Liberia, a Christian country with potential
When the head of the international Church flies to Liberia this coming weekend, it will be the first ever visit of a Chief Apostle to this country in West Africa. There is excitement and joy all around.
Liberia is a Christian country. According to a 2008 census, some 80 per cent of the population are Christians. As the largest denomination, the Catholic Church has three dioceses in the country and its own Catholic Bishops Conference. Apostle Hans-Jürgen Bauer from Germany confirms: “Many people here are open to Christian values.” He is the responsible Apostle for Liberia. Together with a local Apostle, Alexander Zangar Wreh, he undertakes many trips to visit the 120 congregations in the country—many of which are located in the interior. Apostle Wreh knows Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider. In fact, it was the Chief Apostle who ordained the then 45-year-old into the Apostle ministry in 2014..
“I am totally excited about this weekend. We hope that many people will be able to come to the divine service in Monrovia,” Apostle Bauer says, who travels to Liberia regularly three times a year. Travelling in the country can be somewhat difficult because of a lack of infrastructure. Sometimes it can take a whole day to get back to the capital. But when the Apostle speaks about the faith of his brothers and sisters in the country, he is full of enthusiasm. From a New Apostolic perspective there is a great deal of growth potential in the country: the congregations are young and vibrant. The New Apostolic Church counts about 11,000 members. There are 120 congregations, which are looked after by about 300 ministers.
This stands in stark contrast to the living conditions: there is poverty all around and no jobs to speak of. Liberia is one of the poorest countries in Africa. On top of that many people have also been traumatised by the civil wars of recent years. Unfortunately, much of the infrastructure has been destroyed over the past years. Today, the government is rebuilding and attempting to grow and develop the country. Outside of the cities, driving is made even more difficult because of the tropical climate. In the rainy season the soil and roads are often washed away, and road construction is nearly unthinkable. Sixty per cent of this West African country is still covered by tropical rainforest.
Monrovia, the national capital
Monrovia is the name of the country’s national capital. It is situated in the west on the Atlantic and its population is estimated at over 4 million. The city is named after James Monroe, the fifth president of the USA. In fact, in the early 1800s the Americans had a strong impact on the affairs of the country, whether it was colonisation, state affairs, churches, architecture, or city development.
Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider will conduct a divine service in Monrovia on Sunday, 13 October 2019: “The anticipation of the brothers and sisters is huge. They have never met the Chief Apostle before,” Apostle Bauer says. On Saturday, the Chief Apostle will hold a meeting of the Apostles, to which—in addition to the responsible District Apostle Michael Ehrich and Apostle Bauer—also Apostle Wreh from Liberia and the active Apostles from the neighbouring countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Ivory Coast are invited. These countries are part of the West African working area of District Apostle Ehrich. Apostle Hans-Jürgen Bauer is responsible for the Church in these countries. For this trip, the Chief Apostle has invited a special guest, namely District Apostle Joseph Ekhuya from Kenya, to accompany him.
Late Saturday afternoon, the children will put on a play in our church in Monrovia: “The Tower of Babel”. The girls and boys have put a lot of enthusiasm into their rehearsals.
Liberia is situated in West Africa on the Atlantic coast. It shares borders with Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Ivory Coast. The national capital is Monrovia, and English is the official language. The country’s current president, George Weah, was world footballer of the year 1995. The native of Monrovia is the 25th president of the country and already now a national hero.