Our Ministries

Ministries under Vision Impact Liberia

OUTREACH MINISTRIES

What is an outreach? 

For Vision Impact Liberia it means leaving the city of Monrovia, travelling very rough, dirt roads by vehicle from 3-13 hours and then often walking on narrow paths, carrying everything we need to get to villages that are scattered throughout the interior jungle and bush of Liberia. Sometimes it means we have to make a raft to cross a river or take a local canoe. This sojourn is often preceded by the advance team who go to talk with the elders of villages to get permission to come and also to arrange a place to sleep for the team that will follow.

An Outreach is either a one or two week project, depending upon the donations we have received. The first night and for several more nights we set up and show the Jesus Film with an invitation for Muslims to receive Christ afterwards and a time of testimony. Other Christian films about the Old Testament characters are usually also shown. During the day we walk to other villages and huts to chat with the people inviting them to the films.

It is also a time to hold a 3 day mini conference for Christian Pastors and church leaders from all around the region where they can share a daily meal, which we must provide, take in some teaching from the Word and share testimonials. Sundays are for a worship service for all Christians in the area and Pastor Eric is the presenter. Pastor Eric also ensures new believers meet local pastors who will invite them into their church and ensure the opportunity to be baptized and mentored. Over 15,000 have viewed the Jesus Film through this method and thousands have accepted Christ.


A second Outreach approach takes the form of a follow-up to a Muslim village that has received a well from Vision Impact Liberia, where a relationship has been established. More recently relationships have been developed where Vision Impact has made connections through helping with the Ebola prevention teaching, giving hand washing supplies or bags of rice to the villagers under quarantine. Because of this we are not entirely strangers, and the process of showing the Jesus Film, returning to build a church and hold Christian services is a great possibility. God has graciously prepared the way for us to make disciples of villagers who can make other disciples.

….and so we go, by jet, jeep, dugout canoes; through river and jungle, across borders and cultures, into villages and shanty town slums, raising up churches and going into homes and into people’s lives with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Click here to learn about how Pastor Eric's Ministry was affected by the Ebola outbreak.

TRAINING THE TRAINER

How it is done?

Vision Impact Liberia teaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Liberia with a Liberian cultural perspective, not the Western perspective. Our ministry programs are developed by a Liberian director, Pastor Eric Sumo, and other Liberians he has mentored. Since many Liberians have minimal or no education, Pastor Eric presents the gospel in English using terminology and examples understood by their culture.
And this is also true when Vision Impact Liberia trains the nationals in the Word of God, so they will know the heart of God for “the whole world” of John 3:16, and for every Liberian.

Since Liberia is one of the poorest countries of the world and least educated, it is more profitable for these people to “be faithful men who will be able to teach others” ( II Timothy 2:2 ) in their own country and within their own culturally relevant terms.

Since 2007, Village Ministries (now Vision Impact Liberia) has brought pastors together for training in the Word and personal development with some of the scriptural teaching done by pastors from North America and Pastor Eric. This training includes what the Bible teaches about how important living a godly life with integrity is to ministry. Two teaching and training conferences were also provided for pastor’s wives.

In 2014 the foundation of a brick Bible School was begun with funds from Newman Academy and it is being built on property owned by Vision Impact Liberia.

“CREATED FOR INFLUENCE”

Also in 2014 a conference for Christian women from villages of several counties was held with this theme. In Liberia, women have great influence and we believed the investment in their lives with this conference was God’s plan for us to make.


A little bit of Heaven? What a JOY to be with 625 Christian Liberian women from six different counties, most of whom had never met, and hear them praise the Lord in such beautiful harmony faces beaming. They have come from great distances, walking several hours per day to hear truths from God’s word and teaching on women’s health.


The Holy Spirit speaks to us of new ways to evangelize in the country of Liberia. One of these ways is to train Christian women to use their far-reaching influence to bring others to Christ. How exciting to hold a four day training conference on health and teaching of scriptural principles for these women and release them to teach a thousand more in places Village Ministries may never get to. They caught the vision and individuals have already been teaching groups of women from other villages. This is so exciting!


Your words were found, and I ate them; and Your Word was unto me the joy and gladness of my heart. Jeremiah 15:16

OUTREACH WELLS 

How did it start?

Healing lives in a hurting nation 


In Liberia, everyone is hurting in one way or another. More than 3/4 of the 3.5 million people are still living on less than a dollar a day, with barely enough food to stay alive, no money for medical treatment, at risk of Malaria, Hepatitis and Typhoid on a daily basis, risking death from childbirth and dirty water. Hundreds of thousands of children are unable to attend school due to lack of fees; unemployment is still at 80% spawning on-going corruption and violence.


Our message of hope through God’s love is like a drink of cool, clean water on a hot and dusty Liberian day. With the opportunity to give free education and employment, safe drinking water for a village and support for weary pastors, Village Ministries (now Vision Impact Liberia) has been proclaiming the mercy and grace of God to the hearts of Liberians for over 10 years. Vision Impact Liberia is non-denominational and serves with a holistic view, integrating evangelism, social concern and physical needs such as safe drinking water.
In March and April 2013 three wells were put down in interior Muslim villages and by March 2014 wells #10, # 11 and #12 were put down in three more Muslim villages opening the doors for three more churches to be built for Christian worship services. Unfortunately after Pastor Charles Varney from Kenema offered to be a visiting pastor in one of these villages where we built a church, he was killed by poisoning at the hands of a Muslim villager. This event reminds us that we are in Satan’s territory and this type of ministry activity needs serious and constant prayer coverage from Christians who are supporting us in prayer. Liberia is a spiritual battle ground even for putting down a well.


Funding for all 12 of our wells has come from Canada and the USA. Pastor Eric takes time in prayer to hear direction from God where He wants our wells to be offered as God has already prepared hearts to receive Him. In spite of differences in belief, there was great appreciation and respect from the Muslim villagers for the love, compassion, and hard work given by Vision Impact Liberia on behalf of these Muslims suffering in poverty and without Christ. To the Muslim villagers, that gushing and beautiful water was like a banquet saving lives and motivating their invitation for us to return and hold an outreach with the Jesus Film.

One chief even offered a building space with a cement foundation where we could build a Christian church. Unfortunately we were unable to use this opportunity to build a church because of a lack of finances. Yet we have noticed great strides in this ministry since we began in 2006 and without hesitation we give God glory for all He has done and for His favour and grace upon us. God delights to partner with His children who give Him glory and maintain a surrendered, intimate relationship with Him.

God Stories

Old man Nineveh

An 84 year old man called “old man Nineveh” the patriarch of a large family of several generations that made up a small village in the jungles of Liberia had been praying asking God to tell him who Jesus is and God answered him in a dream or vision showing him a man walking into his village who would explain who Jesus is. For three years Old Man Nineveh waited and trusted expecting this man to come when one day he saw a man walking out of the bush towards his village.
He ran out to greet him and sure enough this man had come to tell him about Jesus —it was Pastor Eric Sumo–the Executive Director of Village Ministries (now Vision Impact Liberia.) Old man Nineveh heard the Gospel from Eric and believed in Jesus Christ that very day. He called all his family and almost everyone of them accepted Christ. Three days later Old Man Nineveh passed away into the presence of his Lord and Saviour.

When God calls us to act for Him, we must be obedient as someone is depending on us to share the Gospel and it may be their only opportunity.

A grateful Liberia tailor

With the Mercy Ships nursing team, Helen Fletcher visited Lucine a tailor in Claratown, outside of Monrovia, whose wife recently had died as the hospital ship could not help her. We had emptied the Mercy Ship’s warehouse in Monrovia and had brought a sewing machine for him. On our arrival he told us his neighbour would no longer allow him to borrow hers as something was broken and he was so delighted to receive his own machine.
We prayed for him and his grandchildren then his sister read from scripture written in Arabic. Helen asked him if he had his own Bible in Arabic to which he replied, “no”. Helen promised to get him one in Canada and bring it back with her the next year. She introduced him to Pastor Washington who had a church in his neighbourhood where Lucine and his grandchildren could attend. On returning the next year, Helen found Lucine with the help of Pastor Washington.
He had remarried, and was so proud to show us his little shop which he bought from the proceeds of his sewing where he was able to sell clothes and his wife could sell coal, to support his grandchildren. Helen gave him his Bible in Arabic and together they sat in his shop looking at different verses explaining salvation, the gift from Jesus Christ. He said he was happy that his grandchildren were attending Pastor Washington’s church and promised he would go too. I truly felt God love flow through me to Lucine and perhaps in heaven, Pastor Washington can help me find him.

When we make promises, and keep them our testimony will be well received for Jesus’ sake.

The Outreach that God organized

   


In 2009 we had three vocational schools running. One was in Kakatown where ladies were taking tailoring and cooking. All students watch the Jesus Film and in this school of 125 Muslim women, 27 women accepted Christ and became Christians. One was the wife of the Imam of a village of 1000 Muslims who was not happy that his wife was being taught the Christian doctrine in her school. But she soon began to cook very good meals for him, sew clothes for him, show him more love and obey his every word and testified that after seeing in the film what God’s Son did for her she decided to be a follower. The Imam phoned Pastor Eric and said “I don’t know what is in that Jesus Film but you need to show it in our village.”
Eric called Helen in Victoria to see if she could raise the money needed to rent the equipment, gas for the vehicle and food for Eric and two Pastors who were once Muslims and able to give their testimony in Arabic, and for a safe place for them to sleep. The money was raised in two days and arrived Friday morning. The men traveled that day found a ‘hotel’ an hour from the village and arrived in the village before dark. The grateful Imam invited them to set up in front of the Mosque which they did. The elders in the village were angry with the Imam and several tried to stop Eric but the Imam intervened. During evening prayers the elders poisoned him and since he was vomiting blood he was taken to hospital.
After the viewing of the Jesus Film right in front of the Mosque doors, 86 villagers accepted Christ, after the second night 153 more. It was dark and pouring rain when Eric and the pastors had left for their own accommodation when their car slipped in the mud and crashed into a tree. Thankfully the car damage was minor. They prayed most of the night and visited the Imam in the morning and God had prepared his heart to accept the gift of salvation. The third night people from other villages were arriving including a pastor who told Eric, “I have been trying to be allowed to minister in this village for ten years, how did you manage to get in here?” This village was heavily controlled by the occult shamans and soothsayers.
Now the bondage had been broken in a village that has never before allowed the Christian witness in. After the Jesus Film 268 people accepted Christ, a total of 507 out of 1000 people —a majority. Pastor Eric then asked the Elders what they thought about the choices of so many of their villagers and they said, “If you want to build a church here you can”. With that the Imam, who had been fired from his position, said, ‘we can bring the chairs from the mosque and put them under this tree for a service.’ Eric returned the next Sunday to hold a worship service and began to teach from the Bible. The Pastor who had tried to witness to this village was willing to be the Pastor for this new church, preaching on Sundays and teaching on Wednesdays. This was October 2010 and Pastor Eric returned to hold New Year’s services and found the church was still thriving.

In ministry, we say we partner with God but in this story we realized God was the planner and coordinator and we had to scramble to do our part. What an amazing outcome for one weekend.

All things working together


Nothing is impossible with God, and yet when He does something incredible we are delighted, but surprised.
Pastor Eric was invited to give the Sunday message at one of our 10 churches about three hours from Monrovia. It was raining heavily as he drove and when he arrived he dashed into the church to join in worship with the congregation. The rain was coming through the old roof onto the dirt floor in many places making it difficult for everyone to find a dry place to sit. At the end of the message the leadership pleaded with Eric to get some funds to replace the roof. Knowing Village Ministries had no funds in Monrovia, Eric replied, “let us ask God to supply this need”.
He prayed with the congregation who trusted God.
The same Sunday, seven hours later in a church service in Victoria, a Christian woman sitting beside Helen Fletcher, had been collecting coins for the last four years gave the money to Helen Fletcher during the church service. It was $400.00, exactly the amount needed to replace the zinc roof. Helen wondered though, “how will I pay the sending fee and the USD exchange to get it there?” When the person sitting on the other side of her handed her $50.00 saying, “I have been meaning to give this to you for weeks.” The money was sent on Sunday from Victoria and on Monday Eric collected it and phoned the Pastor to send someone in to pick up the bundles of zinc to replace their roof! In recounting the whole story to the donors, Helen could not hold back the tears of appreciation for the marvelous way God met this need to remind us how much He cares for His children and to increase our faith in Jehovah Jireh.

God’s timing . . .

One of the early lessons the Holy Spirit taught Eric and I was that our being separated by geographic distances makes no difference to how He can work in our lives. With Eric in the Internet Cafe, using their wifi and looking over my emails we were discussing over the phone the decisions we should make when it was closing time and Eric had to leave. He packed up his computer and asked me to call him back in 20 minutes. I waited and then called him back.
He did not answer but I was determined he needed to answer so I let the phone ring.
Unknown to me, as Eric left the cafe he was accosted by six ex child soldiers with knives and they demanded Eric’s computer and cell phone. Not wanting any violence he handed them over just as two policemen came around the corner. The policemen grabbed the youths and yelled out the question, “don’t you know who this is?’. “This is Pastor Eric who spends time on the streets praying with you guys, and helping people who need food, now give him his computer back!” The computer was swiftly returned and Eric quietly asked for his cell phone too which the ex child soldiers denied having. “Of course you have it”, the policeman bellowed, “I can hear it ringing in your pocket!” That was Helen letting the phone just keep ringing . . . and I’m so glad I did.

Walking into danger

On one of our outreaches we were returning down a path to the waiting canoe to cross the river back to our cars when I flung out my hand for the group to stop as I heard the buzzing of many bees! As we rounded the corner we saw them swarming on a branch—thousands of them! The branch was overhanging the pathway and several stray bees were flying around in the spaces next to the branch, practically blocking our passage. We were informed they were African “killer” bees; five stings would put you in hospital and 15 would kill you. Great! Recalling my Junior High science class I remembered, ‘swarming bees do not attack.’ I sure hoped that was true. There was a pause when no one in our group moved. Then I knew we just had make a run for it so I ran through the space that held the least number of bees and no bees followed me but the rest of the group realized it was safe to follow and they all ran through behind me. We were grateful to God our true shield and defender.