The 14 year war that left Liberia in ruins.
My name is Jerry Emmanuel Tweh, co-founder of MOWCF. I am originally from Grand Gedeh, a country in the southeastern part of Liberia. I am a first-hand witness and survivor of the 14 year war that left my country Liberia in ruins.
When war broke out in Liberia, my family escaped to a country named Ivory Coast on the west side of Africa. We lived there from 1990 – 1995, until the Liberian war reached Ivory Coast. It’s there I got separated from my family and was taken to a refugee camp in Ghana by my uncle. To this day, I do not know where my parents are or if they are even alive.
In 2000, my uncle who took care of after being separated from my parents died of Cholera and Malaria, and I was left all alone at the refugee camp. Life was unbearable without a family or a job. I felt like I was facing the whole world alone. In order to survive, I had to wash people’s clothes or carry people’s groceries at the market. The small amount of money I did make was hardly enough to provide for my daily meals, which consisted mostly of bread. Getting safe drinking water was a struggle. My waking thoughts were those of survival. I would start my day wondering if I would get a meal and end my day hoping for a safe place to sleep.
It never felt safe in the refugee camps because security was something that was never assured. Armed robbers were always attacking the camp and the Ghana government continually raided the camp. Health needs were rarely met because people had to pay for them out of pocket. Many people died from Malaria and Cholera because they could not afford health treatment. Despite this hardship I faced, I never lost hope because I knew that my Father in Heaven was watching over me.
My struggle to survive continued until 2005. While I was still at the refugee camp, I met a Canadian woman online named Mary O’Connor. I shared my situation with her, and she was so moved that she blessed both me and another refugee with education, food, and housing accommodations. Before her provisions, I was living with five boys in a broken down shelter not knowing where we would get money to buy food to eat. Along the way I received assistance from others as well, but most importantly, thanks and appreciation to God Almighty for the treasured contributions that got me where I am and made me who I am today! Wow!
I had been a believer in Yeshua our Lord for a long time, but I became interested in the Jewish roots of my faith in 2006 when a missionary was sent to the refugee camp in Ghana to teach on Messianic Jewish faith. He taught for few days and left. Even before the missionary came, Mary told me about the Messianic faith, but It took more time for me to except the Torah observant walk. In 2009, I meet a man named Ephraim, who studied some Messianic teachings that were sent to the refugee camp. With Ephraim and a few other people, we started a study together. Thanks to the Internet, materials sent to the camp, the missionary, and Messianic brethren we met over the Internet, we increased in our faith and gradually starting to walk out a more Torah observant faith.
Between 2009 and 2010 we found it necessary to start a fellowship, which was successful. We evangelized to others and souls were won many to the kingdom. Among us were widows and orphans, some of whom Ephraim was taking care of himself. We started a feeding program during each Sabbath from the little donations we received from Messianic brethren. We also received teachings and learning materials as donations from congregation and individuals.
In 2011, a situation occurred on the refugee camp. The government of Ghana asked UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) to send all refugees to their home country, but only those with the UNHCR ID cards could go, and most refugee members never had the required ID cards. Moreover, those without ID cards were classified as illegal refugees. It took a lot of thinking over the situation to figure out how some of us could go back to Liberia since we didn’t have the necessary ID cards. In March 2012, Mary O’Connor shared a link with me called Hebrewnation.net. From there, I got in touch with the head of the group, who was a man named Don. I explain our situation to Don, and he organized fund raising for our group. Through the favor of God, sixteen of our members without ID cards were assisted with funds for transportation, which also included spending money on the way since it was a one week drive.
After my studies in July this year, I decided to return to Liberia to find a job and start a new life. A month later, when I got to Liberia, I received employment. Though it is still a probationary job and there are some difficulties, I enjoy what I’m doing and am glad to be employed. In 2014 while on Facebook, I got a friend request from Adam Chronister. I didn’t know him personally, but I accepted his request to be my friend. Well, I believe that the Father brought us together for a purpose. After few days of conversation with Adam, we got to know each other, and I expressed my interest of starting an orphanage capable of catering to orphans, widows, and war-affected children in Liberia. Adam was excited about the idea, and MOWCF (Messianic Orphans, Widows, and Children’s Foundation) was formed. Forming a foundation has been the vision of our assembly since we started gathering because there are many orphans and widows in our assembly that need support we cannot provide for them. Finally, the dream is moving forward, but we cannot make this dream come true alone. Your prayer and support is needed to give hope and a future to the lives of orphans, widows, and war affected children in Liberia.
I would like to end my testimony with a couple verses that have gotten me through my trials and given me hope throughout my life. Deuteronomy 8:18 says, “But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which He swore unto thy fathers, as it is this day.” Jeremiah 29: 11 says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”