Eddie Gibson says it took 20 years for the Dellanna West O’Brien School to get to where it was, before a man allegedly drove a bulldozer through the campus in February.
So Gibson isn’t afraid to be patient for God to provide the way to build it back.
“I realize it won’t happen overnight,” said Gibson, who bought the land for the school years ago using funds raised through Eddie Gibson International Ministries, based in Birmingham. “Gradually we believe God will enable us to get it down the road.”
Gibson, a native of Liberia, said God gave him the vision to build the school in 1999 when missionaries came to his school and taught the Bible to students. He could see the potential for schools that would not only provide needed education but also produce disciples of Jesus.
“God has been faithful to that conversation,” Gibson said. “I have baptized students and teachers myself.”
But the school’s facilities were destroyed earlier this year when a man in the community who was angry over a land dispute allegedly used a bulldozer to push over the buildings. Gibson was hoping the man would be convicted of the crime, but so far that hasn’t happened.
So Gibson said he’s focusing not on the legal battle but on getting the school rebuilt.
Since the buildings were destroyed, students have been meeting in makeshift classrooms with tarps. They will continue to do so in the fall with nearly 300 students, 40 of whom will graduate later this year.
Gibson hopes to attend those celebrations. In the meantime, he’s back in Birmingham — where he and his wife have lived since fleeing Liberia’s civil war in 1990 — raising funds to rebuild.
The effort will start with a 33,000-foot-long fence to circle the property and keep students and facilities safe, said Gibson, pastor of Brewster Road Community Church, Birmingham. As they work toward building the fence, they’re calling it the Nehemiah Project, studying and praying through the book of Nehemiah as they look for partners to come alongside to help build the fence foot by foot.
The second phase of the rebuild will be a water system.
‘Opportunity to present Christ’
“There’s no water system, no clean water,” Gibson said. This was an issue before the destruction — the school had some hand pumps, but as the student population grew, the pumps failed to keep up. The rebuild will offer the chance to meet this need, and a $25,000 grant from Woman’s Missionary Union’s Pure Water, Pure Love ministry will help make that happen.
The third phase will be a two-story building with 40 classrooms.
“We found out the community is growing in population, and since ours is one of the most credible high schools in the area, we think it will be good to have room to grow,” Gibson said, noting they also want to offer vocational classes past high school. “We’re not just doing academics, which is good for the community. We also want to do it for discipleship purposes. It becomes an opportunity for us to present Christ.”
To learn more visit brccbham.org. To read the original story, visit thealabamabaptist.org/christian-school-in-liberia-plans-to-rebuild-after-destruction.