My name is Abednego Kolleh Korkollie originally from Liberia, West Africa. I am the last burn of three (3) sisters and four (4) brothers. I was burned in the lovely union of Mr. and Mrs. Korkollie.I am a husband and a father of 4 beautiful children.
Liberia is located on the west coast of sub-Saharan Africa. It was the first African republic to proclaim its independence and is Africa’s oldest modern republic. Its population is about 4.9 million and about 80% of its population is in poverty. Worst of all, Liberia has suffered through 7 years of Civil War, which started in 1989. Since then, the Country’s poverty rates have continued to increase greatly due to the miss management of its resources
As a teenager my mother told me a sharking story about my late father and how she suffered after his death. According to her, I was just a few months old when my father was poisoned and died at a very young age. I didn’t have the opportunity to know him as a father. He was killed by some of his associates who felt that he was becoming someone important in the community simply because of his theist believe and his love for humanity. Another reason for his untimely death, she continue, was that in order for him to solve some of the problems of the people he cared for, especially in agriculture needs, he bought more than 200 acres of farmland and established his own community which named after him; “Mr. Jimmy Korkollie Town”
She further told me that she suffered a lot to raise her either children after his death. We lived as wild animals and drank infected water. One could feel and taste the present of poverty all around us as it is today. Like many other families, I did extreme hard farming labor. Worst of all, during those days there was still slavery in practice. I labored every day as a slave worker at the same time had to take care of my kids. I didn’t have any support for my children after my husband died. As the result, we all struggle in many ways, especially the need for education for my kids.”
Like my father, my mother was also a person of great character-she loved and served everyone as her own regardless their background or how they look. She was a God-fearing mother who also served the Lord with all her might. She was my role model, my best friend and most of all the mother who every child would wish to have in his or her life. I’m very blessed and grateful to the Almighty God for allowing me to be in the lives of such a wonderful parent. Both of my parents made me who I’m today, a person of great passion for humanity. Although they both have since gone to be with the Lord, With God above us all, and with the help of others, I will do everything through my heavenly Father to continue the great work they started in honor of their memory. May their souls rest in perfect peace.
As a young boy growing (age 5-15) up in one of the darkest (poor) corners of the world, uneducated and uncivilized but I dreamed big- a dream that seemed bigger than myself and my understanding at the time. I dreamed of better living, better community, access to better schools and hospitals. I vividly visualize in my mind exactly how and where this community and schools is to be build.
Now, one might ask how does a young man lack the knowledge of academic education and civilization dream such a big dream? The answer is obvious, I don’t know. But this is what I do know without any equivocation; it is God who entrusted me with these ideas for the purpose of make a difference in the lives of thousands of children and their families. I know this because of my deep passion for humanity and my adroitness to serve others. This is also true that God gave me this task as part of my responsibilities in my journey through this Earth. For instance, everything I say or do in my life, the need to serve humanity always stand in my heart as vividly as it can, especially the building of this noble institution. But my dream came to a standstill due to the seven years civil war in Liberia.
I was about 15 years old when I sat in a classroom for the very first time. Worst of all, like many young kids in Liberia, I couldn’t stay in school for a whole school year without dropping out due to my inability to fully pay my tuition. I only sat in class each year after I worked odd jobs (if they were available) to pay my school fees. As the result, I never had the opportunity to fully educate myself until the country was completely destroyed by rebels.
It was around 1989 when the senseless civil war started in Liberia. Thousands of innocent people, including women and children were brutally beaten, murdered and many more thousands died from starvation. I personally nearly died as well from starvation.
At one point during the war, I was trapped in my own bedroom for two weeks without eating nor drinking. I could not step out in the street to find food. If I did, the rebels could either beat me unmercifully and recruit me to become one of them or kill me. As God could have it, a lady, who was also in search of food for her family, rescued me as well as other victims in the community.
A few weeks later followed by a temporary ceased-fire, after some of the rebels retreated from the community, I, along with few others decided to leave the community to go to my own Town, Gbarnga, Bong County, where I thought it was not only safe, but I could also feel comfortable in my own environment. I was completely wrong! On our way walking on bare feet to Gbarnga, Bong County, about 20-25 miles in root, we encountered even a bigger life-threatening problem. We were stopped by rebels from going to Bong County. We were then transported to a nearby small abandon college compound which I think was called then ‘Fender University of Liberia’. Where we met thousands of innocent people, including women and children packed together like sardines without food, safe drinking water, and medication. Worst of all, many of these people, especially the elderly and children were not only suffering from starvation, their physical bodies were overwhelmed with all kind of diseases due to unsensitized environment caused by human wastes. More than 4-5 persons dyed each day in this little deplorable human cluster. I then realized that it was God who saved me from dying in my own bed, and so the least I could do is to help save other victims as well.
We quickly organized what we called then “a community watch team”. This team consisted of able body men and women who saw the need to serve humanity in time of difficulties. But there was a problem; we didn’t have any food or medication to give the victims ones we rescued them. So, in order to do our best to provide for those whom we could, we divided ourselves into two groups. Group one, which consisted of just women, went around the compound looking for people with the worst condition. Once they found them, they were then brought to the rescued center. It was less dangerous to send the women out in the area because it was likely for men to be killed or be recruited to be part of them (the rebels) ones you were caught in the street then women. Group two, the men, then secretly went into the woods to find anything edible, that includes wild animals and the very food they eat. We were also responsible to gather herbs for the victims. We could not find any kind of human food in store or anywhere in site or in the entire nation. We survived by God’s grace and by eating wild animals and anything that could sustain us at the time.
These are just the tip of the iceberg of what I went through and so the entire country. It was then by the grace of God we saw the light at the end of the tunnel- the International communities became sending some humanitarian help to Liberia few months later.
I understand exactly what it means to sleep hungry every night, the need for shelter, adequate medical care, and education. I understand these things because I lived them. I grew up in these unimaginable conditions from birth up to my young adult life. I know how badly it hurts to live half of your entire life with these conditions and the suppression of brutal acts of violent as well as life without any hope in the future. These bad experiences have greatly increased my quest to service humanity. With God above us all, I will not stop serving humanity till death, so help me God!
Subsequently, as God could have it, my miracle-working God-the God that recognized my desperate needs of survival and my strong faith to serve humanity ones again made it possible that my dream was still possible through Pastor Michael Smith and his Church, Mount Moriah Baptist Church, as well as his personal family members who brough me and 3 other Liberian to the United States.
Mount Moriah is a very small church about a hundred members. Though small, but it lives up to its true meaning in the community and the Christian community as whole. They took a very good care of us in every aspect of our lives, especially our spiritual and education needs for few years.
Pastor Smith went to Liberia in 1999 on a missionary trip with Equip Ministries, located in McDowell County, North Carolina. While there on the ELWA (Eternal Love Winning Africa) Campus, God introduced us into his wonderful life, and since then we have been his children. Through these many years of knowing my pastor/father, I can proudly speak on behalf of my 3 wonderful Liberian that he is the most honest, respected, caring and loving man we have ever known in the Christian ministries. God first, but we owed this honorable and God-fearing father our entire lives. It was because of the Grace of God and his undeterred faith in what he does as pastor that enable us to have the opportunity to work on our dreams. We also owed his Church family, his wife, Mrs. Teri Smith and their two daughters, Tiffini and Niecey Smith our lives for accepting us into their family as their own. Words are inadequate to express how grateful we are. We pray that the almighty God continue to bless them all for been such a loving and caring family.
A few months ago, I traveled back home to Liberia to lay my beloved mother to rest. It was then I begin once again visualizing everything in a slow motion; everything as in the lack of many years of economic freedom, the government’s chaotic down Syndrome, inadequate medical facilities, school, foods and many more. I could feel and breathe the continuation of bitter suffering and the increasing level of poverty all around me.
It was much worst when I went to my hometown (Mr. Korkollie Town) where I buried my mother. There I felt like a heavy weight been held on my shoulder as I listened to the men, women and children told their unbearable stories. I could feel the obvious and urgent needs all around me. Those needs consist of but not limited to the following: safe drinking water, food, shelter, medical facilities, education and more. Though I was a burned victim of these conditions from birth up to my young adult life, my adroitness to immediately act could not have been higher. I realized then that it was time despite my financial difficulty to take serious actions to begin implementing the responsibilities God has placed in my heart, to help my people. Without delay I then quickly hired an architect to draw out a blueprint exactly as I have envisioned this life changing school in the community.
As I became this project, I knew that the process would be somehow challenging. I also understood that it would not come overnight nor would it be accomplished without great sacrifices. I was ready then as I’m today to face the challenges that await me. I’m walking by faith each day knowing that my heavenly Father is by my side to direct me surmount those difficulties. But most importantly, I also do know that regardless how long or how difficult it might be, it will be done exactly as God has planned. There is absolutely nothing can stand in the will of the Almighty, it’s just a matter of time and the humans’ will to bring it to fruition. Therefore, thank you Lord for entrusting me and the many dedicated men and women who are working tirelessly to make this dream a success. Words are inadequate to express how deeply I’m moved by their noble supports.
To our supporters and prospective supporters, it is my hope and prayers that you will listen to that little voice that whispers in your heart saying, what if those were any member of your family that you love dearly, and that you would do anything in the world for, What if that was your communities, your town or your country, would you stand by and do nothing? Would you walk by ignoring the cries of innocent women and children who has long been forgotten like the story about the Priest and the Levite in the Bible?
There was a certain man in the Bible, who fell among thieves and was stripped of his clothing and wounded. The story says that a Levite and a Priest passed by on the other side. They didn’t stop to help him. But a certain Samaritan man came by and decided to help this helpless man in need.
These are the questions and stories that motivate me to keep fighting for good costs even when the road seems difficult. These are the questions that strengthen my faith in the Lord when people tell me that it can’t be done, it’s too much to achieve. More importantly, these questions and stories remind me of my personal family whom I love dearly. Therefore, my brothers and sisters alike, I will continue to fight through faith (despite the difficulty) for humanity and the achievement of this noble institution for the rest of my life.
In conclusion, let us all walk by faith not by sight. It doesn’t take much to change someone else’s life, all we need is the courage and the will to take the necessary steps, like that good Samaritan man. Remember, the greatest feeling of all life worth living is the feeling you get when you reach out and pull someone else up. The smile and the joy you invest in a person shows that you, on the other hand, investing in yourself. In other word, whatever you do for others that gives the same quality of life that you would for yourself and your love one never go unnoticed, even if you think that no one seemed to care, but our Heavenly Father, whose sees everything that you do both in public and behind closed door will reward you tremendously. Therefore, it is my hope and prayer that you will find a place in your heart to stand with us in helping the unfortunate children and their families. May the Almighty God continue to bless you and your families
Greetings to all. Having listened to Abednego’s dream, and observed his passion for this vision becoming a reality, I am convinced that it is something conceived in his heart by the Spirit of God. It is against the nature of the flesh to have strong passion for others. He has been in the United States for nearly 20 years and has not wavered from his dream to commit to this transformative labor of love. Where is your heart? Having seen the conditions and plight of the nation that could easily be the vicinity of my ancestral roots, I too have an insatiable desire to help and have passed this onto our small church to come alongside Abednego.
God’s instructions to the prophet Habakkuk was to, “Write the vision and make it plain, that they may run with it.” That is what is happening now. We are collectively laboring alongside Abednego to present clear plans and keep you informed of every step forward and every challenge that would hold us back. We want you to know that every legal requirement is met and that a system of accountability is put in place so that you can know that every cent of every dollar is used to accomplish this endeavor with integrity.
I personally applaud Abednego Korkollie and the young people we brought here from Liberia for making us proud in every way (Minnie Korto Golowo, David Golowo and Michael Borkay). They are vivid reminders of the country I fell in love with during my 14 days in West Africa. I will spend the duration of my life praying for and contributing to the need for support and resources to the beautiful and wonderful people of Liberia, West Africa. I hope you will join us in supporting this outstanding young man.
Pastor Michael Smith
Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church