Liberia’s wrenching civil war left the West African country with poorly trained schoolteachers. An ocean away in Grand Rapids, Mich., a Liberian woman named Comfort Enders is studying to change that.
Enders, 47, who graduates from Calvin College with a master’s degree in administration in December, will rejoin her husband, Jonathan, and their children, twins Keziah and Kemuel, 13, and son Kadmiel, 10, in their village near Monrovia.
There, Comfort and Jonathan plan to educate teachers from six Christian schools at the school they founded for neighborhood children.
“The civil war made a huge brain drain,” said Enders of the thousands of Liberians who fled hostilities when many schools were burned.
Today’s teachers, many in their mid-teens, are unprepared to teach even basic skills to students from illiterate families. With help from United Nations peacekeepers, the English-speaking country strains toward stability. “Christian schools are significant in the development of our country,” Enders said.
The project, called Kingdom Foundation Institute, has friends and support from many Christian Reformed people in western Michigan.
Jill Ellens, principal at Legacy Christian School in Cutlerville, Mich., jumped at the chance to donate surplus metal furniture and books after the Kelloggsville and Cutlerville Christian schools merged.
Hillside Community Christian Reformed Church in Cutlerville helps support Enders, and work teams from that church and Immanuel CRC in Hudsonville, Mich., went to Liberia to construct a school building to replace the one that consisted of sticks, straw, a dirt floor, and a tarp roof. Hillside held a school-supply shower, and West Side Christian School students collected pencils and paper.
The support encourages Enders. “It’s overwhelming how God works in people’s lives. There are so many people just asking what they can give. That tells me something even bigger is ahead.”