On February 13, Ed Fruit from Centreville Baptist Church (VA) and Brad Smith arrived in Monrovia, Liberia. We met host pastor, Matthew Gonkerwon, and drove to Paynesville to a housing and shared-ministry complex on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean! Some of our bags did not make it on our flight, but fortunately arrived later and the pleasant drive and location for the conference eased any concerns.
This was MOV’s first conference in Liberia. Titus Davis, the president of the Evangelical Free Church of West Africa, heard about us from his friend Musa Kpaka. (Pastor Kpaka led a conference in Daru, Sierra Leone, 13 months previously.) Evangelical Free leaders Davis, Secretary Onesimus Hills, and Pastor James McCarthy Jr. told us how excited they were about discipleship and the opportunity to bring just the men together for the first time ever.
The next day, 62 men representing 21 Protestant and Catholic churches arrived at the Evangelical Free Church of Paynesville. Hearing about their position in Christ, why men are vital to a healthy growing church, and the importance of knowing and following the Word stimulated a lot of discussion. From the written feedback, it was also clearly evident that the “5 Roles of a Husband of Valor” had a major impact. The next day we led off with an activity to show how easy it is to tear down our wives or children with our words and how hard it is to repair the relationship. That generated small-group discussion on being a responsible father. We also talked about why men are so elusive in their churches and why it is important for bands of men to come together to support one another.
We were amazed that almost half of the men attending showed interest in leading a small group. From the comments we received, this thrust of the conference certainly hit home. One man wrote:
“Throughout this conference God said that I should start making intentional friendships with men in my community and become a friend to my wife. Also God wants me to be a good father to my children. Finally, I need to disciple men in our church who are struggling with issues.”
Several U.S. churches and individuals contributed toward Bibles, and we were pleased that the $5 Bibles the pastors bought to distribute were fantastic ‒ easy to carry with large print and included concordances and references!
Titus Davis has committed to continuing the work of Men of Valor in Liberia and other countries. See the post here.