I have been to Liberia a dozen times. It is one of the poorest countries on planet earth. The education system is in shambles. Only 38% of the children attend school. 3.7 Million of the 4.6 million people do not have access to a decent toilet. Over 1 million people still have no access to safe water. Besides these problems issues such as deaths by malaria, corrupt political systems, broken infrastructure make life hard on people in Liberia. I am a firm believer that all these issues can be improved upon and the major catalyst for this is the church. One of the main reasons I go to Liberia is to try and encourage and help church leaders.
On my recent trip to Liberia through the organization Hope 2, I was able to work with area pastors for some spiritual training and guidance. Some of our training sessions while in Liberia have been attended by as many as 500 pastors and leaders. This past week we worked with 8 local church leaders in Margibi County. This is where I met Michael. Michael came to our training because he volunteers at his church near the Hope 2 facility. He is familiar with Hope 2 because he has helped in the construction projects of the school and Hope Center. Michael has a high school diploma (Which is rare for many Liberians) and wants to be a pastor. His passion to be a pastor is a result of his genuine love to reach people with God’s Love. When our conference was over I met with Michael because he wanted to find ways in which he could grow more. I ended up after our discussions giving him all my class notes plus notes on Sermons I had preached over the last month or so. Michael seemed very eager to receive them. He told me that in his church most lack proper understanding of the Bible and very few in his church own Bibles.
Several days after the conference I noticed Michael was under a shade tree by himself near the Hope Center. I decided to approach him to see what he was doing. From a distance it looked like he simply was relaxing. But as I got closer I noticed that he was painstakingly going through all my notes I had left him the day before. His hunger for learning and knowing God’s word humbled me. I live in a land where most people own 3 to 4 Bibles. I have access to all kinds of Bible programs and was blessed to go to college and do graduate training in the Bible. I have always felt blessed. And certainly I am. But what did Michael have? Simply some notes. He treated those notes as if the Apostle Paul had written them himself. That moment made me realize “being blessed” is not equated with what we have as much as it is what we desire. Many people in my country have plenty but how many of us are truly hungry for the things of God. Hunger for something trumps having things. Maybe this is why Jesus said blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness(Matthew 5:6). It is not those who have who are truly blessed but those who hunger who are the blessed ones.
I have now left Liberia and have left Michael for the time being. I am so grateful that I got to meet Michael and plan to help him in his journey with the Lord, but most of all I am so grateful for what he has taught me. I hope that in the weeks, months and years to come I will be hungry for God like Michael is hungry for God. Thank you Michael for what you have taught me.
For more information or ways you can help the Liberian people please visit this website. http://www.hope2liberia.org/