A program in Liberia helps children develop life skills and learn other important lessons while teaching them about Jesus
When Ebola hit Liberia, all attention focused on stopping the deadly virus. Regular Samaritan’s Purse programming was put on hold, including a children’s program called active fellowship that uses sport and play as a tool to reach rural communities that haven’t heard the Gospel.
School also stopped, leaving an entire generation to learn leadership and general life skills on their own.By December, one active fellowship leader couldn’t wait any longer. Rebecca Tamba had listened for months as the children asked her when the program would begin again, so she decided to organize the activities herself. All of the children helped clean the soccer field so they would have a place to play.
In February, the Samaritan’s Purse program manager for active fellowship, Joseph Kettor, saw Rebecca leading a play session with the community children. They had just completed opening prayers when he passed by, so he stopped to watch. Rebecca led the children in a game and asked them to recite Bible verses they had memorized in earlier sessions.
Not only had Rebecca started organizing sessions again, but she also had put in place all of the Ebola awareness training she had received from Samaritan’s Purse. Joseph saw that she had turned the drinking bucket that had been given to the community as part of the package to be used for active fellowship sessions into a hand-washing bucket, complete with soap and cup, to ensure safety.“I know Ebola is (here), so we cannot forget about washing hands,” she said. “This bucket was given to us to drink inside, but I turned it into a hand-washing bucket so that any time we meet to play, we first can wash our hands. And at the end of the session, again, we wash our hands. I also tell all the children to continue washing their hands when they go home.”
Rebecca also carefully monitored the children’s health. If they came to the sessions sick, she wouldn’t allow them to play and informed their parents that they are unwell.
The success of previous active fellowship programming and that of the Ebola awareness programming are both perfectly illustrated in Rebecca’s initiative to continue organizing active fellowship play sessions and using her Ebola awareness knowledge to do so safely.
“Rebecca proved to me that active fellowship can be used in various ways and contexts to teach even health messages to children and youth,” Joseph said.
Since the program first started in 2012, 35 children have accepted Christ and two children have led their parents to also accept Christ due to their own change in behavior. As this program continues now that Liberia has been declared Ebola free, the goal will be to counsel, teach, and encourage children whose lives have been affected by the deadly virus.
Please pray for the Samaritan’s Purse team in Liberia as it begins working with this program again and other programs that were stopped because of the Ebola outbreak.