The Lutheran Bible Translators (LBT) officials arrived in Liberia on Sunday, August 27, 2017 to meet with their traditional partner, the Liberia Translation and Literacy Organization (LIBTRALO) to assess the level of work done in their respective ministries. Rev. Richard Rudowske, Director for International Program Ministries, who is visiting Liberia for the first time was accompanied by Rev. David Federwitz, Regional Director for West Africa.
On Monday, August 28, 2017, the Executive Director of LIBTRALO, Mr. David K. Setiyee, met with the visiting LBT Officials for a debriefing meeting. During the meeting, Mr. Setiyee welcomed the visitors and expressed gratitude for their coming as he thanked God for their safe arrival. The LIBTRALO boss recounted the long standing relationship that exists between the LBT and LIBTRALO which dates as far back as 1995. The LIBTRALO Executive Director noted that LIBTRALO, a local non-profit organization was founded as a result of the civil crisis in Liberia in the 90’s when the missionaries working for The Institute of Liberian Languages (TILL) at the time could no longer continue the work of Bible translation and literacy in the local languages. Consequently, the leadership of LIBTRALO (organized by former co-workers of the LBT missionaries) requested LBT to serve as consultant in mentoring and nurturing the young organization.
Mr. Setiyee expressed thanks and appreciation to the leadership of LBT for the technical, financial and materials support to the work of LIBTRALO over the years. Furthermore, the LIBTRALO boss thanked the LBT leadership for the new LIBTRALO headquarters building office being constructed.
In response, the head of delegates, Rev. Richard Rudowske, Director for International Program Ministries and Chief Operating Officer of LBT thanked Mr. Setiyee for welcoming them to Liberia and for the work LIBTRALO is doing in Liberia. Rev. Rudowske brought greetings from the Executive Director of LBT, Dr. Mark Rodewald and the Board of LBT. Rev. Rudowske noted that LIBTRALO and LBT shared similar vision and mission in making God’s Word available and accessible in the heart language of the people to bring them to faith in Jesus Christ. Besides, Rev. Rudowske pointed out that LBT is willing and committed to continue partnering with local organizations, which share in the vision and mission of LBT as there is such urgency to reach out with the gospel of Jesus Christ to those that are yet to receive God’s Word in their heart language.
Visit to Bible Society
Later in the day on Monday, August 28, 2017, the LIBTRALO Executive Director accompanied Rev. Richard Rudowske and Rev. David Federwitz to the offices of Bible Society in Liberia. Rev. Rudowske and Rev. Federwitz were met on arrival by Deacon Paul Stevens, Executive Secretary of Bible Society in Liberia.
During a brief meeting, Deacon Paul Stevens welcomed the visiting LBT officials to Liberia and to the Bible House, respectively. Deacon Stevens then briefed the delegates on progress made and challenges faced in the implementation of the three (3) ongoing translation projects; namely: Dan, Gola and Mann Bible Translation Projects. However, Deacon Paul Stevens thanked LBT for their technical and financial support to these projects.
At the Bible House, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Bible Society in Liberia and LBT and witnessed by LIBTRALO, for the transferring of copyright ownership from LBT to Bible Society. This means that hereafter; Bible Society in Liberia will have copyright ownership of all translated materials financed by LBT.
Visit to LIBTRALO’s Headquarters Site
On Tuesday, August 29, 2017, Mr. David K. Setiyee accompanied his visitors on a guarded tour to the new LIBTRALO’s Headquarters in Kpelle Town, Paynesville City outside Monrovia. Upon arrival at the site, Mr. Setiyee took the visitors on a guided tour of the premises. He informed Rev. Richard Rudowske that the building, which construction works began in May 2015 was completed to this level in October 2015. He noted that the building was roofed, plastered in and out, the installation of electrical conduits and the running of sewer lines were also completed. What was remaining to complete the building for habitation was the doors, ceilings, floor and wall tiles, electrical wires, windows and window glasses and of course the construction of the generator house.
Unfortunately, while the administration of LIBTRALO together with the Board of Directors was planning activities for sourcing funding for the completion of the building, on March 4, 2017 the portion of the roof over the auditorium was removed by a heavy storm. This incident brought the construction work to a standstill. However, plan for sourcing funding to complete the building continues.
The LIBTRALO boss thanked LBT for the funding provided for the construction of the LIBTRALO’s new office building. Nevertheless, he appealed to LBT to help complete the building in consideration of the huge investment they have made in order to enable LIBTRALO to move out of the rented building.
On his part, the LBT Director for International Program Ministries, Rev. Richard Rudowske thanked Director Setiyee for the work done so far on the building. Rev. Rudowske praised the quality of work done but expressed disappointment for the removal of the section of the roof. The head of delegates however noted that LBT will continue to partner with LIBTRALO and to help to complete the building but on a cost-sharing basis, he concluded.