Liberia & Ghana Trip Report
What an amazing time we had in Liberia and to the Buduburum Refugee Camp in Ghana!
Four wonderful weeks from July 24th to August 21.
We arrived in Liberia the day before their big Independence Day celebrations, bringing in a team of 7. There were so many highlights on this trip that it is hard to choose which ones to mention. God opened up so many doors that will continue to impact this nation.
July 26thLiberia’s Independence Day was a day of celebrating with our widows and youth at the Discipleship Training Center.
They warmly welcomed us, honoring us with gifts and songs. This really touched our hearts! Provision of Hope’s Mercy Ministry team passed out bags of rice to each widow, and we prayed and shared with them. We now supply rice to over 200 widows each month. This reminded us of Job 29:13 – “I made the widow’s heart sing”
We followed this with an appreciation program for our staff and leaders, giving them the gifts we brought for them. Our youth were happy to receive a new set of soccer jerseys, soccer shoes and a leather ball. Later we watched them play soccer!
Joining us this year were 4 teachers and one principal from Southeast Manitoba, who hosted two Teacher’s Conferences called Seeds of Knowledge International Teacher’s Conference. These are specialized educators who teach our Canadian Teachers in phonics, reading and math. There were over 27 schools with 152 teachers attending. Thankyou Karen Swiderski, Elaine Peters, Yvonne Schroeder, Lorie Friesen and Kristen Reimer. You have the potential to go all over the world with these conferences!!!
After the conferences they did an advanced training for teacher’s to continue doing the training with the resources which were brought for the schools. These conferences will make a remarkable difference in the Liberian schools! We met with the Minister of Education on two occasions to discuss how we can affect even more schools in the future!
CHRISTMAS IN JULY was so much fun!!
We had a Big Party with Ma Esther and her 18 orphan children on Sunday July 29th! What a day!! These children had never had wrapped presents before. It was so awesome to watch the excitement on the face of every child! We gave Ma Esther the money before hand, so she could shop and buy her children special gifts.
Later they had their usual program for us featuring a drama of the story of Ma Esther and how Mama Karen came along to put everyone to school and help to buy their food. We had some good laughs! After they sang many songs and shared their Bible verses, they spread a nice dinner before us with rice, fufu and a variety of special Liberian dishes! These were made with special love and care for our team and especially in honor of Elaine Peters, the school teacher who spearheaded the fundraiser for Ma Esther’s new home.
We took a day to visit the slums of West Pointe, where 70,000 people live, some who find themselves under tarps because of a recent fire that wiped out 24 homes.
These people are very poor! There is only one school in the slum, with few churches, and few organizations helping. Our hearts were torn, as we met with so many needy people. We prayed with many people, and shared the love of Jesus. Every heart was open!
We have already rescued several out of these slums, and will continue to do so, one by one. We are starting an evangelistic outreach to the people here.
WATER AT LAST!! We dug a bore hole well on our new property in Mount Barclay, where Ma Esthers’ new house is being built. At first they found no water after digging down 170 feet. TODAY WE HAVE WATER!
Life Water Canada in Liberia had the well dedication Ceremony and ribbon cutting while our team was there. Karen Barkman was honored to cut the ribbon! Here is one little orphan boy, tasting the water and saying “I like the water, it tastes so good!!” We are grateful to bring pure water, to a community that does not have pure drinking water. What a blessing!
Sunday August 5th we had the dedication of Ma Esther’s new Hope Home! All her children came with us to see their new home for the very first time! What a joy!! This house will be finished in one month. They sang and prayed, praising God for their beautiful new home!! What a blessing that we could be there to share this moment with them. Thank you God!!
This is a very big 4 bedroom home over 3,000 sq. ft. They will touch the lives of many children in this Muslim community! We could really feel the presence of the Lord in this place! These children will grow up knowing God and will make a difference in their community. What can I say, “He is a father to the fatherless, He sets the lonely in families”. What a happy family!!! Ma Esther grew up as an orphan girl and said she will dedicate her life to raising orphan children.
She is one of the kindest mothers in all of Africa. Her children rise up to call her blessed! Everyone loves her.
While in Ganta with Hope for the Nations, Kristine Riley and I, took a trip to Kpaytuo Village to check in on the Feeding Centre for Malnourished Children. This visit broke our hearts! There are so many children whose ribs we could count, and who needed nourishing food. One bout of malaria, could wipe them out! Ma Mary who runs this home, was just praising the Lord in her native tongue, thanking God that we had come.
Since 2008 we have been partnering with HFTN on this project and it was great to see some of the malnourished children, we had photos of back then, so healthy today. What a difference nutrition makes for these children who are near starvation.
HFTN staff go into these kinds of villages to teach them how to nourish their children. The HFTN Recovery Center in Ganta is full of children like this one. They nurture them back to health, then instruct their mothers how to take care of them properly.
On the Buduburam Refugee camp in Ghana, we gave out bags of rice to our single mothers who are left on the camp. Every one is crying out to go back to Liberia, but they need the funding to do this.
We took the names of over 50 people on our program, who are waiting for help. One by one we help people home then find housing for them and assist them in resettling. We are catering to our single mothers and their children. The camp has officially closed at the end of June, but 3,000 people are still stranded there, trusting that God will make a way. We had a conference with our Intercessory Women, while at the camp. What a powerful time this was!!
“Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?” (James 2:5)
Pastor Aaron and his wife Adei run a shop out of their home. They are one of the many people who have received a micro loan from Provision of Hope, and are doing very well! We are pleased to report that our records show a 85% payback on our micro loans. Our goal is always to empower the Liberian people to become self sustaining.
We have given out over 100 micro loans, and are finding them to be very successful. We have assisted people to build pharmacies, houses, small business booths for selling various dry goods, coal businesses, oil sales, rice, etc. All this is for the purpose of alleviating poverty and empowering the people to help themselves.
August 23, 2012 @ 3:37 pm
Dear Karen & Team,
So glad that you had another God-blessed, productive and safe trip! It all sounds so very exciting and know that I was there with you in spirit hugging, sharing Christ with and encouraging these precious saints of the Most High!
Thanks again for all you do on their behalf!
Marcella Rejoice Ruch
August 28, 2012 @ 10:29 am
Dear Karen, How wonderful to see and read about how God is blessing your work for Him in Liberia and in the camp. I am ordering worm pills to be delievered to Liberia in January. Would you like some for all of these people, or do you have enough of them already. I will volunteer to raise the money for as many as you need. I would try to get them delivered to the Firestone Hospital where your staff member could pick them up. Yours for Healing the Sick in the Name of Jesus, Marcella Rejoice Ruch
August 28, 2012 @ 10:33 am
Hi Marcella! You are always such a great encourager! Thank YOU for all you do for the Liberian people too. Yes, we would really appreciate getting worm pills. Everyone of our people could use them. Thank you for your kindness, in thinking about our people!! Love and Blessings!
August 28, 2012 @ 10:33 am
So great to see the pics and hear the stories of God’s love flowing through you guys! Well done team!!!
August 28, 2012 @ 10:41 am
Tim, thank you for keeping the home fires burning! Your expertise in web design, and ALL THE TEDIOUS HOURS you donate to PROVISION OF HOPE, to get our blog posts out and the fact that you set up the whole website, “at your own expense”, etc.etc.etc. is most appreciated. This has taken everything to another level. We had an awesome time, in 2009, when you joined our team to Liberia, and Ghana. You have a heart FULL of COMPASSION and LOVE. Thank you for how you have fathered Jallah Tutu and others.
You remind me of the Good Samaritan … one who reaches to the lowest with the love of the highest! Yeah Bro!
Lynn & Bob Lane
August 28, 2012 @ 10:18 pm
Praying for your ongoing success in ALL that you are doing, Karen.
(Luk.l:37) With GOD ALL things are POSSIBLE.
(Joshua l:9) Be STRONG and of good COURAGE the LORD your GOD goes with you WHEREVER you GO!!!
I am hearing 2 visual words:
TSUNAMI (wiping out hopelessness, hunger, poverty)
WATERFALL (GOD’s cleansing/refreshing PROVISION in every area of need!)
See an ANGEL “Standing on GUARD for you” in Liberia.
August 28, 2012 @ 10:52 pm
Karen, I love to see how God has rewarded your faithfulness answering so many prayers and confirming His word with signs following. I wish I could have been there when they struck water on Ma Esther’s property. Sounds like an amazing team that you had. Well done all of you!!!
I know there is so much more as my boys have been keeping me posted as well : ) Looking forward to catching up over coffee soon.
What an amazing God we serve!!!
August 31, 2012 @ 3:36 pm
What an absolute PRIVILEGE it was to go to Liberia with you, Mama Karen! God is good ALL of the time! I love how this was a common theme throughout the land, despite the glaring poverty and potential for hopelessness. I feel very impacted by the time I had interacting and observing the way of life for so many in Monrovia and Ganta. I am encouraged by the faith of the people. What an inspiration and a personal conviction for me… how can we despair or complain as much as we do in North America when our basic needs and education are being met!! One day, I hope to go with you again, Karen… but in the interim I will join with you in praying for all of the needs and praising God for all of the blessings in this land! HALLELUJAH!!
August 31, 2012 @ 5:25 pm
HALLELUJAH!!!!!!! To you coming with me again one day!!!!
September 2, 2012 @ 6:31 pm
It was so nice to see the joy that you had brought in the life of the young boy who was holding his Christmas present in July. Your ministry has a tremendous impact on many hearts and the Lord, thru His Spirit is leading !! So glad to have received the e-mail.
September 6, 2012 @ 10:07 am
Thrilled my heart to see the joy on the lads face as he experienced fresh water. Great is the earthly and heavenly reward.