Partners, October 2018
FEATURE PHOTO (above): The recent second annual ENGAGE Youth Theology Initiative…
In late 2015, the Lighthouse Village Church of Christ was established in the Fendell community just outside of Monrovia. Led by James Saygarn, the church “aims to love and serve all and is central to Love Lights the Way’s mission in Liberia,” according to supporters.
Refugees and other members of Churches of Christ in Rhode Island founded the Christian nonprofit.
The Christian Chronicle featured the efforts in a front-page story in 2012:
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — In the bustling core of Rhode Island’s capital, Liberian immigrants crowd into a simple white building with “Providence Church of Christ” painted in fading red letters above the front door.
On a blue-sky Sunday, men clad in button-down shirts and women sporting colorful African headscarves greet each other in a concrete parking lot surrounded by a chain-link fence.
Tall trees adorned in bright green anchor a sprawling urban cemetery just beyond the fence, casting shadows over the church building as vehicles zip by an auto-parts store and appliance business across the street.
Giggling children — most born in the United States after their families fled two decades of civil war — scamper to the basement for Bible class.
More than 4,000 miles of the Atlantic Ocean separate the refugees from their west African homeland, where women were raped and children turned into “killing machines” in fighting and ethnic cleansing that claimed 250,000 lives.
Despite the fresh starts they have made in America, the hearts of these devoted Christians remain in Liberia — amid the orphans who wander the streets begging for scraps and the villagers still grappling with physical and psychological trauma.
“We don’t have that much, but the little that God gave us, we try to share it with the people there,” said church member John Kar, a social worker who lived in a refugee camp in Ivory Coast before coming to the U.S.
For more information, see Love Lights the Way’s website.
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