Members of United Methodist Women of Liberia crossed into the southeastern town of Diecke in Guinea to implement one of their annual Ubuntu Missionary Journeys.
According to Muriel V. Nelson, president of United Methodist Women of Liberia, the four-day journey was intended to revive the relationship between the Diecke United Methodist Women and their Liberian counterparts.
“We are here to reawaken their spirit of ministry to the community and its people,” she said, adding that engaging the community in productive ventures was the best way for United Methodist Women to make disciples for Jesus Christ.
Ubuntu Journeys are short-term mission service opportunities in which women of faith come together to address social issues and discover new ways of working together and growing spiritually.
Nelson pointed out that instead of sending a delegation, which is the usual Liberia Annual Conference method, the group decided to come and partner with United Methodist Women in Guinea as a demonstration that the women are service providers to their communities.
“United Methodist Women just don’t go to church and pray, they work with people in communities to help them with real life-threatening issues,” she said.
Diecke United Methodist Women have been left out of the activities of the Liberia Annual Conference of which they are a part, said Nelson, stressing, “I intend to get them involved in all of our activities, even if it means crossing the borders several times.”
Asked what role Ubuntu played in this trip, Nelson said the United Methodist Women participated in cleaning up the community, including work at a United Methodist school and hospital, and providing items such as clothes to children and their parents.
She said United Methodist Women are interested in touching the lives of the people of Diecke Town as they have done in the past when The United Methodist Church was established there.
“Our presence in Diecke and the gifts that we brought will put smiles on the faces of people and rekindle their belief that the church is looking after them,” she said.
As part of the Ubuntu Missionary Journey, the United Methodist Women from both countries were trained in how to get involved in the daily activities of the church and community, including efforts to combat gender-based violence. Nelson led a discussion on “Breaking the Circle of Silence” and urged participants to speak out so that their rights are not violated by male counterparts in their church and community.
The United Methodist Women of Liberia Ubuntu Missionary Journey into Guinea was prompted by the church’s growing Guinea Ministry, which started in 1995 and became a part of the Liberia Episcopal Area in 1997. Intended to serve refugees who fled the Liberian civil war, The United Methodist Church Guinea Ministry has grown to over 25 churches, a clinic that serves a catchment population of more than 82,000, and a high school that is educating Guinean children along with Liberian children whose parents adopted Guinea as their home after the war.