Valentine’s Day in Liberia, and an American Spiritual

7 week newlyweds.
Arriving hand in hand.

February 14 in Liberia is the same as in the U.S. – Valentine’s Day. It also marks Vickie’s and my 40th wedding anniversary. We will celebrate in April when I return. GraceLife Church hosted a Valentine’s Day dinner party for couples at a member’s home. Couples were instructed to arrive hand in hand and the men served their wives dinner. I did a short devotional: re-read the marriage vows that are customary in Liberia and reminded them that marriage is for keeps and it only gets better. All the men got a kick out of serving their wives and most of them ended up with a take-home plate.

In line to serve their wives.
Dinner and a cold water!
Service with a smile from his wife.
Re-creating wedding day memories.

Last Friday I finished another week of teaching – Pastoral Theology. We met every afternoon from 12:45-4:30. Those are tough hours to be in class, especially during the dry season in Liberia, so we kept things moving. We spent an entire day talking about the Health and Prosperity/Deliverance gospel and the entailments that go with it in Liberia. We simply read dozen’s of passages that spoke of our inheritance in heaven, the necessity of suffering for the sake of the gospel, the fact that God sometimes heals in this life but never permanently, and Christ’s call to follow him.

Last week’s group of students. They were kind and gracious to this American who talked too fast and challenged their thinking too often, but always with a Bible verse. We finished the week good friends! There is a good chance I will get to see them again in August when I return. We finished the week praying for each other and singing the American spiritual, “Were You There When they Crucified My Lord.” It was most likely composed by African slaves in the 19th Century in the United States. I learned it when I lived in Georgia as a child and taught it for the first time to these men, and to GraceLife church, many of them ancestors of those same slaves. What a blessed time we had!
Students taking the final quiz of the week: write out 1 Peter 5:1-5 – closed Bible.

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