By Bill Sebald
Last Tuesday marked the first day of the year of work at the ARC (Agricultural Research Center). We started with a staff breakfast featuring scrambled eggs (Liberians don’t make scrambled eggs), Liberian sweet potatoes (diced and boiled) with sausage gravy (breakfast sausage made here on the farm), and Liberian coffee (small coffee, sugar plenty). Everyone enjoyed it so much that they are willing to try one lunch a week without rice….which if you know Liberians and their level of love for rice (despite it being more expensive and difficult to grow than tuber crops), then you know that this is a big deal!!
Then, during morning feeding chores, a turkey hen that had been missing for three weeks was found outside the fence. She was reduced (lost weight) but o.k. Everyone was relieved as a cloud of suspicion was lifted. There had been a lot of talk about how the turkey had disappeared and who was responsible. The blame game was in serious effect, but came to a screeching halt as soon as the hen was found. Later that day, one of the lead staff members Jeff received a call that his son was very sick. He needed a blood transfusion and Emmanuel, a day laborer, offered to go the hospital and donate his blood in order to help Jeff’s son recover. Jeff’s son is doing much better now. The joy of the day concluded with the hatching of 6 new baby turkeys!
God continues to grow a special family here. Emmanuel, for example, eventually wants to raise his own pigs. He has been filling in part-time and feeding the animals while staff worker David Duo has been out recovering from a hernia surgery. He is really becoming a part of the team. It is such a joy to see the workers grow spiritually and developmentally in their work. Emmanuel (as well as many others) would taunt the monkeys in response to their bad behavior, making them even more aggressive and rowdy in return. He was encouraged to instead be calm and gentle and now he proudly goes into the monkey cage without fear of attack. (Caution: do not try this at home.)
What is our resolution at the ARC for 2018? By God’s grace, we are planning monthly Farming God’s Way Training Conferences in villages. We also plan to demonstrate profitable agricultural business here at the ARC. This is not easy to do in Liberia with an economy that is in shambles, but we must try. We have a number of possibilities and ideas that we are exploring. We will keep you posted.