By Bill Sebald
Liberia continues to struggle economically as inflation has now climbed to 202 Liberian dollars to 1 US dollar. This equates to 100% inflation in just under 2 years. This spells trouble for both buyer and seller in the local market. The buyer can't afford the higher prices and the seller can't even raise prices to keep up with inflation. A fat hog that would have sold for $350 US, now sells for $200 - $250. Even at these lower prices, local buyers are few.
Meanwhile, back in the states, the Sebalds and the Glenns are adjusting to a very different world. You wouldn't think that 9 months would have such a profound effect on our psyche. Immediately upon arrival, we felt a sense of relief and peace from the chaos, begging, and frequent tragic deaths. However, it was not long and we were experiencing sensory overload. Living frugally in Liberia, searching diligently for what we need, we had forgotten the extent of marketing in the US. Everyday, everywhere, our senses are being stimulated to buy, buy, buy. You need it, you deserve it, you can't live without it! Can't find what you are looking for? Look again, we have it. Need it sooner? Overnight, for an additional fee. Being away from this for 9 months made us quickly forget. We weren't enjoying the invasion on privacy of all these marketing schemes and yet know that it is far better than where we just came from and signs of a robust economy.
We have shared the ministry of the past year with individuals as well as a few churches and especially our home church and family. Sharing the pictures brings back a flood of memories. It is hard to believe that so much could happen in 9 months. The question and answer time mainly focuses the culture and ministering Jesus in the culture. The presentations allow us to share far more than we could ever share in a newsletter. Our children were asked, “What is the hardest thing about living in Liberia?” Sam Sebald answered, “Watching the Liberians suffer.”
We still participate in the US economy when we are home. We rely on income from painting for part of our personal support. Painting apartments and rental properties around the Purdue campus is serious business. Managing the work load can be stressful and tiring. Bill, Ruth, Josiah, and Sarah work together in a family business that all of the children have been a part of over the years. We have gotten more offers for work this year than we can even handle. Two other painting crews work with us as well. Sadness sets in as we realize that such opportunities can not currently be found in Liberia, and we can't bring Liberians here to work with us.
Can Hope in the Harvest Missions International make a difference? Can the two very different worlds connect? Christ centered, biblical development is the heartbeat of our mission. Their is no worldly reason to be in Liberia. There is every eternal reason to continue to share Jesus' love and God's plan for providing for body and soul in Liberia. Your prayers and financial support makes a partnership that sends us back to continue this critical work. Thank you for not forgetting us when we are in another world. Your partnership with us as missionaries and with Hope in the Harvest is deeply appreciated.