I guess your first thoughts on reading the title above was either; “where’s that?” (if you don’t read the news) or “Ebola” if you do.
Here are a few facts about this little known country:
Liberia, at only 43,000sq miles, is smaller than England. However, violent thunderstorms are frequent and average rainfall is 1,590mm a year (UK is 1,091mm/year)) making it difficult to travel by road as vehicles get stuck in deep thick mud on the country's unpaved roads.
Created to receive freed slaves from North America, the country was christened ‘Liberia’ (land of freedom) in the 1820s by its American colonists.
In recent years, the country has struggled to find the freedom its name implies.
Battered by a 14-year civil war which ended in 2003, claimed more than 250,000 lives and left the country in economic ruin - today, around 80% of the population live below the poverty line.
According to a national census, 85.5% of the population practises Christianity, but the Church is fragile and many believers live in fear and spiritual bondage.
The terrible impact of the 2014 Ebola epidemic on the country is yet to be realised, but its legacy is likely to be felt for many years to come.
MAF is preparing to begin operations in Liberia to serve around 70 NGOs and mission groups working to bring hope to Liberia’s poorest. NGOs who currently spend long hours and days travelling to reach remote locations, have expressed renewed enthusiasm for an MAF programme in the country.
Currently Emil & Margrit Kundig (Programme Manager) are based in Monrovia, Liberia.
In June 2015 Arjan (Pilot) and
Aartje Paas with their three children, ( Rachel, Tamar and Ethan) will also move to
What does all this have to do with us?...
For some months we have been feeling less settled here in Uganda and sensing that it is time for us to move on. We still believe it is right that we continue to serve with MAF.
At the end of last year we started to enquire about vacancies in other countries.
The country that has captured and held our interest is……yes you guessed it - Liberia!
In recent months Mark formally applied for the role of Senior Engineer in Liberia. We have had three interviews and references have gone in.
MAF have formally offered Mark the position.
Our acceptance will be decided once we have made a visit to Liberia in July. The biggest area we need to consider is the children's educational needs.
After 10 years in Uganda It is going to mean a big change.
Going from a 20 family team to a programme with three families in which everyone will juggle several ‘hats’. From an established programme to one just getting started.
From a city with about six good international schools to choose from to a city with one.
While we both have moments of anxiety when we think of all we will leave behind and the challenges ahead there is an underlying sense of peace that this is right.
Please pray with us for clarity of mind and confirmation in our hearts as we visit Liberia in July.
If we accept, then we plan to move in the first half of 2016.