June 2014 Prayer Letter

Kuwaa Mission June 2014 Prayer Letter

 

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June 2014

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Fresh, clean water is so vital for life among the Kuwaa people in Liberia, West Africa.  Now 14 of the 16 villages in the Kuwaa Chiefdom have one or more wells built by the Mission to provide this precious life-giving and life-saving necessity for the people. Infant and child mortality is such that half the children die before reaching the age of 10 years!

Christ Lutheran Church in Costa Mesa, CA, where we are members, has contributed the necessary funds to provide for a well in the village of Konjade near where our family lived 40 years ago while we served as missionaries with Lutheran Bible Translators. The well was completed several months ago and a plaque was placed on the well cover in recognition of the generous gift of our church.

The children of Christ Lutheran School also contributed  to the Kuwaa Mission through their April chapel offerings. Their  goal was $500. They were short of the goal until the 4th grade girls pictured below (Kennedy, Grace and Leila) held a fund raiser which put them over the top,  including a $40 gift from Leila. In lieu of birthday presents, she asked family and friends to contribute to the Kids 4 Kuwaa Project providing school materials for the Kuwaa children. Thank you Leila and the children of Christ Lutheran School.

Ed Stelling, member of the Kuwaa Mission Board of Directors.

 Donations can be given in two ways:

1.   Make out check to: The Kuwaa Mission  (send to Bethany Lutheran Church (see below))

2.   Go to the Kuwaa Mission Website at www.kuwaamission.orguse PayPal to make a one time or automatic monthly donation

PDF and MS Word versions of this letter will be available on the website

Unsubscribe – Edit your subscription

The Kuwaa Mission:  c/o Bethany Lutheran Church,  1340 8th Street,  Slidell, LA 70458

Stan Olsen – April 2014 Trip Report – Kuwaa Mission

MONROVIA ARRIVAL TO KONDESU

Dave and I met at JFK airport and hit it off immediately. We gave each other a brief synopsis of our life histories and boarded the plane. During our 2.5 hr. layover in Acura, Ghana we made initial planes for the next days’ work in order to leave Monrovia ASAP on Friday the 28th.

On Friday Dave inspected the solar system in storage and decided everything was there but that we needed to get some wall anchors, ground wire and a ground rod as well as groceries before we headed upcountry. We started to walk to the store and were met by Sam Zinnah, one of Senator Momo’s assistants. He drove us around town and we stopped on the way back to meet the Senator. He stated he was planning to come up as well as Representative Malai and that he would be sending some rice with us for the dedication ceremony. Sam proved to be of great assistance upcountry during our negotiations with the Health Department. . Late in the afternoon McGill showed up with his pickup and we loaded the solar system and rice in the dark for our 6:00am departure. Dave & I had supper and then it was time for bed.

Loaded TruckSurprisingly enough we did leave exactly at 6 making our way thru town in the dark peering thru the grimy, broken windshield and one barely working headlight. By the time we reached the outskirts of town it was light and we made good time to Bopolu. I was hoping to meet Dr. Tucker, the County Health Director, on the road but we didn’t recognize each other’s vehicles. We stopped at the hospital and I met with the County Health Team (CHT). I told them briefly about what we had done, that I was under the impression that in principal there was agreement that the Health Department would take over the clinic and that we just needed to finalize any areas of concern. I also stated that the KM had been paying for a nursing student to attend the nursing school at Curran Hospital and that she and two of her friends were willing to be stationed in Kondesu. They were very pleased to hear that as it’s often difficult to get someone willing to be stationed in such a remote place.

The CHT agreed and asked if the KM would take care of salaries and pay for medicines and I said we didn’t have the resources to pay for that. They then asked if we could provide a motorbike for the health team to make deliveries and help with their programming. I replied that I thought we could but that I would have to take that to our board for discussion / approval. I said that the clinic dedication was set for April 13 and we would turn the building over to them effective May 1 and everyone left satisfied. The health team was to make an inspection of the clinic during the next week.

 

After loading several boxes of medical supplies for the Fassama clinic into the pickup we left town and arrived in Fassama about 5:30pm. The pickup was unloaded and everything carried to McGill’s house for the night for security reasons. At 7:00am the next morning everything, included the fridge for medicines previously delivered to Fassama, was carried back to the Pentecostal Mission where the helo was to land. Again, right on schedule Samaritans Purse arrived and flew Dave, I and the rice and small items to Kondesu. Two more flights got all the supplies delivered and the fourth flight consisted of Stone and Jesse Yarsiah of Kondesu, another aide to the Senator. He proved to be indispensable during various negotiations in Kondesu and in getting the people of Kondesu to actually do what they said they would do when it needed to be done.

CLINIC CONSTRUCTION

The clinic actually looked just as good up close as it did from the helicopter on arrival. The contractor, Ston, did a wonderful job on the clinic. We met briefly with the townspeople, they again committed to helping when requested, to feed us and to get the site ready for the dedication. We told them we wanted to sleep at the clinic for security for the solar system and to enable us to work more efficiently. It worked well and we had cool quiet evenings with just enough visitors to make it interesting but not overwhelming.

Dave set to work that morning, the 29th, installing the panels on the roof while I reviewed the work and made plans with Stone to finish everything by the 13th. In between helping Ston with the painting, coordinating some last minute items with the carpenter (doors, window shutters and bed frames) I was able to hang the lights and run the wire in the attic.

Solar SystemBy the 2nd it was determined that the items Ston bought were not even in Fassama and in fact hadn’t even left Monrovia. I told Ston to go to Monrovia and have everything back in Kondesu by the time I returned from visiting several other villages.

Plaque-ClinicDave finished the solar system installation on the 31st and that we night we had a special ceremony for the people of Kondesu to thank them and for the official initial turning on of the lights. Most of the ceremony was by the light of the moon. There was plenty of singing, dancing, and prayers. Just before the final prayers and after the lights went on they presented a white chicken to Ston who gave it to me and I in turn gave it to Dave – his first white chicken! He was quite surprised and intrigued by the ceremony. The evening was closed with a prayer by Iman Samuka Duclay.

Gift The next day the County Health Team (CHT) arrived to inspect the clinic; this was their first visit there. They were very impressed. As they walked around they made a few changes to the “names” of the rooms, wanted additional beds, chairs, tables, a medical records cabinet and a latrine for the clinic visitors. The carpenter agreed to make the furniture in time for the dedication and a separate contract was made for the latrine with a man from Kondesu. We borrowed 12 each 1×12’s for the furniture from a local man and another person keeping a few for the senator, it may come back on us later that we need to pay to replace these. The CHT decided that the building serving as the nurse quarter would be insufficient for two nurses. However there is a building close to the clinic that is being constructed by Senator Momo for use as mid-wife clinic. (Never did figure out why he agreed with the town’s request for that with a clinic being constructed next door.) It was determined that this would serve perfectly as housing for two more nurses as the CHT feels that they need a staff of 3, one being a mid-wife. It was agreed that after the dedication ceremony we would all meet with the senator and try to convince him to finish the building and turn it over for housing.

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Dave wanted his own “experience” and since the solar system was complete he wanted to work his way back to Monrovia on his own and check out the town. As it worked out Koko was in Kondesu as his crew was finishing the well for the clinic and together they walked 7 hrs. to Fassama. The next day Dave caught a vehicle from Fassama to Monrovia. He made the journey without incident.

On the 6th I left for Fassama and to inspect the wells that Koko had installed last year and this year. I returned on April 11 and we easily finished the final touches to the clinic, the furniture, the latrine and installed the steel doors as required by the health department. The men showed up on the day of the 12th to erect the shelter from the sun for the dedication and the women came afterwards to clean up the grounds.

 CLINIC DEDICATION

The people of did a fine job of cleaning the site, getting seating arranged for most of the 200 people and building the structure to provide shade. Senator Momo, Representative Malai, the District Superintendent Nathan Sue, the County Health Team, and various tribal / paramount and sectional chiefs were in attendance.   Senator Momo brought with him a person from a radio station in Monrovia who taped the program and interviewed myself and later played these on the radio in Monrovia. The Senator also brought with him Sam Zinnah who had ushered us around Monrovia.

The dedication ceremony scheduled for 10:00am started promptly at 11:00am. The program started with the youth leading a procession around the clinic and the singing of a song of thanks. Following this the program continued as follows:

  • Opening invocation – Kuwaa Parish pastor Rev. Paye who substituted for Bishop Seyenkulo as he was not able to be in attendance

Rev Paye

  • Overview of project – Stan Olsen (see attached comments)
  • Cutting of three ribbons – Kuwaa Mission, Rep. Malai, Senator Momo
  • Dedication of the clinic – Rev. Paye
  • Remarks:

o   Kondesu Development Chairman

o   LOKOGASA – a representative of the organization composed of the four nearest villages for development: Lowoma, Kondesu, Gatema and Sasasu.

o   Section IV Chief

o   Paramount Chief – Joseph Vallah

o   Chief Elder of the Belle District

o   District Superintendent – Nathan Sue

  • At this point the order was spontaneously changed by the local women/mid-wives who broke into song, presented a white chicken to Rep. Malai who gave it to Senator Momo who gave it to me who saved it for supper.
  • Following this was the “Gowning Ceremony” where Ston, Cindy, Bishop Seyenkulo and Stan received a traditional Liberian outfit.

o   County Health Team – Bennie Clark

o   Rev. Paye – substituting for Bishop Seyenkulo

o   Representative Malai

o   Senator Momo

  • Vote of Thanks – Kuwaa Mission, Stan Olsen (see attached comments)
  • Closing song
  • Closing prayer – Iman Samuka Duclay

All the speakers followed the same general theme of thanks to the KM for the construction of the clinic and the necessity of the local people to take on the responsibility of caring for the care givers who would be assigned here, to maintaining the road in good condition so that the supplies could be delivered, so that people could drive here which would be necessary for the development to continue, and that the clinic was not for the people of Kondesu or LOWAGASA but for all the people in the area – it is not to be tribalized, as emphasized by the Senator.

Following the dedication everyone was fed cassava and rice. During this time period I met with the CHT, Jesse Yarsiah, the Senator and his aides to discuss the mid-wife building he is constructing. The end result is that he is receptive to the concept of the building being used to house additional nursing staff, as strongly recommended by Jesse Yarsiah and Sam Zinnah. The Senator looked to the KM to take over this responsibility. I stated that we did not have the funds nor the staff to do so but that we would recommend a contractor for the work. He was going to take this recommendation back to the village to get their approval since it was their idea originally. I believe that this will take place but have not received any confirmation as yet

WELL PROGRAM

The wells are without a doubt the strongest program we have going. Koko is doing an excellent job of managing the workers, the materials, delivery of the items, working with the peoples in Kondesu, in Konjade and in Fassama. All are located in a spot convenient for the people to use and in a location that is likely to have good water. All the wells were dug to about 40’ in depth and had 5’-7’ of water in the bottom, this at the driest time of the year. I tested the water in all the wells and it was clean and potable. Koko has a very competent, hard-working and enjoyable crew working for him at this time.

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Murphy Zadoe guided me from village to village: Fassama to Konjade to Kenata where we spent the second night. The congregation from Trinity Lutheran Church in Park Forest, Illinois funded this well and I installed a plaque on the well noting this.

The third day we walked from Kenata to Teglei where Koko was conducting a well maintenance class over 5 days. There were 18 students in the class and by the end of the 5th day Koko felt that they all had a good handle on how and why the wells need maintenance. Additionally he felt they were all competent to actually perform the maintenance. I signed Certificates of Completion for all in attendance.

SANITATION PROGRAM

In January of this year Cindy conducted our first “Community Led Sanitation” program in Kenata with the assistance of Korpu Barsay, Koko’s wife. I first met Korpu in Fassama as I was beginning my tour of the wells and again in Kenata a couple days later. As I entered Kenata my first impression was that the town was much cleaner, basically free from feces, then it was when I visited it last year at this time. Korpu brought me up to date on what the people were doing as a result of the workshop and we toured the town to make an inspection. They have dug one latrine and had started on a second when their only shovel broke. I made arrangements for them to get another shovel from Saata in Fassama as well as a shovel, pick and digger from Koko’s tools in the Fassama container. The women seem to understand the need to keep the town clean and Korpu said she would be back again to check on them. Hopefully this will be a model village we can use as an example to the other villages to clean up their town. We must keep this program going: clean water and sanitation will do wonders for their overall health.

Sanitation Program

 

 

LCL-ELCL RELATIONS

While in Robertsport I contacted Rev. Amos Bolay of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Liberia (ELCL) to discuss how the KM and the LCL could work together to serve Liberian in general and Lutheran’s specifically. I set up a meeting with Rev. Isaac Dowah, Special Assistant to the Bishop, since Jensen was in Kenya at an African Council of Churches meeting.

We met in Jensen’s office upon my return to Monrovia upon my return from Robersort where I explained to Rev. Bolay what we were doing and our hope to reach out to the people who belonged to the ELCL and how an agreement would help the KM obtain funds from the LCMS in the US. Amos then gave me a brief history of how the ELCL came into being by the work of a LCMS person who returned to Liberia and worked to get the church established mainly up north in Liberia in the Bandi area. Currently there are no ELCL congregations in the Kuwaa area. There has been a refusal by the LCL in the past to acknowledge the ELCL and not try to work with them.

At this time there are several ELCL congregations in Monrovia due to the displacement of people after the war, some very close to LCL congregations. There is no conflict between these congregations and they work well together. Amos main concern that he wanted clarified was the LCL stance on gay and lesbians. Rev. Dowah stated that the LCL and ELCL positions are identical in that they both oppose such unions both theologically and culturally. Their respective stances on women in clergy is just an issue they disagree on but that wouldn’t stop any cooperation between the two bodies.

We closed the meeting with a general understanding that the KM would be accepted to work in the ELCL areas upcountry and that the ELCL would do what they can to assist the KM. This would require us to work up in the Lofa County area of Liberia near Kolahun and Voinjama. These cities are quite a distance from Monrovia but they do have pretty good road access. I have sent out a copy of the draft MoU between the LCL-ELCL that speaks to their relationship with the KM for your review / comment / approval.

Kondesu Clinic Dedication

OVERVIEW OF PROJECT SPEECH

KM and the LCL first visited the Kuwaa Area in 2008

  • Recognized need for clean water, health care and sanitation if the people were to prosper
  • Over next few years we held meetings with the people in the area and MOH it was agreed that a rural clinic was needed
  • Kondesu was selected between the KM and the County Health Department due to being centrally located to serve many towns and villages
  • Floor plan was approved by County Health officials in 2011 at a meeting at the LCL compound with the KM
  • Work began in 2012 with the laying of the foundation and sawing of timber
  • The people of Kondesu have played a big role in helping with the lumber, making blocks, hauling water, hauling sand and hauling rock, housing and feeding the workers
  • Clinic has a large reception area, storage area, pharmacy, bathroom, 2 exam rooms, a general ward and a maternity ward.
  • 2 room nurse quarter has been built, an incinerator to burn medical wastes and a septic tank installed, a well specifically for the clinic but also close to the school
  • This clinic is the second clinic to be built in the Fassama district since the end of the fighting and the first clinic to be built since 2004.   CONFIRM WITH KOKO
  • The first nurse willing to work here is Esther Kowulo and her family is from Konjade. I welcome her back to her area along with her nursing associates

VOTE OF THANKS SPEECH

  • Many people and organizations are responsible for contributing to the success of this clinic
  • Countless people, churches and organizations in the US contributed money and prayers
  • The people of Kondesu and the surrounding towns and villages have helped by supplying labor and food
  • The contractor, DMV Construction, did a wonderful job as you can all see
  • Senator Momo, Representative Malai have been supporters of the project since day one
  • The Minister of Health, Dr. Walter Gwenigale, and the County Health Department have been supporters from the start
  • The LCL for their assistance in organizing this event
  • The cooks for the fine meal everyone is looking forward to
  • I personally want to thank is Rev. Chris Kowula, a long-time friend. He and I have travelled many miles on foot visiting the Kuwaa people ever since 1998. He has always made me feel at home no matter where we are. Without his direct involvement in the KM from the start of our work the wells and this clinic would not have been possible. Thank you from the bottom of my heart Chris.
  • My special thanks however is reserved for Kendall Kauffeldt and Samaritans Purse. Without their support in the form of prayers, land transportation and helicopter transportation of personnel and building supplies we would not be here today. Not only have they helped with this clinic but they have also helped with transportation of well materials
  • Most especially I’d like to thank God for making this long dreamed of day a reality. As the saying goes: “Everything is possible with God”. To God Be the Glory!

o   Let the people say AMEN

May 2014 Prayer Letter

Kuwaa Mission May 2014 Prayer Letter

 

 

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May 2014

In April of this year the Kuwaa Mission celebrated three major achievements.

Our CEO, Stan Olsen, went to Liberia in late March and visited with the Gbarpolu County Health Department (CHT) while en-route to Kondesu.  It had been essentially agreed that the Health Department would accept the clinic but he needed to meet with them to finalize details.  At the conclusion of the meeting it was agreed that the Health Department would accept the clinic as of May 1, 2014 and that a Memorandum of Understanding would be signed.  The verbiage for the MoU has been agreed upon and should be signed before the end of May 2014; in the meantime the CHT is making plans to staff and supply the clinic.

On Palm Sunday,  April 13 the Kuwaa Mission dedicated the new clinic in Kondesu, Liberia.  We started this project last January during the dry season, as that is the only time the roads are passable and then we stopped work during the rains and in December of last year we restarted the project.  The clinic contains a reception area, storage area with the solar system controls and medicine refrigerator, pharmacy, OB ward, general ward and d two exam rooms.  Next door is a smaller building that will be used to house a nurse.  The senator for this area is building a house next door that may be used to house two more nurses as requested by the CHT.

Attending the dedication ceremony was Senator Momo, Representative Malai, the County Superintendent, the CHT and several chiefs of the Kuwaa area, various local dignitaries and about 200 interested local people.  The day was warm, sunny and the air was filled with excitement.  Many songs and some dancing occurred and of course there were many speeches.  The Senator, Representative and Superintendent all thanked the KM for their work and emphasized to the local people their responsibility to take care of the health providers who would be stationed here, to maintain the roads so that medicines can be delivered and development take place.  The Senator also noted that the clinic was for everyone, not just the people of Kondesu, not just Lutherans but everyone who lives in the area or is traveling through.

Our third milestone was the first meeting between the Lutheran Church in Liberia (LCL) which is associated with the ELCA in America, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Liberia (ELCL) which is associated with the LCMS in America and the KM.  Stan arranged a meeting between Rev. Amos Bolay, the Bishop of the ELCL and Rev. Isaac Dowah, the Special Assistant to the Bishop of the LCL, (Bishop Seyenkulo of the LCL was out of Liberia on church business and unable to attend) and Stan presented to Rev. Bolay his request that the KM and the ELCL work together to enable the KM to obtain funding through the LCMS to help the people in Liberia associated with the ELCL and the LCL.  Despite the theological differences between the two church bodies we all agreed that these need to be put aside to so that together we can holistically help the people.

The two church bodies have been operating in Liberia for many years but have not set down and discussed how they can work together.  Within two weeks of Stan’s departure the two bishops did meet and a draft of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two is in the final stages.  It is very rewarding to see such positive steps being taken after such a prolonged drought of communication.  Truly all the people will benefit.

Dave Hagstrom of Billings, MT accompanied Stan on his trip in April and completed the installation of the solar system on the clinic in only 4 days.  A special ceremony was held upon reaching this milestone with all the villagers of Kondesu taking part.

One other special note is that when Cindy Bye was in the Kuwaa area she and Korpu Barsay conducted our first sanitation workshop, in Kenata, to help the local people understand why they needed to keep the town clean of feces.  When Stan visited in April he was pleasantly surprised at how much cleaner the town was than during his visit in 2013.  We are making a difference!!

Thanks to the wonderful support we have received from all of you we have been able to make remarkable progress in serving the Kuwaa People of Liberia.  When we first started working in Liberia2009 we had no idea of where our mission would take us, we only that we knew we needed to try and help.  Now, with your prayers and generous financial contributions, we have truly helped made a difference in the lives of the people.  As we finalize plans to involve all our supporters for our 5th year anniversary celebration please continue to keep the Kuwaa Mission in your prayers and financial support.  Please check our website soon for we will posting many photos of the clinic and the dedication ceremony.

Our contact information for donations is given below.  Please contact myself or Rev. Carol George, the Congregational Coordinator, if you want a spokesperson to visit your congregation.  Her email address is: pastorcarol@kuwaamission.org   Thank you for your continued prayers and financial support.

 Donations can be given in two ways:

1.   Make out check to: The Kuwaa Mission  (send to Bethany Lutheran Church (see below))

2.   Go to the Kuwaa Mission Website at www.kuwaamission.orguse PayPal to make a one time or automatic monthly donation

PDF and MS Word versions of this letter will be available on the website

Unsubscribe – Edit your subscription

The Kuwaa Mission:  c/o Bethany Lutheran Church,  1340 8th Street,  Slidell, LA 70458

 

April 2014 Prayer Letter

Kuwaa Mission April 2014 Prayer Letter

 

 

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April 2014

Happy 5th Anniversary — Kuwaa Mission

Dear Kuwaa Mission Partners,

     Please join us in celebrating the 5th Anniversary of the Kuwaa Mission in Liberia, West Africa.  During the past five years, you, as a partner or partner congregation in this vital ministry, helped dig wells for fresh drinking water; build a medical clinic; provided scholarships for technicians, nurses, and evangelists; trained for well and filter care; provided school supplies and Christian education to families in the villages of the Kuwaa Chiefdom.   We would like to say “thank you” by inviting you to party with us this Fall.

     5th Anniversay packets will be available on-line for your celebration or where one close to you might be.  Included in the packets are the following:

  • A DVD on the progress that has been made through our mutual efforts
  • Reproducible flyers and bulletin inserts
  • Liberian Recipes that you might use to host a Liberian lunch or dinner
  • A Litany of Celebration & Thanksgiving suitable for use in worship
  • A reproducible coloring page for use in Sunday school or children’s church
  • A special anniversary “noisy offering” paint can cover

All of these resources and more will be also available on our website at www.kuwaamission.org soon.

     We suggest you pick a Sunday this Fall for your congregation’s Kuwaa 5th Anniversary Celebration.  It could be as simple as using the Litany of Celebration & Thanksgiving during your morning worship, taking up a “noisy (loose change) offering,” and serving a “birthday” cake following the service where you would play the video of the mission progress.  Or you might choose to host a Liberian meal and invite a Kuwaa board member or missionary to speak.  A speaker may be arranged by contacting Stan Olsen, CEO at (907) 333-2614 solsen@kuwaamission.org or Rev. Carol George, Congregation Coordinator at (907)227-7501 or pastorcarol@kuwaamission.org   Please let us know when you’ll be having the party so that we can post it in the prayer letters.

Thank you for all you’ve done and continue to do for the Kuwaa people.  NOW – LET’S PARTY!

Happy Easter-He Is Risen

     We can party because what Jesus Christ accomplished in his suffering, death, and resurrection. Because he accomplished restoration and renewal for all humanity, we can celebrate new life in Christ and the5th Anniversary.   Jesus gave himself for the following purposes:

  • Reveal the love of God passionately, deeply, and unconditionally
  • Forgive the sins of all people throughout the ages
  • Replace the curse and consequences of the Law that all people deserve with forgiveness
  • Disarm and defeat Satan
  • Abolish the disease that separates mankind from God that allows people to come to him   cleansed, unafraid
  • Installed a 24/7 connection with God forever for us

Now we have the power, the Holy Spirit, to go out and be missionaries for Christ sharing the good news of Christ’s resurrection to all Mankind by word and deed. During this Easter Season, for those of you who can’t go consider helping send someone – you can pray for them, you can support them and the Kuwaa Mission will gladly send them!!!

 Let us also remember the people in Western Africa who are affected by the deadly outbreak of Ebola in our prayers.   Let us also praise him for being a God who cares for all people and who keeps his promises. Let us also remember to thank God for all of the prayer warriors, volunteers, field workers and financial supporters.  We the Board of Directors thank you all for being a witness for Christ.  We ask God to bless and keep you.

Celebrate and party joyfully in Jesus,

Carol George & Lolitha Shepard – Board Members

Our contact information for donations is given below.  Please contact myself or Rev. Carol George, the Congregational Coordinator, if you want a spokesperson to visit your congregation.  Her email address is: pastorcarol@kuwaamission.org   Thank you for your continued prayers and financial support.

 Donations can be given in two ways:

1.   Make out check to: The Kuwaa Mission  (send to Bethany Lutheran Church (see below))

2.   Go to the Kuwaa Mission Website at www.kuwaamission.orguse PayPal to make a one time or automatic monthly donation

MS Word versions of this letter

Unsubscribe – Edit your subscription

The Kuwaa Mission:  c/o Bethany Lutheran Church,  1340 8th Street,  Slidell, LA 70458

 

March 2014 Prayer Letter

Kuwaa Mission March 2014 Prayer Letter

 

 

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March 2014

In February 2014, I returned from my fifth trip to Liberia with the Kuwaa Mission.  What a pleasure it is to see the Kuwaa People that I have come to know and love.  Thanks to all of the Mission supporters for making these trips happen.  We are doing great things and changing lives.

We are digging 3 wells this year, in Fassama, Konjade, and at the clinic site in Kondesu.  This will bring our total to 15 wells!  Praise the Lord!  We will continue to dig wells, as each village needs at least 2 wells.  The villages are larger than you might think, with the smallest at about 350 people, and the largest at about 3000.  The villages look small, because they don’t have a lot of houses.  Many people will live in one house.  They also don’t have a lot of STUFF, like we have!  Why do we have so much stuff?  That’s a question I often ask myself.

One of the high points of my trip was a visit to the clinic in Kondesu, which is under construction.  The clinic and nurses’ quarters will soon be complete.  That will be such a blessing to the Kuwaa People, as the only other clinic in the region is over a day’s walk away from some villages.  We began planning for the clinic dedication which will take place on April 13, 2014 (Palm Sunday).  Stan Olsen, the Kuwaa Mission CEO, will be there.  The rest of us will be there in spirit, and we are certainly celebrating!

The CBS program covered 2 afternoons, with lessons about David and Goliath and about Jesus’ love for children.  The children learned and recited two Bible verses: Psalm 23:6 and John 3:16.  Nancy had supplied crayons for each child, and everyone got to color a picture of little David overcoming the giant with God’s help.  Even the adults enjoyed the coloring!  We also supplied snacks for them, and my helper from Monrovia, Korpu, popped corn for everyone.  They were amazed and delighted with that.

The whole village participated in the CBS program.  We had requested help from the women, and 16 of them volunteered.  The three evangelists (Lutheran, Catholic, and Pentecostal) helped, too.  To show the women our appreciation, Korpu and I served them tea and biscuits at the conclusion.  We read a few Bible passages and let the women know how important they are to the health and happiness of their community.  All of the helpers received certificates in their names, which is very popular in Liberia.

We also conducted our first “Community Led Total Sanitation” program in Kenata.  This is a UNICEF program designed to incite community leaders to want to clean up their towns, by showing how disgusting and unhealthy their practice of open defecation is.  Korpu facilitated the program, as it is necessary to have a native Liberian involved.  She did an excellent job, and we want to continue this program.

I was absolutely delighted to have transportation by helicopter this year, provided by Samaritan’s Purse.  They have been an integral part of our clinic construction.  We wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.  Thank you so much, Samaritan’s Purse!

My time in the bush was the highlight of the trip.   The Kuwaa People are the reason that the Kuwaa Mission exists!  I got to see many of my old friends, and I can see how their lives are improving.  I also spent some time in Monrovia carrying out some of the business of the Kuwaa Mission.  We try to make contact with government officials and other NGOs working in the area.  Life is all about relationships!

Again, I want to thank everyone for their participation with the Kuwaa Mission.  Thank you for your financial support.  Thank you, too, for your prayers – they are powerful!

I am lucky to be the messenger, to deliver the Good News, the clean water, the improved health, and particularly hope for a better tomorrow to the Kuwaa People.  I am only a messenger, and I don’t take the credit for God’s work through you.  To God be the Glory!

Blessings,

Cindy Ellis Bye

Kuwaa Mission Volunteer

March 2, 2014

Our contact information for donations is given below.  Please contact myself or Rev. Carol George, the Congregational Coordinator, if you want a spokesperson to visit your congregation.  Her email address is: pastorcarol@kuwaamission.org   Thank you for your continued prayers and financial support.

 Donations can be given in two ways:

1.   Make out check to: The Kuwaa Mission  (send to Bethany Lutheran Church (see below))

2.   Go to the Kuwaa Mission Website at www.kuwaamission.orguse PayPal to make a one time or automatic monthly donation

MS Word version of this letter

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The Kuwaa Mission:  c/o Bethany Lutheran Church,  1340 8th Street,  Slidell, LA 70458

 

February 2014 Prayer Letter

 

 

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February 2014

As many of you know the Kuwaa Mission operated as a special mission under the auspices of Bethany Lutheran Church – Slidell, LA since its inception in 2009. After waiting 2 years, the Mission acquired its own tax exempt status under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) in late 2013.  This means that any income the Mission receives will continue to be exempt from state and federal income taxes.

The government will recognize donations sent to the Mission as charitable gifts.  They are deductible on your income tax returns, up to 50% of your adjusted gross income. Checks can now be made out to the Kuwaa Mission.  Bethany Lutheran Church will continue to be the mailing address.  This step is vitally important in being able to receive grants.

The Mission appreciates each of you for the support and prayers you offer for the Mission.  In the course of a year we receive over $70,000 in support for projects like the Kondesu Medical Clinic, providing potable water by digging wells and supplying water filters.  You supported the work of volunteers going to the Kuwaa Chiefdom.  Medical and school supplies were purchased and given to the appropriate people.  Scholarships helped people complete their education to serve the people through the church or medical clinic.  Workshops were held for educators and religious leaders.  Most recently a VBS was conducted.  Of course, sharing Christ is always foremost.  The work of the Kuwaa Mission has not lacked funding.  If more funds are received then more work can be done.

 We the Board members are very thankful and appreciative of all that God is doing through you and for the Kuwaa people.  The Mission also is busy spreading the word about its work.  The publicity is a minimal cost but so very necessary if the Mission is to continue its work.  The Mission still continues to move forward without having to pay any salaries.  We are still 100% volunteer operated.

The Mission appreciates all of you.  We thank God for each of you.  We also include you in our own personal prayers.  It is people like you who make the Mission possible.  All the Kuwaa people also thank you as the Spirit is transforming their lives and the providing the necessities they need to live.

Your Brother in Christ,

Ron Morgan – Treasurer & Board Member

Certified Public Accountant

Our contact information for donations is given below.  Please contact myself or Rev. Carol George, the Congregational Coordinator, if you want a spokesperson to visit your congregation.  Her email address is: pastorcarol@kuwaamission.org   Thank you for your continued prayers and financial support.

 Donations can be given in two ways:

1.   Make out check to: The Kuwaa Mission  (send to Bethany Lutheran Church (see below))

2.   Go to the Kuwaa Mission Website at www.kuwaamission.orguse PayPal to make a one time or automatic monthly donation

PDF of Prayer Letter

Word version of Prayer Letter

Unsubscribe – Edit your subscription

The Kuwaa Mission:  c/o Bethany Lutheran Church,  1340 8th Street,  Slidell, LA 70458

 

January 2014 Prayer Letter

January 2014 Prayer letter

 

 

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January 2014

    Rev. Dr. D. Jensen Seyenkulo and Rev. Dr. Richard Thompson organized the Kuwaa Mission 5 years ago.  Since that beginning the Lord has richly blessed the Mission’s work.  The Board of Directors grew to 9 members and hundreds of people and congregations joined the ranks of faithful prayer and financial warriors from all over the country.

Just what has the Mission accomplished by God’s grace in these 5 years in mission to the Kuwaa people?

  • The Mission constructed or repaired wells in 14 of the 16 villages in the Kuwaa Chiefdom and passed out hundreds of water purification filters.
  • God willing the Mission will dedicate the Kondesu Medical Clinic, nurse’s housing and bath house in April.  Solar panels are being furnished as well as a toxic waste incinerator and clinic well in April.
  • The Mission provides scholarships.  Ester Kowula receive a full scholarship to attend nursing school so that she can serve as the clinic’s full time nurse.  3 young men received full scholarships to attend the seminary to become ordained evangelists in the Chiefdom.
  • The Fassama Clinic, schools, and dressers received medical supplies from the Mission each year.Workshops were held for pubic and church school teachers, also for evangelists, town pastors, Sunday School teachers, and church leaders. 
  • Several workshops were held for people to be trained in the need for sanitation and drinking good water, especially for the children and workshops for learning how to care for the well equipment and water purification filters.
  • The mission also provided books, equipment, materials, and religious materials as well as hygiene information.

For all this we give all glory to God as the Kuwaa Mission celebrates it’s 5th anniversary this year.  The Mission also gives thanks to God for you, our faithful prayer and financial warriors.  None of this could be done without you.  With you the mission is possible!  Thank you on behalf of the Kuwaa people.

Your brother in Christ,

Ed Stelling, Board member

Our contact information for donations is given below.  Please contact myself or Rev. Carol George, the Congregational Coordinator, if you want a spokesperson to visit your congregation.  Her email address is: pastorcarol@kuwaamission.org   Thank you for your continued prayers and financial support.

 Donations can be given in two ways:

1.   Make out check and send to: Bethany Lutheran Church (see below)

2.   Go to the Kuwaa Mission Website at www.kuwaamission.orguse PayPal to make a one time or automatic monthly donation

PDF of Prayer Letter

Word version of Prayer Letter

Unsubscribe – Edit your subscription

The Kuwaa Mission:  c/o Bethany Lutheran Church,  1340 8th Street,  Slidell, LA 70458

December 2013 Prayer Letter

December 2013 Prayer letter

 

 

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December 2013

Merry Christmas!

Advent Promise

Advent, the 4 weeks preceding Christmas in the church calendar, is my favorite time of the year.  Living in Alaska, these are among the coldest, longest, darkest days of winter.  It can be a difficult time for many who suffer from a clinical psychological disorder known as SAD (Seasonal Effective Disorder) or who are dealing with loss or grief.  In the midst of this darkness the prophet Isaiah speaks a word of hope…

…that time of darkness will not go on forever.

The people who walk in darkness will see a great light.

For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.

                        Isaiah 9:1a, 2

In my congregation these past few months have been a time of exceptional loss.  I performed six funerals in three months.  Many beloved friends and family are now missing from our fellowship and their absence is felt profoundly.  Through the darkness of loneliness and grief, Isaiah’s words speak hope..

For a child is born to us, a son is given to us.

The government will rest on his shoulders

And he will be called:

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6

The Lord, the Messiah, is coming!  In Him is the hope of the nations… hope for peace, for justice, for health and for liberation.  And as children of God, we are ambassadors of peace, justice, health and liberation.  We are called to speak out, as Isaiah did, the Good News of hope, reconciliation, justice and peace delivered to the world as a baby in a manger in Bethlehem.

For those of us who serve as volunteers, board members, supporters and missionaries to the Kuwaa people, Advent is a time to rejoice in the living hope that one day all people will have clean drinking water, sanitary living conditions, and access to medical care along with the Good News of Jesus Christ.  It is a time to recommit ourselves to our mission, even as we wait for Jesus’ return and the fulfillment of God’s Kingdom on earth!

I believe these words, a new verse to the old hymn, O Come, O Come Immanuel, sums up our Advent hope:

O come now, living water, pour your grace,

And bring new life to ev’ry withered place;

Speak comfort to each trembling heart:

“Be strong! Fear not, for I will ne’er depart.”

 Rejoice, rejoice! Take heart and do not fear,

God’s chosen one, Immanuel, draws near.

Barbara Lundblad

Our contact information for donations is given below.  Please contact myself or Rev. Carol George, the Congregational Coordinator, if you want a spokesperson to visit your congregation.  Her email address is: pastorcarol@kuwaamission.org   Thank you for your continued prayers and financial support.

Rev. Carol George, Kuwaa Mission Board Member

 Donations can be given in two ways:

1.   Make out check and send to: Bethany Lutheran Church (see below)

2.   Go to the Kuwaa Mission Website at www.kuwaamission.orguse PayPal to make a one time or automatic monthly donation

PDF of Prayer Letter

Word Version of Prayer Letter

Unsubscribe – Edit your subscription

The Kuwaa Mission:  c/o Bethany Lutheran Church,  1340 8th Street,  Slidell, LA 70458

November 2013 Prayer Letter

November 2013 Prayer letter

 

 

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November 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

At Gator Lodge near the TX-LA border, new board members, Ron Morgan and Jennifer Cosgrove, joined the other members.  Elizabeth Rothgeb owns the lodge and proved to be a most gracious hostess.  The lodge is nestled in a beautiful and peaceful setting on the shores of Caddo Lakes

After reviewing and revising legal documents, the board discussed and planned for more involvement from congregational and synodical relationships.  Future projects, including digging wells, supporting the medical clinic, putting Arch Books on tapes for the children, and conducting sanitation education workshops were planned.

On Sunday morning the board worshipped at the Shepards’ church, Faith Lutheran, in Shreveport, LA.  The members were warm and welcoming.  The members stayed for a mission presentation after worship.  The service included a Veteran’s Day recognition of members.  The Faith families have a proud tradition of serving our country.

One of the highlights of each day was the delicious Cajun food Eddie Shepard, Lolitha’s husband, prepared.  Fried catfish, hush puppies, barbecue brisket, red beans and rice, and fried chicken were enthusiastically enjoyed.

The Kondesu medical clinic will be completed and the facility dedicated this year, God willing.  1 final stage is providing a solar system for electricity, especially for the refrigeration necessary for proper storage of vaccines and other medicines.  The system has been ordered and is being shipped.  Funds are needed to finish paying for the solar system.  It will cost between $15,000 & $20,000.  Ester Kowula soon graduates from the nurse training at Currens Hospital.  Ester received a full Kuwaa Mission scholarship.  She and 2 other classmates want to work at the Kondesu Clinic.  It was also planned to complete 3 new wells in 2014, 1 dug for the clinic.   Wells cost approximately $8K each.

While we celebrate Thanksgiving and welcome the season of Advent, we are reminded of the blessings God provides.  The board is especially thankful for the love, prayers, and support with which you continue to bless the Kuwaa Mission and the Kuwaa people.

As Christmas season approaches, gift giving becomes foremost in the minds of people.  It may be difficult to think of something special for those who “have everything.”  We offer a suggestion.  You can send your loved ones a card noting that a gift has been given in their honor to the Kuwaa Mission.  This is the gift of good health, clean water, and medical care for the Kuwaa people of Liberia.  Please keep the mission and the Kuwaa people in your prayers.  God is using the mission to help his beloved people, the Kuwaa.  Information about this card & a download is at www.kuwaamission.org.

Our contact information for donations is given below.  Please contact myself or Rev. Carol George, the Congregational Coordinator, if you want a spokesperson to visit your congregation.  Her email address is: pastorcarol@kuwaamission.org   Thank you for your continued prayers and financial support.

Yours in Him,

Jenny Cosgrove,

Kuwaa Mission Secretary

 Donations can be given in two ways:

1.   Make out check and send to: Bethany Lutheran Church (see below)

2.   Go to the Kuwaa Mission Website at www.kuwaamission.orguse PayPal to make a one time or automatic monthly donation

PDF of Prayer Letter

Unsubscribe – Edit your subscription

The Kuwaa Mission:  c/o Bethany Lutheran Church,  1340 8th Street,  Slidell, LA 70458