Our trip to Liberia at the beginning of the summer did not start exactly as we had expected. We had been booked on a new nonstop flight to Africa, but then last-minute ticket changes were necessary, routing us through Europe and extending our travel time considerably. Then, the day we left Denver, there were afternoon thunderstorms in the New York City area which delayed our arrival there and we missed our connecting flight to Brussels! We managed to reach Liberia on Friday July 10, two days later than we were originally scheduled to arrive. Pillar Missions Field Director Luther Tarpeh met us at the airport and took us to Paynesville near Monrovia, where we spent the first weekend with our friends, Sam and Tabitha Walker.
On Tuesday Luther drove us from Monrovia southeast to Buchanan. The 90-mile trip "down the coast" was a slow and torturous ride over a road that is badly in need of repaving. (Thankfully a Chinese company has already started the job.) Since Luther wanted to return to Monrovia the same day, he immediately convened a short meeting with Gabriel Tequah (principal of the Pillar school in Buchanan) and Joseph Dedegaa (director of Pillar churches, who had come in from River Cess), so that we could explain the purpose of our visit to Liberia, particularly with respect to PROJECT BUCHANAN.
We spent the next few weeks in Buchanan with Martha and Gabriel (above), enjoying their hospitality and reminiscing on our past years of ministry together. Once again we were working together, but this time our focus was on PROJECT BUCHANAN and our plans for a better future for Pillar Mission's Christian school ministry in Liberia!The school year had just ended for them (as it had for us in the States), and Gabriel was able to relax and share with Paula both the joys and the challenges of his work with the young people in the school. There is nothing quite like spending a late African afternoon out in the yard, casually visiting with friends in the shade of the old mango tree!
Most evenings a small gasoline generator provided a little light while we talked or sat around playing Skip-Bo until midnight. After that, the African nights were as dark and as quiet as we remembered them when we lived in Liberia years ago.