Christmas is a time of celebration, pleasure, and merriment for most families in many parts of the world. It is also a time of sharing gifts with loved ones as we celebrate the birth of the Savior. In Liberia, however, the Christmas season has other implications. It’s when the devil has his recruitment camps.
Christmas is the most common time for traditional devil masquerades to march through the streets, and many children find it difficult to resist following and watching their drunken antics as they progress from house to house. The greatest excitement these children are reliably exposed to is those which would lead them away from the ways of the Lord. But it gets worse.
The Christmas holidays are a festive season because that is when the subsistence farmers harvest their staple food rice – drawing the ‘hungry season’ to a close. A time of relative plenty in the villages, the proceeds of this season are used to initiate young children into secret societies, whose proceedings are hidden away in enclosed camps in the ‘bush’. The constant beating of drums and wild dancing is intended to induce a state of compliance and suggestibility. They are truly recruitment camps for the devil.
Young girls are forcefully enrolled into the ‘Sandi society’ with highly detrimental results. Initiation rites are demonic and include debilitating genital mutilation. The boys are initiated into the ‘Poro’, societies, depending on their ethnic group. These ceremonies involve demonism, ancestor worship, blood-letting and mutilation, and animal sacrifices.
City children are often forced, enticed, or tricked into returning to their villages during this time so that they can be ‘sent to the bush’. If they manage to avoid these schemes until adulthood, young Christian people may escape initiation altogether and be spared the demonization and physical debilitations that so often follow.
Against these circumstances, Christians in Action plans to organize another Christmas Camp for some 150 youth and children from churches in Robertsport and Monrovia. The camp will be held for two days at each place given above (Robertsport and Monrovia), respectively. One of the outcomes of last year’s camp is that both the children and their parents have been making repeated calls for this camp to become an annual event.
We believe that through this camp, some youth and children will come to put their trust in Jesus, and others already believing will take up the challenge to live for the Lord at home, in their schools, and in their neighborhoods.
To provide a setting over several days where our children can play and interact with each other and be led into a more committed walk with the Lord. They will:
- Enjoy age-appropriate recreational facilities
- Participate in group activities featuring sports and arts and crafts
- Be taught by special speakers gifted in ministry to children
- Be led in daily devotional activities, including Bible reading and small-group prayers
- Be counseled on socio-cultural issues affecting their Christian commitments
- Receive modest gifts as a reminder of God’s all-important gift to us.
The camp will be open to children between the ages of 5 to 19 from our churches within Robertsport and Monrovia.
The remarkable thing about this camp is that just $33.00 is enough to provide one child with an unforgettable camping experience extending over five days and nights. If we host 150 children, as expected, the entire cost of the camp at each site would amount to only $4,945.00.
We invite you to adopt this Christmas Camp as a special project within your Sunday school and youth groups and commit yourselves to sponsor as many children as you believe appropriate for the size of your group. It would help us greatly if you could tell us how many youths and children you would aim to sponsor within the next few weeks. We believe that’s enough time to achieve even an ambitious target.
Depending on their age, your children might commit themselves to sponsoring one or more Liberian youth and children themselves. They might even make it their goal to share their project with others and recruit additional sponsors.