Shipments of food and equipment sent by the NC Conference to Liberia are bringing joy and hope to many people in this Ebola-striken country. Food buckets, collected and shipped in September, cleared customs and are being distributed by the Liberian UMC.
In her latest letter (see below), missionary Mary Zigbuo tells the story of Michael Clarke, a father of 8 children and recipient of one of the food buckets sent by the NC Conference. Mr. Clarke’s story is one of 494 stories of food bucket recipients blessed by the generosity of NC United Methodists.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT OF LIBERIA’S EBOLA-AFFECTED FAMILIES!
Psalm 9:18- But God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish!
Sixty three year old Mr. Michael Clarke was 18 years old and had just completed sixth grade when, in 1970, he moved from his village in Grand Kru County to Liberia’s capital city, Monrovia. Subsistence farming activities compromised Mr. Clarke’s ability to attend school. His brother, the only high school graduate in the family, was living and working in Monrovia and promised his younger brother a better opportunity to complete high school. When Mr. Clarke completed ninth grade, his brother could no longer support him due to extended family obligations. Like Mr. Clarke, other family members migrated from the village to Monrovia seeking a better life. His brother was responsible for more than twenty family members- something his humble salary could not fully accommodate.
Today, Mr. Clarke is a father of 8 children; earning the equivalent of $36.00 per month as a grounds maintenance worker. His wife supplement the family income by selling used clothing in the market. Mr. Clarke is a man of faith and integrity. He is a very committed worker. He explained he does not always have enough money for public transportation back and forth to work; so, he often walk to work……..a one-way distance of about five miles. Three of his children graduated from high school, and Mr. Clarke expressed thankfulness to God for allowing his dreams to be realized through his children. Though his journey in life is peppered with many struggles and dreams deferred, he celebrates God’s grace and favor upon his family for the provision of food, education for three of his children, good health, hope, courage and strength to work.
Mr. Clarke is a member of the UMC Liberia’s Ministry to the Aged; a ministry that provides interventions and also organize information sharing sessions for the elderly, their service providers and the general public. UMC Liberia also provide a home for abandoned elderly persons; one of only two homes for this purpose in the nation. Your gifts helps to strengthen UMC Liberia’s efforts to provide compassionate, life transforming ministries throughout the country.
Mr. Clarke’s story is similar to many of the beneficiaries of the 494 food buckets received from North Carolina Conference in November! One of the ripple effects of the Ebola crisis is food scarcity; especially among families who found it difficult to provide a daily meal prior to the Ebola outbreak. Your physical gifts are an extension of your love for God’s people. The recipients are blessed not only by the items they receive, but also by the fact that someone took the time to remember them…..and they pray for you.
Thank you, dear Lord for allowing my mission service and to see firsthand how you will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish! Thank you, Almighty God, for allowing me to be blessed by the Mr. Clarkes of this world and for the gift of Advent that encourages us to live on the edge of promises turning to fulfillment. Lord, thank you for the people of faith who extend their love and support by using their minds, hands and resources to pray for us, and to lovingly assemble and senduseful items for God’s people around the world. AMEN
I extend Christmas greetings of hope and thankfulness to all of you,
Missionary Advance # 10721Z
NCC has shipped three containers to Liberia in 2014. The most recent left Norfolk on December 18th. Churches and individuals wishing to do more to help fight Ebola and associated hunger in West Africa are asked to contribute to UMCOR International Disaster Response.