Motivated by the love of Jesus Christ, our mission is to educate Liberian children to become effective Christian leaders who think critically and creatively and serve their communities.
We envision a Liberia where children are empowered by a Christian education to become moral and spiritual leaders of the world.
From 1989 to 2003, Liberia suffered a succession of brutal civil wars that killed hundreds of thousands of residents and destroyed many hospitals, churches and schools throughout the country. Today, Liberia suffers from a lack of roads and essential infrastructure, poor access to education and qualified teachers, limited electricity, sanitation and clean water, and short life expectancy. Extreme poverty is endemic to the country. According to the United Nations “Human Development Report 2019” nearly 63% of the population suffers from multidimensional poverty which identifies household deprivations in health, education and standard of living. Based on 2018 per capita Gross National Income (GNI) data from the World Bank, Liberia is ranked the 5th poorest country in the world. Once a developed and thriving country, Liberia is now struggling to rebuild communities that were ravaged by war.
Nearly half the population is under age 18 and of these more than 2 million children, only 44% are enrolled in school. The Ebola crisis exacerbated Liberia’s educational deficiencies as schools were forced to close for seven months in 2014-2015. More than half of all students do not complete primary school and many more girls fail their grades than boys. Though slowly improving, the adult literacy rate stands at 48% – 63% for males, 34% for females – highlighting one of the many gender disparities (2017 World Bank data). Just over half of all Liberian schools have safe drinking water and functional sanitation facilities with water-borne illnesses playing a key factor in student absenteeism.
Gbarnga Lutheran Mission Project, Inc. (“Gbarnga Mission”) is constructing and staffing a school called the Gbarnga Lutheran Training Center (GLTC) to provide primary, secondary, and vocational education for impoverished families. Our main purpose is to provide a Christian education for the children in the village of Deanville and its surrounding communities south of the city of Gbarnga, Bong County, Liberia. Gbarnga (pronounced "BONG-ah") is the second most populous city in Liberia with nearly 45,000 inhabitants. Located approximately 120 miles northeast of the capital city, Monrovia, it continues to struggle from the effects of war with no municipal electricity, water or sanitation systems. It is surrounded by poor, mostly agrarian, villages such as Deanville, that have no schools or government services. Through the generosity of donors, GLTC is educating children, providing clean drinking water and a nutritious meal each day – all while sharing Jesus’ love for them.
In addition to education, Gbarnga Mission is involved with community initiatives including job creation through various campus enterprises such as poultry farming and block making; community health through bed net distribution and malaria prevention education, well drilling and hand pump rehabilitation, personal hygiene education, and a community-wide eye clinic.
Gbarnga Lutheran Mission Project, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization incorporated in the State of Rhode Island in April 2014. It was founded by members of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church (Providence, RI) of whom many are Liberians who fled their country’s 14-year civil war, came to settle in the Providence area, and wanted to support their home country while living in the diaspora.
“Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
Our Founder's Story
Reverend Leon Schultz has been pastor at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church (Providence, RI) for over 25 years. During his tenure, the demographics of this congregation transformed from members of European descent to a primarily Liberian membership. At the encouragement of his African members, Pastor Schultz visited Liberia for the first time in 2011 and saw the need for Christian schools. What was just an idea would soon turn out to be a blessing to so many children in the years to come.
After the civil war in Liberia, there was much devastation and distress. The simple things that we take for granted - lights, running water, paved roads, food and shelter - continue to be unavailable in most areas, especially rural Liberia. With everyone affected by these living conditions, it is, however the children who suffer most. Imagine growing up without hope for a future. Even more, imagine growing up without so much as a bed or bathroom or a school.
Following his visit to Liberia, Pastor Schultz created a short film that was titled “Let The Little Children Come To Me”. The film was distributed at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and presented to the board of Directors of the New England
District-Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (NED-LCMS). The film was well received and soon the mission was endorsed by both the NED-LCMS board of Directors and the Mission Board. It has continued to gain support from numerous churches and Lutheran schools from Massachusetts to California.
In January 2014, along with the NED-LCMS president, designer and contractor Jon Rossman, some church members and project board members, Pastor Schultz made another trip to Liberia to officially dedicate the land and finalize plans for what would become the Gbarnga Lutheran Training Center.