The History of the ICF Mission Of Hope
Under the dedicated and devoted Missionary with emphasis on evangelism and education, YMOL grew to become a great force for Jesus Christ in Liberia. Many boys and girls were diligently taught the word of God, given Godly guidance and training coupled with quality education that was second to none. A guest 5-room house was constructed in Monrovia at ELWA under their leadership. However, in 1979, the Missionary Leadership told the Mission that their missionary work in Liberia had ended and they were returning to the United States. They established The Committee to conduct the affairs of the instruction instructing them to change the name. There were two individuals who had worked very closely with them in personal of Elder Andrew Lablah and Rev. Eddie S. Gibson that took on the
The ICF Mission Of Hope (MOH) was formerly called Youth Mission of Life (YMOL) until 2003 when it came under the leadership of the International Christian Fellowship Ministries(ICF) of Atlanta, Georgia. The YMOL was founded by the late Elder Sarah Campbell Flemister commonly called “Joy” who originally hails from Jamaica but attended college in the Bronx, New York. In 1953, by faith, she established the YMOL in Folah, Bong County near Gbarnga, Bong County on a 500 acers of land. Two other women, both Black Americans, Helen Steadman McClung and Virgie Sampson played significant roles in her ministry as they supported her ventures and made it possible for her to make her way to Liberia, West Africa to fulfil her calling as a missionary. It is important to note that Virgie Sampson was a healthcare worker who had contracted tuberculosis while working in a city hospital. She was awarded a settlement of $3,000 and it was from these funds that Sarah was able to afford the air fare to go to Liberia. On the other hand, Helen McClung, a seamstress and businesswoman turned minister was her aunt, spiritual leader, and advisor. She was the motivator and teacher, the one who Sarah looked up to and patterned her lifestyle after. Many people made great contributions to YMOL including but not limited to the Trcher Family, Elder Andrew Lablah and Mother Sarah Gray. Another very important person to mention who worked along side Sarah to develop YMOL was her beloved husband, Elder Bobby Flemister, an African-American retired veteran.
leadership role. The church and the school continued the YMOL was sustained mainly through various agricultural projects. A pick-up was purchased that became very helpful. A plot of land was purchased in Gbarnga to focus on the youths and Pastor Edward Togba was appointed as its leader. The leadership later faced legal challenged with respect to the property but God gave YMOL the victory and worked unto wonders. To seek financial resources for YMOL, Rev. Eddie S. Gibson made a few trips to the USA but later was unable to return in 1992.
After the death of President Samuel K. Doe in 1991, things fell part in the nation that led to a brutal civil war. Looters came to the YMOL campus and did lots of destructions and treated the people harshly. Some members refused to leave in Rev. Andrew Lablah and his beloved wife and a few others including Peter Quellie, Edward Togba and Nelson to name a few while Elder Joseph Togbah stayed at the guest house at ELWA. . Others travelled to neighboring countries like Ivory Coast, Ghana, Sierra Leon, Nigeria and also to Europe and the USA. Rev. Gibson was then in Atlanta, Georgia with his brother Stephen B. Gibson and he became associated with ICF as a member of the pastoral staff under the leadership of Rev. William BGK Harris, also of Liberia. Later, do to failing health, Rev. Andrew Lablah was called from labor to rest and buried on the YMOL campus.
In 2003, ICF was blessed with a “gift” of 500-acres of land in Liberia, West Africa, through the generosity of Rev. Eddie Sam Gibson and The Committee after much prayer and revelation. This special gift to ICF was important in making the ICF Vision real and being in obedience to the Great Commission given by our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ as we read in Matthew 28:18-20, ” to go into the world and make disciples.” Moreover, the gift was an opportunity for the legacy and ministries of Sarah to be expanded and continued.
Rev. Eddie S. Gibson was appointed by Rev. William BGK Harris in 2003 as Overseer of the Mission that was named Mission of Hope by the late Rev. Hannah TW Harris-Peterson; also a Liberian and lawyer was appointed Global Missions Director (GMD). Upon her untimely death, Rev. Allen Butler, an African American was appointed as GMD. Rev. Gibson was approved to return to MOH in 2007 to continue his role as Overseer in the country. In 2011 upon her ordination, Rev. Maryalice O. Moses, an African American was appointed GMD and lots of great things continue to occurs under her leaders along with Rev. Eddie S. Gibson and Rev. James A. Lablah who was appoint as Superintended of Churches in 2014.
Deacon Peter Quille continue to serve in the leadership capacity of principal of the MOH School that was formally YMOL School.
After a Mission trip by Rev. Dr. Aaron L. Parker and the Zion Hill Baptist Church (ZHBC) Missions Team to MOH in April 2017, the Church decided to fund a feeding project where the students are fed full breakfast and lunch daily; for five days per week. Since September 2017, the feeding has continued during the regular school year and also for Summer which has made a huge impact on the students, academically and physically. The ZHBC also is the initial sponsor of our piggery of two pigs and fishery of few fishes that had grown and impacting lives. In September 2018, MOH became a private school with over 250 students
The ICF Mission of Hope is located in Bong County, Liberia, West Africa. It is about 18 miles from Gbarnga, the capitol of Bong County. Gbarnga is about 130 miles from Monrovia, Liberia’s capital. The Mission currently have over 250 children attending the campus including kindergarten students. About 20 girls are in our dormitory that is under construction. We have three associated churches in Bong County and another at ELWA, Paynesville; near Monrovia. There is a church on campus, school buildings, and others supporting facilities that needs repairs and renovations. The education programs of the school go from K to 9th grade levels. The Mission has agricultural programs to assist in sustaining the mission (oil palm, swamp rice, cof ee, cassava and others produce as well as a piggery and fishery). At the present, the staff includes a principal, four staff members, 4 security guards and twelve teachers.
It should be noted that the 14 year civil war in Liberia and the EBOLA Crisis of 2015 contributed to the neglect of the agriculture sector in the nation. This neglect caused serious economic and food insecurities and lack of capacity building as well as empowerment of rural farming communities. Prior to the war, Mission of Hope was operating effectively and able to sustain its campus and surrounding, extended communities. We desire to revitalize the agriculture sector which palm is one of the priority items; particularly since it is a main staple crop for a daily Liberian meal. Palm production at ICF Mission of Hope will contribute significantly to economic empowerment, food security, poverty reduction and build economic empowerment for the campus and communities.