MAF partners Aaron and Amy Speitelsbach have served with mission organisation Ethnos360 since 2007, first studying French in France, then moving to Abidjan, Ivory Coast for one year, before relocating to a village close the Liberian border for two years and finally settling across the border in Liberia in 2011.
They are working among the Glarro, a people group numbering about 4000-5000, who live mainly on the border between Ivory Coast and Liberia. “We are doing church planting work,” Aaron explains. “We have finished studying the language, and Amy is currently involved in teaching literacy classes, while I am preparing bible lessons that we hope to start teaching soon.”
The work is challenging, as there are aspects of the local culture which make it hard for people to hear and accept the gospel. “The Glarro are animists at heart; they are afraid of spirits and witchcraft,” says Aaron. “They are also a proud people, easily vexed by someone insulting them. While they have an idea of a creator God, through talking to people it is obvious that their concept of God is far from the truths expressed in the Bible. One man told me that although he believes that God created the whole world, he does not think that God is still alive. He said that after all, it was a long time ago and even for God that is too long.”
Working from their home in a village in eastern Liberia, Aaron and Amy rely heavily on solar power to support both their day-to-day life and their ministry. Recently they expanded their existing system by adding extra panels so that they can run a fridge and occasionally some power tools, and also to be able to produce literacy materials with a laser printer.
In order to transport these fragile items as safely as possible, the panels were loaded onto one of MAF’s regular shuttle flights to Harper, about three hours’ drive from the Speitelsbach’s home; they came by vehicle to meet the plane and collect them. “The solar panels arrived in the village without damage,” Aaron reports. “I was a bit concerned they could break, so I drove very carefully along the potholed and rutted mud road. But bringing them on the plane gave a much better chance of getting them whole to our village. Bringing them from Monrovia all the way by car would have meant about 14 hours on much worse stretches of mud roads”.
As an experienced electrician, Aaron was able to install the panels himself without problems, and confirms they are working well to produce the energy they need, and so to enhance their ministry. “We believe that it is important that the people will be able to read the Bible in their own language and understand what God wants to tell them”. It is privilege for MAF to support Aaron and Amy’s work in reaching and serving isolated people.