Newsletter from Mary Zigbuo — Blessings of hope and peace to you during this Advent Season.
I recently attended a service in my childhood church and among many reflective and thought provoking remarks; the pastor said “Only God can use something that looks like nothing, to do extraordinary things”. I thought about the pastor’s remarks and pondered how very difficult it is to see beyond challenging physical realities and circumstances. Over the years of my missionary service I witnessed projects and ministries with out-dated and crumbling infrastructure; “shacks” used as school buildings; rocks and pieces of logs serving as school desks and chairs; a very large pressure cooker over a bed of fired charcoal creatively used as a hospital sterilizer……! But there’s an image I will never forget! During a tour of the Ganta United Methodist Hospital in Liberia, where there is very limited electricity, I witnessed a pre-mature infant in critical need of an incubator lying in one of those see-through hospital baby cribs for newborns, wrapped in “swaddling clothing”, with a kerosene lantern placed in the crib to keep the infant warm so he could have a chance at living. I continue to marvel in the creative and resourceful methods in which our Lord inspires us to use for His compassionate response to the needs of His people living under desperately challenging circumstances.
Thinking about the infant at the Ganta Hospital brings to mind another infant, wrapped in swaddling clothing, lying in a feeding trough for animals because that was all there was to offer him. Jesus Christ, the savior of the world, was born and raised under questionable surroundings and circumstances. In John 1:46, Nathanael asked Phillip “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Nathanael’s question was in response to Phillip’s excited proclamation about meeting the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. Obviously Nathanael felt Nazareth was not good enough to produce the blessed Messiah! I like Phillip’s simple response- “Come and see”.
The passage continues with Nathanael personally encountering Jesus, thus becoming a believer and follower of Christ. Jesus is the reason why we know for sure something good can and does come out of seemingly questionable situations and circumstances. The lesson I learn over and over is that we must look beyond the physical circumstances and see the spiritual possibilities. With the eyes of faith, those students who sat (and are still sitting) in makeshift desks receiving an education in rickety buildings can (and do) grow up to do extraordinary things for their family, their community and their nation. Those patients served at the resource poor hospital receive affordable, life saving and spiritually transforming treatment so they can take care of their families and live to contribute to their communities. Those buildings in need of paint, repair, renovation, or re-construction can and do provide the necessary shelter for life changing programs and ministries. Your faithful support helps to improve and strengthen these courageous efforts to provide Christ-centered compassionate ministries to God’s people in Liberia.
For the past three years, I’ve had the honor of serving along with UMC Liberia in support of its efforts to provide educational opportunities for persons with disabilities. In a post war nation where the needs are overwhelming, government supported education for persons with disabilities is a very low priority. What started out in 2000 as a small study class for hearing impaired street children has grown into the UMC Hope for the Deaf School. A selfless staff provides a Christ-centered, compassionate response to teaching, mentoring, encouraging, and boosting the confidence of students, parents and guardians. The effectiveness of the ministry coming out of this make-shift building comprised of dark, stuffy, tiny enclosures serving as “classrooms” for nearly sixty students is balanced by the selfless commitment of the under-paid staff……and serves as a manifestation of how our Lord uses something that looks like nothing, to do extraordinary things.
You too are invited to “come and see” what the Lord is doing in Liberia by volunteering on a mission team and/or or being part of the prayerful, material, or financial network supporting the UMC Hope for the Deaf School.
Please send your support through the General Board of Global Ministries’ Advance Special: Hope for the Deaf, #14365A. You can give on-line by following the link above or:
Make your check payable to “ADVANCE GCFA”. On the notation section of your check, write “HOPE FOR THE DEAF, #14365A”. Send the check to: ADVANCE GCFA; P.O. BOX 9068 GPO; NEW YORK, NY 10087-9068.
Many of you may have heard that earlier this year I was diagnosed with optic neuritis. I am thankful that my condition is now stable; however, it is heat sensitive. Due to limited electrical infrastructure, I am unable to control my living and working environment in the tropical Liberian climate. Consequently, I am unable to continue my mission work in Liberia and I am now up for reassignment should there be an available position(s) that fit my experience and expertise. By the grace of God, when you hear from me again, I prayerfully hope to be in a new General Board of Global Ministries assigned mission service.
Please keep this in prayer!
Blessings, Mary Zigbuo
You can give on-line to support Mary at: Missionary Giving – Mary Randall Zigbuo #10721Z.
You can reach Mary at:
C/O 1158 MALLARD PLACE
CREEDMOOR, NC 27522