|Our dear friend, Rev. Caleb Dormah, Liberia,
earned a degree in science as a younger man, and at one time played
for one of the Liberian national basketball teams, the Pythons (he
even tried out for his country’s 1988 Olympic team). When he
answered his call to the ministry, he attended a Baptist seminary and
has served in the United Methodist Church of Liberia. He has been the
director of children’s and youth ministries for the Liberia Annual
Conference, and has served in several churches in the country including
St. Peter’s UMC in Clay-Ashland and currently Miller McAllister
UMC in Ganta.
Through the 14 years of civil war in Liberia, Rev. Dormah carried on his ministry, traveling to all parts of the country to visit with young people, at times at great risk to himself (was jailed for a time at a checkpoint). He started a web page for the youth ministry (www.umyouthliberia.netfirms.com), and spoke for his people at various conferences. He was assigned to the church in Ganta in 2003, but in March of that year the city was overrun by rebels and he, his daughter Punni, and another child were taken captive. The leader of this group recognized Caleb from his basketball days and helped him and the children escape to Guinea. They made their way to Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, to join other family members, but the war soon centered on this city and one day Caleb’s sister was killed in gunfire while out searching for food. A ceasefire was signed in August 2003, and the United Nations has had a presence in the country since then, with 15,000 peacekeeping troops spread throughout the nation including 500 in Ganta. Disarming rebel and former government fighters (including child soldiers) has been a key task of the UN, and efforts are being made to rebuild schools and hospitals, provide food and basic supplies, and establish a foundation for restarting the national economy.
Rev. Dormah is again at Ganta, has adopted several other children, and works with a team of ministers at the 600-member church. The stone structure survived the war, but the roof needed to be replaced and damage remains visible in many windows. The church was hit with 28 rocket shells, some of which will be used to create a memorial with the words “Never Again”. The church parsonage was destroyed during the war, and the house where Caleb and his family have been living also recently burned (a student who was studying by candlelight fell asleep and the fire started by accident). Rev. Dormah wants to pursue a peace program to help his people deal with the aftermath of the conflict and to prevent future outbreaks of violence as the nation moves forward. He remains active with youth in Ganta, sports programs (soccer and basketball), education (many families are unable to afford $65/semester tuition costs), and the planting of moringa trees on the UM compound and elsewhere (moringa is the “miracle tree” because of its nutritional value). His ministry in Ganta and beyond is a light in a time of darkness, and his service is a blessing to his people.
- Miller Mcallister UMC, Ganta, Liberia
Caleb's Recent Visit (October,2004)
Pastor Mary, Caleb and
Barb Snyder, Coordinator
(George is Director of Education, Liberia)