At our first 2 shows, we were blessed to tell hundreds of children about Jesus. They loved the puppets. They clapped and smiled. They sat in the full sun without a word of complaint. Best of all, they prayed. Loudly, they called on Jesus to free them from the sin in their lives The principal called our arrival the “ Joy Day”.They were so happy, but we are happier!
These children are desperately poor. Some were wearing rags more than clothes. I counted over 100 holes in a little boy’s shirt. Truly, he had more holes than shirt. He did not go to the school where we were doing the show but stood apart, watching. I invited him to come, but only when one of the men on our team went to him was he persuaded that it was alright. You must pay for school and in the rural areas, there are fewer schools and little money.
Presently, we are working in Buchanan. It took us four hours of driving on unbelievable roads to get here. In one 40 yard section, there were over 20 holes that the driver needed to navigate around. Many of the roads were destroyed by helicopter gun fire during the war. The children have many daily reminders of the war. Life is hard here, but in their poverty, they eagerly embrace Jesus. They are looking for hope and peace. Please hold them in your prayers!
Our friends have a plan for encouraging the children in their new faith. They left a form at every school that the children could sign if they had put their trust in Jesus. They will come back and collect the forms and talk with the children. Please pray that they will grow strong in their new faith.
On the side of the road, there was a big sign. It talked about how rats carry certain diseases. The sign advised that if you want to avoid getting sick, you should not eat rat. People make different food choices when they are hungry.
Today, I told 2 stories at each show. This is a place where children need to have hero stories in their hearts. They might be asked to take a stand for Jesus that could cause them to suffer or to die. Already, the Muslims are burning churches in the north of Liberia.
I told 2 stories together. Both were about men who loved Jesus, who loved God more than their own lives. The first story was from the 1st century A.D. The second was the story that many of us love about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and the fiery furnace. Even if it cost them their lives, none of these heroes would deny the one true God. In the first story, 40 men paid for their faith with their lives. In the second story, 3 men were miraculously delivered. Too often in the west, we have forgotten the price that faith often requires in the rest of the world. The children loved the stories. Praise God!
I have always loved the following scripture best. In Philippians 1: 21, it says, “For me to live is Christ, to die is gain.” In this hard place, my brothers and sisters focus not on the comforts of this life, but the life that comes …eternity. They understand that it is not about this life, but the life that is to come.
I am happy to report that in the last 2 years since we have been here, there have been some good changes in people’s lives. There is now electricity in the very downtown area of Monrovia, but it still only exists for everyone else if they can get a generator. This is still too expensive an option for most.
All of the power plants and water systems were destroyed during the war. The rebels used drugs which I was told made them crazy. All they wanted to do was destroy… anything… everything. The American government donated many books, but it was not near enough for a place with so many children. This place is still very broken. Please pray! Tomorrow we will be in an orphanage.
Linda for Sam and Silvana, and David