Tuesday, November 15, 2016


Responsible – “to have control and authority over something or someone and the duty of taking care of it, him, or her” (Definition of “responsible” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

I have heard this word used almost all of my life. “That man is truly responsible.” “She is a responsible person.” “Those young people are not responsible.” When you think about it, the word really carries a bit of weight, maybe more than we realize or would like to think.

We trusted that the news media were responsible in their reporting of the 2016 US Presidential campaign during the past 11 months or so, and we hoped that the political aspirants were making campaign promises in a responsible manner as well. At the end of the campaign, when the election was held, we all realized that the media was not very responsible after all. We all listened to the mainstream media, on both sides of the issue, declaring who was correct and who was not, only to find out that they, the media, were not being totally responsible in their reporting.

What happened to the days when news reporters did just that - report the news? When did journalism shift to the place of trying to become the guiding light for society and its mores? Perhaps it began with the sitcom, “All In The Family,” (which ran from 1971 through 1979) where Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin presented society a mirror with which to view itself. No one can deny that they actually did change some of society’s values through the everyday lives of Archie Bunker and family.

It was in 1972 that we were introduced to yet another in your face event: the Watergate scandal. Watergate, according to Wikipedia, was a major political scandal that occurred in the United States in the 1970s, following a break-in at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. in 1972, and President Richard Nixon's administration's attempted cover-up of its involvement. When the conspiracy was discovered and investigated by the U.S. Congress, the Nixon administration's resistance to its probes led to a constitutional crisis.

Gone are the days of Chet Huntley, David Brinkley, and Walter Cronkite - reporters you could trust. It seems to me that news reporters today don’t look for the story to share with us; they try to manipulate the story and, thereby, direct us. In my opinion this is journalism at its worst. I don’t buy a paper or listen to the evening news in order to tweak my moral compass. These mediums are not responsible for that task.

There is another side to the word responsible, and it has to do with us, the receivers of information. All one has to do is follow Facebook, Twitter or a myriad of other social media networks for only a few minutes to find information from around the world. Social media is full of information, and much of it is false information. But do we let that small fact bother us? It doesn’t seem so. People are frightened by the most ridiculous reports – from failure to forward an e-mail, to not posting a certain story on their own wall. People gobble it up hook, line and sinker – true or false; it really doesn’t seem to make a difference. We don’t even let it bother us that the same report has been making the rounds for the past several years. We ingest it like fresh manna.

We must all take the word responsible to heart. Give us responsible reporting. Let us be responsible in our acceptance or rejection of what we hear. And let us be responsible in how and what we communicate to others.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

You Never Know What You Will See!

Continuing to share unexpected things that we see…

We went to the grocery store the other day for a few things.  It is always interesting to see what is stocked on their shelves or in their cold cases.  A few times we have found Jimmy Dean’s frozen sausage patties – a real treasure!  Every stop at the store now includes a search for the elusive package of Jimmy Dean’s frozen sausage patties.  Today we did find pork, but it wasn’t the exact thing we were looking for…  Yep, that is a whole pig in there – trotters and all!  (trotters = feet)


While searching the frozen food box I came across this little jewel, or should I say this box of fungus…  I guess it would help if you are Italian.


And then there was this… I think it is time that someone produced a show teaching the world how to make real, TexMex tacos.  Just say ’n!


You never know what you will see!

Monday, May 9, 2016

You Just Never Know What You Will See!

To say that travel in Monrovia is an adventure is quite the understatement!  Traffic, potholes – some the size of a small car, no road at all, 2 lanes that are turned into 6, 7 or even 8 lanes of traffic, people everywhere, hawkers selling their products while playing frogger in the traffic, and… well, surely you get the picture.  Or maybe you don’t.

How about this one…  FullSizeRender

Yes, that is a coffin in that small car!  Someone is being taken to their final resting place – no ropes, no tie-downs – just sitting there, hanging out.

If you think I was surprised to see this, you are mistaken.  The first time I saw a car with a coffin in it I was surprised.  Not any longer – I have sort of grown accustomed to the site.  In town, up country, on the highway, in the bush – I have seen this many times.

You just never know what you will see!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

The Stories You Hear…

When you are in the Interior of Liberia, and have time to sit and listen, you can hear a lot of different stories.  I have listened to two in the past few days that I found very interesting.
Last Sunday morning it was announced in church that a young lady was bitten by a snake.  Prayer was offered for her physical being and hopeful recovery.  A few days later I asked someone for an update on her condition.  I was told that she was doing much better.  It seems that a snake had crawled into the hut where she was sleeping during the night and bit her on the foot.  Someone killed the snake, but no one seems to know what kind of snake it was, only that it was very dangerous – poisonous.  The family immediately begin to call for anyone that had a “snake rock”.  As explained to me – the “snake rock” is placed directly on the site of the bite.  The rock will stick to the skin, only releasing itself when all the venom is drawn from the body.  When the venom is completely removed, the stone will fall off by itself.  Everyone knows to not touch the stone with their hands or any body part since the stone is now full of snake venom.  It is carefully picked up with sticks or leaves and placed in a pot.  Milk is poured over the stone and left to sit for several hours.  From the explanation, it seems to me that the milk neutralizes the venom.  After a certain time the stone can be taken from the pot and it is now ready for the next use.  The girl is alive and seems to be doing okay!  By the way, I “Goggled” snake stone. Umm, sure enough – it was there!
One person told me about the time that a chimpanzee was seen roaming the forest.  When news was broadcast of the chimpanzee’s appearance it paralyzed the village.  No one would go to work their farms, or even travel from one village to another.  The sighting of this chimpanzee initiated the forming of several hunting parties.  He was hunted until found, and then was disposed of.  Listening to this story was a bit difficult for me since I was continually trying to invasion a chimpanzee that would terrorize an entire village.  In my mind, I kept seeing the adorable little chimp, all dressed up, and being the almost-perfect pet.  I couldn’t help myself, so I asked how it was that a small little chimp would be considered so dangerous.  The person telling the story looked at me and said, “Rev., that chimpanzee is your size and well able to turn a car over on it’s top.”  Thinking about this I inquired if the name could possible be gorilla rather than a chimpanzee.  He told me that we call it a gorilla, but they call it a chimpanzee.  Phraseology has never been my strong suit!




From January 1 up to today, March 16 equals 76 days.  How much can you pack into 76 days?  A LOT!  Really, I mean a whole lot!  In fact, it is unbelievable what you can do in 76 days.

In January, we traveled to Assinie, Coté d’Ivoiré, to attend our West Africa Retreat.  We joined colleagues from Mali, Senegal, Coté d’Ivoiré, Togo, Sierra Leone, Gambia and Benin.  Other special guests included, Africa Regional Director, Greg and Danna Beggs, and Africa Oasis Project representative Mark Alexander.  This was a great time of refreshing and renewal.  It was good to be together, pray together, and dream together for West Africa!

We returned to Liberia with only enough time to take a good deep breath before traveling to Gbarnga for our semi-annual Assemblies of God in Liberia General Conference.  This year’s theme was Focus 2020 and emphasized missions and church planting.  The goal of the national church is to plant 650 new churches by 2020.  I was both privileged and honored to be the keynote speaker each night during the conference.  The last service of the conference, Sunday morning, a special offering was received for the work of missions and church planting.  This offering was the largest offering ever received in the history of the AGL according to most pastors.  It was an unbelievable conference filled with a spirit of faith, confidence, and the power of God.

In early February, we traveled to Sierra Leone, where I serve as Team Leader.  We met missionaries, Brant and Joanne Jordan, who have just arrived as the latest addition to the team.  Later in March another couple, Danny and Cindy McCollor will join them in the work.  While in Freetown, Sierra Leone, I made a wonderful discovery… Baby Ruth!  Sure enough, I found the candy bar, Baby Ruth!  I was beyond ecstatic!!

The first of March we embarked upon a trek that has taken us to the hinterlands of Liberia – the Interior.  Upon our return to Monrovia – sometime in early April – there will be four new Assembly of God churches.  This trip is challenging in so many different ways it is difficult to explain.  But the rewards are tremendous!  We meet so many friends, make new friends, discover churches and ministries that we did not know existed.  We are privileged to both see and experience what our brothers and sisters endure on a daily basis.  The experience makes us happy and sad at the same time.  And, as always, Fredna is able to find a baby or two – or twenty or… -  to hold!  And this makes her happy.

Today marks 76 days since January 1.  Maybe we will get to rest a bit during the next 76 days – or maybe not!  As they say here, “Only God knows!”