MacAnthony—Liberian Legend

Croezerville (pronounced Cruiser-Ville) sounds like a drive-in in a 50s movie. But it is anything but a place of fond nostalgia or glee. No, the memories are bad—and the present has not been much better.

In the past, Charles Taylor invaded this area of Liberia cutting people’s arms off and kidnapping children to make them child soldiers and terrorists. In recent years, it has been known for the Ebola epidemic that has killed so many and left numbers of orphans.

MacAnthony Siaker is the director of the CRF program in Croezerville. He knows what it is like to live in poverty and bad situations. MacAnthony’s father had three wives and was a farmer. He was able to get his kids into school—but just barely. Yes, MacAnthony and his siblings were the only children in school without shoes. There was a prize for being the best student. It was $25. And MacAnthony won the money every year. That’s how he completed his education.

With a bad economy and impending war, schools were closed all over Liberia. In 1992, MacAnthony left Monrovia with 60 homeless and unschooled children to go to the countryside near Croezerville. All he had was two bags of rice. It only lasted three days. That’s when his wife left him.

And then things got worse. A war happened.

When Charles Taylor invaded Liberia, he was after these children. He wanted them for his army. He wanted to make them killers. They surrounded the walls of our CRF facility ready to attack.

MacAnthony climbed the wall and yelled at them, “In the Name of the Lord—Outside!” And that’s exactly where they remained. They left. And not one child was taken. Not one rebel came inside. MacAnthony became a legend.

And then came Ebola. 

MacAnthony saw teachers at his school die, and new orphans emerged. Today, he is 58. He still sleeps at the children’s home on the floor. He is the only parent most of these 150+ children will ever know. He is the school principal, but refuses to take a salary.

He is simply glad to save children.

And now there’s finally some good news. The war is over. There haven’t been any new cases of Ebola lately. And new kids are coming to join MacAnthony’s dream. Yes, we are building a new school in Croezerville.

Deaf children from all over Liberia and Sierra Leone have been abandoned with no place to go and no hope for schooling. Christian Relief Fund has a great school in Monrovia run by Emmanuel Jacobsen. They just don’t have a school building or a good place to live. But that is about to change. MacAnthony has invited these kids to Croezerville so they can also meet in the new building we are building there. And four new dorms are about to be built for children from MacAnthony’s ministry and Emmanuel’s work.

In Liberia, there is a slogan that fits well the vision of Croezerville:
“IT IS BETTER TO BUILD CHILDREN THAN TO REPAIR MEN”

Coming Full Circle

They have the same last name. They have the same journey. They have the same occupations. And now they are doing the same thing. And they are right back where they started.

The stories of Samson and Samuel Methari (no kin just the same name) start and end with CRF.

I don’t have a “before” picture of Samuel, but the one of Samson is priceless.

CRF started in India. A few years after it began, Samson (the shirtless boy in the old photo) was brought to our children’s home. He was poor and had no food to eat. He came with his sister (to his left) who was also blind.

Not long after this, a little destitute girl named Jyothi also arrived at the home. Together they learned about the Lord, grew up in our children’s home, received an education and eventually became husband and wife. Samson was one of the earliest sponsored children at CRF and was sponsored by Dale & Sharon Blevins of Sand Springs, OK.

Samuel Methari was born just one year after Baxter Loe started CRF in India. Samuel grew up in poverty in Kuncharam. Similarly, he had no food to eat when he was brought to our CRF home in Tandoor. He grew up as a Hindu before converting to Christianity after living in the CRF home. And he met Subodha. They have now been married for 35 years. Samuel was sponsored by Ed and Milly Cameron of Milsap, Texas.

How did they come full circle? Both Samuel and Samson became lawyers. And both Samuel and Samson became preachers. And now both Samuel and Samson decided to go home. They wanted to go back to where they started. They are now house parents at two of our works—the Ruby Nell Cottage and the Dale Hunt and Bray Clarry Cottage.

People ask me all the time what happens after the children leave a CRF program. Sometimes, they come home.

Here are a couple of pictures of the families of Samson (left) and Samuel (right).

I don’t know if they are not smiling because of cultural reasons, because they are lawyers, or because they are preachers. But on the inside, they are really joyful people who have come full circle and are bringing joy to children who are like they used to be.

They understand what Jesus said—
“To whom much is given, much is expected.”

Sponsor a Child Today!

2015 Year End Letter

2015 was a great year!  If you haven’t read our Annual Report yet, you can find it here.

Here is a year end letter from our President Milton Jones.

____________________________________________________

CRF President Milton Jones

When it is all said and done, CRF is all about the children.

We sponsor children in about 20 different countries and help in nearly 30 countries. We have 86 different CRF works around the world. We sponsor 6,805 children in a full-time capacity but help many thousand more through feeding, disaster relief and providing education.

By the time we reached 2015, bringing clean water became one of the major ministries of CRF. This has happened because of the incredibly generous gift of a rig to drill deep wells, matching funds for wells to reduce the cost by over half (our costs went from $20,000 to $5,000 because of these matches), and the gifts of so many donors to provide water. Our gracious matching donors have pledged to continue to match gifts for water wells in 2016. We are planning to drill a well in Kenya every week in 2016. That will be a few more than we drilled in 2015. My dream is to get to two a week before the year is over. We expanded our drilling in 2015 and began helping in Haiti and Nicaragua also.

We never know where the next disaster will be, but we know we will be there. In 2015 we helped primarily in relief in the Philippines, Nepal and with Syrian refugees. Many needs will continue in these places in the future. But we will be prepared to help any place where there is a need. I have been so impressed with the CRF disaster response team led by Chito Cusi. They arrive quickly and help compassionately with medical needs, counseling, construction and sharing the good news.

We have also been doing the best job ever in monitoring, training and visiting our workers on the field. Bobby Moore has been all over the world in 2015 to personally make sure that all of our CRF works are meeting our core values. If you have been to one of our works, chances are you have been with Bobby.

On the other front, Linda Purdy continues to manage the internal side of CRF and make sure that our operations, finances, and donor relations stay strong. With so many children on the field, you can imagine how difficult it is to manage all the works at home. We are so thankful for her great abilities and commitment.

And if you ever hear anything about CRF or from us—it is because of Andrew Brown. No one could help us stay connected more or in a more beautiful way than Andrew. I don’t know anyone more talented. And he keeps the water ministry flowing from this side of the world too.

What a great staff CRF has in the U.S. and around the world. I can’t mention them all, but I know they bless you. And the reason you might not of heard of some of them is because with CRF staff—It’s all about the children!

Maybe what we do best can be seen through the eyes of one child—even the haunting eyes of Evans. Evans was a war orphan on Mount Elgon in Kenya. He had witnessed his parents executed before his own eyes. He had no one to take care of him. So he wandered on the mountainside with hundreds of other kids—malnourished and deathly ill. But then Evans was sponsored by Shelly Moore when we started a new work on Mt. Elgon near a gigantic Simotweet tree. He started getting good food every day. And we built a new school through the generosity of donors (and even memorials to honor my mother who died—nothing would please her more). We couldn’t drill a well so we piped water from a spring higher up on the mountain. And we even got Evans a place to sleep. A church was planted at the site so Evans now believes in Jesus.

But even all of this wasn’t enough. He needed help with the trauma of seeing his parents killed in front of him. We now provide grief counseling for the children there. But Evans couldn’t get well. So with generous gifts, Evans was hospitalized to deal with his health problems. Penina Kamoet, one of our directors, never left his side during the whole ordeal. What’s the end of the story?

Evans is healthy, a good student, and loves Jesus! Even his countenance has changed as you can see.

Thanks for helping CRF! You gave more money than ever before. You helped more children this year than ever before.

“THANKS A TRILLION TIMES!”  -  Milton Jones

Small Beginnings

Do not despise these small beginnings,
for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.

- Zechariah 4:10 NLT -

Isn’t that the Christmas story?

A small beginning. It was a baby in a manger. People despised the humble start of the Christ child. Others ignored it as insignificant. Others still wanted to stop the influence of this God in flesh because it was not the manner in which a King would present Himself.

But the Lord wasn’t finished with the small beginning. Indeed, He was rejoicing to see the work begin.

I recently heard Phoebe Miriam give her testimony. She couldn’t stop quoting this verse.

Phoebe quit using her last name because of the abuse she received from her father as she was growing up. When she was just a little girl, she ran away from home and lived on the streets in Eldoret, Kenya. Her life was one of survival. It meant eating out of trash bins. There was no school for Phoebe. It involved doing whatever it took to survive on the street.

And then one day Francis Bii found her. He took her picture. CRF made a promo for Phoebe. I was preaching at Springdale, Arkansas. As Adam and Kim Ringle walked past my display, they picked up her card. And for about a dollar a day, they sponsored Phoebe.

So Phoebe got to go to school. She was twelve years old when she began her academic endeavor. And she graduated on time. And she found the Lord. In fact, upon graduation—she helped to plant a church.

Phoebe tells her testimony wherever she goes. And the verse that goes with her life.

It’s Zechariah 4:10 “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.”

Phoebe reminds us that we shouldn’t look down on her when she was eating out of a trashcan or sleeping on the streets rather than going to school. No, God wasn’t finished with her yet.

And He certainly isn’t. We just got the message that Phoebe was accepted into medical school!

SPONSOR A CHILD TODAY!

(more…)

Disaster Relief Updates

Sometimes people get mixed up on what CRF stands for.

Many people think the “C” is for children.

That is understandable since we focus so much on children.

Some think that our “F” stands for fun.

That is understandable because when you see our sign outside the building the last letter is sometimes covered by a shadow where it looks like Christian Relief Fun — and we do have a lot of fun around here.

But the “R” is pretty clear — it’s relief.  It’s true that people may forget that about us — but when there is a disaster, CRF brings relief.

Currently, CRF is involved heavily in four relief projects. If you are touched by the needs in one of these areas, we could really use the help.

Or if you just want to send money for relief, we will use it in the most needed area at the moment.  And we always need some reserve money for relief so we can immediately help in a disaster before the response money starts arriving.

(more…)