Looking Back: 15 Years with Liberia Mission

On November 3rd, we are celebrating our 15th anniversary! We are so grateful to God and to each member of our generous community who made our work possible all these years.

As a part of our anniversary celebration, we want to share four stories from our community members who have been a part of Liberia Mission since the start:

Meet Handful

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Handful is twenty two years old, Kpelle by tribe, and from Bong County, Liberia. He came to the mission with his sister, Sianneh, in 2003. They were orphans and among the first group of children to come to the mission. He attended St. Anthony of Padua and St. Kizito Catholic High School. He currently studies agriculture at the University of Liberia and works as a houseparent at the mission. Here is what he shared in an interview about his time at Liberia Mission:

How has Liberia Mission impacted your life? 
Liberia Mission has greatly impacted my life by providing me with a good education, knowledge of God, and the importance of hard work. When I was living with my auntie, she was unable to send me to school; so what Liberia Mission has done for me in terms of educations is really important.  Now I am an educated person—I know how to read, and I know about God. I also pride myself as a hard-working beneficiary of this great institution. 
What is your favorite part about being in the Liberia Mission community? 
I love the unity among everyone in the Liberia Mission community.  We achieve our goals together. Also, I love the structure and order of the day; Liberia Mission has really taught me how to be on time for scheduled activities and work.  Lastly, I love the great rules that are set in place, like Policy for the Protection of the Beneficiaries, that provide protection to all at the mission. 
Why do you think Liberia Mission is special? 
Amongst the many orphanages and mission homes in Liberia, it has one of the best schools in the country. Also, they are always protecting their beneficiaries, providing meals on time, and caring for everyone’s needs. If you take a look at most missions in Liberia, they are not working as well as Liberia Mission. 
What do you want to share with our supporters?
I want to take this time to express my gratitude to the donors of Liberia Mission.  They have been the ones who have been taking care of everyone here. I want to encourage them to continue and persevere because they are helping the youth of Liberia to get a good education. That education helps them to become important in society. 
What is a favorite memory you have at Liberia Mission?
During the Ebola crisis in 2015, I had the opportunity to speak on the BBC radio station about the measures we were taking at the time to prevent Ebola from coming onto the mission.  I really loved representing Liberia Mission to an international audience. 

Meet Uncle Nufea

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Augustine Nufea—known on the mission as “Uncle Nufea” first came on the mission as a security guard in 2003. He is Kpelle by tribe and from Lofa County. In 2008 he became employed a houseparent, a position he still holds today. He has been part of the Liberia Mission family as an employee since shortly after the mission began; we are grateful for his service! Here is what he shared in an interview about his time at Liberia Mission:

How has Liberia Mission impacted your life?
Liberia Mission has been providing me with a good job for many years. Through my earnings, I am able to support my family well. Before I had this job, it was hard for me to support my wife and children; and we had nothing. But with the job, I could send my children to school, and I could provide a place for my family to live. 
What is your favorite part about being in the Liberia Mission community? 
I really love how Liberia Mission pushes agricultural training here. Even though we may not fully provide all the necessary food that we eat, the children learn how provide for themselves little by little. I also really enjoy the workshops on child protection because I feel they help me to be a better houseparent. 
Why do you think Liberia Mission is special? 
During the war a lot of children lost their families. Liberia Mission came in and addressed this situation. Now a lot of children that were once at a disadvantage have really succeeded. They are going to high school and college. They are even traveling beyond Liberia to chase after their dreams. 
What do you want to share with our supporters?
I say “thank you” for bringing this program into our country. You have your own families in your country, but you always send something to take care of our children. These children would have gone nowhere without your help; some of them lost their families in the war, and there was no one else to take care of them. Our government is not able to fully address this issue. Thank you for helping our country. 

Meet Sianneh

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Sianneh is twenty-one years old, Kpelle by tribe, and from Bong County, Liberia. She came to the mission with her brother, Handful, in 2003. They were orphans and among the first group of children to come to the mission. She attended St. Anthony of Padua and is now studying plumbing at the Booker Washington Institute, Liberia’s premiere vocational high school. Here is what she shared in an interview about her time at Liberia Mission:

How has Liberia Mission impacted your life? 
Liberia Mission has given me so much: a spiritual life, an education, and a family. All of this that I have received from Liberia Mission has helped me to feel important in society. Honestly, Liberia Mission has impacted my life in more ways than I can count. 
What is your favorite part about being in the Liberia Mission community? 
I enjoy everything we do; but most especially, I enjoy the spirituality and the faith. I see that Jesus exists, and I see that there is true charity in a Christian faith. I feel that Liberia Mission has helped me understand this. 
Why do you think Liberia Mission is special? 
Liberia Mission is special because of its charity. It recognizes the burden that poor families are unable to bear, and it takes it up freely.
 Would you like to say anything to our supporters? 
I would like to thank the donors of Liberia Mission because without them, Liberia Mission wouldn’t be what it is today. It is through their support, help, love and care that we are all here—the children AND the workers. They are the cause of this unity, the cause of this Liberia Mission family. 
 What is a favorite memory you have at Liberia Mission? 
I cannot forget Ma Helena. She is one of the best people that I have ever met. She was a housemother that taught me, my brother, and most of the kids, about the faith. She truly made us understand it. Because of her I can proudly say that I am a woman today. May her soul rest in peace. 

Meet "Grandma"

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Martha Quoi—known on the mission as “Grandma”—has been a cook for Liberia Mission since 2005. She is Mano by tribe and from Nimba County, Liberia. The students affectionately call her Grandma because of her kindness, generosity, and good cooking! Here is what she shared in an interview about her time at Liberia Mission:

How has Liberia Mission impacted your life? 
As I always say, Liberia Mission is helping me. If I am sad and having difficulties in my own life, Liberia Mission helps me to resolve my problems with its support. Even when I am happy, Liberia Mission is still willing to help. I also am deeply impacted and touched by the help they are giving to our Liberian youth. 
What is your favorite part about being in the Liberia Mission community? 
As an employee, I really appreciate having a ward I can send to school. Liberia Mission allows me to send one of my children, or a child in my extended family, to St. Anthony School—free of charge. I am grateful for this because Liberia Mission not only helps me, but also my family. 
Why do you think Liberia Mission is special?
I don’t have much experience with other missions in this country, but I do know that Liberia Mission is doing an exceptional job. The children are eating three healthy meals a day—almost unheard of in this country. We also have a nurse on the mission. When the children get sick, they receive treatment immediately, not common in Liberia. 
What would you like to share with our supporters?
I just want to say thank you very much. Anything that is done on the mission is because of your effort and your donations. You are doing an extremely good job for our people!  
What is a favorite memory you have at Liberia Mission? 
I don’t have a specific memory in mind, but I always love the times when we have special events.  When that type of day comes around, the mission does a really good job to make sure we have a good time. We get to eat good food, listen to music, and relax. I really love those big days!

We would not be here without you! We say prayers of gratitude for God’s faithfulness and your generous support that make stories like these possible. To continue supporting our work, please give to our 15 Kids for 15 Years campaign Go Fund Me campaign. Thank you for making Liberia Mission the safe, loving community it is today.

Back to School At Liberia Mission

 St. Anthony Students Lining Up for Their First Lesson

St. Anthony Students Lining Up for Their First Lesson

A new school year has begun at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic School! 

We are also welcoming back our residential students to Liberia Mission. They returned on Sunday, September 2, accompanied by their parents or guardians. With them, they brought various items, such as clothes, bowls, and soap. Bringing these items teaches them responsibility and appreciation for what they receive while also helping to contribute to Liberia Mission's communal life. Although these students may lament the end of their summer break, everybody was happy to be back--in their “super suits” no less! ("Super suit" is the nickname the students gave to the hospital scrub uniform that they wear while at the mission.)  

The first days of the week were filled with orientations and handbook reviews. Our Director, John Raymond Alpha, informed the residential students student that they will participate in activities such as Bible dramas and spelling bees this year, in addition to their agriculture time when they work on our farm and in our piggery. This will teach them a diverse set of valuable life skills. 

 Two St. Anthony students ready for their first day!

Two St. Anthony students ready for their first day!

 Our New Bathroom!

Our New Bathroom!

As all the students return, we tell God thank you for all the improvements our high school students made to the Mission over the summer. They built our new school bathroom, improved our piggery and farm, and even painted the school! The new bathroom is especially exciting for everyone. This will mean we have the necessary sanitation and wash rooms needed for our 450+ student body.  It is a wonderful facility that was envisioned by one of our B.W.I. students, Jacob. Jacob studied drafting and used those skills to design the bathrooms. Thanks to the hard work of many--and generosity of our donors--our students will now have clean, new bathrooms on campus.  Thank you!

 We are grateful for our teachers who work very hard to provide excellent curriculum throughout the school year. 

We are grateful for our teachers who work very hard to provide excellent curriculum throughout the school year. 

Our teachers and school administration are also back in action, working harder than ever to help St. Anthony of Padua remain one of the best schools in the country.  Through weeks of training sessions and curriculum preparations, they too are working hard to break the cycle of poverty for youth in Liberia by being agents of quality, Catholic education.

On Friday, September 7, Fr. Yao, pastor of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, came to celebrate Holy Mass for the first school Mass of the year.  There was a vibrant moment of Liberian style praise and worship singing before Fr. Yao arrived. The atmosphere was electric! In his homily, Fr. Yao preached to the students about the importance of doing well in school by looking ahead toward the future and leaving behind the shortcomings of our past actions. We are very grateful to Fr. Yao and Fr. Charles for the Spiritual Providence they bring us, despite their busy schedules!

 Student bringing offerings during St. Anthony's first Mass of the year.

Student bringing offerings during St. Anthony's first Mass of the year.

It is yet another new beginning at Liberia Mission.  We are celebrating our 15th anniversary in November; as we contemplate the joys, sufferings, accomplishments, and setbacks of the past fifteen years, we can only give thanks to God.  Secondly, we thank our benefactors who have faithfully contributed to the prosperity of Liberia and its youth. If we all continue together with Jesus, there is no doubt we will celebrate countless anniversaries to come.  Thank you and God bless!

Liberia Mission's Summer Work Program

 Students digging for irrigation on LMI grounds. 

Students digging for irrigation on LMI grounds. 

The Summer Work Program at Liberia Mission is an annual employment opportunity for some of our sponsored high school students.  We have different projects every summer which we hire students to do, giving them income and job experience while helping us beautify the campus. The money that the students earn helps them to purchase books and school supplies for the upcoming academic year.  They also learn valuable, practical work skills in the process. All of the funding for the projects comes from the generosity of our sponsors.

 Students working on our cucumber crop. 

Students working on our cucumber crop. 

The students began the program this year with a general clean-up of the property.  They organized piles of old tin roofing and did a LOT of brushing (Liberian term for cutting the grass).  From there, some of the students began to clear and cultivate the land for planting new crops. Our goal is to drastically reduce money spent on produce at the local market by supplying our own fruits and vegetables through the agriculture program.  By God's grace, we will cut costs while also teaching the students valuable farming skills.

The St. Isidore Piggery, another vocational training program that teaches the students how to raise pigs and bring them to market, has also received some major renovations. The roof has been repaired and extended, giving better, much-needed protection to the pigs during the heavy downpours experienced in the Liberian rainy season. The walls have also been repaired with cement, scrubbed, and painted, so that the piggery upholds the standard of cleanliness that it is well known for.

 This is St. Isadore's Piggery before its rennovations. 

This is St. Isadore's Piggery before its rennovations. 

Our capital work project this summer is the construction of new bathrooms for St. Anthony of Padua School.  We have 450 students, 20 school workers and only 4 toilets. The current bathroom was built when we only had an elementary school. It has 2 toilets for the girls, 1 for the boys, and 1 for the teachers.  

One of our students at Booker Washington Institute drafted the plans for the new facility. The girls’ bathroom will have 7 toilets and 5 sinks; the boys’ bathroom will have 4 urinals, 3 toilets, and 5 sinks.  There will also be running water throughout! The teachers will remain in the old bathroom, allowing the students to take full advantage of the new facilities.

 Our student Jacob is seen here drawing up blueprints for our bathroom construction project. He is studying drafting at Booker Washington Institute and gains practical experience through our summer work program. 

Our student Jacob is seen here drawing up blueprints for our bathroom construction project. He is studying drafting at Booker Washington Institute and gains practical experience through our summer work program. 

We are still in the foundation-digging phase, but we are moving along at a swift pace. The rain has been constant and heavy this July, and we have not been able to receive truckloads of river sand to mix with cement because the rivers are too high. We have not let this stop us, though! The students have been digging sand from our very own soccer field just so the work can go forward. Please pray that the rain lets up enough for us to receive the materials we need and to be able to work at a pace that will get the job done in time.

 Students working on the bathroom foundation.

Students working on the bathroom foundation.

All of these projects and renovations would not be possible without the gifts of our donors. YOU make our vocational program possible and are directly impacting the lives of our student workers. We are so grateful. If you would like to support our summer work program, you can make a gift and note that it is for our work program in the "Gift Note" box. Thank you to each person who shares in our lives and makes the work of LMI a reality everyday.