Life in LIberia opens your eyes

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 7, 2008

Most of us consider electricity, telephones, running water and sewer to be utilities, which are crucial to our daily living experience. When we are forced to be without any of these “necessities” for a few hours or even a few days due to a hurricane or other event beyond our control, we feel we have been significantly inconvenienced. But at least we know the situation is temporary. Now try to relate with me to the experience of a family I have met in Ganta, Liberia.

Their home has been destroyed, and they have found a 15-by-15 one-room mud hut which they may share with nine other people.

They have no furniture but if they are lucky there may be one or two mattresses on the floor with no bedding.

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There is no roof on the hut, but hopefully they will be able to get one put on before the rainy season starts.

They have no personal belongings, but if they are lucky one of their hut mates may have a cooking pot and spoon.

Probably all they get to eat is one rice meal per day.

Electricity, telephone, running water and sewer are luxuries that they don’t consider possible even in their dreams.

This is life for most Liberians, not for two hours or two weeks or two years, but for 18 years. The threat of more war is virtually gone, but with a shattered infrastructure, hope for improved conditions is still very distant. There is evidence of progress with roads being repaired in some parts of Liberia, but it will be many years before Ganta feels the impact.

So where do these people find hope and help? It comes from the Lord, and sometimes we are the resources the Lord uses to provide that help and hope. Having had the opportunity to be in Liberia, I have seen the enormity of the need, and I have seen and heard and felt the tremendous blessing that comes with being able to give even just a little bit to diminish that need. It is truly an exceedingly greater blessing to give than to receive.

Mother Theresa once said “There are no great deeds, only small ones done in love.”

It is my hope and prayer that you will be open to the work of The Holy Spirit in this great effort in Liberia. Having seen this work taking place personally, I would like to invite you to consider joining me as I travel to Liberia again in June or July of 2009.

Cost in previous years has been approximately $5,000. In previous years this covered all expenses, including, transportation, food, lodging, vaccinations, passport, visa, insurance, photo supplies, water bottle with filter, etc.

For more information about this trip, contact me at, or call me at 601-807-2855.

Nelda Thomas is a Natchez resident and a member of Jefferson Street United Methodist Church.