The festive season is meant for kids, with Santa roaming the streets putting smiles on their faces. Such was the scene when hundreds of kids in Bernard Farm and surrounding communities in Paynesville, outside Monrovia, benefited from the largesse of the Christian Foundation Church (CFC).
The church’s compound in Bernard Farm, where the gifts were distributed, was full to capacity with about 400 kids from age two to 15; and as you might guess, a lot of excitement and holiday fun characterized the event.
CFC’s Senior Pastor, Reverend Tokunboh E. Lawrence, who organized the Christmas party, treated the kids to sumptuous meals and various gift items.
After being served a bowl of jollof rice, each of the kids was presented a gift package that included toys, footballs and clothes. It was all smiles as the kids stood in line merry-making to the sound of music, courtesy of the church.
Although the kids didn’t get to sit on Santa’s lap, as is popularized in the Western media, they were, however, touched by the heart of a humanitarian – one who cares about their wellbeing, who in spite of her little resources, decided to put smiles on their faces. Rev. Lawrence was their Old St. Nick.
Rev. Lawrence said the initiative was in fulfillment of a revelation from God, who instructed her to make the kids happy this festive season.
“In the past few years I have hosted parties for them, but they were not included in the giving of gifts. So this year, the Lord instructed me to give the kids gifts to make them happy,” she said.
According to Rev. Lawrence, a voice came to her while in her living room, asking, “What about the children? Pay attention to them by spending some time with them, then they will feel needed.”
This is how “Operation Bless the Children” was organized.
“We need to pray, educate and bless our kids. We also need to make ourselves the safety nets that they need. Our kids need our protection,” she added.
Members of the church, the Lawrence family as well as some close friends of the benefactor were on hand to serve the kids.
One friend was Cllr. Negbalee Warner, Dean of the Arthur Grimes School of Law at the University of Liberia (UL), who was described as a longtime family friend of Rev. Lawrence.
Warner was actively involved in serving the kids, ensuring orderliness so that every kid benefited. “Projects like this that put smiles on the faces of the innocent ones are what we like to see. I want to thank Rev. Lawrence so much for this initiative,” Cllr. Warner said.
Some colleagues who were also present to lend Rev. Lawrence a hand included Ms. Maureen Shaw, Ola Bowen and Frances Dennis.
Rev. Lawrence is a renowned educator. She served two years as Assistant Minister for Basic and Secondary Education at the Ministry of Education during the leadership of Etmonia David Tarpeh.
She holds a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) in Economics from the University of Liberia; a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Marketing from Rutgers University and an M.A. in Education Leadership and Counseling from Montclair State University in New Jersey, both in the U.S.
In 2007, she was ordained as Rev. Elder in the Shekinah Glory Christian Church, New Jersey.