You Are Freed
Samuel K. Tinnater of Monrovia, Liberia, West Africa
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God-what is good and acceptable and perfect. -Romans 12:1-2
My mother bore eight children who died before I was born. Blessedly, my father was awarded a four-year scholarship to study theology. He took my mother with him. She conceived during that time, and I was born and named Reverend Samuel.
In 1996, I woke up in the morning to go sell goods in Greenville, Liberia. I was arrested by 27 NPFL rebel fighters. They took me to the river that forms the boundary between my mother’s and father’s districts where I could call for the canoe to cross. When I called for the canoe, my father came to cross me over. The rebels went into the bush because there was a great noise in the town.
A voice said to me, “Tell the rebels to go back.” I prayed before telling the rebels, and they obeyed. The rebels were sent by Charles Taylor to kill Mr. Oscar J. Quiah, Sarpo by tribe, and a former minister in President Doe’s administration. They were in search of someone whose parents were from Juarzon and Wedjah Districts but was residing in Juarzon district. Because of these instructions, someone handpicked me.
The rebel who killed my mother was in the bush, guiding me. I called. My father answered and was bringing the canoe. I prayed. I could not speak, but I looked at the distance, then jumped into the bush. My father also jumped into the river, swam across and informed the citizens in the town. This created a serious problem for me with the rebels.
The rebels demanded that I be turned over to them. When the deadline elapsed, my father turned me over to the rebels because of pressure. They asked why I escaped. Immediately the head of the mission arrived. When he arrived, he called the commander and asked about me. He replied that I was still at large. When the commander returned and saw me, he said, “You are freed.”
In 2013, I took over as a pastor for Logan Town congregation. It was difficult. Key members of the congregation left because I am Sarpo by tribe. Having a service the first Sunday was not easy because there were no funds.
Thank God, Logan Town congregation is now growing.
“Attention is the beginning of devotion” (Mary Oliver).
Spend a few moments paying attention, wherever you are. Notice your surroundings. What draws your focus? Look more closely at detail and color. Notice what pulls or prods within you. How is the God-in-all-things speaking to you through what you see and feel right here, right now?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
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