Liberian seniors get medical help and honor

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The Liberia Conference observes the third Sunday of October each year as Senior Citizens Sunday. As part of activities this year, the Aging Ministry of the United Methodist Church in Liberia provided free clinical health services for hundreds of senior citizens — mostly United Methodists from Monrovia and the surrounding area.

Drawn from seven of the 21 districts of the conference, the seniors were checked by certified health personnel for various health conditions including sight, hypertension and diabetes.

“Those found with critical conditions are sent to nearby clinics or hospitals,” said the Rev. Anna Kpaan, director of the aging ministry. She said the program does not have the required funds to undertake the task, but senior citizens were equally not able to do it for themselves.

“We cannot sit as a church and let these people who have served us die of curable conditions,” she added.

Asked as to what will be the long-term role of the church in the lives of its seniors, Kpaan indicated that the church has a home that is now catering to those who cannot be taken care of by their children due to modern-day life demands.

“The old folks’ home, as it is called, keeps them in constant contact with their children and their home church, which is what most of them desired,” she said. She pointed out that the home is open to all seniors — especially United Methodists — and clinical health services are part of the care that the church is given.

Six of the senior citizens honored at John Jackson Powell United Methodist Church in Monrovia, Liberia, sit on the front pew during services. The Liberia Conference observes the third Sunday of October each year as Senior Citizens Sunday. Photo by Julu Swen, UMNS.

Six of the senior citizens honored at John Jackson Powell United Methodist Church in Monrovia, Liberia, sit on the front pew during services. The Liberia Conference observes the third Sunday of October each year as Senior Citizens Sunday. Photo by Julu Swen, UMNS.

 

On Sunday, Oct. 22, the church honored several senior citizens for their invaluable service to the church. According to Kpaan, the seniors were honored for their ability to work for the growth and development of the church, adding, “These people were able to preserve the peace and unity of the church for this generation to enjoy.” 

Kpaan said that the senior citizens still pray for the stability of the church in Liberia; most of them are actively involved in the praying ministry of their local churches.

“Most of them are serving as deacons and deaconesses of their local churches, whose prayers the annual conference count on for the success of most of its activities,” she said. She noted that seniors need the attention of the church at this stage of their lives, adding, “Caring for them is the best way to keep them connected to God and the church they invested their entire active lives serving.”

The Rev. Christopher Marshall, dean of the bishop’s cabinet, cautioned the seniors to remain steadfast in holding onto the unchanging hands of God.

“Though your lives were not all rosy, you made it this far in life because of the trust you had in the Lord,” Marshall said. He also warned the church not to abandon its senior citizens, noting, “It is their struggles that preserved the church for the younger generation.”

Marshall challenged United Methodists throughout Liberia to ensure that senior citizens are treated well through the enactment of good policies, be it in the church or government. “We will get there. The better we make life for them, the better life will be for us when we take their place,” he concluded.

Speaking on behalf of she and her colleagues, Mother Sarah T. Weh of the Kakata/Farmington River District thanked the Aging Ministry and promised that they will not cease to pray for the church.

“Prayer is the only thing we have now, and we will always give it to this church as our contribution,” Weh affirmed. The honorees were each given a certificate, other gift items and decorated with roses.

Swen is a communicator in Liberia. News media contact: Vicki Brown, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.
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