CLAUDIUS AND RUTH DEAH’S STORY
When Ruth and I established the church with refugees, our vision was for Guinea nationals who would be saved and trained to take over the church. When we started evangelizing the Muslim Nationals, the few that were getting saved were embarrassed to worship in the refugee class room with refugees, as this was the only place of worship for Mission Bethel.
Through prayer, the Lord lay on my heart to construct a church. At this time, me and my group of 31 persons was denied United Nations rations during the food distribution. The reason given was that the group refused to leave the church in Zerekore city and relocate to the refugee camp in the jungle sixty miles away, where refugees were forcibly relocated. Ruth and I could not relocate because of the church. The members of the church tithed cornmeal and burger wheat which the we used for food. Being convinced of the Lord‘s command, I found land to lease for the commencement of the church construction. There were serious difficulties because there were no funds. However, the refugee Christians were mobilized to give. They were very poor, and some sold their food to contribute to this project. I was encouraged, believing that God had spoken. He knew our condition, so we all felt it was important to do what we could and trust God to do the rest.
It was with excitement that the church members made the first 4200 clay sun dried bricks.
However, after the bricks were ready, heavy rain fell and washed all the bricks away. I once more encouraged the congregation, and the foundation was built again. The next evening another rain washed half of the foundation away. Once more the congregation was encouraged to mold more bricks. The foundation was completed and filled in with dirt so the rain would not wash it away. After some time, more bricks were made and the walls were built up to roof level. Wild prayer resulted as they believed God for the roofing. After yet another rain, the walls once again crumbled to the ground. Although discouraged, I again exhorted the congregation to mold more bricks, and the walls were built for the second time. They fell yet again. After the third falling of the wall, I became discouraged and embarrassed. I understood the frustration of the congregation, and I wondered if my hearing from God was genuine.
I then went to the local government of Guinea asking for help for the roofing of the building. He indicated that the construction was a development project and the building would be used for community services. However, the government declined, as they were aware that the building was a church, and as Muslims they wouldn’t help a church.
Again, I went to the United Nations and asked for help, indicating that the building was to be a refugee shelter, used for counseling, de-traumatizing of widows and refugees. The United Nation replied that they were aware we were building a church and they could not assist religious institutions.
Rev. Mark Krugger was a missionary working in Guinea, affiliated with the Christian Missionary Alliance. He decided to help the church by raising $2000 U.S. dollars to build the roof. A meeting was held with the Africans and representatives of the CMA, but the request was denied on the grounds that the church was not a part of the denomination. There was a condition that the building could be completed with CMA funds if the Africans agreed to turn the building over to them when the refugees left for Liberia. However, we could not accept the offer because of our vision to remain there and minister to Muslims.
We finally thanked the group and in answer to their question said, “If God truly spoke, He will build the church.”
Although I was discouraged, I went to the church congregation again and encouraged them to trust God. I told them that I still felt that God had really spoken to me that they should again make bricks and build the walls. We needed to trust that God would show up with help for the roofing. The church agreed, and the walls were built for the fourth time. And, for the fourth time the rains came and caused the walls to fall. (Reader, what would you have done?)
I went to my wife and told her that I was getting very discouraged and didn’t know what the congregation was thinking. Ruth encouraged me by saying that even if no one believed, she believed that God spoke to Claudius Deah.
I requested my wife to allow a portion of our savings for our rented house to be used to buy bricks and build the walls again, as I was not able to go before the congregation with this request another time. Ruth agreed, and they bought bricks and built the wall for the fifth time. Yes, it fell again. Each morning after the wall fell, the community would come to laugh at Rev. Deah.
I once again persuaded my wife and we used the balance of our rent to build the wall for the sixth time. The rain came, the walls fell, I had lost our six months’ rent, and there was no way to talk to the church. So I went to cry out to the Lord, and there was no answer.
That Sunday, I declared a twelve hour (6:00 pm to 6:00am) non-stop, no sleep prayer vigil . I asked the Lord, if He had really spoken to the pastor concerning the building of the church, to show up and prove it by providing for the building. On Monday, after the prayers were completed, I got discouraged again. I told Ruth my wife that she was the witness between God and me that, because of my desperation, I would go on a prayer strike. I would not pray when going to sleep or when waking up. And I did just what I said, but no one knew except my wife.
On Monday night, our young pastor, Pastor Bernard Dormoh, had an encounter with the Lord about 3:00 AM. The Lord told him in a clear vision:”GO AND TELL YOUR PASTOR, PASTOR DEAH, THAT HE AND HIS WIFE ARE NOT REFUGEES IN GUINEA. THEY ARE MY MISSIONARIES. I BROUGHT THEM FOR A PURPOSE. YES, I TOLD HIM TO BUILD THE CHURCH, AND I SEE THAT THE WALLS ARE ALWAYS FALLING. I HAVE SEEN HIS FAITHFULNESS AND I AM GOING TO BUILD MY CHURCH. TELL PASTOR DEAH THAT HE HAD TOLD HIS WIFE THAT HE WILL NOT PRAY TO GO TO SLEEP AND HE WILL NOT PRAY WENT HE WAKES UP IN THE MORNING TO PROVE TO ME HIS DESPIRATION. ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD IS MINE, I LAID THE FOUNDATIONS OF AMERICA, I AM GOING TO BUILD MY CHURCH. LET HIM CARRY THE YOUTH WITHIN THE BROKEN WALLS OF THE CHURCH AND SHOUT MY NAME, AND HE WILL SEE WHAT I WILL DO.”
Tuesday about 6:00 A.M., Pastor Bernard showed up at my house and gave me the message. Immediately, I took the youth to the church grounds. Above the broken bricks and fallen walls, I shouted “O Jesus!” seven times.
On Wednesday, at about 10:00 in the morning, I was going on my usual trip with Rev. Mark to the refugee camp. While there, a representative arrived from a non-government organization that had been approached earlier for assistance. At that time, the request had been denied. This time, the person informed Rev. Mark and me that the organization would completely rebuild the church, paint the building, and install benches for us. We joyfully agreed, and the building was constructed completely and the keys turned over to us for worship.