This beautiful baby girl is my granddaughter, Meghan, who will soon be 8 months old. Being born in a middle class midwestern American town to college-educated Christian parents with good jobs, a nice suburban home with a pet dog, surrounded by four grandparents, five great-grandparents, and a loving close knit extended family practically guarantees a bright future for her. Great healthcare, quality schools, interstate highways, ubiquitous internet, stable government, and a strong economy are just a few of the attributes Meghan will benefit from.
This handsome baby boy, named Jon in my honor, is the son of our school principal, Sumo, and his wife, Amuchain. He’s about one week older than Meghan. Although his father has a college degree and, unlike the majority of Liberian women, his mother has completed high school, his future is fraught with many more obstacles than Meghan’s. There are fewer physicians in all of Liberia than there are at just one hospital close to my home in Massachusetts. Being born in Liberia means there is a greater chance he will die before reaching age five than a child in most other countries. Baby Jon has no running water in his house and the water available for drinking often causes “runny stomach”. The nights are dark in his house because, despite the fact that he lives in the “city” of Gbarnga, roads are unpaved and there is no municipal electricity since the civil war. Every evening, baby Jon risks getting Malaria. Public education is sputtering along with inadequate facilities, poorly qualified and low-paid teachers, and many families need their children to help earn income so only one-third are enrolled in school. Families are often fractured and dispersed, leaving little social support structure.
This Father’s Day, consider the blessings your children enjoy.
Consider the futures of children half a world away in Liberia.
Consider the hope we have for our students at the Gbarnga Lutheran Training Center as we provide quality education, a daily meal, and loving Christian teachers.
Consider supporting one of our students in honor of your father this Father’s Day. Instead of another tie, give the gift of education and change a child’s life in Liberia. Go to www.gbarngamission.org and click the “Sponsor a Child” link.
Happy Father’s Day!