Africa Bible College
As we circled the airfield in preparation for landing we knew we were in a place where peace was in progress. UN helicopters, cargo planes, tanks and trucks dominated the Liberian airfield.
Our little two-engine prop plane, with a total of 17 passengers, taxied noisily to the arrival gate, missing the stop blocks on the first try. The Russian captain did a quick 360 degree turn to make another try at the blocks. While spinning around we caught a glimpse of the next Russian flight crew in their makeshift office – a rusty 50 foot container – awkwardly placed near the edge of the runway.
Depressed economic conditions have affected everyone in the country, even those working in professional businesses.
As we disembarked, a large bag of cow meat was placed in my hands by the flight attendant. ‘Please give this to Kessely at ELWA’, he requested with a heart-warming smile. How could I refuse when meat of any kind was a scarcity in the country?
Waiting for our luggage to arrive on the conveyor belt, we tried to assess what lay before us. Here we are, beginning the construction of ABC all over again, rebuilding the same facilities we had first built 29 years ago.
Symbol of restoration
It would have been easy to see this work as defeating and discouraging, but we knew all too well that this was a wonderful opportunity to view the reconstruction of the campus as a symbol of God’s forgiveness and work of restoration.
For twelve long years the community watched the jungle grow around them while their hopes of peace diminished with each passing day. The return of ABC was a visible sign that peace had taken hold in their country. It was a sacred moment for us all.
Emmanuel was one who made it through the first two years of ABC before the war interrupted his education. He volunteered a week of his time to work on the campus, choosing to clean the library – where six inches of dirt and debris had settled on the floor! He hopes that he will once again study in his favourite building, reading about the treasures of God’s truth.
Emmanuel helps restore ex-combatants to their communities. One particularly tough case he related was of a former rebel soldier who had killed someone in his own home village during the war. Emmanuel patiently mediated the entire one year process, until the bereaved family finally extended forgiveness and accepted the ex-combatant back into their community.
As the reconstruction of ABC got under way, many people from the community came onto the campus to see for themselves – some bearing the gift of a pineapple and many others bringing words filled with gratitude.
Del and Becky Chinchen