Thursday, June 24, 2010

...before the Colorado Team Arrives!

NOTE: You can left-click on any picture to enlarge it and to view all the photos in this post as a slideshow!

Sam Walker is currently the Liberian on-site manager for PROJECT BUCHANAN. In recent weeks he has been able to scan a few printed photos and send the scans to me as low-resolution email attachments:

Here Sam is standing with a few Pillar students next to the concrete blocks that have been made for the PROJECT BUCHANAN buildings.

The first building to be constructed is a staff residence which will also serve for storage of building materials and for property security. Here the exterior walls of this 30-ft X 50-ft building were being staked out.

Then trenches were dug (using only hand tools such as picks and shovels) so that the concrete footings could be poured.

Project managers Sam Walker and Jacob Tequah (upper right), along with PROJECT BUCHANAN workers, stopped work for a picture.

Several tiers of concrete blocks were to be laid on the footings, in order to bring the new walls up to floor level. Then a reinforced concrete floor slab was to be poured. After that we are hoping that the building team from Colorado can finish the walls and construct the roof.

Flomo has been directing most of the masonry work.

Here Sam is standing in one of the footing trenches that has already been dug for the second building soon to be constructed: a 100-ft X 30-ft two-story 7-classroom unit.

The building team from Colorado should arrive in Buchanan on July 14. Sam is making arrangements for the team members to stay at this relatively comfortable "rooming house".

Unlike most other homes in Buchanan, this guest house has modern bathroom facilities, as well as electricity for most of the night.

FOOTNOTE:  I am taking Sam a new Coolpix digital camera (folks at Nikon, please take note!).  Hopefully, as PROJECT BUCHANAN moves forward, the progress can be documented in high-quality photographs which you can enjoy.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser!

NOTE: You can left-click on any picture to enlarge it and/or view all the photos as a slideshow.

On June 6 a spaghetti dinner was held at the Belleview Christian School here in Westminster, Colorado, to raise funds for the PROJECT BUCHANAN building team traveling from Colorado to Liberia next month. John Wiersma, pastor of the Belleview Community Chapel that meets each Sunday in the school auditorium, was our MC for the evening. He and his wife Lisa, who are former missionaries to Burkina Faso in West Africa, and are very excited about the development of a Christian school in postwar Liberia.

Team members and others arrived in the afternoon to help set up tables.

Peter DiLorenzo, art teacher at Belleview Christian, brought in ice for the lemonade. This will be his first trip to Africa.

Pieces of African art and dress were put on display at the front of the auditorium.

In the hallway two more team members--Lisa Wiersma (John's wife) and Nathaniel DiLorenzo (Peter's son)--were busy preparing salads.

Shelly Becker, who prepares lunch for the students in the school, catered the spaghetti dinner. Helping her was Mike Bollinger, leader of the construction team.

One very special guest to arrive was Mrs. Arlene Konkel. It was her husband, Dr. Wilbur Konkel, who first visited Liberia in 1960 and then founded Pillar Missions. What a special honor it was to have her at this event 50 years later!

My sister Jeanette Blue, who (like myself) was born in Liberia, stopped for me to take a picture of her with Lisa Wiersma.

Soon other guests were arriving, including long-time supporters of Pillar Missions, Dr. Robert & Pauline Dallenbach.

Linda & Bob Graybeal are also enthusiastic about the work in Liberia.

Hilda Entz, a long-time friend and supporter of Pillar Missions, came to be with us on this special evening, along with several members of her family. Seated with her was her granddaughter's husband, Jack Dyess and, across the table...

...Mrs. Entz' daughter Paulette George and her husband Robert.

Pastor John's parents, Jim & Sharon Wiersma, are also very excited about PROJECT BUCHANAN.

Many years ago Thelma Bradford's husband (Elsworth) visited the work of Pillar Missions in Liberia.

While we enjoyed our meal, there was a map of Liberia on the screen. Later I gave a slide presentation about Liberia and the PROJECT BUCHANAN work site to which the building team will be going in July.

Team members, including Lisa Wiersma, served spaghetti to the tables.

Mel & Millie Stetson also have had missionary experience in Africa.

Peter Dilorenzo stopped under the screen to chat with the Stetsons and Guinevere Perigo.

Helping out that evening were Calvin and his mother, Robin Niles-Gosser.

Jeanne Birch and Kathy Tucker were able to reminisce while enjoying their meal.

Albert Wolfram is one of my former students at Belleview and a great supporter of what Pillar Missions has been doing to provide Christian school education for young people in Liberia.

Mrs. Entz came over to visit with Janice & Curt Aldstadt and their daughter Jessica.

Altogether about 100 guests turned out for the spaghetti dinner.  Needless to say, we were grateful to see so much local support for PROJECT BUCHANAN and for the building team.

My wife Paula (in the tie-dyed and embroidered African dress) has known Mrs. Entz for years, because Mrs. Entz and her husband Paul were great friends of my wife's parents (Paul and June Blue) back in the 1970s and supported them when they worked with Pillar Missions as teachers in Liberia.

Rick & Shelley Jicha are enthusiastic about missions... are their daughters, Emily and Laura.

Other guests were Nathan Martinez (in the Colorado shirt) and (beyond him at the next table) Keith & Beth Robinson and Kathy & Dale Larsen.

Then it was time for dessert... served at this table by Mike Bollinger.

At the end of the evening the PROJECT BUCHANAN team assembled at the front of the room.  Seen here (left to right) are my wife Paula, then Lisa Wiersma, her son Michaiah, Nathaniel DiLorenzo, Ryan Scollard, and Mike Bollinger.  I was behind the camera!  (Where was Peter DiLorenzo?)  Since this event, Brad Bollinger (Mike's dad) has joined the team, bringing the total to 9!

Dr. Dallenbach offered the closing prayer.

Mrs. Bradford and Mrs. Dallenbach had time for a brief parting conversation...

...Liz Dyess (Mrs. Entz' granddaughter) posed for one last picture with Jeanette Blue...

...and Joel Dallenbach and his father, both accomplished photographers, packed up their cameras and called it a great day! 

Thanks again to all who participated!  Nearly $3000 was raised!  This money will go a long way toward providing accommodations and food for the team during their two-week stay in Liberia.