Liberia’s United Pentecostal Church Shares Foods, Gift-Packs among Disadvantaged Kids

Bishop (Dr.) Stephen T.Y. Benda and FUPC’s Gospel Minister (Mot.) Julia Bono, former Mayoress of Buchanan City, Grand Bassa County with one of the beneficiaries (center)

MONROVIA – From the office of Bishop (Dr.) Stephen T.Y. Benda at the Sinkor United Pentecostal Church (SUPC) on 25th Street, Sinkor, Monrovia (Montserrado County), the official communication, given prior to the event, had said the official start-time for the 2019’s event would be 12:00pm (Liberian time) of Saturday, December 7, 2017. But the beneficiaries—kids—began pooling into the venue by 9am, from different communities surrounding venue of the event. Some came on barefoot. Some were in torn shirts and blouses, trousers and skirts. Expectations for ‘something special’ etched on each of these young faces.

The venue was the First United Pentecostal Church (FUPC), situated in the Watco Camp, Lower Harlandsville in Grand Bassa County. FUPC, painted blue on the out-side wall, is less than fifteen yards off the only route into Buchanan from Monrovia (Montserrado County)

“My ma told me children’s Christmas Party here, so she said I should come here, and I came here early,” Abel Sumo, age 12, a resident of Saybeo Community, responded to this writer’s question at the venue. He responded to other questions: “I attend a different Church in Gloria Farm Community. My Church is called Liberty House Ministry. My school’s name is Old Academy School in Gorzohn Community.”

Another earlier arriver, Erika Paygar, age 5, who couldn’t remember the name of her Church, said her Church is in the compound of her School named Bana Preparatory School.

“I came from Piertuzon,” she called the name of the Community she had come from.  

Most of the other kids trooped toward the person asking their colleagues’ questions and writing.

“Uncle, write my name too”… “Uncle, I want to talk too!” some of the children said to this writer recording kids’ information onto his notepad, thinking he was gathering names for a special gift to be shared.

“I brought my son, Lawrence Haynes, here to get his share of gifts for children to be donated here,” a mother, Janet Merchant responded to this writer’s question.

Lawrence was keenly watched by his paternal grandmother, the leader of another Church.

 “I told my grandson’s mother to bring him here for the children’s Christmas party,” replied Rev. (Mother) Mercy Davis, age 68. “I’m the Senior Pastor of the Mountain of Prayer, another branch of the United Pentecostal Church of Liberia.” She displayed her Church membership card marked “UPCL”. 

She said she graduated from Portable Bible School, established by Pastor Stephen T.Y. Benda in Montserrado County, and was a member of the 1999-2001 graduating set.

“Pastor Stephen T.Y. Benda nurtured and trained me in evangelism, after I graduated. I was ordained Pastor of Mountain of Prayer at UPCL’s Convention in 2003. I was the only female graduate of Portable Bible School ordained Pastor at the 2003 Convention,” she explained.

Sister/Mother Regina J. Sepoe, National Superintendent of UPCL’s Children’s Ministry, busied herself controlling the ‘anxious and restive kids’ against noise, loitering, fighting for seats, and dumping dirt to the floor.

“The Holy Bible says, ‘thy shall not lie’,” she said to a group of kids occupying four rows of wooden benches on each person’s response of having no knowledge of the person who had dropped an empty polythene bag on the floor.

Later, she drilled the audience of children in song-ministration entitled “Melody in My Heart”, accompanied by bodily exhibitions: “Thumb-Up”, “Chest-Up”, “Face-Up”, and “Kneeling”.

She called out some of the kids to drill the audience in the song and body-Language as she had done.

Serving as the Emcee of the program, Sister Regina J. Sepoe called out Rev. (Mot.) Mercy Davis for the Opening Prayer.

“Don’t touch our children!” Rev. Davis warned the devil in her prayer.

A gender-balanced four-member youthful Praise Team of FUPC, led by 15-year-old Simeon Duagbee, spiritually electrified the audience with 

“If It Were Not For The Lord”…”Aye, Aye” (a Ghanaian song), “My Tomorrow Will Be Greater”, and other Gospel songs.

After the “Recognition of Special Guests and Invitees”, by Mother/FUPC’s Gospel Minister Julia Bono (former Mayoress of Buchanan), the FUPC’s Children Ministry welcomed the Special Guest, Bishop Benda, with a Christmas carol, “We Want to Wish You Merry Christmas”

Other members of SUPC’s Children’s Department also made their presence felt with songs and recitations in Bible verses.

 “A nation without children is a nation without a future, and a nation without parents is a nation without a heritage,” declared Bishop (Dr.) Stephen T.Y. Benda, Senior Pastor of the Sinkor United Pentecostal Church (SUPC), and President of the United Pentecostal Church of Liberia (UPCL), speaking on the task assigned to him: “Prayer for the Children/Churches in Grand Bassa County”.

He told the audience that the event being held was sponsored by him and three of his partners: Rev. Tim Smith (USA), Pastor Daniel Kyle (USA); Pastor Hamilton Gbeen; and Pastor Rose Kollison.

“This was a vision God laid on my heart many years ago, to provide food and toys for children whose parents are poor, so are unable to provide foods and toys for their kids around Christmas time,” Bishop Benda said, and added: “We had done this in Montserrado County, Margibi County, Bomi County and, for this year, 2019, I told my team, let’s go to Grand Bassa County.”

Presentation of foods and toys followed the “Benediction” by FUPC’s Assistant Pastor, Min. S. Adolphus Joe. 

The line of kids made a “V” shape from inside the Church, and “L” shape beginning from the two entry points of the Church, stretching over hundred meters toward two white cars with the foods and toys. One was Bishop Benda’s official Church car; the other was a Pickup. The food was in a white plastic pack with the following contents: Jollof rice, salad, and a chicken’s part. The gift pack (plastic parcel) contained rubber toys: pack of juice, Santa Claus hat, rubber eye-glasses, mask, candies, biscuits, and other playthings. 

Jemima Professional Service Company (JDPC) prepared and served the food and drinks (canned soft drinks and sachet water) 

One of the major activities of the UPCL’s “Children’s Christmas Party” is playing of the kids in the Bouncing House a huge dinosaur-feature plastic Playhouse inflated with air. But the Bouncing House couldn’t take in air in Buchanan.  

Two of FUPC’s officials gave their respective impressions of the ‘personality’ of Bishop Benda, who climaxed the 2019’s UPCL’s “Children’s Christmas Party” with a prayer.

“He’s an outstanding Church Planter, and everybody’s role model of adherent to Biblical principles,” FUPC’s Head-Pastor (Elder) Robert S. Garyeazohn said to this reporter during interview.

Gospel Minister (Mother) Julia Bono, former Mayoress of Buchanan, declared: “He’s an uncompromising Preacher of the Word. I was one of the persons he groomed several years ago.”