I am just back from an amazing opportunity to minister with my good friend and Evangelist Marie Miller in Liberia. This is the same country where the American people sent back some of the black slaves beginning in 1820. My research says that it was believed ex-slaves would have greater freedom and equality in Africa. In 1847, these colonists founded the Republic of Liberia, establishing a government modeled on that of the United States and naming the capital city Monrovia after James Monroe, the fifth president of the United States and a prominent supporter of the colonization. The colonists, known as Americo-Liberians, monopolized the political and economic sectors of the country despite comprising only a small percentage of the largely indigenous population. (Wikepedia)
In the 1980’s there were two successive civil wars killing over 250,000 people. Just recently really has there been peace and 2005 saw the first democratic elections. Marie Miller has had a burden for this country for years and this trip was her fourth. She asked me to come along this time in order to speak something to the Youth Leaders. Her ministry invested a lot into this trip that targeted young leaders and a crusade called, “Dream Again!” Of course she preached with great passion and eloquence and many hundreds of people responded to the Word of God. On two of the evenings more than 400 people responded to the call to salvation.
My role was to help in anyway possible and take on some of the teaching sessions during the mornings for Youth Leaders. This trip was an eye-opener and left me remembering why I was born! My heart was stretched and tears come to me when I think of the great needs of Africa. I am so grateful for this opportunity and truly feel it has made me a better missionary! I know that God has something more for me in all of this.
For this report I thought I would highlight each day with some of my thoughts that were Facebook satuses and express some of the feelings and happenings. It is not m,eant to be super-spiritual, but more ‘real’ and I do hope you enjoy reading this:
Goodbye Bangkok its hard to leave you! (I really struggled saying goodbye to Patricia and the girls. We call them ‘second thoughts.’)
Hello Nairobi: Ah the first of two all-night legs finally accomplished. Hello Africa for the very first time in my life and hello Nairobi International Airport… (What, no air-conditioning???) Oh and sorry to say but those Kenya Air seats were the smallest I’ve ever flown on in my life. Interesting conversation with a Rwandan man beside me…He says that his country is a wonderful example of ‘Reconciliation’…. love that!
Off to Monrovia in three more hours. Another nine hour trip!!!
Arrived in Monrovia at 3pm: Already in a short time can see that this place is war torn and impoverished. Strangely enough the hotels and food are pricier than Thailand by far. We had a late supper with Marie Miller, Mother Merle, Colin Gittens and Patrick Kuchio from Kenya. Marie says things have improved a lot since the first time she came in 2007. For one thing there are paved roads now! One comment that stood out to me was the comment about the absence of flowers and laughter in Liberia.
AM: Sunday Morning has arrived early and now to seek the Lord for some Word to share in the churches. Our little team will break up into four to each share individually a message to a different Liberian congregation.
PM: First Liberian Church Experience for me: Noticed the poverty, whoah, most people have little. (85% unemployment I was told.) The community I was in was rough and poor and dusty. Many churches though there. Kids are a delight and love getting in pictures. The best part was watching the dance as they worshipped. They really can dance a storm… In and out of the block church building twice. That was grace and freedom for a moment! I ate with the Pastor and family, curry fish.
Afternoon: Liberia is the product of years of neglect. It is the least educated English country in Africa. And then there was war. So little motivation and hope. Most rural areas have no schooling. Children have to migrate to get schooling. Those kids often get exploited and don’t end up in schools.
So awesome to see Marie Miller’s face posted up in the middle of the city of Monrovia to invite people to the nightly event to the stadium. The theme is ‘Dream Again!’
Evening: How is this for unplanned… Going to go on live television with Marie Miller right now…
Good Morning Liberia! The real reason why we are here begins this now:. Teaching Youth Leaders in the morning and City Wide Youth Crusade in the evening. Calling out for people of prayer to pray today all day all sorts of prayers.
Someone just gave me malaria pills.. Took first one today. Should kick in three days. That means no bites for three days or I am at risk! And tonight the outdoor stadium crusade will begin!
Evening: First Night went terrific. We started two hours late. The music was brilliant and short. The crowd was smaller than anticipated. It concerned us. Yet the place buzzed with energy. The Rev. Marie was at her anointed best! The response time was powerful. The sense is Tommorow will be even better. Keep praying for this!
A new day has been given to us. I am so glad that’ this day is given as a gift and whatsoever we do we can do it with all our heart as a thanks offering back to the gift giver …
After preaching today for one hour my shirt felt like I had just jumped into the pool! It was intense. It was fun! It was passionate. Now a television has asked us to share ten minutes each on the subject of Reconcilliation! I have no time to ready myself… So it’s gonna be Jazz… Ad lib the heart of God!
Walking the markets in Monrovia was a unique experience… The only white person. . . I was real glad to have my Kenyan Bro with me! Thanks Patrick kuchio!
Now in a few minutes: Crusade Night in Monrovia.
Tonight’s crusade is building up in numbers. Many responded to the call for salvation and in a place where there is one doctor to every 70000 people, many responded to the need of healing.
A real need for intercessory prayer today. Coming from the ‘Land of Smiles’ and being in a land of ‘few smiles’ , brokenness and loss I realize that so so much grace and healing is needed. Our driver is an example… Rebels came killed his family…raising his voice he said “for no good reason!” and today the emotional scars remain. One story… Repeated in a million ways in this land.
I have my own after-service time. The first night ere were about 5 kids aged 4 to 14. First night we did push-ups. They came for more the second night, but they had a rubber ball so we payed throw…and tonight my congregation has grown to 25! As I left the stadium they they chanted Peecher Peecher!
I made the great mistake to walk into the high school and asking to see the classrooms in session. I ended speaking ‘hope’ to six classes from grade 9 to 12. Serendipitous moments are sometimes the best!
Can someone tell me a good simple game that involves a circle and some running to do with young kids?
Heading out for the ATS Stadium Liberia for night 4. Hope to see some of the kids like Esther, Fanta, Rory, and Issa among the people. Going to play Duck, duck, goose! You know last night about1,000 plus people present. But there was tons of technical difficulty. Tonight we need some smooth technicians! Going to be a good night….
The very best night of all the meetings so far just happened tonight! A great response to the story of the prodigal son … Hundreds responded! (400) And then my children’s ministry increased overnight! We were were over forty! And I played until my teammates could stands it no longer. In fact marie kept saying, “Get in the car Peter!” What can I say?
Fever broke out in my body last night. I took my last three Advil pills. Not feeling too good today. Got a cough as well. You know what I am asking for… prayer.
Going out now to meet up with Liberian Youth and Youth leaders for one last time. Pray for a special touch as we finish this day.
Afternoon: Best session yet and wanted to stay longer but we have an appointment with another couple who returned to Liberia as missionaries.
Evening: I want to be there on the last night. Please Lord… I feel not so good! I want to see Liberians respond to God and my little congregation of kids!
Still Burning at 8pm. I think I’m bed-ridden tonight. When will this fever go?
Felt terrible that I missed the last night of our Liberian Stadium Dream Again event. I missed the kids especially. Looking forward to hearing from the team how it all went. I just wasn’t able to get the fever down in three hours! Right now the Advil has kicked in, but the head is still throbbing. Thanks for the prayers too!
Last night I had a soccer ball for the kids. I could not attend because of my fever. I told Rev. Collin to give the ball to Issa. The kids were asking “where is Peecher?” Collin said to them you will play with the ball and Issa will take it home. As soon as Issa got the ball in her hands she made a B-line out of the stadium with twenty boys running after her. The origins of American Football began in Liberia!
The worry is I am showing malaria-like symptoms!
Today is a day off for some looking around and shopping. Was hoping to see a soccer match between Nigeria and liberia…but postponed due to the inauguaration.
Anytime you have a loss, play it down & pray it up. Focus on what’s left, not what’s lost. (Rick Warren) Hope I remember this quote today while I preach!
Oh my..the sound of three hundred African voices in harmony!!! Dude! And I preached and sang and danced my sermon away… It was an experience that I doubt will ever be repeated ever again! Immediately after the last amen my head felt ready to explode…not in a good way. But I am okay! One more night in Liberia, two more nights on a plane!
Afternoon: Thinking about a good moment in a sermon by Patrick Kuchio “If you leave Liberia as a loser, you will still be a loser in America! If you flee Liberia as a crocodile to America, you will still be one there!” The point was change my heart now….
The hotel is surrounded by security..heads of state are arriving, guns are all over. sitting with an UN police in the lobby right now. Its the inauguration in a day.
Evening: Before I go to bed may I interrupt you once more. You see I walked in a community that ripped me up on the inside with hundreds of kids unable to attend a school. No power for years, no running water, a granddad reporting that 27 people lived in a tin shack home, polio victims congregating in wheelchairs, war victims on crutches… The forgotten. … I spoke to many… I spoke only hope… I can only hope that one day…
Pancakes! Why no one tell me I could order pancakes till my last day! Leaving Liberia today on an overnighter at 5:30pm. Then in Nairobi for a 19 hour layover. But I have a plan in place… I am going to visit Garry and Brenda Kean who have arranged a taxi driver named Kimani to get me..
Arrived in the wee hours at Nairobi, Kenya and am with Garry Kean and his family and thiugh working on two hours of sleep and incoherent conversation it still feels so good to see another African country! The weather is crisp and clean. Looking forward to seeing a few sites before returning home to Bangkok.
Walked thru the second largest slum in Africa and largest slum in Nairobi (estimated over one million people) with Brenda Kean and what I saw caused me to be shaken and yet the word I got, that I remembered was the word, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” There is an unsung hero who lives there and his name is Pastor Elias! He lives in this slum, he knows the people and shows the people the gospel-way… Brenda too is so passionate about helping the disenfranchised. I also met and saw beauty in the talented seamstress, Sarah and her daughter Sheila… They are two wonderful stories from “Nazareth”.
Monrovia-Nairobi-Bangkok (45 hours of travel if you include going to and returning from the airport!)
Thanks again for those who sponsored this trip including my air fare and allowing me to be a part of a story that intertwines my life story to God’s greater redemption story in Africa. Many hundreds responded to God’s love (recorded over 2000 people who prayed the prayer of faith). But out of all those people, one thing I know, I won’t be the same!