John & Patti Partridge
We’re doing it again.
In January 2017, Patti and I traveled to Harrisburg, Liberia with Farmer to Farmer ministry for 10 days (plus travel time). As you may recall, from 1989 to 2003, Liberia was involved in two successive civil wars. During that time, the entire nation was totally devastated. Bridges, roads, schools, churches, power generation, everything was destroyed. Even the means to grow food, such as tractors, were all destroyed. In the end, the entire nation was reduced to the technology available over a hundred years ago and had to start over, almost entirely from scratch.
The Farmer to Farmer mission has been helping the church in Harrisburg to develop the ability to grow food, both for themselves and others. We have also been, wherever possible, helping them to become self sufficient in any way possible. Last year, we did some light construction, did repairs and built new blackboards at the local school, offered some teacher training, paid for several new fresh water wells to be dug and had some existing wells repaired to provide access to clean drinking water, and offered encouragement to the pastors, and to the community as well.
Farmer to Farmer is providing scholarships raising funds to girls in the community whose families would otherwise never be able to afford to send them. Although the teachers at the public school are paid by the government, the families still have to pay for uniforms and school supplies and most can’t afford to do so. Farmer to Farmer is also building a new high school in Harrisburg that will also serve as an agricultural school for adults in the evenings. because the nearest high school is a three hour walk from Harrisburg, most students simply stop going to school after they finish the 6th grade and begin helping their family to make a living however they can.
And so we’re going again.
Our last trip, and the relationships that we began there, had such a powerful impact on us, Patti and I have committed to returning again this November (2018).
But we want some of you to go with us.
On our first trip we want to “get the lay of the land” and learn more about Farmer to Farmer. We wanted to see for ourselves what this mission was accomplishing in Harrisburg, and throughout the nation of Liberia and we did. We were so impressed with what we saw, and with what we experienced, that we want you to see it and experience it as well. Whether you are a pastor, or a layperson, this trip will forever change the way you think about Africa, about missions, and about the church.
You don’t have to be “young.”
During our visit last January we realized that Patti and i were the youngest people on our team. The oldest was in her eighties. We did the math and discovered that the average age of our team was 64 or 65. Some of them had never been out of the United States before. You can do this.
You don’t even have to be Methodist.
Although the funding for Farmer to Farmer flows through the United Methodist Church, our work in Harrisburg is with the entire community. We are not building a “Methodist” high school, we are building a community school and as we do so, we are partnering closely with the Lutheran church and with other churches in the community.
Even if you simply cannot come with us, you can help.
Patti and I are hoping that our friends, family, and church will want to be a part of this outreach as well. For that reason, we are inviting you to join us in this ministry and to contribute in any way that you can.
How can you help?
First and foremost, we ask that you pray. Not just for Patti and I, but for our entire team, and for the people of Liberia. What we are doing is important but the biggest influence that we have is not the work that we do, but the way in which our mission, presence, and ministry encourages the church and the people who live there. You, and your prayers, are a critical part of helping them know that they are not alone.
Second, if you can, financial contributions are greatly appreciated. If you are able to help, we ask that you send your donations through our church’s conference office:
East Ohio Conference UMC
Attn: Steve Court
P O Box 2800
North Canton, OH 44720
Checks should be made payable to “East Ohio Conference” with memo “Fund 9936 Farmer trip for Partridge.” All donors will receive an acknowledgement for IRS purposes.
We are hoping to set up a means for electronic donations. If you need to do that, please contact us by email for directions.
When we return from our trip, Patti and I are committed to telling all of our supporters about what we did, and what the church is doing, in Harrisburg, Liberia. If we can get an internet connection, we will be posting online during our trip, but afterward we will post as much as we can, as well as do a PowerPoint slide show wherever we are invited.
We thank you in advance for your prayers and your financial support.
May God bless you richly!
Pastor John & Patti Partridge