MONROVIA—The Missionaries in Liberia, under the Free Presbyterian Church of North America, received their new Toyota Land Cruiser Hardtop Tuesday morning, nine months to the day after an initial fund raising appeal was made to the members of the Free Presbyterian Church worldwide.
“It’s remarkable to think that a project can be announced, funds raised, and within 9 months we have a new vehicle,” missionary to Liberia Joanne Greer said. “We so much appreciate those who gave toward this project. I can now begin to get back into the work full speed.”
Missionary David DiCanio, who also labors in the country, said he was surprised that it cleared the port so easily.
“We managed to get it from the port about 8 days after it had arrived,” Mr. DiCanio said. “We had some storage fees because a mistake was made by our broker. He actually sent the customs duty notification to the seller in France, rather than us in Liberia, and so we were delayed in paying the duty of $7300 USD. Even with that, though, the storage was only about $200 USD.”
According to Miss Greer things have really improved at the Ministry of Transportation in Liberia, and so she was able to register the vehicle and get license plates in two day.
“When I registered my first vehicle, it took three months to get the license plates,” Miss Greer said. “I was so relieved to see that the process had improved, especially since we might be harassed by the police if we didn’t have the tags.”
The mission board that oversees the work in Liberia was initially going to purchase the vehicle through Gibraltar Stockholdings, LTD, an organization set up by Toyota Motor Company to provide vehicles to non-profits at a substantial discount. However, when Mr. DiCanio mentioned this fact to the local Toyota Dealer in Monrovia, they matched the price with the stipulation that the missionaries handle the entire shipping and import paperwork directly.
“I was surprised they matched the price because five years ago they were charging $65,000 USD,” Mr. DiCanio said. “They came down to $50,000, but that was still $10,000 USD above Gibraltar’s price. So obviously they were losing enough business that they had no option but to match the price by allowing customers to purchase directly from their supplier. They still make some money on the sale, though.”
Miss Greer said this was the first time she ever drove a brand-new vehicle, and while it’s a little nerve-wracking, it’s also really exciting!
“The children at Bible Club were also very excited, especially to be allowed to climb up into the back and sniff the ‘new car smell’,” Miss Greer said. “They are also happy because, Lord willing, I will no longer have to cancel any of the weekly meetings due to vehicle problems.”
Miss Greer asks that God’s people pray for safety as she drives, and that the vehicle will stand up against the sea air and rough roads.
“We are just coming into the rainy season so I will soon get to test the four-wheel drive feature when our road turns to mud,” Miss Greer said. “Hopefully I won’t get stuck and need to try out the winch!”
Both missionaries said they are extremely thankful for all who have given to the fund on both sides of the Atlantic, and ask continued prayer for a second reliable vehicle.