LAC 2014 Ministry to the Aging

We greet you warmly in the name of our Risen Lord Jesus Christ with a passage of scripture as recorded in Leviticus 19: 32 “you shall rise before the aged, and defer to the old; and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.”

Visitation: We visited our sick and shut-in senior citizens and attended funeral services of some of our seniors. The aim of our visitation was to assess the conditions of some of seniors especially those that are home bound without proper care. The ministry to the Aging is a care giving ministry committed to addressing the holistic needs of our seniors. We are delighted to provide you with a briefing of activities of the ministry to the Aging.

It is our joy and delight to cater to the holistic needs of our elderly. One way we are doing this in general terms is visitation. Visitation is an important aspect of our work. As we do, it gives hope to our senior citizens and enables them to bear with the numerous changes and challenges that they face in their aging process. Some of them often weep for joy over the ways and manners in which the United Methodist Church is providing care for them. Aside from visitation, we also carry out advocacy campaigns within Churches and the community, including government agencies on behalf of our elderly. All of these efforts are yielding some fruitful results such as our occasional receipt of donations and supplies from individuals and agencies for the senior citizens.

In addition to our visitation, advocacy role, and care for the more than five hundred senior citizens we care for generally, we currently have at the Charles Edward Britts Senior Citizens Home of the LAC/UMC, commonly called the Old Folks Home seven senior Elders. Efforts are being made to increase this number to ten persons by the beginning of October. We are currently in consultation with our Board of Advisors and partners to secure the necessary funding to enable us adequately care for the anticipated ten clients we expect in the Home this year.

 Revovation: We have done partial renovation on the building.

Senior Citizen Month (October):

As a result of a decision passed at the seat of the 173rd annual session of the LAC/UMC, the Month of October is observed as senior citizens Recognition month by all local churches of our Annual Conference every year. In light of the above, senior citizens Recognition Day was observed in October 2013. The event convened with the Gompa District from 24to 27 of October.  The celebration started on October 24-27 with series of activities. The activities included health screening, care giving workshop on Friday, Saturday morning parade with placards with different wordings such as “Respect the Elderly”, “Aging is a blessing and not a curse” etc.

Story-telling was followed by distribution of relief items from Liberia Red Cross.

As part of the celebration, Gompa District Conference recognized our senior citizens of Gompa District for their sacrificial services rendered to the Church and State on Sunday. Those recognized were Rev. Nya Garmi Zuagele and Mth. Anna Larkeh.

We were blessed to have listened to wonderful stories of life with meanings, stories of faith and hope. Their stories strengthened us to move forward with courage and determination.

Donations: We are grateful to the following individuals and institutions for their generous contributions:

  • Christian Aid Ministries for donating food items
  • Red Cross of Liberia for donating buckets, sweaters, hats, socks, etc
  • Mth. Irene Innis for donating suits and hand bag
  • Social security for donating US$1,200 for feeding
  • Rev. Momoh S. Kpaan for donating clothes
  • Sis. Zoe Bryant for donating three dozens of T-Shirts for senior citizens Recognition month. She also willingly and cheerfully printed those T-shirts as her contribution.
  • Sis. Victoria Tomah, Health Coordinator, LAC/UMC for donating drugs for health screening.
  • S.T. Nagbe Women for donating 10 bags of rice with assorted items.

 Achievements:

  • . Senior Citizens Recognition Day Program
  • . Conducted Care giving workshop
  • . Conducted health screening for 84 senior citizens
  • . Assessed needs of our senior citizens, especially the home bound
  • . Started our Peace Hut project and have built to window level
  • . Created more awareness for recognition, rights and respect of Liberian Senior Citizens
  • . Received new senior citizens

Hut Project:  We are constructing a building, called the Peace Hut, which will be used for recreation, office space, training/workshops, etc. Funds for the Peace Hut, as you were informed during our last reporting period, was provided by the Clarendons United Methodist Church, USA, in the amount of four thousand sixty five United States dollars (USD$ 4,065).

 Challenges and Constraints: As we bring this report to a close, we wish to share with you the following challenges with which we are faced and solicit your support, prayer and partnership. They include transportation, electricity; fencing of the property and funding to enable us effectively discharge our duties relative to the Ministry. We are appealing to our beloved Liberia Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church and to our partners in mission to assist us in addressing these challenges.

We are grateful to those who contributed generously for the successful hosting of our Senior Citizens Recognition Day Celebration and also thank those who supported us through prayers, encouragement, giving pieces of advice with sincerity and honesty.

 Commendation:  We are grateful to Bishop Innis and Mth. Irene Innis; Rev. Dr. Erlene Thompson; Churches, institutions, our international partners, the Liberian Annual Conference of the The United Methodist Church; Sis. Hellen Evans-Roberts; Deaconess of Monrovia District Conference; Bro. Frido Kenligo; Bro. H. Sonoway Dolopei; Bro. James Jackson; Rev. Momoh S. Kpaan; National social Security & Welfare Corporation; Christian Aid Ministries; Liberian Red Cross; Bro. Rudolph Merab, Conference Lay Leader; The Rotary Club of Liberia; Rev. Benedict Green; Rev. Thompson Myer; Rev. James z. Labala; Coordinators; Mth. Elizabeth Harris; Sis. Zoe Bryant; Mth. Rebecca Gofan; Mth. Hawa Cole; Rev. Dorothy McCauley; Bro. Dioh Podee; Sis. Jaclyn M. Massaquoi; Bro. Dennis Smith; Bro. Johnson Gwekolo; Rev. Priscilla L. Jaiah; Sis. Victoria Tomah; Ganta United Methodist Hospital staff and all of you for the support given us during the period under review. Sis. Hellen Evans-Roberts; Deaconesses from Tubman UMC Alfred Zigbuo; Rev. George D. Wilson, Jr; Rev. Thompson Myer; Our international and national partners in mission; Christian Aid ministries; Rotary Club of Liberia; and Rev. James Z. Labala.

May God bless you individually and collectively. We also extend our thanks and appreciation to our committed and dedicated staff, and Board of advisors and not forgetting our spouses for their encouragement and support.

Conclusion: Working with senior citizens is a blessing for us, we learn every day about what life is and what makes life to be what it ought to be. In the same token, we have learned that one of the central tasks for the Church is to examine questions which “arise primarily out of the struggle with concrete problems of life and society. The real problem of aging persons their daily lives raise critical questions with which the church must deal such as self-images, ambitions, commitments or values”.

We have also learned from our assessments and visitations that most of our senior citizens live in dilapidated and/or make-shift homes with no one to take care for them. However, seeing the needs of the senior citizens, the Liberia Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church has deemed it necessary through Bishop John G. Innis to cater to the needs of our senior citizens regardless of gender, race, sex, religion etc. The Church has become a beacon of hope for our senior citizens in Liberia in general, and the United Methodists Church in particular.

In light of the above, we the family of the Ministry to the Aging of the Liberia Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church extend our thanks and appreciation to Bishop John G. Innis and Mth. Innis, Lay Leader, Board of advisors, our International and national partners in mission. I extend my profound gratitude to my staff for the commitment, dedication and devotion in discharging their duties.

Submitted: Rev. Anna S. Kpaan, Director