In This Issue
Facts on Liberia
AIDS in Liberia
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Facts on Liberia
liberia
Do you wonder what Liberia is actually like?  Here are some interesting facts on Liberia that shed some light on this African country.

Liberia - 3,195,931
Area Comparative - Slightly larger than Tennessee

Life Expectancy overall - 40.39
Male - 38.93
Female - 41.89

Ethnic Groups:
95% Indigenous African  (including Kpelle, Bassa, Gio, Kru, Grebo, Mano, Krahn, Gola, Gbandi, Loma, Kissi, Vai, Dei, Bella, Mandingo, and Mende),    
  2.5% Americo-Liberians  (descendants of immigrants from the US who had been slaves),
2.5%
Congo People (descendants of immigrants from the Caribbean who had been slaves)

Telephone- main lines in use: 6,900
Telephone - mobile cellular: 160,000

Roadways:

total:
10,600 km paved: 657 km
unpaved: 9,943 km (1999)

Find out more about Liberia here
 
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Glenn and Kim

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First Surgeries on Africa Mercy
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The mercy ships website has a very cool slide show with many great pictures of the first surgeries on the Africa Mercy.  It is a great way to see where Glenn and Kim are serving and some of the people they are able to help.  Check it out here!
 
Liberia Update

Dear Supporters,

    After being in Liberia for 10 days, we are fully aware of how thankful we are for all of you.  Although we are on our new ship the Africa Mercy, with nearly 400 others, we realize that it is having you all that keeps us from feeling alone in this.  Thank you all!

eye celebration

    Our new ship has many wonderful new things about it and some wonderful new things still await!  This is to say that some days we are painfully aware of what is NOT finished!  The Operating Rooms are fabulous, high tech and new!  Our 3 hospital wards are fully functional, furnished and full!  The crew enjoys a beautiful new "Town Hall" that includes a Starbucks coffee shop (with occasional live music -which Glenn will be part of soon), a snack shop (which our 50 children on board love!), a ship shop (for personal needs and random grocery needs), a computer area, and a lounge in the loft (for reading, visiting or playing games).  One problem we face is the extent of the need here in Liberia.  In just the Eye Dept. alone, we expect that by the time we leave in Nov. we will have seen 12,000 eye patients medically, performed over 1000 cataracts and operated on dozens children's cataracts.  BUT... Our waiting list has grown to 500 and counting!  These are people who could be cured by surgery!  We have waiting lists in all areas.  Mercy Ships had raised support for 400 pastors to attend educational seminars and now 700 have applied!!  Glenn has met with the Government officials and we are looking at returning to Liberia in a couple of years, Lord willing.  We have the unique opportunity to play a role in rebuilding health care services in Liberia and doing so with biblical principles in mind.  

   Another problem is that we are in the rainy season here -and rained it has!!  I watched a woman wade in water up to her thighs!  Others have not been so lucky in that their homes are submerged to their roof lines!  Roads and bridges are out and taxi lines are long (which Liberians depend on to get anywhere!)  The nation's only water plant pumps were flooded this week and our engineers are out fixing them.  This means no water for the city and we at Mercy Ships are on water rationing (the Captain asked us to shoot for taking 30 second showers!  Try that at home!!)  The rain is also a problem during our hour long fire drills, which results in us all getting a soaking.

   Glenn and I ''hit the ground running'' the 1st day we arrived.   Glenn started with leadership and I started with the medical eye teams.  We also had ''regular'' jobs to maintain.  Glenn did eye surgery and training and I worked the 1st week on the pre-op eye team and the 2nd week on the mobile eye team (that goes out to various areas to hold eye clinics) 

   As we speed along, we remind each other of how God has continued His work here and we are but a momentary part in His bigger plan for Liberia.  We are grateful to even play a small role- for it allows us to see how He seems to be working now.  And as we meet Liberians one on one, we have a chance to personally share His love and plan with them.  What a joy!

    Glenn and I will be on the ship until Sep. 21nd .  Please continue to pray for wisdom, perspective and courage to do what God has for us to do here. Pray also for unity within Mercy Ships as we believe Satan will be prowling about finding ways to discourage and hinder the progress.

   Thank you again for being a part of this with us.

In His strength and for His glory, 

Glenn and Kim

 
AIDS in Liberia
    
        Recently I was invited to go visit HIV/AIDS patients at the Sisters of Charity here in Liberia.  Sisters of Charity was started by Mother Theresa, so there were sisters from India running it (as well as large posters of Mother Theresa on the walls).  I wasn't sure what to expect but this facility was well run and clean.  They had the men, women and children all divided into separate areas and then divided again into the dying and the stronger ones.  One of the patients was asking to see me.  Shannon is a young woman of 21 who lost her family in the war and was left with just one older sister who raised her. I met her this past April as an eye patient. She had been completely blind from cataracts for 2 years.   She was really excited to see me and I her.  Her faith had grown since the last time I had talked with her and we went to their praise service.  She sang heartily and emphasized the words of the songs such as 'Jesus has saved me from darkness" or "I can trust God for my life'.  She (in true African fashion) danced around the room joyfully as she sang!  Everyone smiled and clapped for her.  We then went into the dying room together where others that I had come with were praying with these patients, massaging them with lotion to relieve their sores and dried skin, and painting toenails of those who just wanted to feel some part of them was still pretty.  Some of this had been donated by my church and my parents church back home!  But, people die there weekly and it scares the others.  We pray and counsel with them.   One project does art with them to bring them beauty and color.

         Mercy Ships has a program that trains churches not only how to prevent aids but also shows them how to have compassion on those who already have AIDS.  In Liberia, these people are shunned by all and left alone to die.  Some will not even receive a burial.  Please pray that the churches here will find that compassion and begin to reach out to those suffering with AIDS.  Pray they will understand from the Lord's perspective that ''whatever you do unto the least of these, you have done unto Me''