Short-Term Mission Experiences: Liam’s story

Eighteen-year-old Liam spent two months serving and learning from others in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


In the summer of 2021, as Liam Farrell finished high school, he thought to himself, “If you had the opportunity to explore, to experience a new culture, why not take it?”

Growing up in rural Maine, Liam knew long-time IM Global Servants Ann and Bill Clemmer as neighbors and family friends. He knew they were involved in ongoing work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and that they were currently back in the U.S. So one day, as Ann gardened outside, Liam approached her to learn more.

“I wanted to explore someplace French-speaking, and a place where the culture is totally different,” he explains.



Liam put his college plans on hold. Beginning in June 2021, he began a process of spiritual, emotional, and physical preparation for the trip with IM’s Short-Term Mission desk. The Short-Term Mission staff connected with Liam before, during, and after his trip to accompany him spiritually throughout the experience.

In February 2022, Liam flew into Rwanda and then crossed the border to Goma, DRC, on a two-month short-term mission trip. He stayed in the HEAL Africa compound, where the Clemmers also live.

Ahead of time, Ann and Bill talked with Liam about his skills and the ways in which they could be put to use. Liam spent the first few weeks simply being present at various ministries. “I didn’t feel like I had the knowledge to teach the Bible, but then we went to the English class, and I thought I could do that. Every Friday, I’d help the Sunday school teachers with their college English papers and speaking conversationally. It was really fun—even coming up with lesson plans.”

“Liam was a huge hit,” Ann says. “There were even a few doctors who came from the hospital to join his classes. He also did homework help for the English classes taught at Tuungane School, started a chess club at the international school, played soccer with the children, and just made himself available.”

“The school was four to seven-year-olds,” Liam explains. “I’d make paper airplanes, they taught me Swahili, I was able to practice my French as well—I could use it to explain an English word or concept. We had a cool experience where they were invited to visit an airport, and they loved it.”


The hardest part of Liam’s experience came as he connected with the homeless children Ann and the Sunday school teachers reach out to on Saturdays. “I’d play soccer with them, do an English lesson with them, but then I’d go back to the compound and they’d go back to the street. I don’t know that I was ready for that—no one can understand what that’s like. It’s so hard to really think about it.”

Liam saw how difficult it could be not to become overwhelmed by the obstacles faced by those around him. “I’m working with thirty homeless children—what about all of the other homeless children? But as soon as I focused on the community around me I could see the tangible impact. I’m another human being, and I can bring some joy.”

One example of tangible impact Liam saw was the goats project: “Churches around the U.S. donated goats to single mothers in Goma. The mothers use the goats to sell produce at market. When that goat has a kid, they can give one to another mother in the community. It started with 75 goats donated and now there are 400 goats. It was really powerful to see how much someone could do by giving a goat. It would be the difference between sending their child to school or not, having the money to rebuild their house after a volcano erupts or not. It provided necessary funds that wouldn’t have been available otherwise.”

As Liam began his freshman year at Wesleyan College in September 2022, he no longer wanted to pursue a finance major. “I want to do something on an international scale that has a bigger impact,” he explains. “Maybe something in government or international law. [The trip] opened the door to a whole spirit that I hadn’t been exposed to.”


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