Liberia is a country in Northwest Africa. In the past thirty years it has been devastated by three protracted civil wars, brutal dictators, and corrupt governments. The result has left the country in ruins. It is believed that eighty-five percent of the people in the country are unemployed. Because traditional farming is in ruins, many NGOs are reintroducing livestock.
Almost forty-five percent of the country is starving or malnourished. Two generations have largely only known war and are without education. Many younger men were child soldiers or fled to the jungle to hide so they would not be captured. There are still thousands of U.N. peacekeepers providing stability to the country.
Yet Liberia is slowly rising from the ashes. Rejoice Liberia took place in March 2010 as the first event of Mission Africa. Mission Africa was conducted in fellowship with Cape Town 2010: The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization. Psalm 126 states that
…when the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, the Lord has done great things for them. The Lord has done great things for us, we are glad.
This is the context for Rejoice Liberia—that the Lord would do such a mighty work in the land that mourning is turned into laughter and the nations surrounding Liberia would say “look at what the Lord had done.”
The Power of Partnerships
All Nations Ministries spearheaded a multi-faceted and multi-partner evangelistic festival in Kakata. The small town was chosen because it was the location where some of the fiercest fighting took place in 2003 and was a choke point leading into the capital of Monrovia.
The festival was a powerful model of partnership. What one ministry or church could not do alone, many could do together. Rejoice Liberia included three indigenous ministries (GEEF, OrphanAge, and Chrisma), as well as twenty-one local churches. It also included both formal and informal partnerships with seven other international agencies, including Desiring God Ministries, OrphanAge, Luis Palau Evangelistic Association’s Alliance Ministries, All Nations Ministries, a relief and development agency, and a church-planting and medical ministry.
Over the course of the week, the team held several events, including a pastor’s conference, a women’s conference, and a children’s ministry leader’s conference. Each of the three hundred leaders in attendance received two books and a Bible. A medical team examined and treated 267 children. Another agency provided discipleship for three months to 120 pastors with the end goal of determining the community development needs that can be met through local churches. Three orphanages were given food and basic vitamins to last three months.
In the local prison each prisoner received socks, soap, toothpaste, a blanket, and the Gospel of Luke. The prison received food to last a couple of months. Although the prisoners were not aware of the gifts until after our team departed, ninety-five percent of the prisoners nonetheless responded to the gospel when it was presented.
For Kakata, the ministry in word and deed and the power of partnerships was a shining example that in Christ Jesus there is no division. And that in Christ Jesus is the power to heal, restore, and unite.
“They Were Wild”
God ordained for the festival grounds to be located near a mosque and Muslim area of Kakata. On the first night the imam tried to disrupt the event, to scatter the children and youth so they would go home. He even gathered other Muslim men to help disrupt the festival.
It was remarkable to watch the believers surround them in prayer and speak words of peace. The imam left the grounds. The men that were with him stayed off in the distance to watch and listen. By the end of the week, it was a clear the hand of God had moved and some of the Muslim men had given their lives to Jesus!
Attendance was largest on the last night of the festival. As the good news was proclaimed and the opportunity to respond was given, a crowd women, children, and men streamed forward. Many of the men were between 17 and 25 years of age. In fact, they were almost exclusively young men. One of the pastors turned to me and said, “They were wild, roaming the jungle and destroying everything. Tonight, you have given these former child soldiers hope, healing, and forgiveness in Christ Jesus.”
Approximately five thousand people heard the good news of Jesus Christ in Kakata. Of this, almost one-fifth responded to the gospel. It was incredible to see what organizations willing to partner together can do when sharing strengths and resources. Further, it is a testimony to the blessing of God when the Church is untied (Psalm 133).