2010 CONVENTION OVERVIEW
A National Team headed by the President, Bro. John T. Flomo, arrived in Collingdale, PA on September 23, 2010. The team and the Convention Coordinator, Bro. Anthony Moore, were at the convention site to receive the first delegation from Minnesota, headed by Sister Hawa Dukuly, National Vice President and Bro. Oscar Blairsue, Vice President of the Midwest Chapter. They were also present to receive the second delegation from Minnesota headed by Pastor Inyene Ekah and Elder J. Morris. As the delegates arrived, there was an uproar of excitement, smiles and hugs outside the convention hall. Most delegates did their registration and went on to eat their dinner right before the Vesper Service.
FRIDAY EVENING VESPER SERVICE
Pastor Kirk Thompson, pastor of the Abundant Life SDA Church, PA, was the speaker for Friday evening. He spoke on the topic, “WHAT YOU DO FOR CHRIST WILL LAST”. Pastor Thompson made us reminisce on our past, reflecting on our faithfulness in prayer prior to our migration to the US. According to him, we used to pray several times a day but now-a-days, we hardly find time to pray. He cautioned us not to take the theme of the 2010 NALAA Convention lightly. He asked, “How dare you choose the topic, ‘Making a difference for Christ?’ Before you can make a difference for Christ, you must first let Christ make A DIFFERENCE IN YOU”, referring to us Liberians and those attending the convention. He admonished us to continue to praise God through all our trials no matter that we’ve gone through as Liberian. He concluded by saying, “I don’t care what you do these next three days, what you eat, or how many people you hug. But do not leave this convention without seeing Jesus and allowing Him to make a difference in you”. Mother Bleatea Lucy Scott was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation.
Sabbath school was conducted by Elder George Brownell. It began with Song Service by Sis. Solo Dogbeh. The Scripture Reading, Roman 14:12, was read by Elder Brownell. The Opening Prayer was done by Bro. Emmanuel Jallah, and Bro. Anthony Moore did the Welcome. The Lesson Study was done in two parts. The first part was led by Pastor Motuba I. Harding who taught in “a question and answer” style. The second part of the lesson was taught by Pastor T. Ron Weegar. Mother Adelaide Menyongai of the PA Chapter was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation. Sis. Ellen Cegbe Sackie, National Chaplain, said the closing prayer.
After Sabbath School, the National Vice President, Sis. Hawa Dukuly, did a presentation on the Aims and Objective of NALAA after which Elder Seth Bardu did a presentation on the work and progress of the Liberia Mission. Pastor Delbert Harrison, a former Missionary who served in Liberia was honored along with Pastor Kirk Thompson, pastor of the Abundant Life SDA Church, PA.
The Divine Service team included Sis. Ellen Cegbe Sackie, National Chaplain, who did the Affirmation of Faith from Ex. 20:8-11 followed by the Responsive Reading by Bro. Anthony Moore from Psalm 100:1-5. The Welcome Remark was done by Bro. John T. Flomo, National President, and Bro. Liston Chimlio of the PA Chapter did the Children’s story. Elder Jonathan Morris did the Intercessory Prayer and spoke a little on the work NALAA is doing in Liberia right before Pastor J. Auzzell Gibson did the Offertory Appeal. Sis. Elodia G. Perry read the Scripture Reading from Eph. 5:6-16. Special music was offered by Sis. Tafadzwa Mupfumbu and Bro. Johnny Russell Smith respectively. The Guest Speaker, Pastor Christian Kolleh, was introduced by the National Secretary, Sis. Johnetta B. Flomo. Pastor Christian Kolleh pastors the Glendale and Sharon SDA Churches in Minnesota. He spoke on the topic “THE BLIND MAN’S QUOTE”.
He began his sermon by thanking the leadership and founders of NALAA for having such a brilliant inspiration to unite Liberians to help the Liberia Mission, and urged support for the organization. He praised Bro. Flomo for his leadership skills and told the congregation present, “…For those of you who don’t know Bro. Flomo, he is a man who when he puts his mind to doing something, he will do it to the end; this is just the beginning. I know him personally”. He then gave a definition for the letters that make up the world Bible, being man’s Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth and urged us to strive to make a difference for Jesus so that Jesus will make a difference for us.
During his sermon, Pastor Kolleh pointed out that there is a difference in knowing Jesus and knowing about Jesus. He encouraged us to know Jesus which comes as a result of a personal relationship and a daily walk with Him. He emphasized this by telling the story of a boy who failed his test because he could not answer the question, “When did Jesus die?” According to Pastor Kolleh, the boy went home and told his father that his teacher had failed him because he could not answer the question “When did Jesus die?” The father furiously grabbed his cutlass and told his son to take him to meet the teacher. Upon reaching the school, the father asked the teacher, “Teacher why did you fail my son?” The teacher replied, “Your son failed because he did not know the answer to the question, “When did Jesus die?”” The father was anxious to make his point and said to the teacher, “Teacher, we live far across town and we did not even hear that Jesus was sick or about his death”. This made everyone laugh. Several times Pastor Kolleh was interrupted by applause from the congregation. The closing prayer was done by Pastor Motuba I. Harding.
The lunch session was follow by a mini-concert featuring Sisters Tafadzwa Mupfumbu and Joyce Matar Logan.
The Speaker for the Sabbath Evening Vesper service was Pastor T. Ron. Weegar, LA. He brought the crowd to their feet on many occasions, speaking on the topic “THE RECIPE FOR MAKING A DIFFERENCE FOR GOD”. He reiterated the need for us to know God for ourselves. He reminded us that we cannot say we are Seventh-day Adventists and only show up on special occasions, just to see old friends and then when we leave, we forget who we are. He urged us to have a common sociology, the sociology of the Bible which according to him can be found in these words: “How can we say we love God whom we have not seen and not the one who we see. I need you and you need me, we are all a part of God’s body and need each other.”
During his discourse, he brought the entire church to its feet when he began to say the words of an old and familiar Liberian song: “Nimba County, come on let’s do it, I like it like that. Sinoe County, come on let’s do it, I like it like that. Bong County, come on let’s do it, I like it like that. Montserrado County, come on let’s do it, I like it like that. Later, he applied the words to the US, calling on: “Minnesota, come on let’s do it, God likes it like that. Maryland, come on let’s do it, God likes it like that. Rhode Island, come on let’s do it, God likes it like that. Texas, come on let’s do it, God likes it like that. Come on everybody, let’s join together and do it, for God likes it like that”. Sis. Joyce Logan thrilled our hearts with the song, He’ll Do It Again after which Pastor Inyene Ekah rendered the Closing Prayer.
SABBATH EVENING FUNDRAISING DINNER SERVICE
The Fundraising Dinner Service began around 7:30 PM with Bro. Victor S. Wren serving as the Master of Ceremonies. The Opening Prayer was done by Sis. Ellen C. Sackie, National Chaplain. Bro. Anthony S. Moore welcomed the guests, followed by special music from Bro. Johnny R. Smith. In a remark by Rev. Michael D. Fitzpatrick, the pastor of the Grace Reform Episcopal Church, he said that he was glad to be hosting yet another Liberian gathering as his facility has mostly been used by Liberians. He welcomed us, wished us a successful convention and hoped that our goal of helping Liberia be achieved.
Bro. John Flomo began honoring a few people who played key roles in the work of the Liberia Mission and who have also contributed to the advancement of NALAA and the work of Liberian Adventists living in the USA. The Honorees included: Mothers Eva Diggs and Beatrice Barmadia who were both absent, and Mother Elizabeth Autridge. Pastor Motuba I. Harding presented the plaques after Sis. Theresa Smith read them. In her acceptance speech, Mother Autridge said it was a pleasure for them to be honored and thanked the leadership of NALAA for the honor bestow upon them. Pastor and Sis. J. Auzzell Gibson, Bro. and Sis. Anthony Moore, Elder Isaac T. Guar Sr., and Sisters Cecelia Kpaghai and Netteh Tonnah were also presented with a Certificate of Appreciation/Awards for various services rendered the association during the past two years.
Following the honoring ceremony, the National President, Bro. John T. Flomo addressed the guests. He greeted those in attendance and thanked the membership for their continuous support of his leadership. He warned that there was more to be done then had been done and encouraged those present by saying, “We can do it. So let’s team up and do it before it gets late”.
In his message, Bro. John T. Flomo stated: “Today marks another milestone in the history of NALAA, when we can prove that Adventists can unite for a common cause, that we can unite to make a statement, a statement that we have not forgotten from whence we’ve come and we are willing to go back and help our motherland-LIBERIA…There is no time for lukewarm leadership, no time for lukewarm membership. There is no place in NALAA during my administration for lukewarm chapters. I encourage the proliferation of chapters in the coming years. New York, team up with your neighbors and form a chapter. Rhode Island and Massachusetts team up with your neighbors and form a chapter. Atlanta, North Carolina team up with your neighbors and form a chapter. All states need to team up with their neighbors to form a chapter.
We must move beyond our comfort zone to make others comfortable. It is time for us to move beyond our comfort zones if we must continue to survive. The PA chapter must move from the comfort zone of Grays Ave to Boulevard, to Havertown, to New Jersey and to Delaware.
The Metro Chapter must move from the comfort of Randallstown, and Pikesville to Silver Spring, to DC and Georgia. I hope in the near future that the national will move out of the comfort of the USA to neighboring Canada, Australia and England.”
Pastor Motuba I. Harding introduced the guest speaker, Pastor Delbert Harrison, a former independent missionary who served in Liberia. Pastor Harrison warned us to be mindful because “We live in a country that will pull us into its culture and make us to forget our heritage. This country,” he continued, “can suck you into being less of a person then God wants you to be”. He warned us to be careful of debt release organizations that will promise to release half of our debt but will put us into more debt then we already had.
Speaking about Christian spending, Pastor Harrison said that statistics show that God’s people, Christians, spend more on others things like clothes, jewelry and especially pets, making special reference to dogs then they do on God or His church. He asked “What are you doing as people in the land of milk and honey for Liberia? If you are not going to help them, who will?” He informed us that Americans are not interested in foreign missions now like before. They prefer to build big empty churches here then outside the US where there is a greater need.
He urged us not to lose our identity; he knows Liberians are a praying people. He told a story of how one morning he had to pray with someone from 5AM to 8AM while he was in Liberia. He concluded with these words: “I urge you to contribute to the cause of God. Try God. I have tried Him all of my life and He has never let me down. Try Him tonight and He will bless you”. Those collecting the fundraising envelopes were Pastor Inyene Ekah, Sis. Oretha Kamara and Elder David Tarawali.
A scholarship program was launched during the fundraising dinner and the following members pledged to sponsor a student for one year: The Flomo family, Sisters Trinidad Jones, Patricia Roberts, Rosemarie George, Maime Ricks, and Tenema Kpannah. Pastor Delbert Harrison pledged to sponsor ten(10) students for a year. The total cash collected was $487.00. And monetary pledges were about $2933.00. The Closing Prayer was done by Pastor Joseph Sebli, followed by a Grand March led by Elder Jonathan Morris.
SUNDAY MORNING DEVOTIONAL
The Devotion started with a song service led by the National Secretary, Sis. Johnetta B. Flomo, followed by the welcome by Bro. Victor S. Whren. Pastor Motuba I. Harding admonished the Adventist Community to continue the good work that they had began and not grow weary. He encouraged us to remain courageous for Christ is coming soon. He said that he was very happy to see that the good work his parents and other missionaries started in Liberian (Grand Bassa Country) had not been forgotten. He gave us a brief history of how the Liberia Mission begun. To conclude, Pastor Harding urged us to be mindful of the NIV translation of the Holy Bible. He shared with us information that a few key changes had been made to the NIV version of the Bible where words from the King James’ version had been omitted in the NIV Version. He asked Pastor Kolleh to offer a special prayer for Bro. & Sis. John T. Flomo, their family, and the leadership of NALAA.
The business meeting began with the introduction of the newest chapter, the Midwest Chapter from Minnesota and its President, Bro Amos Guar. It was voted, per the procedure of NALAA, to accept the Midwest Chapter into NALAA’s membership. Speaking shortly after, the Midwest Chapter President, Bro. Amos Guar, thanked the membership for the warm reception. He also thanked the National President for his tenacity which led to the formation of the Midwest chapter. He said “we are now on board and we are here for good”.
Bro. John McClain did a presentation for Viridian Energy which according to him will enable NALAA to join as a member. The idea was accepted, pending a report from a three man committee headed by Pastor Joseph Sebli.
Elder Emmanuel Kudjordji , National Treasurer, made the financial report which was discussed and accepted. Elder J. Morris applauded the treasurer for making a transparent report, one that followed with a copy of the actual bank statement. He said, “I have been in many other organizations and this is the best financial report I have seen in a long time now”.
Pastor Joseph Sebli admonished the leadership for their transparency and said “this organization can be trusted, I have been with them and I know they can be trusted with money”. Many others praised the leadership for the good job they are doing and urged them to keep up the good work.
A target of one hundred thousand USD (100,000.00) was voted to be raised in two years and a fundraising committee was setup which will be headed by Elder Jonathan Morris and will include the following members: Pastor Delbert Harrison, Bro. George Cooke, Bro. Oscar D. Blairsue, Sis. Cecelia Kpaghai, Sis. Oretha Kamara and Sis. Venus Gibson.
Vying to host the 2012 NALAA Convention was Rhode Island and the Midwest Chapter. It was unanimously voted that the 2010 NALAA Convention be hosted by the Midwest Chapter of Minnesota. In his closing remark, Bro. John T. Flomo, National President, thanked all the participants of the 2010 NALAA Convention. He said, “It is sad for us to leave but we must leave to prepare for Minnesota. May the Lord grant you safe travel home and bless you all till we meet the next time. I now declare this convention over by the grace of the Lord.”
Everyone attending the convention left the hall, promising to stay in touch and help move NALAA forward.
John T. Flomo, President
Johnetta B. Flomo, Recording Secretary
Convention Financial Report