I want to introduce you to a friend of mine, but I don’t want to share his real name with you. For the sake of his protection in a nation where there is persecution, I will call him by the name Pastor Davies Sr. and I will not be sharing any pictures or videos on this platform (though I wish that I could). This is the name that he has requested. Pastor Davies Sr. pastors a church in western Africa, one of the nations where, according to Open Doors, religious persecution has increased. It has increased because of growing Muslim occupation. Pastor Davies Sr. says that they experience persecution because young Muslims are converting to Christianity. He is there in the midst of this with his church family. While we are here arguing about luxury in our own nation, Pastor Davies’ family is starving. He has asked us to refer to his church in public by the name of my local church here, the Church at Sunsites Liberian Mission and School (TCATS Liberia after this). Pastor Davies connected with me and we began talking. He has big dreams for TCATS Liberia, but let me tell you about what this group is already doing.
First, they are reaching Muslims with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Second, they are helping the impoverished as much as possible. Third, they are feeding the hungry. More than half of the population in Liberia lives on less than $2 per day per person. Pastor Davies shares how his own family as well as many people who attend TCATS Liberia go hungry. They rent a facility to worship in. They rent their home. They walk six hours daily sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They have worship services on Sunday morning and Wednesday evening, where Pastor Davies’ Sr. presents the word of Christ. They pray for their persecutors, that God may be glorified in all things. Pastor Davies’ Sr. has shared his desire to come under the headship of my local church, but I can’t help but think that we need to learn from our brothers and sisters in West Africa. Through this personal ministry, I am going to begin supporting and helping train those at TCATS Liberia.
The main struggle in Liberia is that the Civil War there created a vacuum of power. The nation was colonized, a small political group led the nation, and since the nation was founded by explicitly Christian people, there is both a cultural Christianity and a natural disdain for Christianity occupying the same nation. Islam is the quickest growing religion, though there are several Christian schools and many, many, many, many, many Christian churches. When I asked Pastor Davies Sr. about the persecution there, he replied,
“They persecute us and the church by undermining us to leave the building we occupy and pay rent for monthly, at certain months when we are not able to pay the rent for the land we lease which have our church property or building on, we opposed and other agents want to buy the building from the owners in order to drive us away from the community we have our church. But through prayers, the Muslims never succeed in taking our church away from us, after several months of shut down, then we pay our rent and get back to begin worship services again at the church building. We build the church building, but the land on which we worship is not ours, so we are persecuted also by Muslims for it. They threatening us for the owner not to allow us use that building…”
The dream Pastor Davies’ Sr. has is to buy land for TCATS Liberia, build a building to better facilitate feeding the hungry, taking care of children, and so that they can have a place to worship. This is now my dream also. The need is great, and I want to do everything I can. I hope you will too. Through TCATS Liberia, we will also be able to train pastors and continue to plant local churches with local leadership throughout the country. When I began talking about church planting at the beginning of the year, I had no idea this opportunity would fall in our laps even as we work to plant house-churches across the United States. Let’s stop arguing about our own luxuries and our temporal preferences. The world is really hurting. Christ is bringing life. Let’s do something. Christ is moving, let us move with Him!
In the body of Christ, “if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26).
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