Onward to Palm Springs!
On the 19th, we flew to Palm Springs, CA. Palm Springs is home to the mountains and the desert, and the combination of the two is truly beautiful! It is also home to our daughter Lily. Lily took off a whole week to be our chauffeur. We had planned to do some mountain climbing, but Lily was under the weather, so we changed our plans and drove around to do some wonderful sightseeing.
Meeting Our Dear Friends, Encouragers, and Partners
On the 23rd, we drove through the beautiful California valley roads to a charming little town called Carpinteria near Santa Barbara to visit our friends and partners, Rev. Ben and Lauretta Patterson. Ben is the Dean of Westmont College. We first met the Pattersons in Holland, MI in 1994. At that time, Ben was the Chaplain at Hope College, and I was pursuing theological studies at Western Theological Seminary. Since that initial meeting we have always stayed in touch with the Pattersons. We were eager to see each other and, as it is with old friends, we picked up right where we had left off. We caught up on the lives of our children, talked about ULICAF (the organization we helped to form and led for almost 20 years), and also talked about Liberia International Christian College. We answered a multitude of questions! We laughed together, and we cried together. Most importantly, we spent tons of time together in prayer, and the prayer renewed our very souls, and recalibrated our passion for the ministry of Christian Leadership Training International! We are grateful to God for good friends!
On Saturday evening, September 24th, Lauretta hosted an At-Home Gathering with their friends and gave us the opportunity to share our message and passion for Christ. We had an incredible evening of food and fellowship.
On Sunday morning, we worshipped with the Santa Barbara Community Church (SBCC). Pastor Steve Jolley preached on “Gifted Sacrifices.” He exhorted us to see
ourselves as God sees us. As humble gifted sacrifices, we are many members, but one body in Christ. He prayed that believers would catch the biblical vision that we are gifted by the Holy Spirit, and are called to minister in the life of the church and in service to the world (I Cor. 12:20-30, Romans 12:3-8).
Visit to Westmont College in Santa Barbara
Back on August 3rd, I had received an email from Ben that read: “This morning I was looking at our chapel service schedule for Westmont College for the coming year, and began wondering if there was a possibility of interviewing you about your ministry in one of our college chapels during your time in California this September. You know, I hope, how much Lauretta and I would love to be with you and Yah while you are in California. Let’s start with this possibility.”
I quickly sent a reply that we would be available, and asked Ben to explore the possibility on his end. We were delighted that plans could be made to make this visit possible!
On the morning of September 26th Ben drove us to Westmont campus, about 10 miles North of Carpinteria. The campus is extremely beautiful, uniquely situated on the side of mountains, and surrounded by trees everywhere. The school has a student population of 1,200. The campus walkways remind me of my visit to Israel where there is no flat ground for walking. You are either climbing up, or descending the mountains!
Once on the campus, we were bundled into one of the faculty offices and had a time of
prayer. Thereafter, we went quickly to the chapel to get ready—hooked up with wireless microphones, voice tested, and prepared for chapel. By 10 am the students were pouring in from all directions, and very quickly the chapel was filled. There were a few musical selections, and then Ben got up to make a quick introduction, shared the purpose of our visit, and invited me up on stage.
The first interview question was about my early education. The chapel went to dead silence as the students waited for my answer. I began with loving greetings to all the students and faculty, and went straight to the question. The questions about my life continued and I spent the next hour talking about my early life, my education, and how my life progressed from an education in the “wild” to a more western form of education. I talked about my encounter with Jesus, which has formed the basis for my life, and my years of higher education in the United States. (If you are unfamiliar with this story, I recommend you read my first book “No More War” which tells the story of my early life and my journey to faith through the civil war in Liberia.)
The Vision Story
The second portion of the interview focused on our vision. I gave a brief history of our
earlier work with Liberian refugees in America that helped to develop Liberia International Christian College. I told the audience how, in July 2016, we transitioned in to pursue a new vision that focuses on education, discipleship and entrepreneurship. I told how we are called to help high school students complete their studies and pursue college education as well as being called to help young women start or expand their small businesses to help support themselves and their family.
We ended our visit sharing with the 12 students in Professor Farhadia’s Missiology class. We were thrilled to spend time with such passionate and intelligent young people and dedicated faculty!
The Lion King Live
While our previous plan to go mountain climbing in Palm Springs fell through, we found that God provided a better plan, and we did something extraordinary! Immediately following my talk with the missiology class talk on September 27th, we drove to San Diego.
There we were treated to “The Lion King” live play in the San Diego Civic Theatre. This was incredible, and Yah and I were sold on it! Since its inception, more than 85 million people around the world (including some of you) had watched the production. It is truly a universal story, because at its heart, it is a love story—a celebration of family, and the struggle between good and evil. And most importantly, it is a story about discovering the greatness in all of us as part of the circle of life. If you ever get the opportunity to watch the Lion King, it will transport you to the pride lands of Africa with all our favorite characters: Simba, Nala, Mufasa, Zazu, Timon and Pumbaa and everyone’s favorite, Scar!
WOW! Thousands of miles already? Since August?
More seeds of friendship in the gospel are being planted, and your prayers are confirmed on these trips! The writer of the Psalms speaks of three great issues: dreams, cries and singing. The Jews wept because they had been exiled to Babylon; they sang because they could not forget Zion, the land of their birth; and they dreamed because they hope and prayed for the day of their return (Psalms 137:1-6).
Friends, what do you dream about? What would you do if you had no fear of failure? What do you cry about? What burdens drive you to become passionate? And what do you sing about? What causes you to rejoice?
For more than 20 years my wife and I have traveled literally thousands of miles across United States to serve Liberia refugees. We helped to establish a liberal arts Christian college in the city of Ganta, Liberia. LICC is equipping a new generation of leaders for Liberia. Now through Christian Leadership Training International, we are building an incredible team and marching on to equip a new generation of Christian leaders to make Liberia a better place to live and love. We can accomplish our goals through encouraging discipleship, providing financial sponsorship for underprivileged students, and seed funds for entrepreneurship development.
Would you please consider joining our team and joining what God is doing in Liberia? Please send your generous contribution to CLTI, and mail to: P.O. Box 1123. Carmel, IN 46235. OR give online, www.cltinternational.org, and click on the donation button.
Prayer Need: We are less than five weeks away from returning to Liberia, and need to purchase our airline tickets by next week. The cost is $3,580. Secondly, pray that we will find affordable health insurance before our return. We are grateful for your prayers and we keep you all in our prayers daily.
Sei and Yah Buor