The Terry Family - June 2017
A Dangerous Reminder...
A lot of the time we can forget about where we live as far as the potential for calamity. We were recently reminded of how dangerous it can be living here. A woman who is part of a well known church in Monrovia was driving in the city when she accidentally hit a man on a motorbike. She killed him instantly. For those who know nothing about Liberia, the motorbike drivers are some of the most reckless and irresponsible people in the country. They drive like maniacs back and forth. I have witnessed on several occasions a man on a motorbike driving forward into thick traffic, but turned around backward talking to his friend, not even paying attention where he is going. They crash and die all the time. This problem is compounded by the belief in witchcraft. The motorbike drivers often go to the witch doctor to put medicine on a thick string that they will tie around their finger. They believe that if they are getting ready to crash that the string will start to burn their finger warning them so they can slow down and live. It is all utter nonsense and of course they drive like they cannot die. So the woman who killed the motorbike driver started to drive away because you absolutely do not stick around for an accident. So, other motorbike drivers who saw the accident started chasing her, beating on her car, and smashing windows.
They were going to drag her from the car and beat her to death and then burn the car. Luckily, someone put her on a motorbike (who was uninvolved) and she barely escaped with her life. In the process of the chase she killed two other people and is now awaiting trial. To put things in perspective, I have almost hit about half a dozen people since we have been here (none of them my fault). On one occasion a six year old boy ran right in front of the truck on the main highway. I was literally inches from killing him. On another occasion, I was on a long clear stretch of highway outside of Monrovia. I was passing a slow moving car when a motorbike driver pulls out in my lane but he is looking backwards. I layed on the horn to get his attention and hit the brakes but he still almost hit me. Of course it would have been my fault and the people would have tried to kill me too. That is why we appreciate your prayers so very much. Your prayers for our protection and safety make all the difference. If we step out our door without the power of prayer protecting us any day has the potential for disaster.
Our Multicultural Visitors...
This month we were introduced to three young ladies on a short term mission. The young lady in the foreground is Leti and she is from Mexico, the young lady behind her is Sari from Ecuador, and the young lady to the right is Debi from Chile. They are attending a Bible school in Texas and came to Liberia during their break. They spoke English pretty well, but Jennifer and I had to dip back into our Spanish speaking years to communicate effectively. It was kind of funny because for the first time in a long time we were on the other side of the fence. We understood what the girls were saying, but everyone else sat there confused. It turns out, the school they are attending is also a language training center for missionaries. One of the girls was a Spanish tutor for some good friends who are preparing to go to Spain, and Debi knows other missionary friends of ours who are currently in Chile. We only spent a day together but it seemed like we were old friends. There was such a witness of the Spirit of God between all of us. They were very polite and courteous. It was so refreshing to be around mature Spirit led Christian people with western values. Revelation 7:9 says that all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues will be standing before the throne of the Lamb of God worshiping. As we sat in our living room in Liberia with five different cultures represented it gave me a small glimpse of that day. Before they left they asked if they could pray for us. It was such an emotionally stirring prayer. We were truly sad to see them go. The truth is we do not see too many people with a real passion for Jesus over here. There are true believers, but they are very muted when it comes to showing any emotion. Sometimes the Spirit of God will overcome me at Church and I will cry tears of thanksgiving. Tears of joy and worship. I know right, Big ugly dude crying in Church? But when you are faced with the beauty and majesty of God it humbles you. There is a stirring inside of you. A passion for the Savior that must come out. If you are a Christian you are probably nodding your head or maybe even crying yourself because you understand exactly what I am talking about. Some of the boys here have commented on when they see me crying in Church, and it is perplexing to them. They do not really understand what it means to love God. When we met these young ladies I saw that same passion for Jesus in them. Please pray that we can instill this same passion for Jesus in the youth of Liberia; and please pray for these young ladies as they seek the Lord's will for their lives.
Trouble is brewing...
It seems we are constantly at odds with people here. Our cultural practices and beliefs separate us on a number of levels. Some would say we are trying to make people like Americans, and that we do not appreciate the culture for its positive attributes. That is simply not true. The Liberian people are a fun loving group of people. They are very social and can be very giving. They are easy to overlook faults and are a very hard working people. There are qualities and practices that rival our own in America. But, the truth is there is a serious problem with sin in the church. I know America is not perfect, and there is plenty of sin in our churches. I do not believe any culture, or nation is free from the stain of sin and hypocrisy in the church. But, we are missionaries in Liberia, trying to show people how to live free from sin. In 1 Corinthians 3:2 Paul says, "I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able." This verse sums up Liberia generally speaking. There is a plethora of lost people in the churches who try and blur the lines between lost and saved. They imagine that they can habitually sin and God will forgive them and will accept them on Judgment Day no matter how they behave. I am continually teaching them the truth that you must be changed and stop the drunkenness, fornication, theft, and lying through the power of the Holy Spirit; but they are not able to receive it. People can leave the church service on Sunday and be in fornication and drunkenness that evening. Some of the most spiritually mature people I know are a part of the youth Bible study I teach on Sunday evening. One of those people is Ojuku, who lives with us. One reason we have allowed him to stay is because he demonstrated a spiritual maturity beyond his peers. He is the vice-president of the youth at the church and a very trustworthy individual. Well, it is conference time for the youth, and despite what you may think it is not the most ideal atmosphere to learn and practice piety. My experience speaking at conferences is that a majority of youth come to find an intimate encounter away from their community with no strings attached. They are generally unengaged during the teaching, but come dressed to the nines looking for attention. It is nothing against the conference, but a lack of supervision among the people. The conference leaders continually warn the people not to do such things, but it does not help. The conference next week is in Monrovia which is like party central. So, I said Ojuku was not allowed to go because I do not want him put in that environment. Since he is the youth vice-president and has great Biblical knowledge they are insisting that he goes so they can win the Bible quizzing event that accompanies the conference. I said no. Ojuku agrees with our decision and does not want to be part of the gathering. He has even suggested that they make someone else youth vice-president to avoid any embarrassment, but to no avail. A few days ago, two people from the church came and tried to change my mind. After an hour of discussion they left in agreement with me, but they themselves felt obligated to go because of community pressure. This past Sunday they had a meeting where they discussed the matter and people got very upset about my decision. There is a silent minority who agree with us, but will not say anything because of fear of being ostracized. Those who did speak out were part of my Bible study and defended me because I was not there. I plan on holding to my guns and let the chips fall where they may. I refuse to place a young man in tremendous temptation because of community pressure. So, now we wait for the response from the church leaders. I can tell you the people here are getting tired of us standing on principle. Things are getting uncomfortable, but I refuse to compromise my convictions to placate popular opinion. So, I am asking you to please pray for us. Pray that God would silence our enemies. That He would vindicate our cause. That He would protect and defend us.
Our Reputation is Growing...
We recently played a team called ETM or Extra Tentacle Movement. Don't ask, I have no idea what it means. The team is made up of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd division players and has beaten other tough teams we have played very badly. A few weeks ago they met us on our field for a friendly match. Nobody expected us to even score a goal. They said we were going to get beat 15 to 0. Well by halftime we were winning 4 to 1. They were a very technically proficient team and ended up beating us 4 to 6.
They basically out coached me. I made a few mistakes in substitutions and they capitalized. However, the coach was very impressed with our play during the game and offered to work with me to help improve the team. Our reputation has gone all around the community that we are not a team to joke around with. People are taking us serious and our influence is continually reaching outward. Please pray for these players. There are still a lot who do not know Christ. We are starting a youth only Wednesday night service to hopefully reach them. They come to practice, but they will not go to church. So we plan to change the atmosphere and requirements to make things easier. Again please pray for their salvation.
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