For the first time in my life I’m part of a posse. You know, a posse, when famous people travel they bring an entourage, a group of hangers on who like to bask in the star’s limelight.
At the Liberia Annual Conference Kathy and Danny Dickriede are most definitely rock stars. Danny’s quick smile and announcement that “I know dis man” along with Kathy’s quiet sincerity draws people to build relationships. They are seen as missionaries from the west who don’t do surface feel good projects but are truly helping to make the country better.
The well project they spearheaded has now put a clean, safe water well in every tiny village within then miles of Camphor, about 100 in all. They have brought church leaders, masons, nurses, and horticulturists over to care for those who are living in poverty beyond anything I can imagine.
They have very real relationships with many in the country. Somebody who knows somebody connected them with “Yama Mama” years ago. Three nights ago we walked to her village on the outskirts of Gbarnga to see her new home and be treated to rolls she bakes from scratch in a wood-fired dutch oven. These are real relationships. And out of real relationships, real mission work gets done. This is the difference between real missionaries and “do gooders” who don’t understand the needs or the cultures, but come over anyway.
The reality is that unless we are sending mission money to the building next to the church, there has to be some level of trust and optimism that the work is actually getting done. Especially in a culture like Liberia where written receipts really aren’t the norm.
Having seen the relationship that these two missionaries have with the Liberian people, I don’t doubt for a second the integrity or effectiveness of their work.
Besides, it’s a lot of fun to watch it happen.