RISING SUN — While you may be figuring out how to get that homemade fruit cake to your brother across the country, Ebenezer United Methodist Church has figured out how to get a tractor to West Africa.

Rev. Tim Beardsley, pastor of the church on Ebenezer Church Road in Rising Sun, is inviting the public to join his congregation and the Christian community at large in a 2 p.m. ceremony Sunday to bless the CASE International 245 before it gets packed up and shipped to Liberia.

Beardsley was on West African soil from Aug. 28 through Sept. 11 as part of a mission trip in his seminary studies for the United Methodist Church. Upon his arrival there, he learned from his friend Barry Gray, former pastor of Port Deposit Presbyterian Church, that Gray’s father-in-law was a missionary with the Southern Baptist Convention in that region for 40 years. After a rapid series of events, Beardsley suddenly found himself assigned to preach at that church the next morning.

While at the church, he heard about the decades of destruction that had left the country with no infrastructure. First was a civil war, then ebola and now COVID. The church was praying for resolution.

“Things are rough over there but the Christian church is growing by leaps and bounds,” Beardsley said.

One thing was holding up the students in their quest for knowledge.

“They are mowing 20 acres with machetes,” he said of the college grounds. “Their tractor broke after the civil war. They were praying for a tractor.”

Beardsley got back home to Cecil County and spoke to his congregations at Ebenezer, St. John’s Lewisville and Cherry Hill UMC and told his stories.

“I just mentioned at a couple of methodist churches about the need for a tractor,” Beardsley said. “Someone at Ebenezer knew someone getting a new tractor.”

That person gladly donated his old tractor to the church. Harvey Arter, a member of Moore’s Chapel UMC near Elkton, works for an International Trucks dealership and volunteered to service the tractor.

“It works. It’s in great shape,” Beardsley said, adding he mowed his own yard to make sure. He even brought Arter in on a virtual meeting with the students in Liberia to teach them how to maintain the tractor.

Shipping the tractor to West Africa is going to cost around $2,000. He’s been told the shipping is itself will be anywhere from $1,450 to $1,500. Then there is the need for the duty tax, or port fees.

As soon as the ceremony is finished the tractor will head to Baltimore.

“It goes to a warehouse Monday morning and it will be on the ship by Friday,” the pastor said. It should arrive in port by the beginning of February.

Beardsley said he remains in awe of how this all happened, and happened so quickly. He finds special joy in noting that he is a Methodist pastor, who was invited to speak to students at a Southern Baptist Convention college and will on Monday ship a tractor donated by a Catholic family halfway around the globe.

“This is part of growing God’s kingdom. We want to help and support them,” he said.

Donations toward the shipping costs can be mailed to Ebenezer United Methodist Church, PO Box 639, Rising Sun Maryland, 21911.

“Or they can show up at 2 p.m.at the church, 1072 Ebenezer Church Road,” he said.

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