Posted on November 14, 2019 Learning & Loving in Liberia

Rev. Karyn Carlo, PhD, Special Assistant for Theological Education in Myanmar and Liberia, has been serving as a visiting faculty at the Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary since August 2019. Her extended short-term assignment ends this week. STM is grateful for her ministry and presence at LBTS.

Here are a few pictures with students from the three courses she taught.

  Systematic Theology students

  Baptist History & Polity students

  Theology for Social Justice students

Here are Rev. Karyn’s reflections: “I am happy to report that the work of proclaiming the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ continues in full force among our partners at the Liberia Baptist Seminary where I was blessed to serve once again as Visiting Professor of Theology this fall. Students are eagerly learning and preparing themselves for leadership in their churches and in their nation.

In our Baptist History and Polity class we learned about what it means to be Baptist and how history has shaped our identity and our passion for the traditional freedoms of Bible, church, conscience, and religion. Since Liberia’s history is so intimately connected with that of the United States we were grateful for the opportunity to engage in some frank international and interracial conversations about the ways in which U.S. slavery and white supremacy have affected Baptist identity in both of our countries along with the way forward toward greater racial justice. Most importantly, we came to a deeper appreciation of what Baptist witness might mean for the future of Liberia and the critical role of LBTS and the Liberia Baptist Missionary and Education Convention in shaping this future.

In our Introduction to Systematic Theology class we explored the major doctrines of the Christian faith, how these doctrines were developed, and what they mean to us as believers. We were able to spend lots of time exploring the ways in which the universal truths of the Christian faith apply specifically to life in Liberia today. It was exciting to see students start to develop their own theological voices and personal witness to the ways in which God, made known in Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit is at work transforming their communities.

Finally, in our Theology for Social Justice class the senior students and I studied the biblical and theological roots of social justice as an essential aspect of the Christian faith. We were greatly encouraged by the biblical witness to the many ways in which God loves and cares for impoverished and oppressed people and uses all of us to make life better for everyone. At the end of the semester each student presented a sermon, public speech, or newspaper editorial addressing an important social justice concern in Liberia today from a faith based perspective. The students plan to use these sermons, speeches, and articles to encourage positive change in their communities. Although this nation faces many challenges, I am convinced that the new leadership that is emerging from our partners in this seminary is well prepared to improve the lives of many, giving people hope that the love and justice of Jesus Christ will prevail throughout West Africa and the world.

If you are as excited as I am about this kind of grass roots theological education I encourage you to be in touch with the Short-Term Mission Office at at American Baptist Churches International Ministries and inquire about the many volunteer opportunities that are available to those with a heart to serve.”