Newsletter, Volume 20 May 3, 2017

Perspective is important in life, a better perspective, it seems, is often gained through unexpected circumstances.

Going back to Liberia after five months of absence from the work, allowed me to see things differently. For the first time  since Grassroots Ministry began, Kathleen and I are not in direct daily operations. Over the years, we sought to encourage others to join us, but nothing had come of it until three years ago. It was then Eric Luogon, through the leading and timing of God, joined in. Since June 2015 we have worked together, so when we had to leave suddenly, leaving him in charge was an easy decision.

For some photos from the trip go to this link:

Going away in October, I felt like I was leaving size 12 shoes for a size 9 man to walk in. But, amazingly, God has enabled and empowered Eric to manage and carry on from where we left off, albeit at a slower pace. He has kept the reading room open three days a week, taught a course in Small Engine repair, and manages to oversee the Church at New Gate. He has enabled our wood work shop to function, given support to other pastors, and been able to look after our property.

Realizing how the work is still moving on without our direct involvement has brought a sense of relief and joy. This was a long awaited answer to many years of prayers. God has been faithful and His mercy and grace are evident in the way He has blessed the work of our hands.

My visit allowed me to evaluate more clearly where our work should focus. Our ministry and structural needs are clearer with the opportunity to see as an observer. The church we planted two years ago is growing. More and more kids and adults from our community are coming. The church needs help with programs for the children. There is also the computer lab that we need to finish setting up to serve the students and others in our community.

I want to “look ahead” and believe that the God who has called us to serve Him in Liberia, who has put on our hearts and minds the vision of the work of Grassroots Ministry, Liberia, is able to do over and above all that we are asking Him. And I think, our absence is providing the right condition for that, a condition of strategic focus and effort, not on daily affairs, but on specific targets of need. And so, we will keep looking ahead to Him.

Going back at this time also allowed me to have some healing in grieving. Some of my relatives had not come to see us before we left for Canada after the passing of our son. They were able to have the opportunity to come and extend their condolences and share in our grief and loss.

What’s next? Well, we are not sure right now. We have begun dialoguing with our area director about the way forward. We are waiting…we hope you can wait with us.

While in Liberia, I traveled to visit relatives in my village, Pelileweh. An unresolved conflict between my twin sister and my late brother’s wife and her children needed to be resolved.  The family met and the Lord honoured my effort. At the end of the meeting, they were hugging and laughing! Where there were hurts and resentment, love and forgiveness had brought healing and joy. His love never fails! Glory to his Name.

After my visit to the family village, I headed to Samay, about 30 km away, to meet with a farmer cooperative, Loitor. Our work with Loitor Co-op, is helping local subsistent farmers to increase productivity and income. The Co-op will be purchasing seed rice from farmers and with their mill working, milling the rice. While I was there, I helped them restart the rice mill that had been sitting dormant for a year. When I left, hope deferred had been restored. The mill was back in action. We milled over 25 kilos of red rice, some of which I brought back to Canada.

My trip went quickly. I did speak two Sundays at New Gate Church and  was able to finish some wood work projects. I left with much more to do, but thankful for the time with Eric, my extended family, and friends.

As we continue to refocus and seek the way forward, as a family and as missionaries, we are aware that many are concerned about our plans. Perhaps you are concerned as well about our finances. People have been so generous toward us during this time and we are thankful. At present we are on a small salary, and continue to cover field work expenses, such as salary for Eric, pastoral support, running generators, and daily expenses.

Please continue to send your financial support to the EFCC office, so we will be able to cover ministry costs. If you would like to specifically support a pastor or student, or help with the reading room program, specify the Ngenda project account: 2-2475. in humble thanks,

James Ngenda

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