(Times Bulletin/Ed Gebert)
BY LINDSAY MCCOY
Times Bulletin News Writer
VAN WERT - Emmanuel Lutheran Church of Van Wert has worked together with Van Wert City Schools to make a charitable donation of furniture to new schools opened in Liberia.Pastor Phillip Zielinski of Emmanuel and his church community have spent the last year working with Joe Boway, a Liberian-born citizen who came to American as a refugee in 2004 following the Liberian Civil War. Boway now lives in the United States and has spent many years working with Redeemer Lutheran Church of Convoy. He is now working alongside Emmanuel to supply resources and funds to the Liberian schools he has worked so hard to establish in Africa.
Boway opened the Liberia Children's Ministry in 2004, and the school is always in continual need of additional help from outside sources. Zielinski, hoping to help the ministry, met with the Van Wert City Schools Board of Education and Superintendent Ken Amstutz to discuss a possible donation from one of the old elementary buildings. The board approved the school district's donation of the remaining chairs and desks from Franklin Elementary to the ministry. Over 600 pieces of furniture are now being shipped to Ft. Wayne and will make their way across the seas to a new continent and new children.
This is not the first idea of its kind in Van Wert County as Crestview Local Schools previously donated supplies after the reconstruction of its own school. Zielinski is very thankful and proud of the Van Wert district for helping to continue the effort to improve education around the world. The work Emmanuel does goes beyond just providing to the schools. The church's work also includes teacher training and pastor workshops.
Members of Emmanuel plan to attend a pastor conference trip to Liberia in April. On Friday, March 8, the church will be hosting a BBQ chicken fundraiser from 4-7 p.m. in an effort to help pay for furniture shipping costs, scholarships, and the upcoming conference. Tickets can be purchased from the church and cost $7 per ticket.