Liberian children
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LIBERIA

The ALC of Liberia is alive despite a crippling civil war that ended in 2005! Rebuilding is ongoing as nearly all the villages, homes, and churches were smashed, burned, and destroyed in the civil war. Over 300,000 people died in the conflict and 400,000 fled the country. Now, however, refugees continue to return daily from Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Guinea.

The UN multi-national forces and NGOs (non-governmental organizations) are helping to build roads, provide food, health care, and stability to Liberia. The Liberian army and National Police are poorly trained, ill equipped, and barely paid. Corruption is rampant. The government of Liberia, led by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, is striving to unite the people in peace and overcome years of wartime devastation and poverty. Cell phone service is excellent throughout Liberia, but unemployment is 85% and the vast majority of the people live on less than $1.00/day. Transportation costs are high and gasoline prices are rising. Inflation is high, with rice, clothing, and other essentials becoming increasingly difficult to obtain.

The ALC of Liberia is led by Pastors Othello Tyne and Dickson Dweh. There are 9 congregations and 4 preaching points: 3 in Tchien District, 4 in Konobo District, 3 in Cavalla District, and 3 in Putu District. All are in Grand Gedeh County, about 40 miles of Zwedru. There are currently 4 district heads, 10 preachers, 9 Sunday school teachers, 5 women leaders, and 5 youth leaders. Total membership is 950, including men, women, youth, and children. There are 95 widows, 25 disabled people, and 250 orphans in the churches. Outreach activity is mainly to widows and orphans in their villages and surrounding areas.

Only one church building is fully functional with a concrete floor with walls and a metal roof. The other three, made of mud and sticks with a thatched roof, have been heavily damaged by storms and will not survive the rainy season. Congregations are meeting in temporary shelters, village buildings, and homes until places of worship can be built. Village roads are barely passable with a 4-wheel drive Land Rover or motorcycle, and the rainy season is just beginning.

In 2009, there were about 5 or 6 Bibles and 2 Bible storybooks scattered among the 9 churches. At that time, 15 Catechisms, 75 Bibles, 10 songbooks, and some other literature were purchased by missionaries. More has been obtained in the last few years.

The ALC of Liberia began as the Cavalla River Church in the early 1970s when Dan and Joyce Karnes were in Zwedru with the Peace Corps. Rev. Andrew Mickelson and Gust Kandoll, went to Liberia in 1971, and others went there later. Gust Kandoll was in Liberia five times preaching the gospel. Rev. Robert Tarwo was the church leader until his death last year at the age of 71. His wife, Helena, is the only surviving member of the early church. Pastor Tarwo selected Othello Tyne to lead the church, and he was confirmed in the leadership by the congregation elders and members after Rev. Tarwo's death.

The name was changed to the Church of the Firstborn (from Heb. 12:23) in 1994 in the refugee camps because many people thought they worshiped the tribal gods of the Cavalla River. In 2003, the name was changed to the Apostolic Lutheran Church of Liberia to reflect the beliefs of the church and the fellowship with our church in America.

Thank you again for joining with us in the joy and privilege of spreading the precious gospel of Christ's death and resurrection to the Liberian people. Your prayerful support is greatly appreciated.

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