Herald Journal - Enterprise Dispatch - Delano Herald Journal
The road of opportunity

July 13, 2009

Former Dassel man helps build road to secluded African village

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

LIBERIA, AFRICA - Building a road in the dense Liberian jungle would take a miracle.

That is what Craig Lieberg, formerly of Dassel, was told by a native Liberian contractor during a recent trip, which would only serve as motivation.

Lieberg is a retired aircraft maintenance supervisor for Northwest Airlines and now spends his time doing what the Lord directs him to do.

Typically, Lieberg would spend part of his summer working at a Romanian evangelistic flight camp, Angel’s Wings Foundation, teaching young Romanian adults how to fly ultralight airplanes.

This year, for some reason, there weren’t enough students signed up for the program.

Lieberg will tell you it’s because he was needed elsewhere.

The road to greater opportunity

One day, while checking out at a home improvement store, Lieberg began talking with the clerk.

She told Lieberg about her father, John Yeedia, and his mission with the Hope Christian International Ministries of “bringing light into darkness . . . hope to the hopeless and reach the unreached with God’s love.”

The ministries’ current project is to address the needs of the children in a small Liberian village called Mary’s Town in the district of Timbo. The town is actually named after Yeedia’s grandmother. This was also where he was born.

In the district of Timbo, the residents have suffered from 14 years of civil war, which ended in 2003.

According to its web site, the war “left thousands uprooted from their homes, many without access to education and health care; hundreds have been separated from their families and many traumatized, having witnessed or participated in the full barbery of war.”

The Timbo outreach will first establish a Christian elementary school and a clinic.

The village is set back miles from the main road with a small path for only humans to travel.

There was no way other than by carrying it on top of heads to get building materials into the village, according to Lieberg.

After hearing the story, Lieberg had to get involved.

“It was the Lord’s plan – he wanted me to get involved,” Lieberg said.

Lieberg would go to Liberia to be a conduit, of sorts, and help find and hire a contractor willing to build a road to the village.

He began with no money to build a road, until a friend of the Romanian ministry, called Lieberg and gave him $4,000 to build it.

When he arrived, Lieberg found the village to be surrounded by dense jungle with large trees, some towering 100 feet tall.

“You have to have been there to know how remote it is,” Lieberg said.

Lieberg started the trip by going into the capital city of Monrovia to find a contractor willing to be hired to build the road.

One contractor, who had brand new, large equipment, told Lieberg it would take a miracle to build a road in that area.

He continued on.

After one week, Lieberg finally found a contractor who was willing to do the job.

It took more than a week of negotiating with both the contractor and the village people as to where the road should go.

To clear the thick jungle and grade the 1.25-mile road that is yet to be completed, took three-and-a-half days.

Since the new road leading into the village goes over two rivers, cement culverts are needed to be able to finish the project.

Road work to continue

Lieberg was there for 17 days, returning June 1. He is still trying to raise more money to finish the road. He estimates it will take $8,000 to $10,000 to finish it.

“That’s the cold reality of it,” he said.

Currently, it’s the rainy season and not much happens then, Lieberg said.

He described the people in the village as being in constant need.

“We talk about making a living. [Climbing] up a tree to get a coconut is making a living for themselves,” Lieberg said.

For more information about Hope Christian International Ministries, visit www.hopecim.org.


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