Sunday, February 3, 2013
Liberia Day 4- The Close of Conference
The day began as the day before, but with a hot shower this time, which felt like a bonus. We had pancakes with honey for breakfast, which, again, were quite good. I also had some tea with honey and sugar which was passable. Not really a tea drinker. We made the hour plus drive again to Saturday Town for the closing session of the 44th Annual Conference of the EC Church of Liberia. It was another exuberant joyful service with lively music and a fun offering. The goal was set to raise $100,000 Liberian ($1,300 US) for the conference building I mentioned yesterday. I found out that night that they actually raised $111,000! Bishop Hill (called "Bishop of the EC Church of the World") preached on the feeding of the 5,000 and how God will use our willingness to give of what we have. We also celebrated the Lord's Supper and I had a chance to bless the cup in prayer. People came up row by row and many sang with the choirs as they received a wafer and some pungent grape drink and so celebrated the death of our Lord for our salvation. They also ordained about 10 people. Randy, Bruce, and Janga (along with Rev. Gueh, of course) laid hands on each one and prayed over them. It was a powerful ministry to behold. When the announcements of pastoral assignments were made everyone cheered and clapped. We were taken to lunch while the conference wound to its close. I should also mention that eight resolutions were made including the familiar (get you reports in on time and correct) and some exciting developments (an emphasis on doing the work of achieving National Conference Status.) Randy later said that hearing that was worth the trip over. We had a lunch of rice, beef, and mixed vegetables. While we were lunching, we visited with a man named Theophilus, the Liberian church's mission pastor to Accra, Ghana. He has dreams of serving in Togo soon. I was very impressed by him. Bruce and I explored Saturday Town a little with Felicia, one of our body guards. We've largely been kept distant, so it was nice to be free to look around a bit. We headed back to the hotel, arriving a little after 5. The road less dusty this time, I thought, or at least I didn't have to roll up my window as often to keep the red clouds from rolling into the jeep. They had to drive back to pickup Matthew who was to meet us for dinner at the hotel, so we had a few hours to kill. We started with drinks (Algerian Coke for me) and then walked to the beach to get a closer look at the Atlantic and the large ships that have been sitting out in the bay. We waited a little while longer and then Matthew, Abraham, and his wife Olive arrived and joined us for dinner. They were all tired, understandable after a week of Conference. Abraham commented that normally after Conference, he takes three of or four days off to recover. If felt bad for them. No rest for the weary this time. We head to the bush for two days tomorrow. I had a chicken sandwich which turned out to be chicken schwarma, which was fine (better than the beef one anyway). After dinner, Bruce and I retired early, but then talked about our own National Conference and several other topics before falling asleep a bit before midnight.