On my recent trip to Liberia, I noticed a common theme both before and throughout my time on the west coast of Africa. The point was made by those who do not call Liberia their homeland, that of all the beautiful places in Africa one might choose to visit—Liberia would not be anyone’s top pick.
After two very messy civil wars and the decimation of a generation, the infrastructure of Liberia faces a very long road (a dirty, bumpy, unpaved road at that!) to becoming a desirous country.
Yet, even given all the facts about one of the top 5 poorest countries in the world, there is much more about Liberia that must be told. I quote Peter, our Liberian host, who understands something that Google does not understand—the heart of Liberia is strong. Many times throughout our time with Peter he urgently pleaded with us to come back to America and ask people to “come and see” what God is doing in Liberia. Come and see not only with your physical eyes, but with your spiritual eyes.
As we study the Word of God, there are several instances where we are urged to come and see. To simply hear about a person or place robs us of the gift of sight and physicality. We read in John chapter one about the day Jesus found Philip and told him to follow him. Philip in turn found Nathaniel and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” (Jn. 1:44-45)
Nathaniel, who had not yet seen Jesus with his own eyes, immediately responded, “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” (vs. 46)
“Come and see,” said Phillip.
We know how the story ends once Nathaniel sees Jesus with his own eyes, “Then Nathaniel declared “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.” (vs.49)
Throughout my stay in Liberia, I saw circumstances and situations that broke my heart. I also saw a people with more fortitude, joy and genuine love for one another and for God than I have ever witnessed with my own eyes. Can anything good come from Liberia? Yes. A thousand times, YES!
Day after day I began to understand more clearly why Peter continued to emphasize the message, “Come and see.” We saw dozens of pastors packed into unconditioned rooms, notepad and pen in hand, hanging on every word of teaching at conferences jam-packed with practical truths from the Bible. Understanding God’s Word and desiring to disciple their own small village churches, the conferences were not a social gathering but rather a necessity for these men and women. Not once did the topic of hungry stomachs surface; nor the fact that some of them had walked for miles in the scorching heat without water to make it to the conference. There was not one mention of personal sacrifice.
All of this I saw with my own eyes.
What is it that your Father is prompting in your own life to challenge you to “come and see” that which might take you deeper in your faith? I implore you to take your trust to new levels and plunge into deeper waters.
“Come and see what God has done, how awesome his works in man’s behalf!” (Psalm 66:5)
Stay the Course…
Sheila Cote – Teamwork Africa Board Memeber