Jesus has Overcome!
Greetings in the name of Jesus!
Angel Rutledge with some boys from DHCV (2014)
There will be a few changes to our sponsorship program that I’d like to fill you in on toward the end of the newsletter, but first, we have received the update we’ve been waiting for from Liberia, and unfortunately it is troubling. Aren’t you so deeply grateful that though there is always trouble in this world of ours, Jesus has overcome?
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
After over 11,000 deaths due to Ebola in West Africa (approximately 5,000 of those in Liberia), new cases and several deaths have been confirmed in the last week in Liberia. The nearly 200 people who were exposed to the sick individuals have been quarantined as health care workers are much more prepared to deal quickly and carefully with the virus than they were in the spring of 2014, when the original outbreak first surfaced.
Obviously, this situation must be handled decisively to best protect people, but can swiftly cause fear and panic in a country that has very recently seen the horrors and devastation of Ebola. ACFI, the African ministry that runs the mission homes, is already dealing with the repercussions of this, having had to cancel their ACFI Church Conference as crowds of people are not allowed to gather when Ebola is a risk factor. More seriously, it will affect the children at both mission schools, as they have been asked to stay where they are rather than return to their families during this time, in order to prevent the spread of the virus. This means that for an unknown time period, the ACFI ministry will be responsible for feeding the children, staff and caregivers, and meeting their needs… something they certainly do not have funds for. The cost of food is already rising in anticipation of another Ebola crisis, and so they are trying to prepare to step up and do what they must.
What is extremely frustrating is that there are two containers of food for the ACFI ministry sitting in Monrovia that the Port Authority, for unknown reasons, will not release unless they receive $12-15,000. Experience would strongly suggest to many of us familiar with Liberia that that reason is simply greed, and is sadly the typical course of things for many of those in positions of authority.
Bishop Ed Kofi, ACFI founder and president, is currently in Liberia and working continually to resolve this issue to ensure that the children have the food that they need. He has written to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, asking for her assistance in releasing the containers for the children, and is also working with another woman close to the president who has been involved in ACFI in the past. He feels very strongly that the ministry should not give in to this demand for money to get the supplies out of the port.
You can help in a of couple ways.
1. First and always, please pray… pray that the Lord works to release those containers and that he protects the people of Liberia from another round of Ebola and the fear that accompanies this virus.
2. You can donate funds for the emergency food supplies for the mission schools. Go to www.africanchildsponsorship.com, and under Donations, click on the "2015 Special Gift" button to give specifically toward food and supplies that will be needed during this time. (If it is helpful to know, a large bag of rice currently costs around $65.)
Thank you so very much for any action the Lord may prompt you to take.
We’d also like to highlight a few changes regarding the leadership of the sponsorship program. Angel Rutledge, who along with her husband Dan, worked to create the program years ago, will be changing roles and “passing the torch” so to speak. She writes, “I’m excited to announce that Tori Shelton will be taking over as the sponsorship coordinator. Many of you may remember that Tori was part of our first mission team to serve at the mission schools back in 2009 when we were first starting this sponsorship program. She and her husband have been faithful team members and sponsors over the years, and Tori has been helping with the sponsorship program for the past couple of years. While I still hope to be part of next year’s mission team to Liberia, partnering with my husband, Dan, to lead an online website and raise four teens is as much as this busy mom and wife is able to commit to at the moment. But I do want to leave you with one final, ‘THANK YOU!!’ for your faithfulness in being part of the sponsorship program. I’m looking forward to continuing to be part of the program as a sponsor alongside all of you!”
Knowing Angel well, I would just like to honor her for her tireless work on behalf of the children in Liberia at the mission homes, and especially on behalf of those of us adoptive families that have our Liberian kids home with us, due in large part to her faithfulness and integrity. You have blessed so many people as you have obeyed the Lord, and we are grateful, Angel. Thank you.
We welcome Tori Shelton as the new sponsorship coordinator. We are so thankful for her desire and willingness to take Angel’s role and continue the work that has been sown in faithfulness and joy. I was able to travel to Liberia with Tori in 2010, and know that her heart has been fully engaged in this ministry since her first trip in 2009 because the Lord has given her a passion for his children there. Now, her giftings and abilities are a perfect fit to continue facilitating the sponsorship program.
We have decided to send newsletters on a bi-monthly basis unless there is urgent news to be passed on to you. With all that has taken place in Liberia this past year, information is slower to come to us, but we will continue to gather all that we can and pass it onto you.
We covet your prayers for Liberia as a whole, and for the children that we strive to support. Thank you for all that you have done and are doing to engage in their struggles and partner with brothers and sisters on the other side of the globe.