PIMIL 8th annual event July 22

“Bearing Fruit that Endures” (John 15:16) is the theme for Partners-in-Ministry-in-Liberia (PIMIL)’s Eighth Annual International Luncheon and Silent Auction Fundraising event, scheduled for Saturday, July 22 from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. at St. John’s, Worthington. This theme is “good news” to the keynote speaker of the event, the Rev. Dr. Lee Anne Reat, Vicar of St. John’s Episcopal Church, Columbus, and hopefully to all who will attend this yearly event.

It is good news indeed when one reflects on the ministry of PIMIL since it was started 21 years ago. Initially referred to as “The Liberian Ministry” of St. Matthew’s, Westerville from 1998 to 2004, the name was changed to PIMIL in order to invite the collaborative efforts of others in ministry. PIMIL is an educational outreach ministry, focusing on underprivileged and disenfranchised Liberian families. The need for the ministry arose from the devastating 14-year Liberian civil war (1989-2004) that plummeted the masses. The average daily income fell below the poverty level of less than $1.90 a day as defined by the United Nations Development Program.

PIMIL has always been producing “fruit” that endures, as evidenced by its scholarship assistance program to children starting from kindergarten through high school. In addition, sponsors provide financial assistance to students to achieve career goals in nursing. PIMIL has contributed to the medical needs of the country by sponsoring six nurses including a degreed Muslim student.  A graduate student in nursing of the academic year 2015-2016 wrote: “This is Antonia Moore, your sponsored student of PIMIL.  I have graduated from Smythe Institute of Management and Technology in nursing 2016.  I now work at the Foya District clinic in Lofa County. Your support [toward] my education was very meaningful.”  Thanks very much.

The scholarship assistance offered by PIMIL has grown phenomenally.  In the 2004-2005 school year, PIMIL had 10 sponsors offering financial assistance of $3,900 to 33 students and graduated four students. Fourteen years later, PIMIL has 75 sponsors and donors, offering $34, 000 to 156 students! PIMIL has sponsored 1,500 students over the years.

At last year’s fundraising event at St. John’s, Worthington, the keynote speaker, Rufus Lawrence Kelly, was one of the first beneficiaries of the PIMIL scholarship program.  Rufus, now in his early thirties, gave an eloquent testimony of how the scholarship he received from PIMIL for six years allowed him to finish high school and then earn his BA in Sociology from the African Methodist Episcopal University in Liberia. As a sociologist employed by the Liberian government’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Rufus was in charge of training local leaders, “helping [rural dwellers] on how to solve problems collectively.” As a recipient of a World Learning USAID scholarship, Rufus also studied at the University of Ghana in 2013.  In 2014, through the United Nations International Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) Communication for Development Program, Rufus was employed as a trainer to disseminate preventative health information in rural communities during the fight against the deadly Ebola virus.  Rufus conveyed to the audience how he had applied himself toward achieving his dream of working in rural communities in Liberia.

PIMIL’s mission through education is:

  • Demonstrating Jesus’ love
  • Restoring hope
  • Transforming lives
  • Enabling dreams
  • Helping to rebuild Liberia
  • Fulfilling the United Nations’ 16 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in 2012

PIMIL has contributed to the increase of literacy from 12.5% to 60.8% over the last 10 years. The goal of the fundraising is to raise $10,000.  These funds will allow PIMIL to support more Ebola orphans in school, of which there are over 2,000.  The current sponsorship of 156 students includes 65 Ebola orphans of the epidemic year of 2014-2015. PIMIL’s goal is to support 100 Ebola orphans.

Attendees enjoying last year’s International Luncheon.

The fundraising event offers a truly quality family outing affair. The event has received rave reviews from the guests. The menu of American and Liberian foods consists of lasagna, tossed salad and bread, spinach greens on rice, Jollof rice with mixed vegetables, rice bread and fried plantains and ginger beer (non Alcoholic).  Guests have commented on the spinach greens, “I come purposefully for the greens!” New on this year’s menu is the Liberian donut. There will be many desserts and take home of leftovers – therefore bring a take home container if you wish!  Activities include intercultural experiences of praying the Lord’s Prayer in Vai, a Liberian language, learning the Liberian handshake and donning the head wrap for the women. The children’s activities are interactive, with the “African drum circle” and decorating a game board to take home. There will be an international cookie table, a silent auction of exotic quilts and Liberian burlap, a raffle and Make-an-Offer items. There are activities for all to appreciate and memories that will endure! Attire: casual, Hawaiian, African.

Tickets to the International Luncheon are $15 adults and $5 for children. Do join us in any way possible by your presence or through a much appreciated donation. Make checks out to: St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church.  In the memo indicate: PIMIL fundraising. Address: St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, 30 East College Avenue, Westerville, OH 43081.  PIMIL is a ministry through St. Matthew’s and operates under the church’s 501c3.

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The Rev. Abby Flemister is a retired priest at St. Matthew’s, Westerville.  She also serves as PIMIL Director.  Contact Abby at aflemister@insight.rr.com.