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Ganta mission station seek funds for land survey

Miller McAllister United Methodist Church stands on the grounds of Ganta United Methodist Mission Station in Liberia. Funds are being raised for a new land survey to prevent encroachment onto the mission's property. A UMNS file photo by Jane Malone.

By United Methodist News Service
July 24, 2007

Staff members at the Ganta United Methodist Mission Station in Liberia are trying to raise money for a property survey to stop people from encroaching upon the station’s land.

Sampson Wolloh Nyanti Sr., mission station superintendent, reported that the denomination’s property is at risk because of the aggressive actions of some trying to claim sections of the land as their own.

In March, Nyanti said in a July e-mail message, the Magisterial Court of Ganta tried to intervene in the dispute by bringing together representatives of the Mission Station Council and the leaders of those encroaching on the property. "At that gathering, it was decided by both parties concerned that the portion of land in question be resurveyed and that the Mission Station underwrites the cost of the survey," he wrote.

The March decision has not stopped others from continuing to build structures and plant rubber trees on the mission station’s land, Nyanti said. In early July, the Nimba County superintendent ordered the land commissioner to halt all activities in the disputed areas. The superintendent also said the land should be re-surveyed by the first week of August.

"The encroachment is getting bolder and bolder and government officials, in the past, turned a blind eye to it." -- Mary Zigbuo, a missionary assigned to the Ganta Mission through the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries

Nyanti estimates the survey will cost about $9, 000 USD and is asking for immediate support to help complete it. Donations can be made through The Advance, the denomination’s second-mile giving program.

A partial survey occurred before the last round of civil war in 2003, according to Nyanti, when surveyor John Bishop provided more than $3,000 to survey the south and southeastern portion of the mission land. 

"We lately discover that both the areas surveyed by John Bishop and the other side of the road going toward St. John River are being encroached upon," Nyanti said. "This means that we will redo what John Bishop did in addition to the surveying of the northeastern side."

Mary Zigbuo, a missionary assigned to Ganta through the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, affirmed the need for a new survey and noted that the Nimba County superintendent has been more helpful because he is a United Methodist. "We have been struggling with this problem for more than two decades now," she explained. "The encroachment is getting bolder and bolder and government officials, in the past, turned a blind eye to it."

Credit card gifts in support of the mission station survey can be made online at http://new.gbgm-umc.org/give/advance, The Advance Web site, or by calling (888) 252-6174. Checks, payable to a local church, can be dropped in church offering plates or be made payable to Advance GCFA and mailed directly to P.O. Box 9068, GPO, New York, NY 10087-9068. Checks should include the name of the project and the Advance number. The Advance Special Capital Project Number for Ganta United Methodist Mission Station is 14369T.

News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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