that time was not wasted. God led us to recording a sixty-six Bible Story set on solar powered audio players in the heart language of 2 people groups in Senegal. God is doing amazing things with these devices, or as the Konyagui call them “little radios with God’s Stories.”
Three years later in January 2017, we returned to Liberia with the objective to record all sixty-six stories in the heart language of our two adopted tribes, the Loma and the Kpella. The recordings were made, back-translations were done, and a few errors were discovered. The brothers would gather to discuss how to rephrase a sentence or thought to capture the intent without distorting God’s Word. They would then be re-recorded. When the translations were completed, we placed them on the MegaVoices. William and Emanuel, the Kpella translators, took them home to share their “Treasures” with the pastors and evangelists there. The MegaVoices now have a new name; they call them “Treasures”.
Our team then traveled on to Konia, the base location for the CRCA. Our translators Moses and Sampson were also the evangelists to the Loma people and would be our escorts as we endeavored to visit nineteen different villages to distribute the “Treasures.”
Visiting these villages is an experience you will never forget. Whenever we would enter, someone would ring a “call to worship” bell, which would be an old truck wheel hanging by a rope from a tree, and people would begin to gather inside their little bamboo/mud church building. Then Moses or Sampson would introduce us and tell them about the “Treasure” with God’s Stories. They would demonstrate how to use it and the excitement would begin to mount as they listened to the stories in their heart language. Soon someone would start singing, then drums and the shaker gourds until worship broke out. This would happen in every village, seeing the excitement and hearing the response for these small bands of Christ Followers who will otherwise only hear from God’s Word once every few weeks when their evangelist would visit. Now they can hear, learn, and grow from God’s Word from recorded stories in their heart language.
We were able to distribute about half of the Loma Treasures during our brief visit. The remaining went with Moses, Sampson, James, and other Evangelists as they trek into the jungle to visit villages that can only be reached on foot. These amazing evangelists can only remain in a village for a day or two because of their jobs and families. They are on no one’s payroll. They are driven by a passion to share Jesus with their countrymen.
In March 2018 another FBCA team will return to Liberia. This Journey will go in two waves. The first will be the recording team; they will record the stories in two new languages, the Bassa and the Mandingo. After those recordings are completed the second part of the team will join them and journey to Peytoe Town for their Medical Missions as well as distribute the MegaVoices to the Bassa people and train them in how to use these “Treasures” enabling them to Evangelize and make Disciples of their tribe.
In November, another team will visit the Mandingo people where they will do Medical Missions and distribute and train the leaders there on the use of the MegaVoice. Please pray that God will continue to provide the people and resources for this upcoming Journey with Jesus.
So, then…writes Paul…faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. FBC Arnold, because of your faithfulness in giving to the Missions Offering and those of you who have given specifically for the purchase of the MegaVoices there are now four, and soon to be six, of the unreached tribes in West Africa who can, for the first time, hear God’s Word in their heart language and respond to the urging of the Holy Spirit.