Liberia, West Africa

A ONCE IN A LIFETIME EXPERIENCE

By Dr. Kiril Svilenov

Five minutes after landing in Monrovia and getting off the plane I felt like I was taken back in time by two means. First—the weather and the temperature was the same that we had in Sofia, Bulgaria seven months ago and second —the airport was almost a reflection of the airport in my home town when I was a teenager. With excitement and expectation to see how the Lord would use us, Rev Harold Jones and I exited the airport and were met by our regional director, Rev. Bishop Darlington Gnininte and his father. Neither of us knew what we were about to experience in the week ahead. The Lord is so good that he had pre-pared for us to encounter something that I haven’t seen in my life before. On the very next day we traveled north about eight hours to reach a distant village where one of our churches is located. Bishop Gnininte told us that there were people who want to be baptized. After a time of worship and a short service, the entire village walked down to the river. The people were singing and dancing, showing their joy for what was about to hap-pen. Everyone was dressed with their best clothes. After each person was immersed in the water the choir lifted their voices and sang with such passion! The songs, that we did not understand, the dancing, the multicolor multitude of people and the joy expressed on their shining faces was something that is a once in a lifetime experience. To me it was like a re-flection of the Bible verse written in Luke 15:7 “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth…” Thank God I have seen what it looks like in our world! And this was just the beginning of our mission trip. Until the end of our stay there were two other occasions of water baptism in different places.
On day four we travelled five hours to a remote place to distribute medicines and to visit the Harold Jones School and two other schools. Even though it was their break time, the kids came to the schools to meet us and to greet us! This was touching! As a developing country after 20 years of civil war, educational and healthcare systems are the ones that have the most challenges. That’s why in conjunction with the Caleb’s Dollar Ministry support is crucial. Our last evening in Monrovia ended with a Crusade which took place right across from the newly built church. Rev. Jones spoke passionately about our mission in life and shared his walk with the Lord and how he began that journey. I have heard that story, but every time I hear it, it is motivating and empowering. After the end of the Crusade I could tell the people who attended felt the same. The next day at the Sunday service some of the newcomers the day before, attended the church and my prayer is that there is someone who will take care for their spiritual growth and navigate them in their walk with Christ.
On the last day, Sunday evening, Rev. Jones and I were waiting for our flight and there were so many thoughts and reflections in my mind. So many pictures imprinted in my brain. The family of Rev. Gnininte, the water baptisms, the kids in the schools, the women completing their class in the CREW (Center for Resuscitation and Empowerment of Women), the simplicity and the peace of life there, the humbleness and the caring spirit, the dedication and the persistence of the Foreign Missions and Rev. Jones to keep investing spiritually and supporting the field financially. All these thoughts and what I have experienced reaf-firmed my strong conviction about our calling as followers of Christ. About my calling, I know that God has made me for a reason, but has also made me with a caring heart for the lost ones. Every time when I am part of a mission trip, leaving my zone of comfort, and every time I stretch a hand to my brother or sister, I can feel His pleasure. Thank you for making this possible and for co-laboring on the fields together!

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